The Instigator
Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Sabre vs Katana

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/10/2014 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,110 times Debate No: 54404
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




Hello! In this debate, I will be arguing that the western sabre is a superior blade design to the Japanese Katana for dueling. Con will be arguing the opposite. The rules are as follows:

-Round one is for acceptance only. Round two is for arguments, three is for arguments/rebuttals, and four is for rebuttals. No new arguments may be introduced in the final round.

-The BoP is shared. Con may not argue that neither weapon holds an advantage.

-The hypothetical situation is that of a duel in which both combatants are well trained, and are equally experienced in their respective martial arts. Neither has any physical advantage, and both are unarmored and armed only with their respective blade. The area in which they are dueling is open, flat, and devoid of any other environmental factors that could influence the outcome. The fight is to the death.

-Arguments must only reference the blade design, or the techniques/martial art used with the blade.

-Both pro and con may choose a specific blade type that falls under the respective categories of "sabre" (pro) and "katana" (con). Con may not use another variety of nihonto, and Pro may not use another variety of European blade.

Violation of the rules will result in a seven point forfeiture. Good luck to whomever accepts the debate! I look forward to seeing what arguments are brought to the table xD.


I accept the challenge! Good luck! I choose con because 1.) It Personifies My Continent and 2.) Because I Don't Really Have A Choice
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to Con for accepting this debate! I hope we both enjoy ourselves thoroughly xD.

For the purposes of this debate, I will be specifically using the dueling sabre, as in the British or Italian styles. That said, I will make a note if any of my sources apply to sabres more broadly.

My arguments will consist of several categories, in each of which I will explain how and why one of the two weapons holds the advantage.


I would strongly advise that my oponant stick to modern steel when making his arguments, as it is well known that 21st century monosteel is multiple time stronger than anything ever used in traditional blades. In fact, the Japanese process of folding steel was only practiced to turn the low quality "iron sand" they had at their disposal into useable steel. Europeans had access to far better materials, and so such techninques were unecessary. A well forged European longsword, for example, would have been of eaqual or greater strength than its Japanese equivalent. All of that said, I will not be arguing about the differences between several hundred year old weapons. Instead, I will be focusing on designs made of modern high carbon steel, which will outperform pretty much any other material one could make a blade out of.

Handling and Speed:

Generally speaking, a Katana will weigh between two and three pounds, depending on whether it is particularly short, or of a longer variety. Take Cold Steel's Warrior Katana, a high quality weapon forged out of 1055 high carbon steel which, with a 29.25" blade, weighs in at just over two and a half pounds.

By comparison, their Civilian Sabre (a British Dueling model), weighs a pound less, and at 32", its blade is noticeably longer than that of the Katana. The dueling sabre has a far greater capacity for acceleration or deceleration, lending it the ability to quickly strike from guard or reverse direction, meaning that its wielder will be able to effectively out maneuver their opponant. Additionally, as it is a one handed weapon, the sabre can be used with circular motion that allows for rapidity of attacks and parries that the Katana simply cannot match.

Defensive Ability

Katanas generally fall under the category of weapons that defend with offensive strikes intended to displace or bind an opponant's blade. The although the Sabre is certainly capable of such methods (and they are often employed), its large guard allows for parries that simply block lines of attack, making it much more versatile on the defense. This means that, in addition to the single time defenses made with larger, clumsier blades (where attack and defense is one motion), it can do a double time defense, with a parry that passively binds the opponant's blade, followed by a lethal riposte. In addition, the fact that it is one handed means that the blade can move more freely around the body. This unrestricted movement lends itself to defense, as a parry can be set up on any line or angle. See the diagram below for a clear picture as to where on the guard an opponant's blade will fall in the case of a parry:

Offensive Ability:

While speed and maneuverability both lend themselves to the sabre's offensive capability, it is versatility that truly gives it the advantage over the Katana. The Katana is primarily a cutting weapon, and while the point is used, thrusting with two hands is an awkward maneuver with far, far less range than the lunge of a sabre fencer.

As a cut and thrust weapon, the sabre's curved blade allows for cuts that are nearly as powerful as those of two handed swords, and a narrow tip makes the thrust extremely deadly. On top of this, the sabre can be used in a lunge as it is one handed, granting enormous distance advantage over the Katana wielder.

Finally, there is the matter of what is known as a "continuum of force." While both weapons have a functional edge and tip, the sabre's bell guard and pommel allow it to be used like a hammer or a set of brass knuckles in extreme close range. This means that, in a bind, the sabre wielder will have a distinct advantage.


There is a common misconception that Western Martial Arts (i.e. The Arte of Defense) were never as developed or advanced as their eastern counterparts. This could not be further from the truth, as since the twelfth century we have manuals detailing incredibly complex techniques for all manners of weaponry. As a later weapon that became nearly universal, the sabre was particularly favored and developed, and the historical practices and techniques are still alive today. I have provided for your enjoyment a video of two excellent historical fencers wielding infantry sabres (full weight, blunted weapons that are equivalent to the dueling sabre I've shown previously), as well as a manual from the nineteenth century depicting proper military sabre techniques (derived mostly from classical Italian dueling sabre).


sonofathena forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


As with my other debate, I will give my oponant one opportunity to post their arguments in the next round and have arguments in the final round.


sonofathena forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


For the second time in a row, an opponant forfeits this debate. I will try once more...


sonofathena forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Dufflepud 7 years ago
The Katana was developed from the Tachi which was developed from earlier straight swords. Also, even if that were correct, it would have absolutely zero impact on this debate.
Posted by B0NEDUDE 7 years ago
Ummmm, FYI the Katana was developed from the Sabre.
Posted by Dufflepud 7 years ago
Fair enough! I'll primarily be arguing for the civilian dueling sabre (as in the Italian style), although some of my sources deal with slightly different weapons (such as infantry sabres). Anyone who accepts the debate can feel free to state what kind of Katana they are arguing for in their acceptance.
Posted by MysticEgg 7 years ago
Both debaters should state their chosen blade before the debate begins. There are so many variations (notably with the sabre), it will be extremely difficult to plan rebuttals ahead of time.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Cobo 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro wins via default

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