Originally Posted by mellowguy
I suppose the biggest point that I need to insist on is: we do not know what a modern swordsman would do. We have all sorts of data on modern warriors, but one who trains especially with swords? we do not know.
Before I get to imagining one, I want to address atomsk's comment that they did that in the 18th century. I do not believe that the japanese samurai were very familiar with the gatling gun, which was just getting it's start at the time. And although guns had been known of in Japan for quite some time, they weren't used while Japan was in isolation. This seems to me like quite the jump. Before the isolation (before the 1600's) firearms were flashy but not really tactically that powerful. (with a notable exception) The samurai's techniques were not quite ready for the tactics and techniques of the 1850s, when the isolation ended.
Looking back on your original conclusion, I have to stop now. I could go on and on about how swords are not obsolete, but I can't say that someone could be the best warrior he can be with only a sword. When it comes down to it, a man with a gun and a sword in reserve is more effective in a modern battlefield than a man with a sword with a gun in reserve. In your definition of better, the gun is better than the sword.
I feel bad about it, because I feel that swords are still more epic.
Oh well, I guess we still have bayonets and hidden blades!
you should add that not only did gatling guns catch sword wielders off guard, they also caught gunwielders off guard in wars from the 1860's onward. many of which were predominantly gun fought battles with high casualties on the side opposing the gatling gun. the same thing happened with chemical warfare, innovation in war is the best means of victory, until the enemy adapts to it.