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Thread: Mythbusters - Sword Myth

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    Default Mythbusters - Sword Myth

    The new episode of Mythbusters aired tonight. Big sequence on the movie myth of a sword 'slicing' another sword. They brought in some individuals that did cutting to measure speed and force. Some nice footage of cutting tatami!

    The only sword that was broken/cut on impact was a 440 wallhanger by a quality katana. Everything else survived the attempts from side and blade to blade. They also brought in a claymore, a 'viking' sword and saber.
    Respectfully
    Mark W. Swarthout, Shodan

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    What mechanism were they using to swing the swords? I haven't seen it but know they usually use a remote device.
    Mat Rous

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    They used a gravity pull mechanism. A 50 or 100 pound weight pulled on a cable when released, swinging the blade around parallel to the floor. They adjusted it to match the blade speed of the swordsmen they had brought in. They also used the blade against blocks of ballistics gel with both the actual swordsmen and the machine.
    Respectfully
    Mark W. Swarthout, Shodan

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    Does that mean a real pattern welded Viking blade I wonder? Who makes them now?
    Ken Harding

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    I believe the Japanese program, Hey! Spring of Trivia, did similar tests to see if a katana was really as strong as seen in the movies. One test involved them aligning a handgun to fire at the blade, and the katana split the bullet. Then they tested a high pressure water cutter against a katana's blade. The hand guard was cut like so many aluminum blocks before it, but the blade split the stream of water.
    Andrew Sanders

    "Martial arts together with philosophy is a great thing. Training with just kicking and punching and no philosophy can be a very bad thing, an evil thing." ~ Jhoon Rhee

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    I've heard and read that a katana could occasionally be broken by a jo or bokuto. Does anyone know of any tests which have demonstrated this, or know of any documented incident of it happening? Thanks.
    Andrew Smallacombe

    Aikido Kenshinkai

    JKA Tokorozawa

    Now trotting over a bridge near you!

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    The test "samurai" were Mike Esmailzadeh and Jorin Bukosky of the Oakland Suigetsukan. Nice guys if you get a chance to meet them.

    The mechanism used was actually a compressed air cannister since the weighted mechanism didn't get a fast enough speed. Speed was about 48mph on tip speed test.

    Interesting thing is the except the 440 stainless, none of the broken blades broke where stuck, they actually broke lower down on the blade, closer to the hilt from over flexing.

    Tony Alvarez and Keith Larman did a kind of informal test of a jo-katana a while ago, the jo lost in this case.

    If a jo broke a sword, my guess is the break was a result of the sword flexing past it's limits, not breaking from impact at the actual point of the strike.

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    They also used modern steels. The iron which goes into modern steel is not the same as the iron smiths used just a hundred years ago. It is much more uniform. That has to make some difference. And the swords were brand new, not battle and time fatiqued.
    joe yang, the three edged sword of truth

    "Not going to be fooled by you again Joe Yang's right you are evil and self-serving." Haiyomi

    "Give my regards to joe yang. very intelligent man." Sojobow

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    Default Do you not think the testing was flawed?

    Forgive me for being a bit cynical here, but they didn't explain the QUALITY of the blades. Wouldn't a blade produced by a master be more sturdy and flexible than, say, a blade bought at the local flea market? I watched this, and felt that different quality blades in any of the categories might have made a huge difference on the outcome of the testing. I was just wondering if anyone else thought this as well, or if I had missed a part of the show in which they explained that each blade was made of the same quality?
    judi waddell

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    Oh yeah! They did put the compressed air thing in! I forgot about that.

    They did discuss the various steel types and the choices. The Iaido guys brought in a wide variety of swords and talked about types and quality. There was no desire to risk an antique blade of any type.
    Respectfully
    Mark W. Swarthout, Shodan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vedenant
    Sword breaker was a dagger like parrying weapon. Here is a web page about 17th century european weapons.

    http://users.wpi.edu/~jforgeng/17cIQP/weapon.html

    "The sword breaker was an English dagger, a quillon dagger which was fitted with a relatively simple guard but had a massive saw-edged blade. The purpose of this dagger was to catch an opponent’s sword blade, with the saw-like teeth cut into it. Well-tempered blades could be broken by sword breakers."
    -Weapons of the 17th Century
    Chatura Weliwitigoda

    They also had sword breaker slots on some swords, on the quillons, back in the middle ages, I believe.
    Trevor Johnson

    Low kicks and low puns a specialty.

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    Default .

    When the guy cut the big jelly block, his Hasuji sucked, When they played it back in slow motion, it must have killed him.
    Steve Millls

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    I didn't think the blade path on that move looked very good. But I'm not a sword guy, so wasn't going to say it first! It was almost as if he changed his aim point at the last minute.
    Respectfully
    Mark W. Swarthout, Shodan

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    Based on the fact that they completely removed the blade contruction process from the equation, this seems pretty pointless.
    The Japanese swords are hard because of the process of removing carbon. Anyone seen the old documentary "Budo: The Art of Killing"? They show the process in there.
    For anyone who hasn't, it's the best. You'll recognize some faces.
    Ken Akiyama
    Shorin Ryu
    Goju Ryu

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    Default Cutting remarks

    Look at the number of times that they touch the blade and they don't get cut.....Makes me wonder how sharp the blades actually are. I was a little surprised by the lack of cutting depth into the gelatin block- I would have assumed that a swordsman with a quality sword would have cut deeper...Then they have the cast members cutting with the swords-something I always thought could only be done by a trained swordsman...
    I read somewhere a long time ago an account of the Japanese taking a Eurpopean sword and placing it between two stools and then cutting it in half with a katana (maybe it was in "Shogun").
    Just a few observation and questions since I'm not a sword guy.
    Duane
    Duane Wolfe

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