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With the samurai though, we are dealing with a single, homogenous culture and one in which versions of their historical martial traditions have survived, in one form or another, fairly intact.Thus we have a somewhat better idea of the average samurai's training and ability through the centuries than compared to contemporary European warriors.But the same comparative warriors during the 1400's for instance, were quite dissimilar.
In one sense, it is like asking who are better soldiers, jungle fighters or ski troops? First of all, we must ask where is it these two lone warriors would meet? Since the conditions of this imaginary fight could play a major factor, it can be proposed that such an encounter would best take place on a flat, firm, open field with no cover and plenty of room to maneuver.
Though each is an accomplished horseman, it would also be conducive to have the single-combat duel occur dismounted, alone, on foot and without use of missile weapons.
Interestingly, the same climate and weather for each would be just about right.
There are a great many intangibles to consider here.
Then again, it's sometimes argued that today's version of modern civilian budo ("war ways") is not equivalent to the historical military bujutsu ("war skills") of the samurai.
At the same time, while we may not have an extant tradition of knightly martial arts any longer, we however do have volumes of actual training manuals from the era describing in technical detail for us just what their skills and methods at the time were all about. An English or French chevalier of 1350 in partial plate with arming sword ready for duel in the champ clos?Knowing her remaining time on earth to be short, Takeko asked her sister, Yūko, to cut her head off and have it buried rather than permit the enemy to seize it as a trophy.It was taken to Hōkai Temple and buried underneath a pine tree.Janice Nimura talked about her book Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back, in which she recounts five women sent to the United States by the Japanese government in 1871 to learn and export Western culture.In her book, the author reports that three of the five women remained in the United States for 10 years, and returned to Japan emboldened to reform women’s education.In the case of comparing a knight to a samurai, each warrior used armor, weapons, and methods oriented towards the particular opponents of their day and age.Therefore, neither can be looked upon as being universally more effective under all conditions against all manner of opponents. Having some small experience in the methods and weaponry of each, as well as a few cross-training opportunities, I offer my humble thoughts on the matter.Janice Nimura spoke with author Marie Mutsuki Mockett.From time to time it is interesting to ponder the outcome of an encounter between two of history's most formidable and highly skilled warriors: the Medieval European knight and the feudal Japanese samurai.We can reasonably assume that the personal attributes such as individual strength, speed, stamina, age, health, and courage, are fairly consistent between such professional warriors.Assuming we can somehow control for these attributes, we could match combatants with some equality.