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Benkei stood there defiantly, naginata in hand, and so terrible did he look that none dared approach him.
— Stephen Turnbull, The Samurai: A Military History

Warrior monks had existed in Japan since the end of the Japanese classical age. At first, they simply existed to fight other monks; much of religion was politics, so when two monasteries had a feud, often violence would break out. For over two hundred years, the Sohei merely existed to fight each other in small temple conflicts.

All this changed when the Genpei war, one of the many great civil wars of Japan, began. The two warring clans, the Minamoto and the Taira, wished to bolster their samurai forces and appealed to the now many warrior monasteries. Both sides obtained help from various groups, and their skill in battle was famous.

After the Genpei war, the monks went back to rebuilding their monasteries and didn't really participate in the wars of the next couple hundred years, once again only fighting each other. The Onin war started in 1467, localized in Kyoto, where many monasteries were, so much of the Sohei could no longer be passive. This conflict grew into a nation-wide civil war, now known as the Sengoku Jidai.

Meanwhile, in the countryside, a new face of the warrior monks arose; the Ikkō-ikki. These religious fanatics believed in the downfall of the Feudal system, and led a peasant rebellion against the Samurai rulers. Many of the daimyo lords, including Tokugawa Ieyasu, future founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, sent armies to fight the rebels. The Ikko Ikki took began to spread, conquering more land, but eventually, in 1580, they were defeated.

While the next twenty years saw more warrior monks siding with various forces, when Japan was unified under Tokugawa, the time of the warrior monk ended.

Battle vs. Knights Hospitaller (by 123chaseyoung)[]

In a small port somewhere in the coast of Japan, five Sohei monks were meditating peacefully on the sandy beach. Suddenly, a large pontoon boat landed on shore and disrupted their meditation. Five armored knights hospitallers landed on the beach carrying their banners.

Sensing an invasion by barbarians, the Sohei monks grabbed their weapons and charged. The shocked knights hospitallers drew their weapons in response. One Sohei monk makes a wild swing with his naginata luckily slices the neck of one hospitaller Blue. But before he can regain himself, an angry hospitaller drives his knightly sword right through the Sohei Darkred.

One of the Sohei grabs a horse and rides to the knights, firing his arrows. His shots however, only glanced on the armor and shields of the knights. A knight with a halberd quickly skewers the Sohei off his horse and chucks his body in the air like a ragdoll Darkred.

As this was going on, a Sohei and a knight faces off with their swords. While the knight had the upperhand with his superior steel longsword against the weaker katana, the Sohei managed to land a lucky blow on the knight's leg, making him fall down dripping with blood. He then raised his sword and coup de grace the knight with a stab to the abdomen Blue. But before he can savor his victory, he is shot with a crossbow bolt from behind by a knight Darkred.

Suddenly, a shot rang out, and a knight falls down dead after getting hit by a tanegishima musket on the chest Blue. The knights quickly dove to the sand for cover as the remaining Sohei's fire their bows and muskets at them. A knight managed to grab his matchlock musket and shot a Sohei Darkred. But the superior accuracy of the Japanese musket kept them pin down. The knight lets out one bolt from his crossbow and hits a Sohei in the eye Darkred.

Wanting to finish this once and for all, the head knight chased and mounted the horse that was left behind by the dead Sohei as his comrade covered hi with his musket. The two remaining knights, one on foot and one on horseback, charged towards the remaining Sohei camped in the sand dunes. The Sohei lets out another shot and hit the rushing knight in the neck Blue. But it was too late for him to reload as the other knight on horseback hacks him with his sword. The wounded Sohei tried desperately to get away, but the knight hospitaller finally decapitates him.

The victorious knight then raised his sword and yells in victory.

Winner: Knight Hospitallers

Expert's Opinion[]

The knights won because they have the overall better weapons and x-factors since they were better experienced and had better feats in wars. The Sohei's were fighting wars only in Japan while the Knights fough wars all across the globe.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.

Battle vs. Shaolin Monk (by Samurai Santa Clause)[]

TBW.

Expert's Opinion[]

TBD.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.

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