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Saturday, April 9, 2011
Hawaiian Koa vs. Shaolin Monk: Edges
Hawaiian Koa vs. Shaolin Martial Monk:
Long Range: Ma’a sling and Ihe javelins vs. Flying darts and flying knives
Here the Polynesian Islanders have the advantage. While the flying knives and darts have the advantage of conceal ability and would be extremely hard to dodge at the range that they are thrown, they also lack in the vital categories of lethality and range. Unless the Shaolin manages to hit a few very specific parts of the Koa(face, neck, heart) it isn’t going to kill the Koa nor would it necessarily cripple him, as the damage done by the darts/knives is relatively little especially compared to the Koa weapons. The coconut body armor is going to protect the chest of some of the Koa as well, removing another potential kill spot.
The Ma’a sling has about ten times the range of both of the monastic weapons, and can be thrown at speeds that not even the monks would be able to dodge. Hard, dense volcanic rock is used as ammunition, which is much more lethal than any other type of ammunition used on the show. When it hits it WILL break bones and cause massive internal injuries, meaning that we will be seeing crippled monks and monk deaths way before we see Koa fatalities. When the Shaolin do manage to get in 20-30 feet range they will have to deal with a hail of barbed spears, which are designed to do incredible damage when pulled out.
Either one of these weapons is more lethal then both of the Shaolin’s combined. The Koa get the edge for Long Range combat.
Roped Weapons: Pikoi vs. Meteor Hammer
This category was rather tough to call. The rope for the Pikoi is much longer, allowing for greater striking distance however the Meteor is able to be used much more fluently and quickly. Both could be used to bludgeon and both could easily break bones. The metal ball of the meteor hammer, being slightly heavier and denser, is a tad bit deadlier then the wooden or stone club. The Pikoi had an addition use other then bludgeoning, and can be used to trip up an enemy allowing for a finishing blow on a downed foe. Although both could be used to strangle, the Koa were more likely to utilize the rope in this way meaning that the Koa may be more effective offensively.
The meteor hammer however had a defensive aspect as well, and could be used parry or ensnare an opponent’s weapon. The Pikoi to the best of my knowledge was not used defensively other than to keep enemies at bay with wide swings, so in the end the defensive trait of the Meteor hammer combined with the lethality of the metal ball give it a small edge.
Edge : Shaolin Monk
Mid Range : Polulu pike and Ihe Spear vs. the Hooked Spear and Steel trident
The Polulu pike gives the range advantage to the Koa, however there are some significant disadvantages to using a Pike. In formations they are awesome, creating an impenetrable wall that stops any enemy frontal advance. In a small squad setting they suffer from a lack of maneuverability and slowness of attack. Any hit is likely to be fatal and impalement to boot, but that is a big hypothetical seeing it is rather hard to hit an agile opponent with a slow moving pike. Pikes do give a strategic benefit of keep the enemy back so that the slingers and javeliners can have more time to kill, so the presence of a pike wall will lead to increased long range kills.
The Ihe could be thrown at this range, and since some Koa carried multiple spears they could empty their load onto the enemy before saving the last one for close quarter combat. Like the Shaolin the Koa were skilled with the spear so when/if the pike wall fails they would still be able to engage in mid range combat. The spears of the two warriors are around roughly the same length, so no side gets the advantage there. Although the hook adds another deadly component to an already deadly weapon (which could be used to pull shields away) , if I had to pick which weapon is deadlier I would have to say the Ihe, if only for the barbs.
By far the deadliest weapon in this section is the three pronged trident, as it can deal three massive wounds for each strike (more wounds=faster blood loss= quicker death). You can also disarm with it, by catching a blade or point between the prongs and twisting. The man disadvantage of this weapon is that it is rather heavy, and only slightly less unwieldy then the pike.
Both sets of weapons are going to have slight problems with each other’s armor: the capes of the Koa may be able to catch the blades or prongs of trident/ spear and disarm the monk of these weapons, while the “Iron shirt “ technique of the monks will cause the Koa some problems in making the kill, although it would be silly to think that it would make the monks completely impenetrable!
So who has the edge? While the monks may have the deadliest weapon, the range and multiple javelins of the Koa barely gives them this category. If the Shaolin can’t survive to get close enough to use their mid range arsenal then what is the benefit of having those weapons?
Close Range: Newa club and Leiomano vs. Shaolin Spade and Dao sword
Every weapon listed above is highly lethal and incorporated into each respective culture’s martial arts. The Koa have an extremely devastating bludgeoning weapon that when combined with their martial art Lua can be used to methodically break every bone in the body. The Leiomano would be used to target areas that not even the “Iron shirt” technique could protect (like the balls for instance…) in addition to a reserve Marlin bill on the end which gave this weapon both stabbing and slashing capabilities. Lastly the Hawaiian warrior could use the club part to either smack with or as a small makeshift shield.
Unfortunately for the Koa, neither of these weapons can compare with the Dao or Shaolin spade. The Dao is certainly the best slashing weapon here, able to cleanly separate limbs in a single motion as Ming Warrior vs. Musketeer has shown us. The spade is a great weapon, and has more options behind its use than any other weapon featured. It could be used to hack , slash, parry , stab, pin, trap and fling dirt at the enemy. In addition the spade is the longest weapon of this category, giving the Shaolin the range advantage.
Extremely close Range: Curved dagger and Strangulation cord vs. Emeici piercers and (handheld) flying dart
The least deadly weapon here is undoubtedly the handled flying dart as unless the short point is punched directly to the throat it isn’t going to do much in the way of damage. The strangulation cord comes next as even with the shark toothed variant it will be rather difficult to get kills on a trained opponent , as the strangulation cord is better suited for assassinations and attacks from the rear. Given the Koa’s chaotic and double teaming tactics though, these types of kills will occur at a greater rate than the normally would. The cord could also be used block and disarm, giving an auxiliary benefit to the Koa and making it more useful then the weapon that precedes it.
The curved dagger is the most lethal weapon that the Koa have for this section and is very good at cutting. The main flaw the weapon is its tendency to get stuck in the flesh of the Koa’s foes, which would undoubtedly become a problem during a pitched battle. Of all the weapons for this category the Emeici is the most lethal, with its dual twirling blades and surprise factor.
Still if you were to combine the score of all weapons of this category you would find points to be dead even. The ineffectiveness of the hand dart is not entirely made up for the effectiveness of the Emeici.
Special: Pahooah or long bladed dagger vs. Shaolin Staff.
This is an interesting matchup. On one hand, the daggers are undoubtedly more lethal than the staff, even the metal version. The dagger was a uniquely Hawaiian weapon (in the sense that nowhere else in Polynesia can they be found) and was heavily incorporated into training. The dagger would have been hard to disarm as it was attached to its user’s body via cord and would have gone deep into the monk’s unprotected body. The main problem with the daggers is their lack of length, being usually around 2 feet with four feet version being the exceptions rather than the norm.
More so the any other weapon, the staff is synonymous with the monks and vice versa. It is fast, precise, and the Shaolin would have been extremely trained with it. It is around 6 feet, at least two feet longer then the dagger. The main disadvantage that this weapon will face in this fight is the mahiole helmet, which will cushion against head strikes.
While the Hawaiian dagger is more lethal the Shaoiln staff is much faster and longer. In addition the Shaolin would have been more skilled with this weapon. So Shaolin gets the edge for Special weapons.
Head: Mahiole vs. Nothing
Easy edge for the Koa. While the Shaolin may have freedom of sense, the Koa have that AND head protection, which will help a lot in reducing staff kills. His face is still vulnerable, so it isn’t the best helmet in the world but it is still better than nothing.
Body: Loincloth, battle capes, belly bands, coconut fiber armor (rare), oil tattoos vs. robes, Shaolin steel jacket
In an armor contest between the average Koa and the average Shaolin, the Koa wins. The battle capes allow for the Hawaiian to snag and disarm weapons while the belly bands give a small dose of protection to the vulnerable stomach. While the tattoos are just for aesthetic purposes the oil will prevent the Shaolin from getting a good grip on his counterpart, which may hurt him in martial art battles.
The Shaolin Jacket vs. Coconut armor is a little harder to decide. On one hand the jacket is going to reduce potential melee kills, on the other the Coconut is going to reduce slashing, staff and projectile kills. Both have weaknesses; the Shaolin steel jacket will be shattered by the ma’a‘s stones and will not apply to every part of the main body while the Coconut won’t hold against stabbing weapons. Still it is worth noting that the Shaolin’s mobility isn’t hindered at all by the jacket while the Koa’s is. In a martial arts battle mobility may be key and I give the Steel jacket a slight edge in rare armor.
Overall though this is reversed, and the Koa get a slight edge due to the average Koa being better armored then the average monk.
Arms: Robes vs. oil
Normally I would give the Koa edge here for being so slippery and hard to grab hold of, but the Robes of the Shaolin carry strategic importance in that they conceal some nasty surprises.
Legs: Oil, sandals vs. Robes, boots
* I forgot to mention that the Koa wore little flip flop like sandals.
While Boots > sandals, overall this category is another slight Koa edge. Oil makes it harder for the Shaolin to grab onto the Koa.
Blocking: Lua, Battle Capes, Leiomano vs. Shaolin Kung Fu, Rattan shield (rare)
Both sides had a martial art that was good at blocking melee blows. The battle cape is going to be great at parrying blows and disarming enemy weapons, while the Leiomano will only find defensive use in a few rare circumstances. None of these compare to the Shaolin blocking device. While the Koa have two makeshift shields and parrying device, the Shaolin have an actual, albeit small, shield (which only a select few of the monks would have). This will be the only real protection of the monk against projectile weapons, as well as melee. As often said about the armor category , this is yet another small edge
Tactics: Chaotic battlefield, A lot of low-level cooperation, spatial fighters, Opportunistic, Long then close, Phalanx vs. Surprisingly ruthless, close combat oriented, Staff emphasis ,Spatial fighters, superior agility, calm
In my opinion the Koa get the edge in Tactics. The long range volleys will devastate the Shaolin, who may not survive to make it to the close range stage (where they have better weapons then the Koa). Even in this area the Koa have the edge due to their opportunism and low level tag teaming which will certainly serve to off many a monk, who by this stage will probably have less people than the Koa. Although the skill with the staff was renowned and will certainly be a positive for the monk, they were a bit obsessed with the Staff to the point where other weapons were neglected (even fellow Chinese martial artists thought so!). The profound agility of the monks will be a plus for the monastic forces though. Both have philosophies regarding space and distance, so I can’t give an edge based on these two factors. The calm nature of the Shaolin will stop him from freaking out at least, and willhelp his close combat skills
The Phalanx may fall prey to their agile foe’s machinations ( I honestly can’t see the Pike getting much kills) but they still serve a purpose. The longer they keep the Shaolin back the more missiles can be expended.
“Dirty Tactics” and long range superiority are what gives the edge to the Koa here.
Rules: Long then close, Phalanx, (once battle reaches its close quarter stage) no rules vs. Close Combat oriented, Leadership
Although the Shaolin have the benefit of Leadership which continues into the close quarter stage, in this instance I feel that the distance and chaotic fighting of the Koa will inhibit them less.
Motivations: Island Hierarchy and Mana vs. The Ming Dynasty
Both warriors fight for their tribes/countries, the Koa however also fight for social/religious reasons (improve Mana , improve status).
Training and active experience: Training and Active Experience:Lifelong Training, Tested frequently, Quality of enemies:High vs. Lifelong extensive training, Quality of enemies: medium
This edge is even, with the Shaolin being more trained but the Koa having more experience in fighting actual warriors of equal stature.
Martial Arts: War games, Lua vs. Shaolin Kung Fu, Intense physical and mental conditioning
It would be impossible for me, a 19- year old with no martial training, to tell you which art is better. Based on my observations and Knowledge of history Lua seems to be more lethal. The society that produced it was often at war, so it needed a more Lethal martial art. Shaolin Kung fu was originally developed as a result of a need for self defense, as temples were always prime targets for bandits and looters, particularly during chaotic times. Based on my observations it seems to emphasize speed more than Lua, and killing is supposed to be a last resort tactic (although the Martial Art is certainly capable of killing).
Measuring the other two categories is just as hard. While the benefits of Koa are numerous, the monk will also be given benefits that the Koa will not be their extreme conditioning. This is a very hard category to give an edge to, so I will hold off for now.
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