Editor’s note: I don’t know when it started to evolve on the Internet into a saying that “actual combat swords can cut people without opening the blade” into “actual combat swords do not open the blade”, at least “cavalry actual combat swords do not open the blade”. Examples include the Western knight’s long sword, the Cossack’s Chasik sabre, and the PLA’s Type 65 cavalry knife. It is as if a person borrows horsepower, and a sword that does not open a blade can also cut a person to death. So is that really the case?
For a long time, when it comes to Western knights, people have the image of plate armor knights like iron cans, and most of these plate armor knights use large swords, which makes some people wonder whether the big swords of European knights are not open blades and only rely on smashing, otherwise how can the bladed big sword cut through the whole body plate armor? There are even people who swear that because European knights lose and surrender to pay the ransom, their great swords are not bladed, so that they can avoid accidentally killing their opponents and not getting the ransom.
But in fact, war is not a passing household. In the European Middle Ages, even joustings often killed people, not to mention the use of unbladed swords in war. In the first knightly joust held in Flandres in 1095, Henry III, Count of Levine, even died in the jousting arena. Because although there are certain rules to restrict, knights will also wear complete armor, but the knights of the competition at that time used real bladed battlefield weapons, so it was not uncommon to be killed and injured in the competition. Even because the casualties of the jousting were so serious, by 1130, the then pope simply issued a ban on jousting. European knights even use longswords with open blades in competitions, and it is obviously impossible to use unbladed longswords when fighting on the battlefield.
However, in the European sword art map, one can see the move of the plate armor knight in the picture above grasping the blade of the sword to attack, holding the hilt of the sword with one hand and the blade with the other. This way of holding the sword is known as the “half-sword fight”. There is also the move of holding a half-sword upside down, using the counterweight ball on the hilt as a blunt weapon to hit the opponent. In order to match this move, the sword head counterweight ball of the hand half-sword at that time was generally made relatively large, even with spikes. Even at that time, it was a popular saying that those who did not understand the subtle technique of half-sword art were rookie chickens. This seems to prove that the European sword is not bladed, after all, even if there is hand armor, it is only iron armor on the back of the hand, and the palm part is also without iron armor, otherwise it is impossible to grasp the weapon.
As shown in the picture above, the palm part of the plate armor glove is generally also a glove made of soft leather, so that it does not affect the grip of the weapon. Although it will also strengthen the defense a little and make the hand less easily scratched, it is not enough to resist the cutting force of grasping the blade hard. After all, if such a soft layer of leather can be cut-proof, how is this leather glove processed?
So, is it really the European sword that does not actually open the blade at all? Of course not, because if you don’t open the blade, there is no need to make it into the style of a big sword, and it is obviously more efficient to use the hammer directly. And the confrontation between European knights is not the mainstream of war, and the biggest role of heavy cavalry is not that two teams of iron cans rush each other, but to impact infantry formations. Instead of fighting with other iron cans, knight lords prefer to use swords to cut ordinary soldiers who have no armor or limited armor. The half-sword technique is just a technique that is used temporarily in case you encounter the same iron can knight, without a blunt weapon in your hand.
So why don’t knight lords use the half-sword technique to worry about cutting their fingers off? This actually has a gripping technique. As shown in the picture above, when grasping the blade, you actually use your fingers to pinch the sword body, the blade is actually some distance from the fingers, so that it is safer to hold, whether it is to grab a section of the blade to stab the opponent’s armor seam or grab the entire blade with a counterweight ball or sword gauntlet as a hammer to smash the opponent, so that the grip will not hurt the hand. However, the grasp method indicated by the pictures in ancient books is more of a whole hand, but this is also skillful, not like a grip on the blade in film and television works, which will only make the fingers fall off the surface of the foot.
As shown in the picture above, this looks the same as the hand holding the blade in the picture, but in fact, it is not directly holding the blade, but using the thumb and the fingertips of the remaining four fingers to clamp the sword body, although the palm can feel the cutting feeling of the blade, but in fact, as long as the sword blade is squeezed so that it will not move, it will not hurt the skin, even if it is held so hard with the hilt, at most there are two red marks in the palm, and it will not cut the skin. If you wear gloves, the palm of your hand will not even feel the discomfort of the sword blade against the skin. So it looks like grasping an iron bar that does not open the blade, but in fact, the blade is not unbladed, but has special grasping skills.
Of course, Europe does have long swords that do not open the blade, such as the feathered fencing feder that appeared in the 15th century, but this sword is mainly a training sword used in the German Renaissance fencing school (Fechtschulen), in order to combat the safety of training, the sword body is narrowed to reduce the lethality, and the part close to the handguard is widened as a counterweight to ensure that it is close to the center of gravity of the real sword. But this is only a training sword, and there is a very obvious difference from battlefield weapons. This type of training sword was most popular in the 16th century, when it was widely used by people who learned the technique of two-handed long swords, and even as late as the 18th century, people still practiced sword art using feather fencing.
Also misunderstood and rumored not to be bladed is the Cossack cavalry knife, which was actually just a translation error at first, and foreign sources say that an old Cossack recalled that even if the Cossack saber lacked maintenance and the blade was “dirty”, it could still cut people. As a result, this text was translated into no way because of a translation error, so that many people who did not understand it took it seriously. Actually, the Cossack saber was very sharp. The saber used by the Cossacks is derived from the “Chasik” knife from the Caucasus, which means “Heavenly Blade” in the Caucasus language, which means to describe its sharpness.
The favorite pastime of the martial Cossacks of all ages is to watch horseback riding and slashing competitions. That is, to see the Cossack lads racing to ride and wave their sabers at gallop. Generally, the competition is to accurately split small objects such as pumpkins and water bottles placed on both sides to get everyone’s applause. It is obviously impossible not to open the blade.
And our army’s Type 65 cavalry knife was also once rumored not to open the blade, but this is not entirely a rumor, because the Type 65 cavalry knife was redesigned in the early days of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, on the basis of borrowing from the captured 32-year cavalry knife of the Japanese army that invaded China, and was designed and finalized in 1965, so it was named the Type 65 cavalry knife. At this time, the People’s Republic of China had been established for a while, and it was mainly used to distribute cavalry units in Xinjiang, Gansu, Inner Mongolia and other places, but some troops of other arms used the Type 65 cavalry knife as a saber for the honor guard during parades.
And soon after, our army massively reduced the cavalry units, and finally retained only a few cavalry companies as a tradition. And in order to prevent recruits from accidentally injuring themselves during training, the Type 65 cavalry knife issued to recruits for training is not bladed. But after the basic training, our army still used the bladed cavalry knife for hacking and killing training. Therefore, the original design of the Type 65 cavalry knife was not intended to be used as an honor guard knife without opening the blade. It’s just that modern warfare no longer requires slashing and slashing, so a considerable number of unbladed Type 65 cavalry knives exist for training or ceremonial purposes.
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