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Thread: Thrusting a sword through sand/gravel?

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    Default Thrusting a sword through sand/gravel?

    I was watching the samurai movie "The Hidden Blade" the other day and in one of the scenes, right before the hero has to fight a sword-battle, he prepares his sword by sticking it into a pile of what looks like sand or maybe gravel. He sticks it into the gravel a few times then wipes it clean.
    What exactly is he doing?
    Fredrik Hall
    "To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." /Confucius

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    Maybe dulling the sword.
    Steffen Gjerding
    Kakudokan dojo

    Yup, lousy english

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    yep, dulling it, slightly dull swords make worse cuts than sharp swords (the wounds bleed more and cause more damage)
    Cory Burke
    ゴゴゴ!

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    I didnt know that. Thanks
    Fredrik Hall
    "To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." /Confucius

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    yep, dulling it, slightly dull swords make worse cuts than sharp swords (the wounds bleed more and cause more damage)
    I hardly believe that this was the reason for dulling swords before battle. If you get cut by a Japanese sword, the difference between being cut by a sharper or duller sword is not going to be significant. I was told that the reason it was done was to help prevent chipping from contact with armor, as a sharper edge is a thinner edge. My personal belief is that this practice is more of an old wives' tale rather than actual recorded fact. However, I am not a historian and so haven't examined records from old Japan to support my beliefs.
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

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    try cutting yourself lightly with a sharp razor blade or a kitchen knife sharpened very well.

    the cut will close up almost instantly and you may not even bleed or have any indication of being cut afterward.

    then try the same thing after you slightly dull the blade by dragging it on some steel wool or some other surface lightly. the same action will produce a horribly bloody cut that will take ages to heal. (i know this from shaving with a straight edge razor.. )

    might not make a huge difference if you get a good cut on somebody, but if you barely nick them it could be the difference between them continuing the fight or bleeding all over the place and passing out.
    Cory Burke
    ゴゴゴ!

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    Quote Originally Posted by paradoxbox View Post
    yep, dulling it, slightly dull swords make worse cuts than sharp swords (the wounds bleed more and cause more damage)
    Another sword myth to add to my collection.
    Bill Reddock
    Los Angeles IaidoKai

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    might not make a huge difference if you get a good cut on somebody, but if you barely nick them it could be the difference between them continuing the fight or bleeding all over the place and passing out.
    Hmmm ... I guess I'm going to have to discuss those "just nick them" kata with my sensei.
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

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    I have no opinion. I'm no historian either and I'd never heard of this type of sword treatment before. The fight featured in the movie wasnt a fight with armor though.
    Fredrik Hall
    "To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." /Confucius

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    Look, I don't know about its actual use as a historical technique, but the reasons for doing it are quite obvious - have none of you ever cut yourself with a dull knife before??

    It's not something that takes consulting with your teacher to find out - compare the last paper cut you got with the last shaving nick you got.

    It's way way way worse to be cut by a less than razor sharp edge than it is to get cut by something that's honed perfectly.
    Cory Burke
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    It's not something that takes consulting with your teacher to find out - compare the last paper cut you got with the last shaving nick you got.
    But I don't swing a razor or a piece of paper. If I contact your body with a sword, I guarantee that you'll bleed copiously even though I tend to keep my swords quite sharp. You're trying very hard to convince me that your orange is much better than my apple.
    You're more than welcome to believe anything you wish. My personal belief is that the whole "dulling the sword before battle" thing is more of a story than a historical fact, despite what I've been told by a senior practitioner.
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

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    I am guessing that he knew he was going to use the "oni no tsume" technique which is slicing the abdomen open, but used the old wives tale and dulled the blade so that he would not kill the guy owing to the fact that he was his friend...
    Tom Karazozis
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    I thought the "Oni no tsume" technique was the one he used at the end on the lecherous old dude with the protate problem. The trick that "Toda sensei" (played by the legendary Butoh dancer Min Tanaka) taught him was just an expedient to get him out of trouble with a superior swordsman. That's how I read it anyway.

    The question still stands as a good one I reckon and worth someone having a go at answering with some real research. I'd have a go but a) my Japanese is not good enough, b) I don't have access to historical references in Japanese, and c) I'm busy heading off to bed...

    b

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    Quote Originally Posted by ichibyoshi View Post
    I thought the "Oni no tsume" technique was the one he used at the end on the lecherous old dude with the protate problem.
    You're totally right. I meant the move where he turns his eyes and back to him... Anyway, this is only fiction, so there is not much value discussing or arguing about why he stuck his blade in a pile of sand... Nevertheless, the movie was still quite good, but I preferred Tasogare Seibei.
    Tom Karazozis
    °®«ΛιΘ -Kanshiketsu!

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    I would like to chime in and say small nicks or scratches are in no comparison to large razor sharp cuts from a sword. The sharper the sword, the more penetration and damage.

    Another myth: Samurai used to test the sharpeness of their sword on cutting horse with the ___(insert qty here) horse test
    Richard Scardina

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