What Are the Advantages/Disadvantages of a Nagamaki?

One of the advantages of the Nagamaki is its weight since it can execute an attack to bring an opponent on his knees. Even when the enemy parries the blow, the Nagamaki can still successfully execute the move.

Aside from this, its range is also an advantage yet at the same time, it can also be a disadvantage. It can be fairly insufficient or ineffective, depending on where it’s being used.

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Advantages of the Nagamaki

Aside from having adequate weight for battle and executing certain attacks, the Nagamaki has other sets of advantages.

Since it comes with two or more pins, you’ll get added leverage that’s favorable for its longer handle. Also, the Nagamaki bridges the gap between the cavalry and foot soldiers.

Those on the horse can take advantage of its longer reach for slashing or thrusting downwards against the enemy. Another brutal attack on the battlefield is hacking off the limbs of the opponent’s horses to bring down the rider.

Since its blade has an extended grip, the point of balance of a Nagamaki is shifted closer to the grip.

Another advantage, according to some historical notes, is that the weapon was long enough to lacerate troops easily. This feature of the Nagamaki made it more efficient than the spear.


Disadvantages of the Nagamaki

At some point in history, the Nagamaki also underwent a few changes and enhancements. One of these improvements was adding support for bearing the weight of the weapon with one’s hand. Despite these changes and upgrades, the Nagamaki still didn’t meet all the necessary expectations.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Nagamaki was still utilized by the Samurai. However, due to some changes in warfare, such as mass formations prevailing, the Nagamaki started becoming ineffective.

The main reasons for the inefficiency of Nagamaki swords during later battles are its size and intended use. Generally, the space needed to execute various moves using the Nagamaki was not compatible with the tactics and formations of the pike.

Is Nagamaki Better than Nodachi?

In some aspects, the Nagamaki is better than the Nodachi and vice-versa. These two types of Nihonto have their advantages and disadvantages and depends on where the weapon will be used.

Combat Against Cavalry

The Nagamaki and the Nodachi were both used against cavalry. However, using the Nagamaki was easier and more convenient during combat against cavalrymen.

The Nodachi, on the other hand, was extremely huge. This made it difficult for other Samurai warriors to carry the sword on the battlefield.

Because of its size, the Samurai had to sling the Nodachi on his back, which was impractical when quickly drawing the sword was essential for victory. Other warriors had a companion who carried the sheathed Nodachi and helped him draw it when needed.

However, the advantage of the Nodachi was that it was not only effective for fighting against cavalry. The sword was also useful against infantrymen.

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Handling the Nagamaki and the Nodachi

When handling the two weapons, the wielder will need to use both hands to swing them properly. Some may find it easier to use the Nagamaki, while others may prefer the Nodachi. When comparing which among the two is better and easier to handle, it depends on which you’re most trained with.

The Nagamaki had the shape of a standard Nihonto, but with a longer handle. Another difference was that its blade was narrow at the back edge for reduced weight. Since it was lighter, it allowed for quick movements in combat.

The Nodachi, on the other hand, had a blade measuring around 3 Shaku. It was the longest Nihonto that existed in feudal Japan. Since it was long and heavy, it was able to inflict a great amount of damage on enemies.

Compared to the Nodachi, the Nagamaki had a shorter blade. But with its shape, it could also be used as a spear. However, it had less cutting capabilities, which made it challenging for wielders to perform slashing movements.