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In the vast army of famous swordsmen, there's someone who's very well known for a certain community, and completely unheard for the rest.

He's Roronoa Zoro, from the anime One Piece.

enter image description here

His possibly most unique feature in the series is that unlike the majority of sword fighters, he uses three swords, by holding two in his hands, and one in his mouth!

Personally I love the series, but ever since the beginning, I thought that whatever badass an additional sword makes him, this is just utterly ridiculous and barely effective, if it is at all.

But what about realistic situations? With a grip (bite?) that is strong enough, how effective a people with a bladed weapon held in his mouth can be?

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    $\begingroup$ I would just like to point out that dual-wielding swords is already not as effective as fiction would lead you to believe. If you throw in a third sword, it would probably just get in the way more than anything else. $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh Sep 14 '16 at 19:55
  • $\begingroup$ @DaaaahWhoosh is there a question already about dual swording? That might also be worthy here $\endgroup$ – Katamori Sep 14 '16 at 20:01
  • $\begingroup$ not practical but maybe intimidating $\endgroup$ – lois6b Sep 15 '16 at 10:04
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    $\begingroup$ Also a big fan of this series, I think Oda also realized how impractical the 3rd sword is and he's been using it less in recent chapters $\endgroup$ – skeletim Sep 16 '16 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ all those teeth are going to fall apart when zoro tries to parry any attack with the mouth sword.... or if the teeth don't fall apart, the impact could still break his neck.... $\endgroup$ – user27795 Nov 11 '16 at 10:59
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I suggest that there are three main uses of a sword: cutting, thrusting, and blocking. With my limited knowledge of German longsword, I'm going to analyze the effectiveness of a mouth sword in all three of these tasks.

Blocking: When blocking, it's best to try to block off cutting lines. If you hold the sword out towards your opponent, you're not blocking anything; they can cut you from any angle just fine. If you hold the sword sideways (as in the picture), any cuts you deflect are just going to be redirected to your head or neck. The best bet I can think of is to have the sword facing slightly down and to the side, but that's going to get in the way of your primary sword (which could just block that line normally).

Cutting: You have to turn your head to cut. That means you'll lose eye contact with the enemy, which is a bad idea. You'll also probably have to move your upper body, which could expose your back.

Thrusting This is the only one that I think might work. If you have your third sword sticking out like a tongue, it could serve as a last defense against someone who would otherwise try to close the distance. However, by the time they get close enough to be stabbed by your mouth sword, they could've already stabbed you with a regular sword, or probably even a reasonably long knife. And, failing that, you've just given them a lever to break your neck with.

So no, I don't think a mouth blade would help that much. That said, maybe if you carried a third sword with your feet, you could pull off some effective maneuvers.

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(Before I answer, I must post a Ha! Thats great!)

This wouldn't be effective at all...though I'm not going to challenge the 'bite' strength on this one, I'm going to challenge the swinging capacity of the head and neck. When swinging a sword, much of its strength comes from the leverage the length of a persons arms grant. The slicing motion is made more effective when the arms can pull back and cause the sword to slice. The neck and head are not good at either of these attributes.

There is also the problem of sight as well...trying to keep your eyes on ones opponent to predict their next move would be significantly harder when your neck is swinging side to side. The blade would likely interfere with peripheral vision as well.

As a side curiosity...does Roronao keep a masseuse as a travelling companion to treat his constantly strained and sore neck?

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    $\begingroup$ I wish I could answer this question. All I can say is that he surely is a superhuman because later he even loses an eye yet he becomes only stronger. $\endgroup$ – Katamori Sep 14 '16 at 20:03
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I am going to steer away from the example in the photo and look at the question as it is written, "Is it practical to wield a bladed weapon in mouth?" While I agree with the former answers that wielding a sword in one's mouth would prove impractical, it may be feasible to wield a shorter, more specialized blade in one's mouth if this is truly a desired trait of a character in your world. Bladed weapons are not exclusive to swords and can exist in any length. Therefore a small blade might be held between the teeth and used as last resort when all else fails. Any situation in a fight where one might headbutt the other- this blade could increase the damage dealt from a head strike. Although I should point out that it would require a lot of expertise to avoid cutting ones self should the grip on the blade loosen. Anyone reading this as well as myself might tell you even this still may be considered impractical because you are limited to the movements of your head and neck to strike with the weapon. Now lets consider a blade or blades that are surgically attached to a persons mouth. I am imagining a surgically implanted set of beetle-like mandibles that extend out from each side of the mouth where the sharp blade only exists on the exterior of the mouth to avoid damaging the user. The blades would likely have to be fixed to the lower jaw bone so that they are stable and so the user can control them by opening and closing his/her jaw. Consequently, the users speech will likely be impaired as well as his/her ability to eat and navigate tight quarters. All in all, probably not the most practical, but would look awesome!

Now lets take a look at an actually practical solution. Lets imagine a person who has lost all of their teeth. Bladed dentures could replace their teeth as long as they are constructed so that the blades on the bottom jaw nest into the blades on the top jaw to avoid cutting the inside of the user's mouth. While these blades would only be useful for biting, they would prove to be very useful in a situation where you are close enough to your enemy to do so. They would technically be a bladed weapon in a mouth as your question posits. Unlike the mandibles, these bladed dentures could potentially make eating easier (steak, tough meat, etc).

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Not if you like having teeth.

Granting that wearing a mouthguard of some kind would allow you to get a better grip, I see two big problems:

  1. If you lose your grip while striking, you risk damage to your face no matter what.
  2. Put a pencil in your mouth and swing it around. Humans don't move with their head leading so it's very hard to get your body weight as leverage behind your head. You can watch dogs do this well when they pull with their whole body while biting down on a toy in your hand.

Conceding you have a safe grip akin to a hand's on the sword, any attempted strike would move your body out from under your center of balance and put you at risk. You throw a punch not just with your arm but with your chest and legs as well. Unless you could do that with your head, I don't think this is plausible.

EDIT: To expand on point 2... Your arm acts as a whip and is able to use momentum to accelerate objects very quickly. You can observe this action in baseball pitches, and there is a similar action in sword swings as well. You don't just swing your shoulder, you swing your hips, your trunk, your shoulder, then your elbow and wrist. Swinging your head too hard will give you whiplash.

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If you think about it, the movement from the wrist is 60 times less than the end of whatever you're swinging. So if you're chopping you get much more speed and momentum behind it if your twist your wrist mid swing. That said, you can't get that sort of movement from a weapon in your mouth. Even if you could it would be more of an inconvenience when swinging, parrying, and blocking, since I would assume your arms would make contact with the mouth weapon. I would assume during the pressures of battle someone would probably grab that weapon sticking out of someones mouth and twist, that would effectively end that altercation.

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Apart from the issues already raised, this approach also prevents the wielder from communicating with their comrades. This may be inconvenient when you need to shout "Look out!" "He's behind you!" "Watch out for the archer!" "Fall back!" etc.

Also opponents can insult you and make personal comments and you can't answer back.

The only benefit I can think of is that if one of the other swords is lost or broken it's a handy backup.

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