japan was a country that has spent most of its history at war. province against province, warlordagainst warlord. the struggle for money, land and power was an endless series of battles, allegiances and legend. armor was perfectly suited to the times, the terrain and the weaponry of the samurai. but how functional is it really? does it stand up against full contact and live weapons? keep watching as we put a taisho qualityarmor to the ultimate test.
the iconic image of the samurai, in full battle armor. often works about allowing the warrior to stand out and be recognized on the field of war. but ultimately it needed to be tough and versatile, allowing for movement and speed. often warn for weeks at a time it was hard wearing and easily repairable. unique, practical and designed to withstand weapons of battle. perfectly suited to the samurai warrior. so welcome to fanhams hall hotel. a beautiful hotel with japanese gardens over 2 acres open to the public. there is a fantastic air show today, aswell as many visitors, visiting the ground. and we're here to test the armor.
the iron mountain armory has been handcrafting samurai armor since 2005. they offer the most authentic, economical and customizable samurai armor in the world. they currently offer their armor in three separate classes. the kachi class, or foot soldier's armor is made for the samurai on a budget. the gashira class or officer's armor is crafted for the samurai who wants their armor ready for battle. the taisho class or general's armor is meticulouslyhandcrafted by the most experienced armorers, for the samurai who wants thehighest in quality. we used all 3 classes during our testing, including the tatami armour. the battles on the japanese planes made full use of samurai cavalry.
but for most samurai, the traveling and fighting was done on foot. once the army reached the mountains in the high fortresses horses becameunsuitable and the real legwork began. this meant weeks or months spent walking, running and climbing, while carrying everything they need for the battles ahead. samurai armor, therefore, needed to be comfortable and flexible to allow the wearer to be able to carry out all of those tasks without hindrance. the armor should allow the ability toclimb trees and scan the land ahead.
climb into the mountainous fortifications of enemy strongholds, all the while dressed in armour. once battle commenced theywould need to be able to move quickly and easily while fighting. if knockeddown have the ability to get up and continue the fight the armor would need to be light enough to allow for this but tough enough to withstand the treatment. the ironmountain armor was tested under all these conditions. after climbing trees, climbingmountains, rolling and fighting the armour surprisingly comfortable. it took all of the impact with easy with no bruising. which is a great success!
can you move in iron mountain armor? the answer is yes! we fight on a regular basis at muso shugyo ryu and we do not hold back. so to be given samurai armor to train in was an absolute pleasure and we took it to town! well the armor certainly took everything we threw at it. there were a few scratches and a few minor dents, but easily polished out and fixed. an absolute pleasure to fight in. muso shugyo ryu would definitely recommend iron mountain armory as the armor to wear for combat.
the taichi and katana are both swords worn by the samurai. while in armor the taichi would be hung from the waist with the blade facing down. while the katana, slightly shorter and less curved; would be worn through the belt, with cutting edge up. despite popular opinion the sword is not a main battlefield weapon, as it is ineffective against most armours. think of it as a side arm for emergency use and perfect for taking enemy heads! so how effectivewill a katana be against iron mountain armor?
we decided to test this particular taisho class suit of armor because we've trained with it for over a year, in the heat, rain and snow. making it allot like a suit of armor a samurai would had worn after a long march into battle. after all this abuse, we will see if it can still stand up to the ultimate test. so the first two strike so we gonna look atis the kabuto (helmet) and the dåœ the body. we're going to bring the sword straight down on top of the helmet . i'm not expecting it to work. the helmet should absorb the blow. we are then going to move through with a good strike to the chest or the dåœ. now this could penetrate,it'll be interesting to find out.
lets see what happens. well we can see the helmet took the blow exceptionally well. it was dented and it was paint chipped. but there's more going on than meets theeye. when we turned around we see that the full force of the blow radiated to the back. and was absorbed by the laminate which exploded out words; exactly as it was designed to. while the då showed extreme touch protection. it literally got dented and scraped. thewearer in both of these strikes would
have known they'd been hit, but would have survived. so we've seen direct blows to the helmet and the body. would possibly bruised andconcussed. the sword is quite often very effective for cutting away the cords of the armor. so we are going to attempt to cut the cords to see if the khazar drop way and then weshould be attacking three targets. the shikoro. now i am expecting them to absorb the blow, but for the lacing to part and allowing it to fall away. we are then going to come through with a strike to the most solid part, the sode or shoulder guard. followed by attack to the plates themselves.
will the cord hold or will the armor bend or will the sword penetrate ? the sword cut through the cords with ease. although it may take several cuts for the armor to fall away. both the shikoro and kuzari survived well. dented, some chipping and definitely the lace was cut. but the samurai would had survived. now for me the weak part of the armor has always been the arm and the wrist. we have quite solid armor on the forearm and just chainmail on the upper arm. i think we will probably be ok.
possible broken arm, but not penetration. but i really think the sword will cut through this chainmail. well i wasn't surprised that the strike to the lower part of the arm didn't penetrate. the metal spines would had absorbed the blow. but the big surprise for me was the chain mail strike. not only did hold, but the sword did not penetrate. a broken arm possibly but again we would a samurai who would had survived. so let's look at the face mask or "menpo" of the samurai it was worn during battle to protect the cheeks.
the nose it detachable, because it did often become a hindrance. interestingly the longer the moustache the older and more valiant the warrior was. we are now going to test it, with a good strike to the cheek. and i am going to attempt to attack the throat, cut the cords; so that it falls away. giving me a perfect strike to the throat the menpo took very minor damage. i am sure the warrior would of had a broken jaw. the cords were very easy to cut. exposing the throat for a secondary cut later. i'm really interested in this next strike. we are going to attack the padding under the shoulders.
now this has lovely little hexagon patterns. but within that are small metal disks, to help protect the wearer. will the sword penetrate? well the small metal disks in the padding certainly did their job. the sword could not penetrate. the ryu-jin sword certainly had a test of its own today. before we attacked the armor, we test cut against a dry bamboo mat. one of the toughest things to cut cleanly. and it went through like butta.
and after battering the armor mercilessly. i fully expected it to be blunted, with lots of chips, damage and possible bending. but the sword itself survived perfectly. it is straight with a few minor chips which can be polished out. but can it still cut? well we found out. we cut again, with some dry bamboo matting and it went through with ease. ryu-jin swords have proven to be swords of quality. the spear or yari were characterized by a straight blade
that could be anywhere, from several inches to more than 3 feet in length. the blades where often made of the same steal the japanese swords were forged with and where very durrable. the yari is perfect for thrusting andslashing and slamming enemy samurai to the ground. all samurai would be expected to trainregularly no matter what rank they were. how will the iron mountain armor standup to the thrusts, slashes and strikes of a yari spear? the yari was the primary weapon of the samurai on foot and also on horse. we're gonna to look at two classic strikes.
yoko shabaki or "temple strike" followed by a thrust to the body. and this spear is designed to penetrate. let's see what happens. the yoko shabaki strikes proved to be ineffective against the armor, even though it had already been struck hard by the sword. while the thrusts didn't actually penetrate, they showed it is very easy to knock a warrior down. there was some severe denting and two of the seams had burst. but the då is still fully wearable and functional.
the iron mountain armory crafts their armor traditionally using laminated plating. each plate its design to flex and absorb the impact. it's versatile, it's flexible, it'srepairable. the yumi bow is exceptionally tall. standing over two meters in heightand unique in design and use. able to be shot from horseback, from foot, from low ground positions, the yumi was a great long distance weapon. but needed years of skill to master. the arrows are longer than their western counterparts and could be fitted with a wide range of arrowheads to devastating effect.
japanese armor had to be able to resist the arrows from penetrating the body. how will the iron mountain armor fare against the yumi bow and arrow? now the japanese yumi bow is unique in all of the world perfect shooting from horseback and from low on foot. at muso shugyo ryu we practice battle field archery. and i've shot many targets but this is the first time i've shot into armor. the arrow definitely did not penetrate. but it was purely a target arrow. i can't help but wonder what an arrowhead would actually do this armor.
and i've decided to find out next. what a difference a arrow head makes. i must admit on a glass-fiber arrow it did throw the aim off slightly to the left. but we had penetration. from 35 feet, we saw it went in about a 1/4 of an inch. not killing the samurai from 25 feet, we managed to get a penetration of about a 1/2 of an inch. but once we moved closer to 15 feet, it penetrated a lot deeper. but as you can see, the samurai would of had a nick
and not a kill. because, it would need to go through at least three inches to finish him off. once again the samurai has survived. but one thing with me, the armor has survived so well so far. i'd like to give it one more test. the tanto was often worn with armor and used very in close and personal lets see what it does to japanese armor. well we certainly bent the tanto. but the armor is absolutely fine.
iron mountain armory, samurai armor for the modern warrior. as you can see the samurai armor crafted by the iron mountain armory, holds up to the test. everything that we put thearmor through, through grappling, fighting, sparring, climbing trees, scalingmountains, it stood up to the test. it held its own and still the armor worksas designed to. its versatile, its flexible, it's repairable. the iron mountain armory and ryu-jin swords are crafted traditionally. they are the most authentic,economical armor and sword on the market today.
of all the questions we are ever asked themost common; "is it really wearable?" "can you move in it?" "is it comfortable?" "is it strong enough for martial arts training?" don't just take our word for it. you've seen it for yourself. the answer is yes. iron mountain armory,traditional armor for the modern warrior. iron mountain armorytraditional armor for the modern warrior.