This is a really good article about how quickly people actually die from cuts and punctures inflicted by swords and knives. However, it’s really really long and I figured that since I was summarizing for my own benefit I’d share it for anyone else who is writing fiction that involves hacking and slashing your villain(s) to death. If you want the nitty gritty of the hows and whys of this, you can find it at the original source.
…even in the case of mortal wounds, pain may not reach levels of magnitude sufficient to incapacitate a determined swordsman.
Causes of death from stabs and cuts:
- massive bleeding (exsanguination) - most common
- air in the bloodstream (air embolism)
- suffocation (asphyxia)
- air in the chest cavity (pneumothorax)
- infectionStabbing vs cutting:
- Stabbing someone actually takes very little force if you don’t hit bone or hard cartilage.
- The most important factor in the ease of stabbing is the velocity of the blade at impact with the skin, followed by the sharpness of the blade.
- Stabbing wounds tend to close after the weapon is withdrawn.
- Stabbing wounds to muscles are not typically very damaging. Damage increases with the width of the blade.
- Cutting wounds are typically deepest at the site of initial impact and get shallower as force is transferred from the initial swing to pushing and pressing.
- Cutting wounds have a huge number of factors that dictate how deep they are and how easily they damage someone: skill, radial velocity, mass of the blade, and the size of the initial impact.
- Cutting wounds along the grain of musculature are not typically very damaging but cutting wounds across the grain can incapacitate.
Arteries vs veins:
- Severed veins have almost zero blood pressure and sometimes even negative pressure. They do not spurt but major veins can suck air in causing an air embolism.
- Cutting or puncturing a vein is usually not fatal.
- Severed arteries have high blood pressure. The larger arteries do spurt and can often cause death due to exsanguination.
Body parts as targets:
- Severing a jugular vein in the neck causes an air embolism and will make the victim collapse after one or two gasps for air.
- Severing a carotid artery in the neck cuts off the blood supply to the brain but the victim may be conscious for up to thirty seconds.
- Stabbing or cutting the neck also causes the victim to aspirate blood that causes asphyxiation and death.
- Severing a major abdominal artery or vein would cause immediate collapse, but this takes a fairly heavy blade and a significant amount of effort because they are situated near the spine.
- Abdominal wounds that only impact the organs can cause death but they do not immediately incapacitate.
- Severing an artery in the interior of the upper arm causes exsanguination and death but does not immediately incapacitate.
- Severing an artery in the palm side of the forearm causes exsanguination and death but does not immediately incapacitate.
- Severing the femoral artery at a point just above and behind the knee is the best location. Higher up the leg it is too well protected to easily hit. This disables and will eventually kill the victim but does not immediately incapacitate.
- Cutting across the muscles of the forearm can immediately end the opponent’s ability to hold their weapon.
- Cutting across the palm side of the wrist causes immediate loss of ability to hold a weapon.
- Stab wounds to the arm do not significantly impact the ability to wield a weapon or use it.
- Cuts and stab wounds to the front and back of the legs generally do not do enough muscle damage to cause total loss of use of that leg.
- Bone anywhere in the body can bend or otherwise disfigure a blade.
- The brain can be stabbed fairly easily through the eyes, the temples, and the sinuses.
- Stabs to the brain are more often not incapacitating.
The lungs as targets:
- Slicing into the lung stops that lung from functioning, but the other lung continues to function normally. This also requires either luck to get between the ribs or a great deal of force to penetrate the ribs.
- Stabbing the lung stops that lung from functioning, but the other lung continues to function normally. It is significantly easier to stab between ribs than to slice.
- It is possible to stab the victim from the side and pass through both lungs with an adequate length blade. It is very unlikely that this will happen with a slicing hit.
- “Death caused solely by pneumothorax is generally a slow process, occurring as much as several hours after the wound is inflicted.”
- Lung punctures also typically involve the lung filling with blood, but this is a slow process.
The heart as a target:
I’m just going to quote this paragraph outright with a few omissions and formatting changes for clarity because it’s chock-full of good info:
…[stabbing] wounds to the heart the location, depth of penetration, blade width, and the presence or absence of cutting edges are important factors influencing a wounded duelist’s ability to continue a combat.
- Large cuts that transect the heart may be expected to result in swift incapacitation…
- …stab wounds, similar to those that might be inflicted by a thrust with a sword with a narrow, pointed blade may leave a mortally wounded victim capable of surprisingly athletic endeavors.Essentially, the heart can temporarily seal itself well enough to keep pressure up for a little while if it’s a simple stab. The arteries around the heart, while they are smaller and harder to hit, actually cause incapacitation much more quickly.
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Happy New Year! Here’s a little present for you, a location list for Wuxia/Ancient Series.
One of the most awesome, appealing things about Wuxia/Ancient Chinese Series is the beautiful and picturesque locations. Often, you see vast mountains and land, ancient buildings and houses that are so authentic – that leaves people wondering how on earth was that possible?
These locations will make you feel as if you’re back in ancient times! I’ve listed the major locations I knew of, so be sure to save this and put it on your list the next time you go touring in China! I bet it would feel unreal to stand on the same mountain that Guo Jing and Huang Rong were at!
Hengdian World Studios 横店
This is a must visit place for anyone that’s a fan of shows set in Ancient China, because Hengdian World Studios is considered the Hollywood of China. There are so many freaking amazing places in Hengdian that it could day DAYS to get through them. The ones that really stood out from various shows are -
Hengdian Dream Valley 横店梦幻谷
Dream Valley or Dreamlike Valley is one of the places in Hengdian. I love this place because my beloved bridge from Seven of the Sky is located in the Jiangnan Watertowns (江南水乡). This was the famous bridge that Xiaoqi and Digua were at in many scenes throughout the series, and is an unforgettable place because I adore that show so much!
Palace of Ming and Qing Dynasties 明清宫苑
This is the Forbidden Palace created just for filming of shows! If you’re a fan of Qing Dynasty shows like Palace or Bu Bu Jing Xin, this is a must-visit location because the huge and beautiful Palace of Ming and Qing Dynasties are located here. But, it’s probably so huge that it would take a few days go get to all the differentlaces!
Location: Xinchang County, Central Zhejiang
Shows filmed here: Return of the Condor Heroes, Seven of the Sky, Lotus Lantern, Strange Tales of Liaozhai, Madame White Snake. Yes, so many freaking amazing Wuxia and Ancient Series are filmed here. This place is like a beautiful Heaven on Earth. There are so many vast and beautiful landscape here, that it’s perfect for large scale scenes in Wuxia Series.
Tianmu Mountain – Xinchang County 天姥山
Tianmu Mountain is part of Xinchang County and Wow, when I look at that, I think I would feel as if I was in a fantasy world! The clouds over mountains just makes everything there feel completely surreal! I know I would completey die of JOY if I ever saw this!
Nineteen Peaks Park – Xinchang County 穿岩十九峰
Wow, these ninteen peaks are aligned one after another! As mountains are such an important location in Wuxia, this would be the perfect place to film people fighting and practising martial arts.
Inner Mongolia 内蒙古
Inner Mongolia was one of the filming locations in Legend of the Condor Heroes, especially at the start of the series when Guo Jing was still in the desert! The large, green lands with plenty of horses were filmed there!
Location: Jinyun County, Zhejiang Province
One of the locations in Xuan Yuan Sword and (I think) Chinese Paladin. This place looks surreal and simply BEAUTIFUL! It’s also ancient and unique, with a 170.8 meters tall peak, called the Ding Hu Peak. This was the location of the Yellow Emperor (Xuan Yuan Emperor) legend, where the Emperor came to make pills of immortality. Since Xuan Yuan Sword is based on the sword of this Emperor, this would be an excellent location to film.
Shenxianju Scenic Resort of Xianju 台州神仙居
Location: Within Xianju Scenic Aera, Xianju County 317100, Zhejiang, China
This place is like, where deities meet! That’s the name of the location, because it’s such a divine place that it literally feels like it’s of another world! This is another location in Xuan Yuan Sword, when Xiao Xue was trying to catch the fish to cook for Guyue.
Yellow River Stone Forest 黃河石林
Location: Jingtai, Jingtai County
This was another one of Xuan Yuan Sword’s filming location, at the Taba Clan, where Yu’er and Zhang Lie were showing each other their houses. It’s a huge land full of beautiful sand and desert. Looking from afar, this looks like an endless desert mountain!
Wudang Mountain 武当山
Location: Hubei Province, located in Southern Central China
Wudang Mountain was one of the locations in Zhang Ji Zhong’s 2011 Journey to the West. This famous Taoist Shrine started in the Tang Dynasty (from 618-907). Did you know that the famous Wudang Sect from Jin Yong’s novels, Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber and The Smiling Proud Wanderer was named actually named after this mountain?
Peach Blossom Island 舟山桃花岛
Location: Putuo District, Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province, East China
Peach Blossom Island is named that for the reason that it’s covered with peach blossoms! This was a famous location in Legend of the Condor Heroes, called Taohua Dao (Peach Blossom Island), often mentioned by Huang Rong, as that’s where she grew up with her father, Huang Yaoshi! This island is a beautiful one secluded from the outside world and is covered in pink!
Mount E-mei 峨眉山
Location: Sichuan Province
This is another awesome mountain which a famous Wuxia Sect is based on, the Emei Sect in many Wuxia series and fiction, such as Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber, as well as Strange Hero Yi Zhi Mei. Mount Emei is known as a place to be enlightened and is considered to be one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China! Be sure to visit Mount Emei to honor the awesome Emei Sect!
Changbai Mountains 长白山
Location: Mountain range on the border between China and North Korea
This is one of the mountains shown in Legend of the Condor heroes and is a beautiful mountain covered in snow for most of the time, hence the name, Forever White Mountains. In Legend of the Condor Heroes, this mountain was seen at the end when Guo Jing was trying to climb up that huge snowy mountain to meet Huang Rong.
Mount Song 嵩山
Location: South bank of the Yellow River in Henan
This mountain is like the famous birthplaces of Zen Buddhism! It’s the home of Shaolin Temple, and is considered a sacred Taoist Mountain of China. Yeah, seriously! This mountain kicks ass and is a place to visit for anyone interested in the Shaolin Temple! To get there, go to Dengfeng first, which is located in the middle of Mt Song.
How do I go there?
I think the best idea is to visit a China Travel Service guide such as http://www.chinatravel.com/ or http://www.travelchinaguide.com/ and message them with the details to all the locations you want to visit, and then have them plan out the journey! If you give them the names on this site, they should be able to figure out the best route. I wouldn’t even attempt to figure out how to do this myself!
Important: If you can’t go to too many places, Zhejiang Province is the absolute must-visit place out of all of them, because over 60% of these places are located there!