Deadliest Warrior (2009): S01E02 – Viking vs. Samurai


Deadliest Warrior is a 2009 documentary series in which the great warriors of history are examined for fantasy combat simulations.


Viking versus Samurai. The savage Scandinavian raider that plundered Europe for three hundred years, against the blinding speed and skill of Japan’s elite warrior class. It’s power versus speed, axe against sword, berserk rage against precision, as these heavily armoured legends face off in a battle to the death.

  • Viking team: Casey Hendershot (Viking Weapons Instructor), Matt Nelson (Viking Combat Expert)
    Viking weapons: Great Axe, Long Sword, Spear, Shield
    Viking armor: Steel helmet, Chainmail, Wooden Shield
  • Viking statistics: Height: 5 feet, 11 inches Weight: 180 lbs Gear Weight: 65 lbs
  • Samurai team: Tetsuro Shigematsu (Samurai Descendant), Brett Chan (Samurai Weapons Expert)
    Samurai weapons: Katana, Naginata, Yumi, Kanabo
    Samurai armor: Kabuto, Dō-maru
  • Samurai statistics: Height:5 feet, 3 inches Weight: 135 lbs Gear Weight: 65 lbs
  • For short-range weapons, the katana was tested against the great axe. The katana was tested first against three tatami bamboo mats (with the same density as human bone), and managed to cut them all in one clean swipe in under a third of a second. It was tested next on pig carcasses, and managed to cut through two pigs cleanly (severing two consecutive sets of vertebrae). Finally, it was tested against the Viking’s chainmail, but failed to do any real damage. The great axe was first tested on a thick, short block of wood, while the weapon’s force was measured. The block of wood was easily chopped in two, with the force being measured at 11,000 newtons (roughly 2000 pounds of force). Dr. Armand Dorian theorised that a blow from such a weapon would sever a limb. The great axe was next used on a ballistics gel torso, nearly cleaving the gel dummy in half in a downward chop, visually appearing to reach beyond the heart and lungs with the axe blade. Dr. Dorian compared the injury to a trauma victim who had been run over by a train. However, the great axe bounced off a solid Samurai helmet in the same overhead chop. After viewing the high-speed footage of the test, it was theorized that a person wearing the helmet at the time of the strike would possibly suffer minor head trauma, but little more. The narrow advantage was given to the axe due to its greater killing power.
  • For mid-range weapons, the long sword was tested against the naginata. The naginata proved itself as a quick ranged weapon by slicing a dummy with several quick cuts, taking off part of the skull and exposing brain matter in one, slashing through the face and jaw and slicing off part of the jawbone in the second, and breaking through a rib and stabbing the heart on the last. The long sword also proved very effective, making a very deep slash across the side of the head and into the brain cavity in its first strike, impaling the neck on the second, and making a final slash across the neck. Geoff Desmoulin theorized that the only thing which kept the gel skull from being directly decapitated by the long sword’s strike was the metal supporting rod (which was itself chipped). The edge was given to the long sword due to its killing power.
  • For long-range weapons, the Viking’s spear was tested against the Samurai’s yumi bow. The spear was thrown at targets 25 feet away, and penetrated wood targets that were several inches thick. Two spears were also thrown at once, and were capable of the same severity of penetration. The yumi was shot at two dummies from 45 feet, accurately hitting them. The yumi’s accuracy was also shown by shooting out dummy eyes at 25 feet. The yumi was given the advantage due to its accuracy and range.
  • For special weapons, the Viking’s shield was tested against the Samurai’s kanabo. The Viking’s round shield proved itself effective as a defensive shield and as a bludgeoning weapon. A large, 35-pound version of the kanabo was tested and shattered a cow’s femur as well as breaking off a part of the shield, although many of the studs in the club were knocked out in the process. The kanabo was measured at 470 psi, and it was theorised that an arm behind the shield would suffer at least one broken bone. In a comparison of killing ability, the kanabo was given the edge.
  • The Samurai is one of six warriors with no battle cry at the end of the battle.
  • The Samurai is one of three warriors to get at least 100 kills with each weapon.
  • The Viking is the first warrior to lose despite having the most effective weapon in the fight – the long sword.
  • The great axe is the second weapon to be given the edge and to score fewer kills than the opposing weapon.
  • According to the listed statistics, the Viking had a size advantage of 8 inches and 45 lbs, the largest discrepancy in physical size of Season 1. The Samurai had lighter gear by 5 lbs. The Samurai tied with the Ninja as the lightest warrior featured on Season 1.

Re-enactment 2

The battle starts with the Viking walking out into a field. He puts his great axe on the ground as the Samurai appears, holding a naginata and a yumi bow. The Samurai lets out a battle cry, and then fires an arrow at the Viking, which hits the Viking’s chain-mail-covered shoulder. The Viking pulls out the arrow and looks up, only to find a second arrow coming at him. It hits him in his helmet, dazing him. The Viking pulls out two spears and charges at the Samurai, hurling them both when he gets close enough. The Samurai attempts to dodge them, but he is struck by one and thrown to the ground. The Viking picks up his great axe and rushes at the Samurai. The Samurai gets up and grabs his naginata. The Viking swings his axe, but is blocked by the naginata. The Samurai twists his naginata and throws the Viking’s axe out of his hands. He hits the Viking with the naginata, but the damage is reduced by the Viking’s chain mail. The Viking recovers his axe and begins swinging wildly at the Samurai. With a heavy blow, he knocks the naginata out of the Samurai’s hands and kicks the Samurai. The Viking swings his axe at the Samurai’s back, but the Samurai’s armour manages to prevent the axe from tearing into the Samurai. The Samurai pulls out his kanabo club and hits the axe, once again knocking it out of the Viking’s hands. He tries to swing at the Viking, but the Viking blocks with his shield as he crouches to the ground. The Samurai begins to savagely hit the shield with his kanabo, and manages to chip off a portion of the shield, injuring the Viking’s arm. The Viking yells in pain but then gets up and charges at the Samurai with his shield. He pushes the Samurai all the way to a bridge, and then off it. The Samurai falls into a ditch below, losing his club in the process. The Viking draws his long sword and jumps down. The Samurai manages to get up and pulls out his katana. The two begin to clash swords, with the Samurai getting in blows at the Viking. The Viking swings at the Samurai, but the sword just slides off of his armour. He tries once again but the Samurai moves out of the way, and the Viking crashes into a tree. The Samurai slashes at the Viking’s legs, forcing the Viking to his knees. He stabs his katana straight down into the Viking’s neck. He then pulls out his sword before the Viking falls to the ground, dead. The Samurai flips the Viking over and readies another stab to his heart, but sees that his opponent is dead. The Samurai sheathes his katana and limps off into the distance.

Winner: Samurai.

Deadliest Warrior Series

You can find a full index and overview of Deadliest Warrior here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 14 April 2009.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 42 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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