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Thread: Blocking with katana

  1. #61
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    Originally posted by James Williams
    Whether or not a samurai several hundred years ago could do this or that has only minor relevance to whether or not that would work for us. [/B]
    I don't understand what this means. Could you please explain it? Are you saying that what bushi did with their swords during the time that they actually used them as weapons has no relevance to modern sword techniques?

    I don't believe that anyone in this thread advocates that the best way to stop an enemy's sword is to block it forcefully with the edge. Nor do I believe that anyone is advocating that the best way to fight is to constantly block the enemy's blows forcefully, that is, to just stand toe to toe and hack it out. Everyone seems to agree that the best way is to either avoid receiving the enemy's cut in the first place or to respond in such a way that one uses one's sword and body positioning to deflect/redirect/ward/parry the enemy's blade so that one's own blade receives as little of the energy of the enemy's blow as possible.

    The only question is, if by "blocking" one means "to stop the enemy's blow cold with one's own weapon", what is the best way to do this should it be necessary? No one is suggesting that such a technique is optimal, only that if one must do it, how would it best be done?

    I agree that if one was a good enough swordsman, one would be confronted with this possibility relatively rarely. However, a fight to the death is a fight to the death, and one never knows what might happen in extremis. Maybe the other guy is way better than you and it's all you can do to keep him off you. Who knows? One must be prepared for all possibilities and have a weapon, ideally, upon which one can rely in such a situation. Many people posting here seem to be rephrasing various versions of "the Japanese sword was not designed to do that" or "the edge couldn't take the punishment", essentially saying that a Japanese sword will suffer catastrophic failure if the edges clash.

    If the Japanese sword will fail so readily in a situation which probably occurred quite often, regardless of the best intentions of the swordsman, then the only conclusion to be drawn is that it is an inferior weapon. I just cannot believe that smiths kept on making blades with a warning sticker that said "Danger: May shatter if you strike the enemy's sword edge to edge. This situation not covered by manufaturer's warranty. Manufacturer not responsible for consequences of misuse. Always follow instructions in the user's manual" and didn't stop to think about how to correct the siutation.

    Dan mentioned a European sword from the Battle of Agincourt that was so well spring-tempered that he could bend it over his knee to a 60 degree angle and watch it spring back to its original shape after the pressure was released. Maybe it would never be as sharp as a katana. Maybe it was not as pretty. But the thing is not going to break and leave you defenseless just because you're not an expert swordsman.

    PS:

    Dan, you mentoned that some smiths in Japan speculate that Masamune did not use a soft core in his swords or make use of the kobuse method or other elaborate forging methods. Is not Masamune considered to be one of the best, if not the best, smiths that Japan has ever produced? Hmmmmmm.....
    Last edited by Earl Hartman; 12th March 2002 at 00:00.
    Earl Hartman

  2. #62
    Dan Harden Guest

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    Earl
    If I may- I think I understand a bit of James's warped mind so I'll give it a shot. He was adding to my point that many of the blades we now make are in fact equal, if not superior to, many of the blades they had to work with back then. Hence his statement:
    "Whether or not a samurai several hundred years ago could do this or that has only minor relevance to whether or not that would work for us."

    James does not buy into the Japanese myths and tales any more than you or I do. That said, he is acknowledging a fact that I thought you and I had settled a year ago. Any discussion of Japanese swords can be had as "then" and "Now."
    Even the Japanese agree to eras of the sword. Koto, Shinto, Shin-Shinto etc. Some of us take it a step further and state that the era of men using swords has not ended. Whether or not the Japanese agree is of little importance.

    Let me explain
    Some argue that the Koryu house the only information on the practical use of the Katana in a battlefield environment-that anything done currently cannot be proved as effective technique. While this is theoretically true-thats all they got-theory. Do you suppose all Koryu are effective uses of weaponry? Or that all exponents really understand what is supposedly within the Kata? I don't. There are inept people now as then. Some argue as well that modern exponents could not equal or rival "Ye men of old" who sauntered off a' merrily swinging yon blade and faced a theater of war.
    I say utter Hogwash.
    Men are men. They were taught then- they are taught now. Some were terrible then-they are terrible now. I believe there are men alive today that are superior in skill to many of the warriors of our ancient cultures of all ages and types.
    I think there are men who spend a great deal more time training now then they did in the eras we seem to want to "Coo" about. I think any culture is able to produce sound and fit fighting men in any era they happen to be in.

    OK, we now have modern steels and methodologies. Some are not interested in them because they are not traditional and archaic-that's fair. They are not old and "not Japanese."
    I say fine your right.
    Mechanically they're better.
    They're not as pretty but they are better made now then they were then.
    See? Very simple
    As I said Men are men. Steel is steel. Myths are myths.


    James's referenced the tests of holding the blades in your hands or in a vice. My findings were well covered earlier on, so I won't repeat them.
    His other reference to "swords being destroyed edge to edge" are valid and incontravertable. Yes, I know that bothers you. But in fairness bud-how many swords have you destroyed testing? I would wager James and I may be at the top of the game for tests to destruction. I have never seen his results or he mine- didn't even know he was doing them. Just read them here. I welcome anyone to prove me wrong. Bring your sword to my forge. You'll bring home a saw. The rest is about technique.

    Cheers
    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 12th March 2002 at 00:41.

  3. #63
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    Dan:

    I'm not denying that it is well within the realm of possibility that a Japanese sword could be destroyed by an edge-to-edge clash. What I am asking is 1) was this commonplace and expected, and 2) if so, why did the Japanese smiths not design a sword that wouldn't break so readily in this manner? Were they incapable of this?

    Philosophically, I find it very hard to accept the idea that a man could fight comfortably with a weapon that he was afraid would break if he made a slight mistake in its use.

    Based on your experience, I have a few other questions: would a sword typically go the first time it took a blow on the edge? Or would it take, say, 50-100 hard blows for this to happen? Would the edge be chipped, severely or otherwise, or would the sword actually break or bend? If a sword is going to break right out of the box if it gets hit on the edge, then sorry, it is a bad weapon. If it is going to come through a battle with a lot of nicks, chips, and dings, but essentially intact, and its owner is still alive, then it is a good weapon that has done its duty and deserves to be either repaired or retired with thanks.

    Regarding present-day weapons, I have no real comment except to repeat what I have said before: I am sure that modern smiths, armed with the most "cutting edge" technology and materials (ha ha) are capable of making better blades than medieval smiths of whatever nationality. It would be absurd if they could not. And if the sword is better then the parameters of its use will expand accordingly.
    Earl Hartman

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    Earl,

    My personal experience is that edge to edge contact , depending upon the particular sword and the power/angle of contact, will not break under these circumstances if it is well made. The edge will be damaged in several possible ways again depending upon the force and angle of contact as well as the metal characteristics of that particular sword. The least that happens is a nick in the blade. Again how deep this is is a function of force/angle/forging etc. With several deep nicks the sword starts to resist cutting cleanly and tends to drag and catch in the cut, again how much depends on what you are cutting etc. Blades made with the kobuse method will have a tendency to bend especially if the edge to edge contact is slightly off angle. Swords that have not been tempered/drawn back after they were hardened have a big tendency to chip. This tendency is exacerbated if the welds are not real clean which is a tendency if the sword was forged using tahamagane. The most beautiful swords that I have personally seen are forged from tahamagane however the very thing that makes them beautiful can compromise their structural integrity. I think that Dan has spoken to this and can do a better job of explaining it than I can. I have seen chips as long as two inches from one edge contact that was at an off angle. This chip followed a weld.

    Practically speaking any hard blocking produces some damage to the sword. If the sword is well made and the mune/shinogi are used to block the opposing blade you just get cuts in the softer steel of the blocking blade. These do not affect cutting performance however don’t try noto, like someone we know, and chew the saya up. Blades made from the kobuse method can bend under some of these pressures. The attacking sword may or may not have some edge damage depending on forging/angle of attack etc. If you attack an L-6 bainite blade they are nasty on the opponents sword. They are harder on the mune/shinogi and have a tendency to “grab” the edge of the opposing sword which can lead to chipping. This is however a modern example and has no bearing on classical combat.

    My experience is that if you have to block the opponents blade, rather than pass it by at an angle, you leave your hands firm but relax your arms and shoulders enough that your sword can move slightly and kind of muffle the contact between your sword and your opponents. This alone will benefit your sword regardless of how it is made. I would practice this extensively with bokken and maybe even a dulled sword before doing it for real. I do not recommend doing these tests with live blade on live blade. It is fraught with potential danger both for the parties involved as well as the swords. I do this for two reasons, one is that I was probably born in the wrong century, but them some of you suffer from that same dilemma, and two I feel a responsibility to know how swords work and why because of my position at Bugei as well as the fact that I teach kenjutsu.

    In regards to my comment about ancient Samurai and their techniques please don’t think that I do not value and honor that knowledge from the past that has been passed down to us. I have studied kenjutsu extensively and am currently studying Komagawa kaishin ryu kenjutsu with Kuroda Tetsuzan senei always seeking to broaden my knowledge and glean whatever I can from these ancient traditions. However with that said much has been lost over the centuries and I personally believe that I need to be able to practically apply those techniques learned in the dojo of a particular ryuha. It is only when I can move and cut, defend and counter and cut again that I know that I could apply what I have learned. In the process sometimes the techniques change to suit my perspective/anatomy/ability. What worked several hundred years ago for a 5’2” samurai who started training when he was 5 and had actual combat experience may be the basis for my training however it is up to me to make it work now. I believe that this keeps the knowledge alive.

    Because fighting with swords is no longer practiced it is easy to learn techniques in the dojo that are no longer effective. In my experience I have seen a good number of ryuha who practice ways of moving the sword in the dojo that do not then cut or sometimes even parry effectively when put to the test. I realize that many of these styles are no longer interested in the combative applications and this is fine. My particular perspective is that I want to be able to fight effectively with what I know and that this is ultimately my personal responsibility. Part of this knowledge is how my sword will react when it is put under pressure. Another part is how it cuts various materials and the different ways in which it can do that. It is also important for me to be able to move rapidly while cutting and transition between cuts including rolling into and out of the cuts with drawn blade. I know this is anachronistic behavior and I am not suggesting that everyone should have this perspective. I just want you to know my viewpoint for the purposes of discussion and elucidation. I don’t know that we have met however people whom I respect think well of you and I am far more interested in exchange of knowledge than in arguing a position which. like certain parts of our anatomy, we all possess.

    I know this is a bit long however it has been an informative and enjoyable discussion and i can be a bit long winded, unlike Dan.

    Regards,
    James Willliams
    Kaicho
    Nami ryu

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    James:

    Thank you very much for your reply. It answers a lot of my questions, and it is clear that you have put a lot of thought into this and have a lot of experience to back it up.

    If I may paraphrase:

    1) Edge to edge contact will damage a blade. This goes without saying, and I have never argued that it would not. The only question I really had was how extensive the damage would be. The extent of the damage, as you have clearly pointed out, and which should be obvious if you think about it for a while, depends on a number of things, these being, in general: 1) the angle of contact, 2) the force of contact 3) the resistance given to that contact (hard or soft "blocking") 4) the quality of the opposing blades, and, finally, 5) the relative skill of the combatants.

    Thus, if I understand you correctly, it seems safe to assume that if one had a good blade and knew how to use it, that the sword could take a certain amount of edge-to-edge contact which, while damaging the edge, would not necessarily destroy it forthwith and render the sword useless. This is a GREAT deal different from saying that "Japanese swords will be destroyed by edge-to-edge contact" and has serious implications for how the sword could be used.

    This does not mean that I advocate edge-to-edge blocking as a first resort. I was only trying to establish whether it was possible to do it and still have a weapon with which to fight.

    Regarding hard blocking and the technique of receiving the enemy's attack in a relaxed manner so that the blade receives as little energy as possible and subsequent counterattacks are more easily done: my experience in kenjutsu is limited and my main experience is in kendo, but nobody is easier to hit than a guy who just stands there and blocks. Because his arms are so stiff he is incapable of rapid movement, so he is an easy target. Also, such people hit very hard, but because their arms are so stiff their blows are slow and quite easy to stop. And, finally, it is intetesting to note that these people break their shinai very frequently, since they do not understand how to apply force and their angles of attack are all wrong (hasuji is important for shinai too, believe it or not). The more skilful the fencer the longer his shinai lasts. I must assume, of course, that this would be even more true with real swords.
    Last edited by Earl Hartman; 12th March 2002 at 18:27.
    Earl Hartman

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    This has been a very interesting thread, with some very insightful arguments. One issue I find conspicuously absent in all this (an issue I find absent in all the other threads concerning blocking on any of the other forums I read) is nobody seems to take into account that it is not only the sword on the "recieving" end that stands the risk of being damaged, but also the sword on the "giving" end. Regardless of which surface the recieving sword uses to block or deflect with,the sword on the giving end is almost always going to take the brunt of the impact on its edge. Based on most of the arguments I have read here, it then stands to reason that the sword doing the cutting is going to be damaged in much the same manner as a sword that has its edge used for blocking or deflecting. Or maybe I am just missing something.
    Scott Irey
    Just another one of those "few peanuts short of a snickers bar" MJER guys.

  7. #67
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    Hi Guys,

    I'm currently visiting the Yanagi ryu hombu dojo in Long Beach. I will try to get photos of a couple of swords that were used in the filming of a video sequence where the ha of one blade was used instead of the shinogi or mune to parry a mengiri. The actual sequence where this sword was damaged can be seen on one of the Yanagi ryu kenjutsu videos so you can judge for yourself the power of the cuts and the angles of the deflection. This occured during an exercise called "walking the circle". Despite a considerable angle of deflection the ha of the blocking sword was so seriously damaged that the sword now looks like a hacksaw. As per Scott Irey's musing I may be able to include a photo of the other sword used in this demo that was used correctly by Rich Elias. Curiously it demonstrates little damage from the encounter beyond a couple of deep scratches on the shinogi along with some abrasions and one chip. This sword did not bend as is easily visible on the tape. Both these particular swords were in excellent serviceable condition before the students began the filming. Unfortunately one of the students in this series screwed up and just choked due to inexperience during the filming. I about died when I saw this wonderful sword reduced to a saw. It is too bad that a beautiful sword was virtually destroyed in this effort but it definitely put to rest any questions I ever had surrounding this debate....however eloquent it's excellent debaters.

    Toby Threadgill

  8. #68
    Dan Harden Guest

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    Scot
    I was never in doubt about the issue and took much heat for it. I believe that was covered much earlier in the thread. Neither edge will survive-period. The sword will-the edge will not. It is one of the reasons I can be so confidant in saying "Bring a sword to the shop-you will return with a saw.
    If you want to accent the truly relavent points of this thread the questions should be.......


    Shinogi/Mune

    "If the Mune and Shonogi are NOT capable of defending why do so many swords survive with cuts in the mune and Shinogi?"

    1. This is the heart of the position and James and I put forth.
    Over the years I have seen perhaps 50-60 swords with cuts on them this way. None were destroyed (naturally, the ruined ones I would not be seeeing would I) They survived. This matches the results we both documented during our testing. Therefore we support the same argument. Shinogi mune deflection is the way to go.

    2.I have conducted my own studies which cost me thousands and I have been unable to cut through one in the this manner. And that, with the sword in a fixed base.

    3. On his own James has done the same thing

    4. A fixed base applied far more force to the point of contact then a human hand connected to a body. Cutting a sword in half in someones held hands would place trememendous strain on that persons grip. I put forth that the hand would release the blade-and not absord the same energy as a vise.

    5. Our remaining point is that the newly made blades have increased the performance levels of the Japanese Katana to new levels.


    Edge chipping
    I am trying to make some definitive points here so read carefully. Of course you will probably disagree but we can move >forward< in the discussion.

    1. The edge once it reaches a rockwell of say 58C or better will not sustain a direct blow to another sharp edge. This has nothing (NOTHING) to do with that same edge sustaining itself during the cutting of softer objects or in the case of helmut cutting(blunt hard objects). Do you see what I mean?
    2.A hard edge with the proper edge geometry (and the early Japanese smiths knew quite a bit about edge geometry) will survive repeated blows to blunt objects.

    3. Sharp edges that are hard- chip. Spring tempered edges tend to roll. This means you can use a steel to roll/strop the edge back with no loss of metal. The Tibetin Kukri is intentinally made ths way. So are most of the European blades.

    4. Chipping
    James this discusses your earlier question to me as to why the chip is limited.
    One of the reason for ashi in a hamon are to control the chipping; both in depth and in length. The softer pearlite will absorb the shock and not crack; which BTW seems to make the case once again for the mune and shonogi being supportiev NEH? Thus leaving a servicable blade. The less ashi the more prone to longer crack or chip.

    5. Earl this is for you
    I never put forth the argument that the sword would fail due to edge to edge contact. That was some ill desiged engineering test from ww2 that was qouted here. They braced it like a bridge and produced artificial results from the test. Foolish test-foolish results.
    The tests James and I conducted (again independantly) were thought out and planned to simulate real conditions- far more in detail then the Japanese tests were. That is why we garnered more accurate information. Better test-better results.

    My contention is that the sword will not FAIL from edge to edge-the edge will be chipped or scraped off. And due to the excellent design of the Japanese sword that chip will be limited.
    A whole other facinating discussion is on cutting methods that over-arching cut that produces a ha-biki draw back or a bent arm more lever cut-in that produces a more vertical force. One will scrape a large percentage of the edfge over an object-the other will produce more direct load to the receiving target.
    in edge to edge which produces less damage to the cuttinf sword and more to the receiving object?

    As for technique. Anything done with the has can be done with shinogi. And to change to the mune is very simple. I am well into my second decade doing TSKSR kata this way-with no problems at all. The resultant change of hands even accentes the strength of some of the winding techiques and seems to use the swords curve to a significant degree. The art that Toby and James now share performs kata with live blades. That would place them in a whole other realm of experience than any thousand or so other Budo people.
    Their results?
    As Gomer Pyle said "Surprise surprise."

    So.......As for debate? There isn't one.
    The ones who have tested agree.
    The others are not quoting test results. They are simply stating opinion based on what they were told by others- who as far as I can tell- are only quoting what they were told by others or reading in a manual.
    I encourage one and all to put THEIR money, their blades, and their views on the line.
    I did
    James did
    Toby did
    no debate there


    cheers in verbosity
    Dan
    "trying not to be as long winded as James"
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 13th March 2002 at 13:00.

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    Gentlemen,

    I am following this discussion with great interest. Thanks for using lay-terms so that us newbies can follow and understand the issues and points.

    Just a small observation from the "peanut gallery" regardiing what Dan wrote -- "4. A fixed base applied far more force to the point of contact then a human hand connected to a body. Cutting a sword in half in someones held hands would place trememendous strain on that persons grip. I put forth that the hand would release the blade-and not absord the same energy as a vise."

    To that, I'd add that the human body and its limbs are not rigid and dense like a metal vise. The force of impact of blade-against-blade would be absorbed by the soft tissues (including bone, which is "softer," less dense and thus more shock-absorbing than the steel or iron of a vise). Also, the arms and body bend and move with the force of impact, unlike a vise and its base, which remain largely unyielding. So, even before the hand lets go of the sword, there has already been an absorbing and dissipating of force.
    Cady Goldfield

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    Default Blocking????

    A very informative thread. The information about sword configuration, metallurgy, etc. is all new to me and very valuable to me. One observation (and I apologize if I missed someone noting this already among the 68 posts) - I don't recall any ryu of which I have familiarity ever advocating blocking with the katana - PERIOD. My understanding has always been that every ostensible block within a kata is, in reality, an attack to the flesh of the enemy - that the weapons "collide" in the kata is due to:
    1) a deliberate redirection of the strike to chain the kata techniques
    2) the assumption that the enemy also is good - and if they are simultaneously attacking or striking a counter-blow or suppression of your attack, what do you do now that the weapons have some together?
    3) Shinogi uke (is sliding parries and also "inadvertent" clashing of weapons, with yours (and his?) directed at the body of the enemy.

    In a 1987 lecture, Otake Risuke stated, referring to frequent collisions of weapons in the kata of his ryu, "Actually, however, if an attack were to be blocked with the sword as is done in the kata, it would chip or damage the blade, so this movement is done only as a last resport, when it is impossible to avoid being cut. Gnerally, if one is going to be cut and is able to block the atack, one can and should cut the opponent in turn. Rather than block an attack, then it is better to "parry" or to deflect the oppoent's blade. . . . kenjutsu shown in movies will often portray the swordsman striking an opponent with the mune . . ., but this is incorrect as it will very probably cause the sword to break. . ." Later he stated, ". . . it is best to attack that part of the heart (or circulatory system) that is usually nearest to oneself, i.e., the arteries of the wrist or the leg."

    In this presentation, Otake, who was a sword examiner at the Naritat airport, stated that you NEVER see swords with any "scars" or chips on the mune, but you very frequently have old swords with chips or repairs to the ha. He then took a confiscated sword and cut with it forcefully into a four-by-four. The blade bit deeply, and he worked it out. He then struck the same piece of wood with the mune and it snapped.

    Finally, I think it is instructive to consider Jigen Ryu, which focuses on all-out attack, not blocks or parries whatsoever. Rather than an anomaly, Jigen Ryu accentuates one of the dominent aspects of kenjutsu, which is that it is not a sparring art, it is terribly powerful attack, through the study of spacing, timing and will, going into all-out/yet focused attack.

    I think one has to make a distinction between carrying a weapon onto a battlefield, and later periods where the weapon was a dueling instrument, rarely deployed and idealized as a symbol ('soul of the samurai", etc). My guess would be in the wild melee of a battlefield, most of those returning came back with chipped blades. Warefare was so enervating and fatiguing that many men tied their hand around their swords - after the initial clashes, the combination of adrenaline, fear and fatigue (fighting in summer in armor for hours? In winter?) almost assures that technique breaks down, and only the simplest of engrained reflexes remains. Blades were probably broken or chipped not only colliding with the other's weapon, but hitting the ground as well. Pole arms snapped, or the blade snapped or broke out of the shaft (a lot of old ryu's bojutsu is really a contingency for just this event). Some had enough skill in close-combat (kodachijutsu, kogusoku or kumiuchi) that they were able to continue fighting, and then, most likely picked up someone else's weapon. (I wonder what percentage of men who survived a battlefield came home with someone else's katana - not just spoils of war, but grabbing something on the ground to continue fighting)?

    In the one-on-one duels of the edo period, however, I imagine that, unarmored, one was a lot more careful, not only of one's sword, but of one's body. The roots of kendo, which wins by a forceful "touche," are in the Edo ryu in which mere contact of the blade against naked flesh (some arteries mere fractions of an inch below the skin), might be fatal.

    with respect

    Ellis Amdur

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    Ellis,

    Good post, I agree with Otake sensei's assessement. I know that Toby and I, and I believe Dan also, adhere to this view of sword combat.

    Regards,
    James Willliams
    Kaicho
    Nami ryu

  12. #72
    Dan Harden Guest

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    Ellis writes
    In this presentation, Otake, who was a sword examiner at the Naritat airport, stated that you NEVER see swords with any "scars" or chips on the mune, but you very frequently have old swords with chips or repairs to the ha.

    ***************************

    This is simply not true. No reflection on Otake Sensie and I doubt that under direct one-on-one questioning he would support that broad stateement either. There are enough people here who can ask him.
    I have seen, felt, and handled many- including a Nagunobu and a Kotetsu. The Boston Museum of Fine arts have dozens. They had a Koto blade there last year;
    Koto Tachi: slender, nick on Omote, shinogi to mune transverse diagonal slash from front to back. It was the first sword facing the door, one of two housed edge down in the diplay.
    Seen a Katana with the mune sliced through to a corner dig in the shinogi as well. It was up toward the monouchi. Last sword opposite side facing the armor.
    IF you would like- I will start talking pictures-they rotate the blades regularly. They have the largest and most costly collection outside of Japan.


    Ellis qoutes

    He then took a confiscated sword and cut with it forcefully into a four-by-four. The blade bit deeply, and he worked it out. He then struck the same piece of wood with the mune and it snapped.

    **********************************

    Yup. and the next one? the next?

    I guess I'll have to start taking pictures. Dissagreeing with well known people sets you up as a straw man.....nowhere to go but down.

    Both James and I have stated our real world test results-oh well.

    Ellis
    Good points but the "cuts to the heart", in place of kata are well known by the posters here I believe. And these were covered earlier on-as James stated above, as well as the Kuzushi VS kata applications.But you can repeat as often as you like it's how we get to drag interesting sutff out of you ya know. I'm kidding but I am serious as well. I think you realize that your contributions are appreciated.
    Actually this all began when someone said that mune cuts will ruin the blade.
    Small point-well covered
    70 posts later we are back to square one.



    cheers
    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 14th March 2002 at 01:42.

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    Dan -

    I know nothing about metallurgy - I hope I made that clear. Hell, it's clear even if I tried to hide it. Since I witnessed the exhibition and heard Otake, who supposedly is an expert on nihonto, thought it would be relevant. BUT I don't have a vested interest in him being "right," either.

    Where I do have a little bit of knowledge is in traditional usage of Japanese weaponry, as based on that passed down in a number of ryu, and I mostly react to the whole concept of blocking. I assume there is a good chance that weapons will make contact in battle, among those of roughly equal ability, or in a melee, where one has second or third enemies coming at one from different angles. My assumption is that those who survive combat will be those who have "scars" on the edge, or perhaps on the shinogi (the latter due to parries, not blocks - am I wrong in my assumption that a full impact direct blow on the shinogi may bend the weapon?), as they will have their edge directed at the vitals of the enemy. In any event, the survivor(s) will be attacking, not on the defense. Let us all pray for enemies who block, with either mune or ha.

    With respect

    Ellis

  14. #74
    Dan Harden Guest

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    Ellis
    I see where your coming from-this was to much to read for anyone unless you have been reading from the begining.
    To be clear no one was talkig about a stop-block but a parry. Although The occasional OH-SH$%&# block was covered.

    Dan

  15. #75
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    Ellis,

    In my personal experience a very hard blow that is stopped by the shinogi of the receiving sword can cause deflections in the sword. I think that if would be very difficult to break a blade striking it on the mune. Perhaps someone has more experience in this area.

    I concur on passing and parrying as opposed to blocking whenever possible.

    James
    James Willliams
    Kaicho
    Nami ryu

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