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Old June 11 2012, 01:52 PM   #121
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

Now, one thing they did get wrong was using a modern gun. Movies to the contrary, the kind of guns they had in the Old West weren't accurate enough for a quick-draw duel to be very practical. A real "gunfight" at the time would've been more like an ongoing shootout. If it comes down to speed, a gunman would probably miss on the first shot (and possibly several subsequent shots) and the knife-wielder would have plenty of time to throw the knife or to close in and stab the other guy.
I understand there were virtually no classic "fast draw" contests in the old west, it being popularized in the Penny Dreadfuls more than in reality. One of the few known actual fast draws involved Wild Bill Hickock, who later explained that the way to win was to draw fast, but then aim really carefully before firing. While the other guy is blazing away in a panic, you take your time and hit him square.
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Old June 11 2012, 03:39 PM   #122
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

Redfern wrote: View Post
I particularly found Jamie's yelling to be amusing. He's usually so sedate. So to hear him primally bellow as he charged Adam was a hoot! Of course, thr question arises, how much of it was a conscious action to unnerve Adam compared to "reflex"?
I figure it was just roleplaying, trying to make it authentic.

But that "face plant" was so unlike Jamie! Usually, Adam wind up being the unwitting pratfall "artist".
As Jamie said, "It had to happen eventually."

At first I wondered if he got snared by his cables, but the slow motion replay revealed no such entanglement.
Yeah, his foot came down wrong and he stumbled on it.


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But of course, you need somewhere to run away TO, which isn't always an option, if, say, the bad guy is between you and the door.
Which is why you should take the Mythbusters' advice and always have your knife/gunfights in a large empty warehouse or hangar.


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I understand there were virtually no classic "fast draw" contests in the old west, it being popularized in the Penny Dreadfuls more than in reality. One of the few known actual fast draws involved Wild Bill Hickock, who later explained that the way to win was to draw fast, but then aim really carefully before firing. While the other guy is blazing away in a panic, you take your time and hit him square.
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Old June 11 2012, 04:01 PM   #123
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

Forbin wrote: View Post
Incidentally, a couple of decades of reading about self-defense with firearms, particularly articles and books by Masaad Ayoob, I kinda knew where the knife bit would end up. A sufficiently motivated (adrenlin, drugs, plain crazy) assailant can cross a room in less than a second. If you don't have your gun out, your screwed.
Indeed. Putting on my martial artist's hat...

Filippino SWAT cops are actually trained to do that as well, if they find themselves in that situation. The optimal range to hold a person at (pistol) gunpoint is not less than 8 feet, and not more than 12. Closer than 8, the knifeman will (if he knows it, or is hopped-up enough) be able to get in first, an unarmed man can disarm the gunman, etc. He'll probably take a hit, but the odds are it won't be fatal, as the gunman can't aim in time, and a knifeman can certainly kill him before bleeding out. More than 12 feet away, there's more chance the knifeman will run away and gunman will miss.

Don't try this at home though, it's still a good way to end up in the ER. Life isn't an action movie unless you're specially trained for it by being in a SWAT unit or Special Forces or something... What I'm talking about there is a result of academic studies of how combat situations have turned out over the world since WW1

As for the "in kendo the first person to move will lose" thing. Speaking from experience in a variety of sword arts, this is definitely at least semi-true - it depends, however, on the two combatants being equally matched. Obviously an experienced combatant will beat a newbie even if he moves first. But I can certainly attest to the fact that if two equally matched kenjutsu-ka (or similar) duel, the one who moves first almost always loses. Partly because he's more likely to leave himself open in some way during the attack, and also because those arts, being arts, are taught in a way that emphasises reaction and countering, so it's second nature for the participants to respond a stimulus rather than as a first-strike.

If you put a good practitioner of Iai-do against him, OTOH, you're more likely to see the odds even out, or actually go the other way, as that's all about making a first-strike draw, rather than responding to a combat stimulus.

As for wild west duels, yeah, there's plenty of memoirs that show that fast draws counted for nothing - aiming properly and shooting straight were what counted.

I wonder when the UK will be getting these episodes?
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Old June 11 2012, 04:20 PM   #124
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

^Good point about being wounded but surviving. One mistake the Mythbusters made was in assuming that being shot or stabbed would inevitably be fatal unless it was in a peripheral area. The vast majority of shooting or stabbing wounds are survivable if medical care is received in time. True, in the Old West, infection would've been a problem, but if you're talking about a fight in progress, someone who's been shot or stabbed is often able to keep fighting. So the first person to be injured isn't necessarily going to be the loser.

And good input about the kendo myth. It underlines a problem with Mythbusters these days. They used to put more effort into researching the origins of a myth, figuring out why people claimed this thing and where it came from historically or culturally. Now they're just taking a phrase, making an oversimplified assumption about what it means, and testing according to that assumption, rather than questioning whether it's really the right assumption to make in the first place.
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Old June 11 2012, 06:16 PM   #125
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

I've read innumerable accounts of people getting shot and not acting like it in various degrees - in the Miami FBI shootings many moons ago, the one of the bad guys' aorta was severed by an agent's 9mm. In the time it took him to bleed to death, he walked up to and executed one of the wounded agents. One of the most amazing incidents was an off-duty policewoman who pulled into her driveway after work to be greeted by a group of punks out to rob her. The lead punk simply shot her, point-blank, with a .357 magnum. The round completely exploded one chamber of her heart. Yet she still managed to draw her sidearm and put 5 shots perfectly into his chest just before she dropped. I don't recall, but I think she survived.

Kendo: In my casual reading on the art and techniques after I bought my cheap Highlander katana (), it was said that a samurai trains to draw the blade, strike fatally, and resheath, in one smooth, artful motion. Which makes me assume that a) the samurai is blindingly fast, b) the other guy is just standing there waiting for it like a schmuck, or c) the samurai has snuck up behind said schmuck.
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Old June 11 2012, 09:19 PM   #126
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

Forbin wrote: View Post
Kendo: In my casual reading on the art and techniques after I bought my cheap Highlander katana (), it was said that a samurai trains to draw the blade, strike fatally, and resheath, in one smooth, artful motion. Which makes me assume that a) the samurai is blindingly fast, b) the other guy is just standing there waiting for it like a schmuck, or c) the samurai has snuck up behind said schmuck.
That art's Iai-do. first-strike tactic.

Of course, the situation if both combatants have blades drawn, and are in a guard stance, is totally different, and that's where the "first mover loses" thing is from
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Old June 11 2012, 10:38 PM   #127
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

Meh episode, nothing really motivated me to point something out where I saw a "flaw" in their logic or testing. I'm really waiting for an episode that tests something really interesting as neither of the other night's myths knocked me out. I did find it interesting that Adam claimed a leather holster for the gun wasn't available prompting him to make his own. Which kudos to him for making a good leather gun holster but I find it odd that there was no where around where one could be easily purchased.
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Old June 12 2012, 06:51 PM   #128
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

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"Duel Dilemma": It's hilarious and fun when they test old sayings like "Never bring a knife to a gunfight." It's just so wild to see them bringing a metaphor to life.

It's also interesting to contemplate how many skills Adam & Jamie have picked up over the years, given the show's insistence that the hosts perform the tests themselves rather than just letting the experts do it. Though I'm surprised that Jamie wasn't already a master knife thrower.

It's also odd that they just used a water balloon as the "knife" substitute, since its mass distribution and aerodynamics wouldn't be anything like the knife. Couldn't they have made a rubber knife or something? Still, it didn't seem to affect the results much. Adam got pretty good at shooting and dodging.
The test was complete nonsense. True, Jamie was impressive with his knife throwing, but there's no way he threw the knife with enough force to cause more than a bruise through Adam's clothes. A hunting knife is not a fucking light sabre.
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Old June 12 2012, 09:01 PM   #129
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

But but but in the movies when people throw knives they bury up to the hilt and throw the victim 5 feet backwards!
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Old June 12 2012, 09:14 PM   #130
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

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The test was complete nonsense. True, Jamie was impressive with his knife throwing, but there's no way he threw the knife with enough force to cause more than a bruise through Adam's clothes.
I assume he did. That was the whole point of training with the expert knife-thrower -- so he could learn the correct motion and force with which to throw a knife to achieve the desired impact, and then replicate that motion with a safe analogue of identical mass to the knife. If the mass of the projectile was the same and the motion and force with which he threw it was the same, then the kinetic energy and the force of impact would've been the same (allowing for the balloon's slight loss of velocity due to its greater air resistance). The difference is that a knife concentrates all that force on a tiny surface area and thus can do far more damage with the same amount of force that would be harmless when spread over a larger area (and largely absorbed by the deformation of the balloon).
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Old June 14 2012, 07:34 PM   #131
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

Obviously I'm no knife-throwing expert, but I would think you could get a LOT more speed and penetrating power with an overhand throw versus the underhand throws Jaimi and the expert were using.

It seemed like they were both concentrating more on hitting the little bullseye instead of really doing damage to someone with a knife.

Obviously with a faster throw you still wouldn't be faster than a speeding bullet, but you'd still be inflicting serious damage on your opponent (because, as has been said, it's not like you're going to drop dead the second you get shot). And even with a gun you're likely to be shot anyway, so it's not like you're avoiding much with that option.
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Old June 14 2012, 07:46 PM   #132
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

^Well, that depends. As I said, given the low accuracy of actual Old West-era firearms, your chances of getting shot would be low unless the shooter took the time to aim carefully.
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Old June 15 2012, 08:26 PM   #133
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

Might be an interesting test in and of itself. Instead of drawing on each other, have them stand side by side, and quick draw on human-sized targets at the same distance. One goes for the classic quick draw/shoot, other takes more care in aiming. See if the quick draw/shoot was close enough to kill/maim before the guy aiming could score a real damaging shot.

Know they've had a quick draw expert with old guns on before, trying to mimic a Billy the Kid myth maybe?

With inaccurate guns, would definitely be interesting to see if the aiming was worth the risk of being slower...
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Old June 15 2012, 08:59 PM   #134
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

davejames wrote: View Post
Obviously I'm no knife-throwing expert, but I would think you could get a LOT more speed and penetrating power with an overhand throw versus the underhand throws Jaimi and the expert were using.
.
Hang on, does this mean the specific myth they were testing was James Coburn in The Magnificent Seven?

But FWIW, yeah, you get a lot more speed (and accuracy) as well as energy into the target with an overhand throw, but it needs the right flick of the wrist as well. Though I say this as someone who's crap at knife-throwing...
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Old June 15 2012, 09:07 PM   #135
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Re: Heads up! MYTHBUSTERS season premiere tonight at 9 Eastern!

They did mention The Magnificent Seven's underhand knife throw as the specific thing they were emulating, though they didn't mention Coburn by name as far as I recall.
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