Historical European Martial Arts

HEMA martial arts or Historical European Martial Arts generally refers to sword-based martial arts that were taken from various techniques utilized in Europe from the years 1300 to 1800. A lot of the HEMA martial arts have been recreated and developed based on ancient records and manuals; also, a large number of these styles of martial arts are practiced with numerous weapons such as the HEMA longsword, daggers, bucklers, pole weapons, and a lot more.

While there is only a limited number of surviving documents and records on the martial arts of Classic Antiquity – specifically gladiatorial combat and ancient Greek wrestling – the surviving records were primarily dedicated to the technical combat manuals and treatises that date all the way to the late middle ages and the early modern era. Because of this, the main focus of HEMA is, in reality, in the period of the half millennium of the years 1300 to 1800, where Italian and German schools were appearing during the late middle ages and the Renaissance period which was around the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries.

Martial arts that were present during the nineteenth century – specifically classical fencing, as well as the early combination styles like Bartitsumay or Bartitsu – were also included in the HEMA martial arts term. Numerous traditional styles that were attested during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries included various forms of traditional stick fighting and folk wrestling.

Revival of HEMA and Modern Practice

The revival of HEMA martial arts and modern practice have been attempted to be reconstructed at some point in history. They focused on restoring the discontinued classical traditions of European martial arts around the late nineteenth century with the revival of fondness and interest during the Middle Ages. This specific movement of revival was led in England by Alfred Hutton who was known as a soldier, swordsman, writer, and antiquarian.

Since the 1990’s, Historical European Martial Arts communities have continued to emerge and grow in various areas such as Australia, Europe, North America, and all other English speaking countries. These groups have continuously been operating in the attempts of reconstructing and building the HEMA martial arts by utilizing a variety of methods to achieve this; and even if the general focus is on the martial arts of the Renaissance and Medieval masters, the martial arts teachers from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have also been studied, and their systems are also being reconstructed and developed.

Most of the HEMA martial arts in practice today either have a master to student lineage that dates all the way back to their historical origins which have all been recreated or revived mostly from the historical records and texts in history.

HEMA martial arts greatly differ from contemporary fencing since it utilizes traditional weapons (such as the HEMA longsword etc.) and not the modern and hybrid types of fencing swords. Additionally, HEMA is also primarily focused on practicing and perfecting the traditional battling techniques versus the sports characteristics of contemporary fencing.

Modern HEMA Clubs

Most of the modern HEMA clubs focus on the Late Medieval fighting martial arts (especially the HEMA longsword) or on the numerous Renaissance sword martial arts (such as the rapier); although this is the case, a lot of clubs practice and train in various arts, periods, and weapons, but above all, HEMA martial arts is depicted by its uniqueness and diversity. There are numerous HEMA martial arts practitioners who opt to engage in numerous tournaments simply to test their acquired skills; and although this is a good thing, it is not necessarily required.

HEMA VS Choreographed Historical Demonstrations

HEMA martial arts VS choreographed historical demonstrations are completely different things, and although the practitioners of HEMA usually come from different backgrounds, HEMA is not any of the following

The Longsword – Favourite Weapon For Centuries

The longsword or Bastard sword was also referred to as the Hand and a Half swords during a later period in history, and it was given this specific name (longsword) due to its long handle that allowed the wielder to grip the weapon with both hands. The elements of the longsword such as its outstanding reach and its excellent thrusting and cutting abilities made the blade a highly popular piece among warriors on the battlefield.

This specific sword was widely utilized by the medieval knight, and it was a prevalent piece during the late medieval period and the Renaissance Era – specifically around the years 1350 to 1550. It was also greatly utilized during the early thirteenth century until the late seventeenth century.

Elements of the Longsword

Listed below are the most notable elements of the longsword:

  • The Longsword features a double-edged blade as well as an adequately long handle to accommodate two hands when gripping the weapon.
  • The total length of the sword measured around forty to forty-eight inches long, with a handle that measured about ten to fifteen inches in addition.
  • As for the weight, the longsword weighed around five to eight pounds in total.
  • It was first used as a close contact weapon that was necessary for executing massive blows.
  • Generally, the longsword was utilized for slicing or cutting, plus it was also capable of chopping off the enemy’s limbs or head in a single stroke.
  • It is categorized as a cutting weapon.

Evolution of the Longsword

The longsword is not really characterized by its long blade but by its longer grip – this indicating that the weapon is designed specifically for double-handed wielding. Swords featuring exceptionally long hilts are said to have been found throughout the period of the Middle Ages but despite this, the longsword still remain to be a rare piece that were not really identifiable until the late thirteenth or the early fourteenth century. The longsword remained as a weapon used for battle by wielders who wore full plate armor either on horseback or foot, and this went on throughout the late medieval era; in the fifteenth century, the longsword was eventually utilized even by mercenaries and unarmored soldiers.

Also during the fourteenth century, the utilization of the double-handed great sword was said to have originated with the Swiss, then by the sixteenth century, its use as a military weapon was mostly gone since this was the period when the German Landsknechte wielded the huge Zweihander for battle. As for the distinct weapon, the bastard sword, the hilted types were eventually produced during the very first half of the sixteenth century.

Advantages of the Longsword

The long sword may not really be that advantageous when it comes to the swiftness and swinging power that is usual for curved blades but there are numerous advantages of the longsword that has become useful on the battlefield.

  • One of the notable elements of the longsword is that it has a much longer reach and excellent thrusting abilities which is said to be much more difficult to defend against.
  • It has the capabilities of inflicting fatal wounds at a distance and is much faster compared to some other swords. This is due to the geometry of the blade since it is straight – meaning, its thrusts hit faster and has a more deceiving effect compared to that of a curved blade.
  • The longsword allows the wielder to easily penetrate heavy armor while also keeping them less exposed.
  • Since the weapon is strong and fast, using both hands when wielding the sword for parries and cuts only creates stronger and solid attacks.
  • The sword is known to be easy to maneuver and is agile, allowing the wielder to execute quick attacks or to seek openings.

Training is Everything

You Can Only Fight the Way You Practice – Miyamoto Musashi

The training philosophy of martial arts has been practiced throughout history and traditionally, martial arts were characterized as a form of fighting arts that have originated from Asia. The training philosophy of the arts includes moral codes that exhibit these philosophies as a way of life. Every individual who has trained in just one of the three philosophies – namely spiritual, mental, and physical ways of the art – is not considered as a complete or true martial artist and Western combative forms of martial arts such as fencing, boxing, or wrestling were not considered as martial arts. However, scholars from the West are somewhat altering the definition of what martial arts really is since any type of fighting art, regardless of whether it has a morality code or not, is recognized as a form of martial arts.

Because of the change of mentality among individuals, contemporary types of martial arts have surfaced in numerous places since practitioners continue to alter the traditional art by adding novel thoughts and ideas before giving these arts a new name to go by.

Altering the Training Philosophy

By altering the training philosophy of martial arts, a sports tweak is provided to create something new that can be practiced by many. Studying a form of martial art sport – whether this is collegiate fencing, kendo, karate, or a new favorite in western martial arts – requires one to have extra focus and seriousness unlike in other types of sports though it does not mean that sports such as tennis, football, or even rugby do not need mental discipline.

Martial arts definitely demand a unique and great sense of physical and mental control to avoid inflicting harm to oneself or to a training / sparring partner; simultaneously, this will also let one understand and determine how to adequately employ such techniques to its full advantage when necessary. This is the reason why the martial arts training philosophy (which also involves the code of chivalry) places a great amount of emphasis on things such as mental tranquility and anger control as a response to aggression, pain, or even fear; so because of this, martial arts has been viewed through philosophy as something that is not a test of skills, but a mental sparring competition with one’s inner opponent. If one is able to control their emotions and reactions by “keeping your cool” during situations where an opponent is executing an attack such as throws, punches, or stabs, the practitioner will then be able to easily face any form of adversity or challenges that are thrown at him or her. Studying the skills of lethal martial arts is one of the best ways to develop a practitioner’s character, as well as to develop their proficiency when it comes to self-defense.

The Martial Excellence

The martial excellence – traditionally referred to as prowess – brings a sense of responsibility that allows one to learn how to make use of their strength without any form of judgment. Training philosophy is all about how certain martial arts are utilized as well as teaching that these are educational and fun; however, engaging in these arts is not all about fun and enjoyment since it also teaches a practitioner true dedication that exhibits the greatness of ethical, physical, and mental development. Western martial arts offer great advantages for an individual of European descent since the art is basically derived from the same culture that has been based on the same elements that have established the excellence of the Western culture. In this case, the arts may fully provide a unique road to personal growth and development that aids in the creation of an individual’s sense of education and judgment.

Popular Types of Swords Throughout History

Throughout history, different types of swords have been utilized by warriors who charged and fought on the battlefield. Generally speaking, a sword is referred to as a bladed weapon created specifically for thrusting or slashing since it was made longer than a dagger or knife. However, the accurate definition of this term generally varies with its geographical region or historical period. A sword is primarily made up of a long blade that is fixed to a hilt and its blade could either be curved or straight. Swords that were made specifically for thrusting featured a blade with a pointed tip and these tended to be straighter compared to that of the slashing swords; as for these types of weapons, the blades of the slashing swords featured sharpened cutting edges on both of its sides. These are commonly curved for more efficiency.

There are numerous types of swords designed and fashioned for both slashing and thrusting, and listed below are the different types of swords available:

Medieval European Swords

The medieval sword was considered as the primary types of swords that were utilized by the knights and these – including the medieval armor – developed and evolved with new ideas, as well as technology. Right at the beginning of the period, the double-edged slashing swords were utilized for battle, but as time passed, it improved and turned into a much better, durable, diamond-shaped sword that could readily be thrust between the rings of a chain mail with ease.

The medieval sword was featured in different styles and types, and this also goes for the armor that was utilized on the battlefield. The numerous types of swords that were present in the medieval era included blades such as the falchion swords, broadsword, long swords, bastard swords, scimitar, batons, and the great swords.

Japanese Swords

A nihonto is among the numerous types of swords that have been produced as early as the Kofun era. Generally, the samurai swords refer to weapons with arched blades that were created right after the Heian period. There is a large number of Japanese blades that differ in shape, size, method of production, and field of application; some of the more known or popular nihonto includes the katana, tachi, odachi, and the wakizashi.

African Swords

Numerous African cultures have created their own styles and types of swords to utilize for numerous purposes; though a lot of the non-Arabic designs and concepts were typically the straight, double-edged longswords. Some of the most well-known African blades included the Flyssa, Nimcha, Kaskara, and the Takouba.

Chinese Swords

The types of swords of the Chinese also have a long history just like China; and during the prehistoric times, stone swords were utilized for various activities. A few records claim that bronze swords were traced back to classic bronze daggers that came from the Western Zhou era, yet these were not primarily utilized until the Eastern Zhou period. throughout history of China, there has been many different sword designs, and many of the countries around inspired their swords from the Chinese. some of the famous swords is the Chinese war sword, you can see it here.

Southeast Asian Swords

Knives and swords that were acquired in Southeast Asia were mostly influenced by the different types of swords from the Chinese, Indian, European and Middle Eastern. The generic term for a knife or sword wielded by a variety of ethnic groups was called the Dha and this is actually a Burmese word that translates to blade; its corresponding word in Thai would be darb or daab.

West and Central Asian Swords

The whole Islamic world from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century was influenced by the types of swords such as the scimitar or saif – the curved and single-edged blades. The Turks from Central Asia began utilizing cavalry swords right at the start of the late Hsiung Nu era, and the earliest forms of the single-edged and curved Turkish blades could be linked to the Kok Turk and Hsiung Nu empires. These types of swords were created out of high carbon crucible and pattern-welded steel together with slightly arched blades with a single sharpened edge.

Longsword VS Katana – Who Will Win?

The most popular, iconic, and recognizable weapons in history have always been the European longsword and the Japanese katana – both having great designs that have evolved and developed to efficiently face the numerous challenges that were present in the battlefield. Each of the weapons have been improved and tested throughout time under the unforgivingly strenuous and devastating trials of war and battles, adapting to the circumstances to provide warriors with extremely durable, efficient, and powerful tools that were utilized on the battlefield.

The Katana and the Longsword

The idea of evaluating the katana vs longsword can be truly intriguing, yet attempting to do so can be quite interesting, as well as challenging; it is actually more complicated than simply throwing out the question, “The katana VS longsword, which one is better?”. Both of the swords feature unique and interesting characteristics that categorize the blades as part of historical weapons, and some of these attributes include their specific weight, length, shape, as well as their blade geometry, point, edge, and hilt configuration. Additionally, when these weapons are wielded correctly, both swords possess a specific core of gravity as well as inherent balance.

The Katana

The katana is known to be one of the traditionally made blades that were greatly utilized by the samurai warriors of the ancient and the feudal period of Japan The katana can be described by its distinctly unique appearance that features a single-edged and curved blade with either a squared or circular guard; additionally, it also features a long grip to accommodate both of the wielder’s hands. The katana has grown popular due to its cutting power and effectiveness, plus its single, wedge-like, and hardened edge has been claimed to exhibit excellent sharpness.

Longsword

A longsword is a specific type of European weapon that is depicted by having a cruciform hilt and a double handed grip that measures around six to eleven inches; it also features a straight, double-edged blade that approximately measures around thirty-three to forty-three inches. The design of the longsword, specifically its hilt arrangement and center of gravity, allows the wielder to take full advantage of the weapon’s blade, allowing them to stab or thrust further compared to when they utilize a short sword; additionally, having a blade with a narrower point allows the user to thrust faster with excellent penetration compared to wider blades that are developed specifically for cutting.  The longsword has been utilized since the ancient times where fencers during the mid-sixteenth century displayed that straight weapons were able to execute quicker thrusts in a more deceptive manner compared to semi-curved or curved blades.

Katana VS Longsword

When it comes to the katana vs longsword, both were considered as established thrust and cut weapons and are both efficient for slicing, slashing, as well as stabbing moves; also, these weapons make use of defensive and counter-striking displacements and each of the swords made use of a specific style of swordsmanship that was exhibited through proper control of timing and distance. Since the relative weight of the katana and longsword were almost equal, the differences all go down to both swords’ geometry of how each of these can be utilized and moved: curved blades that are shorter can quickly slash a target whereas a longer, straighter, and narrow blade can instead, thrust faster.  This only means that one specifically emphasized swift and quick slicing moves that are considered decisive single strikes, while the other emphasized quick, long-reaching stabs in combination attacks.

Moreover, there were also evidences that show both swords created in different versions that were specifically for armored battle, while other versions were intended for unarmored battle. Because of this, it only further complicates all efforts to ascertain the design’s sturdiness and durability.

Kendo Martial Art and Sport

Kendo is known as a contemporary type of Japanese martial art that has descended from Kenjutsu; practitioners utilize the shinai or bamboo swords and the bogu which is the protective armor of a Kendoka. Kenjutsu is considered as a term for every koryu school that teaches Japanese swordsmanship, particularly those that have been utilized before the Meiji Restoration period.

Contemporary Forms of Kendo

The contemporary styles of Kendo and Iaido were founded during the twentieth century which included the modern curriculum of kenjutsu; this art first originated from the samurai class of Japan and unlike Kendo, kenjutsu means the art, method, or technique of the sword. In this day and age, Kendo is continuously practiced in Japan, as well as in other nations all over the world; this is because Kendo is a type of activity that mixes the practice of martial arts, as well as the values combined with strenuous physical sport-like activities. Additionally, it is also considered as a type of sport that sets extreme significance on etiquette.

Brief History of Kendo

There are generally two theories regarding the origins of modern-day Kendo: one is that the main origin of Kendo lies in the classic art of fencing where each participant faces off using actual swords. The martial art was claimed to be introduced from China for more than a thousand years in the past; though another theory states that Kendo was refined from Japan’s own style and type of fencing.

Samurai warriors who practiced and trained in the art of fencing took a long span of time to actually perfect this; also, the practice of this art with the use of swords was eventually included in studying Buddhism, morals, and most especially Zen. This was because the samurai also had to practice the art of spiritual training; so at the end of the eighteenth century, safe bamboo practice weapons and protective gear appeared which eventually made the present-form of Kendo appear and flourish.  In this day and age, Kendo has become an extremely popular activity in schools and it has become a type of sport that offers both mental and physical training.

Kendo Equipment

Practicing Kendo requires the Kendoka to wear and use the classic style of Kendo gear which consists of a bogu and one or two shinais. The shinai represents the katana and is usually made from four bamboo slats that are often held in place using leather fittings; additionally, modern variations of the shinai are also utilized and these have carbon fibers that are reinforced with resin slats.

Kendo makes use of various strikes and attacks that involve a single edge as well as the tip of the bokuto or shinai. It is necessary to utilize protective armor when practicing the art of Kendo to protect specific target areas that are located on the practitioner’s head, body, and arms; a Kendoka’s head is protected by the men (stylized helmet) that features a men-gane or metal grill that is present to protect the wearer’s face. There are also durable fabric and leather flaps called the tsuki-dare that are present to protect one’s throat, as well as the men-dare (padded fabric flaps) to safeguard the side of the wearer’s shoulders and neck. The other necessary Kendo equipment includes the following:

  • Kote – these are thick, long and padded fabric gloves that protect the Kendoka’s wrist, hands, and forearms.
  • Do – a breastplate that protects the torso.
  • Tare – part that is made up of three thick and bulky vertical fabric flaps that protect the groin and waist.
  • Tenugi – a cotton towel that is wrapped around the Kendoka’s head and is worn under the men to work as a base for it to fit properly; it is also necessary to absorb perspiration while engaging in Kendo practice.

Clothing worn beneath the bogu consists of the keikogi or Kendogi (jacket) as well as a hakama which is an article of clothing that is split in the middle to create two wide-legged trousers.

Kendo Techniques Kendo techniques are made up of both thrusts and strikes, whereas strikes are only executed towards specific areas called the datotsu bui and these include the head, wrist, or the body – all of these are well-protected by armor. The specific targets in Kendo include the men, yoko-men or sayu-men, the right kote which can be targeted at any period, the left kote when in a raised stance, plus the right or left side of the do.

Remember that the tsuki (thrusts) are only allowed to target the throat since incorrectly executed thrusts could seriously injure the practitioner’s neck. Generally, thrusting moves during free practice, as well as competitions are restricted only to the senior and more experienced dan leveled Kendoka.

The Historical European Martial Arts

The Historical European Martial Arts or HEMA refers to the form of martial arts that have originated from Europe, particularly utilizing the arts that were formerly practiced, yet died out or developed into varying forms; though there are only a few surviving records of the classic martial arts (specifically gladiator combat or ancient Greek wrestling) that were dedicated to the combat manuals or technical treatises dating from the Late Middle Ages to the Early Modern Era. Because of this, the focus on the Historical European Martial Arts was specifically during the time of the half millennium throughout the years 1300 to 1800 wherein Italian and German schools appeared and flourished during the late Medieval and the Renaissance period (specifically the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries).

Nineteenth-century martial arts such as classical fencing can also be included in HEMA just like the traditional or classic styles that have been demonstrated during the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries; these include folk wrestling, as well as the traditional styles of stick fighting.  There were times when the term WMA (Western Martial Arts) was utilized in the United States in a much wider sense which included contemporary and classic disciplines; during the later period of the Middle Ages, the longsword was said to have a status of honor among disciplines, and at times, historical European swordsmanship was utilized to specifically determine swordsmanship styles and techniques.

Ancient History of the Historical European Martial Arts

Generally, there are no known records on HEMA before the later period of the Middles Ages yet some medieval literature featured certain records on military knowledge and martial deeds in addition to the historical artworks depicting weaponry – such as the longsword and rapier – and combat. Numerous researchers have tried to reorganize the traditional fighting styles like the Gladiatorial Combat, Pankration, Viking Swordsmanship, and the Byzantine Hoplomachia in reference to various resources and constructive experimentation.

HEMA during the Renaissance Period

During the sixteenth, the summary of traditional Fechtbücher (combat manual) were produced – a few of these were printed specifically during the 1540’s by Paulus Hector Mair (a civil servant who was active in various martial arts in his period) and during the 1570’s by Joachim Meyer (a sixteenth century fencing master and German Freifechter). At the time of the sixteenth century, German fencing slowly developed and evolved featuring sportive aspects. Treatises of Meyer and Mair were based on the teachings from the earlier Liechtenauer tradition yet with distinct and contemporary aspects.

As the mid-century came, equipment such as the companion weapons and polearms slowly lost their importance and popularity, eventually fading out of such treatises; in the year 1553, Camillo Agrippa (a renowned architect, engineer, fencer, and mathematician from the Renaissance period) was the very first individual to describe the hand positions (specifically the quarta, prima, terza, and seconda guards) that remained as the backbone of classic Italian fencing throughout the next centuries and the future. From the sixteenth century, the Italian rapier fencing acquired great popularity throughout Europe, specifically with Salvator Fabris’ (Italian fencing master who came from Padua) treatise in the year 1606.

The Modern Community of the Historical European Martial Arts

Since the year 1990, communities of Historical European Martial Arts have appeared and flourished, as well as in other English-speaking areas such as Australia, North America, and a lot more. These groups continuously attempt to reconstruct and reorganize the Historical European Martial Arts by utilizing a variety of training procedures; and although the primary focus is on the Renaissance and Medieval martial arts masters, the methods of teachers from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were also studied and learned, as well as reconstructed.

The Longsword and Rapier in Hema

For those who enjoy longsword battles in films, television series, and even in animation, this fast growing sport is something one would definitely enjoy; this is called the longsword fighting which is referred to as the rebirth of a long-forgotten historical European martial arts. In this day and age, enthusiasts have grown interested in HEMA which includes activities such as various types of sword fighting using weapons (just like the rapier) and grappling. Despite the numerous categories and equipment utilized under this, the longsword has become one of the most popular and is gaining much attention from martial arts enthusiasts. The Long Point tournament which began in the year 2011 is now one of the biggest HEMA even in North America, and their open-steel longsword division featured fifty-five participants with eight of them being women.

Katana VS Rapier – Who Will Win?

There are numerous claims and beliefs that the rapier vs katana represent the most ideal cutting and thrusting blades – generally the highest evolution of weapons from the East and West. Because of this, there are usually various speculations among individuals who speculate on what the outcome may be in a battle between the katana and the rapier. Below are some of the differences between the Rapier VS Katana.

Katana

Comparing the rapier vs katana, the katana has a couple of measurements and characteristics that separate it from other samurai blades. Usually, Katana sword would have a total length of about three to four feet where its tsuka takes up about one-fourth of its measurements. Additionally, the katana also features a unique arch of about an inch yet this can vary depending on the swordsmith creating the weapon.

Compared to the double-edged arming swords of the Europeans, the katana usually exhibited its point of balance right at the blade, focusing more on slashing attacks than thrusting. Depending on the geometry of its blade, the katana can be designed and created to have its tip deliver deadly slashes, or it could also be fashioned featuring a triangular and chisel-like tip to execute stronger thrusts. Additionally, the arch of the katana blade allowed its wielder to perform precise cutting attacks from the draw; it was a highly advantageous feature on a fight since executed cuts after drawing the katana could seriously injure the enemy’s unprotected body parts before he had time to react.

Rapier

When the rapier vs katana is observed, the rapier is known as a narrow, rigid, single-handed thrusting weapon that features a thick tapered cross-section together with a sharp and extremely narrow point. It is a generally thin and lightweight weapon that is also well-balanced, making these swords specifically for thrusting and intended for single, unarmored combat. The rapier also featured a unique aspect that allowed the user to execute agile and extremely deceptive attacks, as well as continuous deadly thrusts that were carried out at unpredictable angles. The rapier also allowed the user to accurately stab right at an enemy’s throat, face, eyes, and even the hands, sending out light rapid attacks that would distract and provoke an opponent.

Rapier VS Katana

If both swords were correlated with each other, the rapier vs katana would definitely have their own advantages in battle: in a duel, the rapier would most likely win due to it being a nimble and quick weapon that offered excellent reach despite being a single-handed weapon. Yet during fights on the battlefield, the rapier would lack advantage compared to the single-hit of the katana which is why the rapier was never utilized on the battlefields.

When it comes to both weapons, the most vital aspect would be the quality of the blades: an excellent razor-sharp katana could easily execute slicing and slashing attacks whereas a finely made rapier that was solid enough to cut could also defeat a katana. In another situation, when both the rapiers were left undrawn, the katana would have greater advantage when drawing since its arched blade allowed quicker and more fluid movements, giving the wielder the chance to execute instant slashing attacks unlike with the rapier that featured a straighter and longer blade. A possible outcome of a duel between the rapier VS katana would be the rapier wielder executing simultaneous thrusting attacks, taking advantage of the weapon’s superior reach; however, this would do little to prevent the katana wielder’s momentum from executing a fatal chop.

Additionally, there are some who claim that if both wielders with equal skill were only armed with their respective weapons which were sheathed, the katana would have 98% chances of winning since Iaijutsu would inflict attacks on the rapier wielder even before he or she has drawn the weapon.