Military History Blog of “Deadliest Warrior’s” Barry Jacobsen

I am former Green Beret who has worked on television and film projects as a historical advisor, stunt choreographer, actor, and historical commentator and advisor.  My passion is warrriors, weapons, and all aspects of military history.

I was an Associate Producer and Historical Advisor on the television show, “The Deadliest Warrior”.

http://www.spike.com/video-clips/hesyte/deadliest-warrior-the-aftermath-season-one-wrap-up-part-iii

49 Responses to Military History Blog of “Deadliest Warrior’s” Barry Jacobsen

  1. Tara says:

    Great information. You saved my life on a report due tomorrow. The prof checks wikapedia but not your blogs (at least yet). Thanks for all the detail. I always thought Roman Britain was more primitive. Can’t wait to get to more specifics about Arthur.
    Also is that you in the Spartan gear? Not sure if the other ladies agree but I think you look so cool and hunky.

  2. Ryan says:

    I have meet you and was delighted in not only your insight into the mind of the historical warrior but inspired by your zeal to educate .

  3. Prithvi says:

    Wow, the level of detail is on the Arthurian posts is pretty outstanding. I’m really interested in the period of the later empire and I can tell you’ve really drawn on a diversity of sources that is amazing…the Alans, the pseudocomitatenses, Riothamus/Ambrosius, you’re really good at synthesizing these loose threads and putting them together in a solid narrative!

    • barrycjacobsen says:

      Thank you, Prithvi, for those remarks. Please forward the link to this to your friends and associates who might enjoy it!
      Barry

  4. Found this blog tonight doing some research on early Britain. I like the layout of your blog…lots of good information that I can follow up on.
    -The Prof
    Edwin Weatherby III

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  6. Forken says:

    Pardon my English, but very good info. more than anything by the Spartans, my favorite warriors :D

    Hahahaha and very good vicotoria about Ninjas

    Greetings from Argentina :)

  7. Keith Fields says:

    I’m pissed, no season 4!

    I do admit the show was getting hokey. Some of the match ups were not valid. Ninjas and Apaches sneaking up on Gladiators and Spartans(I believe it was a Spartan). I felt the show should have been about head to head combats or if sneak was involved only have had the competition between stealth warriors, Apache, Ninja, Green Beret….

    Regardless, I miss the show.

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  9. David says:

    Mr. Jacobsen,

    I really enjoyed your role on the Deadliest Warrior. I am a bit of a work out junkie and have done the 300 workout (the workout developed to get the actors portraying the Spartans into outstanding shape). It is an excellent workout however I thought why do a workout developed by a guy in 2004 if I could replicate the combat training conducted by the Spartans. Do you know a good resource for finding information on how the Spartan’s trained with their shield and weapons……if you have time.

    Thank you Sir, and thank you for your service!

    Dave

    • barrycjacobsen says:

      I wish I could help; but the Spartans didn’t leave many clues. In Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata”, a Spartan women is asked by her Athenian and Theban counterparts what she does to develop and maintain her goddess-like figure. She says she exercises, by leaping up into the air and kicking her heals into her buttocks; making both thigh and butt firm and shapely.

      Spartan youths were enrolled into the Agoge (the youth training program) at age 8. They lived off the land, sleeping outdoors on the hard ground year-round. I would assume that they practiced the same gym routine all Greek males practiced: running, leaping, wrestling, possibly pankration, and discus and javelin throwing. They also danced: the Spartans LOVED music and danced more than any people in Greece. They specialized in close-order choral dances; as these taught footwork and balance, and team work. All of which were essential in phalanx warfare.

      Here is an episode from the tv series, Human Weapon; within which you will find a piece on the Greek Army’s recreation of the physical fitness routine of ancient Greek warriors.

  10. David says:

    Hi Mr. Jacobsen,

    Thanks for the info I have to say I was very surprised to read your post that the Spartans loved to sing and dance. I would have never guessed that would be a Spartan past time.

    Thanks again,

    Dave

  11. kevin says:

    Interesting stuff.
    Would your readers be interested in hearing about this game about feudal struggle and diplomacy?

  12. Hi Barry,

    Wondering if I could get your contact info so we could chat for a few minutes on a project our company is working on.

    Best,
    -Jonathan Miltimore
    Editor | The History Channel Magazine (formerly – we’re rebranding)

  13. How do I apply for permission to use one of the images from this fantastic site? Keith Len Dansey

    • barrycjacobsen says:

      Depends on the image, and what you want to do with it. Most of these were taken from books in my collection; or from a Google image search. As I am not using for commercial use, but for educational purposes, I do not need to pay for their use. As far as I’m concerned, you can use any of these you wish. However, if you plan to charge for the site they are posted on, than you likely will need to get permissions from the original sources.

  14. Love the pic at top glad to see you still have the Spartan panoply :P

  15. john hammond says:

    Hi Barry, two questions: What company make the Spartan sword you wielded on Deadliest Warrior? Second question: When Spartan faced Samurai, why was the Spartan spear-tip made of bronze rather than iron–The spear-tip most certainly was made of iron–Did the show do this on purpose to make it more evenly matched?

    • barrycjacobsen says:

      The answer to the first question is that it was purchased online at Kult of Athena. It is their Spartan Short Sword.. http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=SW691&name=Spartan+Short+Sword

      The second question is a good one. In Back for Blood, Spartan vs Samurai, the Props Manager, Dave Baker, put a brass spear head on the Spartan spear. I objected (strenuously); as the 1) the Spartans didn’t use bronze weapons, they used iron. And 2) Brass is NOT bronze. This was a weakly-made spear head, and I knew it wouldn’t hold-up. I was overruled by the Producer on this…

  16. John Hammond says:

    Thanks for answering so promptly–I believe the iron spear head would have penetrated the samurai’s steel armor–What’s your take on this? With the Spartan Short Sword, does the bronze handle become slippery? How do you prevent the high carbon blade from rusting?

  17. barrycjacobsen says:

    I agree, John: As it was, the weak brass spear head penetrated a couple of millimeters. As for the short sword, yes, I had to have powder on my hand and that only works so long. In a “real” situation, you would want to have a bone handle, not brass. As for the blade, it needs to be oiled and kept in an oiled sheath. The best way is to make the sheath with a sheep’s wool lining; which will hold oil and keep the blade from rusting. Of course, a warrior always wipes clean his blade before returning it to its sheath.

    • John Hammond says:

      I have another question that I’d like your opinion on. Do you believe the Spartan shield is more effective than the shield of the Roman Centurion? Were Roman shields as good offensively as Spartan shields?

      • barrycjacobsen says:

        Polybius, writing in the 2nd century BC, thought the Roman shield (a long, fairly narrow oval) better. But he was comparing it to the much reduced aspis of the late Hellenistic Age (only about 24″-26″ in diameter). By his time, the Classical Age hoplite shield had largely disappeared.
        My own opinion is that an oval is better for most circumstances. But the Spartan/Argive hoplite aspis was better designed for the warfare of their period.

      • john hammond says:

        In your opinion, in a one on one battle, would a Spartan win out over a Roman Centurion? I tend to think yes, in that I believe the Spartan shield is more functional as an offensive bashing weapon as well as a defensive weapon. What’s your opinion? I ask because I am the Dean of a high school in New York City (Times Square) and besides handling the discipline problems, I also teach a Global Studies class which includes ancient Greece and Rome. Sometimes my students have interesting questions and I can only give them ideas based on known facts and let them try to figure it out. If you’re ever in Manhattan, tell me, and I will get in touch with you.

  18. Scott Serrato says:

    Barry,
    I am a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy and I am a history major. For my research project and capstone, I have been working on a few ideas that involve alternate history. My big idea is writing a short novel/ historical fiction piece on what would have happened if General “Stonewall” Jackson had survived his wounds at Chancellorsville. I thought an expert like yourself could give me some advice on how to go about such a project. Please email me if you would like to contribute!

    • barrycjacobsen says:

      Hi, Scott-
      I though I responded in a timely fashion, but I don’t see my response here.
      Jackson was a key player; and his death was a turning point in the war. Had he lived, I sincerely believe that Lee would have won Gettysburg on that first day; when Jackson’s Second Corps (commanded by Ewell) failed to press home the attack on Culp’s Hill and the northern end of Cemetary Hill. Had Jackson been alive and in command, I believe he would have stormed both, and prevented Meade from establishing a solid defensive position. The Army of the Potomac would have been forced to retreat or be destroyed on the second day.

  19. barrycjacobsen says:

    John-
    Both were very experience warriors; but all else being equal (age, years of service, relative size) the Spartan has the edge in physical conditioning (Spartans were hard!); but the Roman has the better weapons. While the aspis can be used to punch, the scutum is also very good offensively; and the Roman has a better sword (the gladius is a very fine weapon) and his pilum; a anti-personnel harpoon. So, bottom line, a tough and hard to call fight.

  20. Kiefer says:

    Hi just one question for you I was wondering why you think that the spartan’s were the most deadliest warrior?

    • barrycjacobsen says:

      They certainly were the most dedicated to war. But their form of combat was limiting. In the pre-gunpowder era, the nomadic horse archer of the Eurasian steppe was “deadlier”, in that he had the best weapons system: a deadly composite bow and a fast pony. With the former he had a weapon that was lethal (and in the hands of one of these warriors accurate) out to 400 yards. In the latter he had a platform from which to deliver it that gave him tremendous mobility and the ability to fight at “his range”. Of these, the Mongol was likely the premiere.

      I place the Samurai also very high on the list. He was not only a horse archer, but he could fight as a lancer; or dismount and fight as an expert swordsman or spearman.

  21. leeb says:

    Very interesting and we’ll written blog.Thank you.

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  23. gpcox says:

    Pleasure to meet you. I can not fathom how I have failed to locate your site before this.

  24. Pingback: Thursday’ s show: The Iran nuclear deal, Iran in Iraq plus PM Netanyahu in the US | TALK & OPINIONS BY SILVIO CANTO JR.

  25. Michael Patrick MacArthur says:

    I find your hubirs,in regards to modern military training giving you some sort of insight into the mind of “Arthur” offensive in the extreme! And no I’m not trolling,just offended!!

    • barrycjacobsen says:

      My modern military training, combined with 38 years as an armored reeanctor/combat expert, combined with 40 years studying military history, strategy and tactics; and all this combined with an intensive study of the period in discussion does, I believe, give me a unique perspective. If my conclusions offend you, I apologize.

  26. Keith says:

    Please bring back “Deadliest Warrior”. I am so tired of reality t.v.
    Barry you were funny in “Spartan Vs Ninja”. Loved the way you mentally toyed with those Ninja guys. Sparta!

    • barrycjacobsen says:

      Thanks, Keith. I had a lot of fun doing that show.
      Unfortunately, I don’t own the rights to that show; Spike TV does. Sadly, I don’t think they have any interest in bringing it back.

  27. Hello,
    My name is Stanti Schonbachler and I am the martial arts publicist at Tuttle Publishing. Tuttle is one of the largest publishers of martial arts titles in the world and many of our martial arts books are actually military history titles. We have an upcoming title that I feel may be of interest to you and I was wondering if you would be willing to review the book. The book is called Samurai and Ninja and it focuses on the historical aspects of both the Samurai and the Ninja, not just the romantic and mythical sides. The author is Antony Cummins, a historian whose primary focus is on medieval Japanese warfare. I’ve provided the amazon.com link below. If you’re interested I’d be more than happy to send you a copy free of charge. Please let me know either way.
    Thank you for your time,
    Stanti Schonbachler

    Link: http://www.amazon.com/Samurai-Ninja-Japanese-Shatters-Mystique/dp/480531334X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

  28. jamiemhinton says:

    Hey Barry. Loved the show. A buddy of mine and I spent days arguing over Samurai vs. Viking.

    Anyway, would it be possible to get in touch via e-mail? I have an article topic I was hoping to discuss with you.

    -James

  29. Keith says:

    I personally thought the show was very bogus on many of the comparisons. Comparing a Viking Long Sword to a Japenese sword is wrong, so wrong. The Japenese sword is a complete unit offence/defence. The Viking Long Sword was part of a weapon system. Shield for defence (and some supporting offence) and the sword itself primarily for offence. In the last battle scene the Viking loses his shield! My hemroid flared over that. Now old Thor had no defence.

    Even though I truly loved the show, I would bitch after each episode. I envision the way to compare the deadliest warrior is in an arena. Having a Spartan fight a Ninja or an Apache vs Gladiator is so bogus. In a arena where one can’t hide, the Spartan and Gladiator would destroy the Ninja and Apache. Sure, the Ninja and Apache could easily kill their opponents while they slept, but this shows title was not “Deadliest Backstabber”. You’ll have to wait for the presidential debates for that.

    Sorry if I am biased, but armored warriors have a tremendous advantage. Secondly in regard to the gladiator, if the gladiator survived a certain number of fights, the he was the BEST!

    Geez, after completly sounding like I am in high school debating who would between King Kong and Godzilla, I will sign off and ponder getting a life.

    Have a good one Barry and I enjoy comments on your site.

    Keith-imus Maximus

  30. barrycjacobsen says:

    I agree with and likely share most of your complaints; and voiced much of the same at the time to the Producer. But you have to pick your battles, and some I won, some I lost.

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