Deadliest Warrior (2009): S01E03 – Spartan vs. Ninja


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


Spartan vs Ninja – the ultimate bronze age warrior meets the silent assassin from Japan.

  • Spartan team: Jeremy Dunn (Spartan Weapons Expert), Barry Jacobsen (Spartan Historian)
    Spartan weapons: Short Sword, Spear, Javelin, Shield
    Spartan armour: Bronze Cuirass, Corinthian helmet, Bronze-coated Shield
  • Spartan statistics: Height: 5 feet, 8 inches Weight: 165 lbs Gear Weight: 60 lbs
  • Ninja team: Lou Klein (Ninjitsu Master), Michael Lehr (Martial Arts Expert)
    Ninja weapons: Ninjato, Black Eggs, Shuriken, Blowgun, Kusarigama
    Ninja armor: None
  • Ninja statistics: Height: 5 feet, 2 inches Weight: 135 lbs Gear Weight: 10 lbs
  • For short-range weapons, each warrior’s sword was tested against ballistics gel torsos. The ninjato was able to cut six inches into the shoulder, lacerating the arm’s blood vessels and the lung, and causing death by bleed-out within a matter of seconds. The velocity of the ninjato was measured and while the results were not specifically stated on the show, it was stated that the ninjato’s velocity surpassed that of the Spartan’s dory spear. The Spartan xiphos short sword was thrust six or seven inches into the torso just below the ribcage, but hit the metal rod supporting the torso with enough force to bend the sword, preventing an accurate reading, but according to Spartan expert Barry Jacobsen, it would have severed a real spinal cord. It was also explained in the Ninja/Spartan episode of the Aftermath that the blow had already severed the main aorta, cause rapid death. Both weapons were also tested on pig carcasses. The ninjato was able to cut clean through the pig in two slices (cutting through the pelvis and the spine) as well as the short sword. The edge was given to the ninjato due to its power, lightness, superior range, and quickness.
  • For mid-range weapons, the Spartan’s spear was tested against the Ninja’s black egg. The dory spear was first tested on a dummy while its thrusting force was measured; Geoff Desmoulin claimed that the measured force of the thrust was equivalent to a two-story fall onto the same spear if it were to be held up vertically. The dory was next thrust at a gel torso where it proved to be a devastating blow, breaking ribs, piercing the heart and a lung, and exiting the back. Dr. Armand Dorian claimed that a person struck with such a blow would die within 30 seconds. Black eggs containing both crushed glass and pepper juice were thrown at a Spartan helmet where it was proved to be blindingly effective. The spear got the edge since it could kill the opponent, whereas the egg was only a distraction tactic.
  • For long-range weapons, neither the shuriken nor the javelin proved itself effective as the shuriken failed to produce more than minor wounds and the javelin proved slow and inaccurate. The javelin penetrated 2.5-3 inches into a ballistics gel torso, striking the pancreas. The shurikens’ velocity were clocked at 48-49 mph, with Dr. Armand Dorian claiming that one of the shuriken blows to a stand-in could have broken a rib and pierced a lung. Another Ninja weapon, the blowgun, was also tested, with Dr. Dorian explaining that the weapon’s lethality came from a toxin derived from the puffer fish, which can kill within 30 seconds upon entering the bloodstream. While it also failed to show great killing power on its own, its speed and poison darts gave it the edge.
  • Being a vital part of Spartan combat, the Spartan’s aspis shield was tested against the Ninja’s kusarigama in special weapons, and proved itself to be a strong defensive advantage as well as able to deal a killing blow. When it was tested on a dummy an edge-strike inflicted 45Gs, enough to cause a depressed skull fracture, brain laceration, leading to almost immediate death and was likened to low-speed collisions or IED explosions. While the blade of the kusarigama was unable to penetrate the bronze cuirass of the Spartan, the ball & chain proved to be able to distract, disarm, and incapacitate the Spartan. Nevertheless, the shield got the edge due to its defence ability and versatility.
  • The black eggs and the shuriken are the first two weapons to score zero kills in the simulations.
  • The Spartan is the second of thirteen warriors to win after scoring more kills at mid range and long range.
  • The blowgun is the third weapon to be given the edge and score fewer kills than the opposing weapon.
  • According to the listed statistics, the Spartan had a size advantage of 6 inches and 30 lbs. However, the Ninja’s gear was 50 lbs lighter. The Ninja is the shortest warrior featured in Season 1, and is tied with the Samurai as the lightest.
  • The Ninja is the second warrior to have more weapons than his opponent (Ninja 5, Spartan 4).

Re-enactment 3

The Spartan stands in a forest with his shield and spear in hand. Above him, the Ninja watches him while hidden in the treetops. He quietly jumps down and sneaks up behind the Spartan. As he gets close, he draws his ninjato. When he gets close enough, he yells, alerting the Spartan and swings his sword. The Spartan quickly blocks the sword with the shield. He turns around and thrusts his spear, but the Ninja rolls away to hide in the thick grass. The Spartan pulls out his javelin and puts it into the ground. He hears the Ninja and turns to see him spinning the ball and chain from his kusarigama. He throws the ball at the Spartan, who blocks with his shield. The Ninja starts to swing his kusarigama again, but the Spartan charges with the dory and misses. The Ninja swings the ball at the Spartan again, but like before, the Spartan blocks with his shield. He swings it around a third time, but at the Spartan’s leg. The chain wraps around and trips the Spartan, sending him to the floor. The Spartan sits up and grabs the chain. The Ninja tries to pull the kusarigama away from the Spartan, but the Spartan keeps a firm grip. In a desperate move, the Ninja breaks the chain with the sickle and rushes at the Spartan with it. The Spartan knocks him away with his Shield and then gets back up with his spear and shield. The Spartan tries to stab him with his spear, but the Ninja kicks the shield and runs away. The Spartan chases and catches up to him, trying to thrust his spear again. The Ninja dodges and breaks the spear in half with his sickle. He tries to stab the Spartan with the broken spear, but the Spartan blocks with the Shield. This time, the Spartan swings his shield and sends the Ninja flying back. The Spartan pulls out his short sword and advances towards the Ninja. The Ninja pulls out a black egg and waits for the Spartan to get close. He then jumps in front of the Spartan, kicks the shield, and throws the egg at the Spartan’s face. The Spartan blindly swings at the air as the Ninja back flips off the shield and retreats. When the Spartan regains his vision, he sees the Ninja running away and runs after him. The Spartan runs to a deeper part of the forest. He slowly walks through the trees and makes his way to a darker part of the forest. With his javelin at hand, he looks for the Ninja while keeping his shield up. The Ninja pops out from a tree and tries to shoots him with his blowgun. The Spartan blocks the darts and throws his javelin. The javelin goes off target and misses the Ninja, allowing him to run away. He runs back and pulls out some shurikens. He turns around to throw them, only to find that the Spartan has caught up. He quickly throws one, but the shield protects the Spartan as he knocks over the Ninja. The Spartan pulls out his short sword again and swings at the Ninja, but the Ninja dodges. The Ninja jumps onto a tree and prepares to lunge at the Spartan with his sword. However, he hesitates, and the Spartan holds out his sword and impales the Ninja when he jumps. The Spartan smashes him away with his Shield then stabs him again with the short sword. The Spartan yells out “Sparta!” in victory.

Winner: Spartan.

Deadliest Warrior Series

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

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 21 April 2009.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 42 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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