The Advantages of Weapons in Strategy

There is an appropriate time and place for the use of the various weapons.

The companion sword is most useful in a confined space, or when you are engaged at close quarters with an opponent. The long sword can generally be used effectively in any situation.

The halberd is inferior to the spear on the battlefield. With the spear you take the initiative, the halberd is more defensive. In the hands of men of equal ability, the spear gives a little extra strength. Spear and halberd both have their uses depending on the situation, but neither is very helpful in a confined space. They are also not appropriate for taking a prisoner. They are essentially weapons for the field.

Anyway, if you only learn to use weapons indoors, you will narrow your focus to unimportant details and forget the true way. Thus you will have difficulty in actual encounters.

The bow is tactically strong in both charges and retreats, especially during battles on an open field, as it is possible to shoot quickly from among the ranks of the spearmen or others. However, it is inadequate in sieges, or when the enemy is more than forty yards away. Nowadays the schools of archery as well as other arts have more flowers than fruit. In times of real need such kind of skill is useless.

From inside fortifications, the gun has no equal among weapons. It is the supreme weapon on the field before the ranks clash, but once swords are crossed the gun becomes inadequate.

One of the virtues of the bow is that you can see the arrows in flight and correct your aim accordingly, whereas the path of a bullet cannot be seen. You must appreciate the importance of this.

Your horse should have good endurance and no defects. To summarize the essentials on weapons, horses should walk strongly, and swords and short swords should cut strongly. Spears and halberds must penetrate strongly and stand up to heavy use, bows and guns must be strong and accurate. Weapons should be sturdy rather than decorative.

You should not have a favorite weapon, or any other exaggerated preference for that matter. To become overly attached to one weapon is as bad as not knowing it sufficiently well. You should not imitate others, but use those weapons which suit you, and which you can handle properly. It is bad for both commanders and troopers to entertain likes and dislikes. Pragmatic thinking is essential. These are things you must learn thoroughly.