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Buying Kimono Over the Internet

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RE: Buying Kimono Over the Internet

Postby ghosthacker » Wed 08.22.2007 10:06 pm

Mike Cash wrote:
Well, I'll bring you a frown by asking you to go back, reread my post, and tell me how you arrived at the mistaken conclusion it was addressed to you.



My post was not address to you., but this one is so kindly remove the stick from your ass.
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RE: Buying Kimono Over the Internet

Postby ghosthacker » Wed 08.22.2007 10:10 pm

two_heads_talking wrote:
ghosthacker wrote:

Having served in two wars already I am very aware of how to kill in combat today, but thank you for letting me know that swords are a thing of past wars not present.


Sometimes you guys bring a smile to my face :)


I'll bite. bayonet combat, and knife combat are very current types of combat. hell a butt stroke here and there will do as well. just to be a pissant I would say you know how to kill in the combat you were in. combat doctrine changes with each battle we enter. However, you being military (prior, retired or otherwise) you already know that.

And honestly, when was the last time you saw someone draw a sword and use it to fight with? I can say for me, it was the movies, a fencing match or a kendo excercise.

I am trying to remember the last time the Army or the marines trained their officers how to use their sabres, cultass, or other sword in combat.


I am sorry but when did we go from talking about buying swords to combat use of same? Frankly I am at a lost as to what point you are trying to argue.

Is it the use of the term "battle ready" or perhaps you really think that those who post here in a language forum give a rats ass about fighting tech or are looking here for tips on how to kill with a sword?
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RE: Buying Kimono Over the Internet

Postby Tspoonami » Wed 08.22.2007 10:32 pm

AJBryant wrote:
The curved blade was developed for the same reason as the scimitar and cavalry sabres -- it's easier to draw a curved blade than a straight one when in the saddle.

Yeah, right... The 'cool factor' was definitely more important than any practical applications. Everyone knows that curves are sweet.

This all has nothing to do with kimono...
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RE: Buying Kimono Over the Internet

Postby Shirasagi » Wed 08.22.2007 11:02 pm

Browsing through the Nagoya Takashimaya Sanseido bookstore, I came across Samurai: 1550-1600, by one Anthony Bryant. Whoever this dude is, he had a crapload of impressive sounding credentials. If I were to meet this guy on the internet, I would be careful about debating him on the make and function of ancient Japanese weaponry. ;)

It seems to me that both Tony and two-heads are right. The tachi (precursor to the katana) was curved, most likely to help drawing in the saddle, and this of course led to a sword-fighting style based on parries and sliding attacks to vulnerable areas rather than full-swing bashing into armor. Function following form following function, so to speak. Certainly Japanese swordplay is different from European swordplay.

But. Look at this clip. This is a two-man kata of Katori Shinto-ryu, the oldest extant sword school in Japan, dating back to mid-late 1400s. Notice how often the sword is deflected, even blocked with one's own sword. To be sure, these deflections and blocks are put in to chain a series of movements together (in battle, Shinto-ryu's philosophy was, "if you have the time to defend, you the time to cut"), but everything in the kata represents accepted sword-use in Muromachi period Japan, when the samurai were warriors, and not bureaucrats.

I practice Yagyu Shinkage-ryu, another Sengoku period school. A primary teaching of that school is 助カ字勝ち juumonji-gachi. I let my opponent cut, and then I cut through his cut. Done right, the swords form a ? and I, cutting second, deflect the opponents sword and cut into him. Here's an example of Shinkage-ryu. Again, ideally you want to cut the enemy, or deflect and cut the enemy, but notice the fellow on the left (who represents proper Shinkage-ryu technique) defend cuts to his legs by blocking with his sword.

Finally, concerning the katana. It was not nearly as curved as the tachi was. From what I have read, this represented a change from the armored/mounted battlefield combat of the Sengoku period to the unarmored duelling combat of the Pax Tokugawa. The sword went from hanging blade-facing-down in the scabbard (like in the movie Ran) to being stuck through the obi of the kimono, blade facing up (like in most other samurai movies). With the move toward duelling styles, reach was preferred, and thus a much straighter (if still curved) blade.

Incidently, this also marked a change in combat styles, from the diagonal cuts of battlefield arts (targeting the weakpoint of the armor between shoulder and neck), and the straight vertical cuts of Edo period duelling styles (targeting the unprotected head) that led to kendo.
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RE: Buying Kimono Over the Internet

Postby Infidel » Thu 08.23.2007 3:14 am

AJBryant wrote:
The curved blade was developed for the same reason as the scimitar and cavalry sabres -- it's easier to draw a curved blade than a straight one when in the saddle.

Tony

Browsing through the Nagoya Takashimaya Sanseido bookstore, I came across Samurai: 1550-1600, by one Anthony Bryant. Whoever this dude is, he had a crapload of impressive sounding credentials. If I were to meet this guy on the internet, I would be careful about debating him on the make and function of ancient Japanese weaponry.



There's a reason I hate to contradict Tony. But at the same time, contradicting Tony can lead to an interesting discussion if done correctly, so it can be worthwhile if one has a sufficiently thick skin.

If that was the argument used, and it might well have been, then it was a false argument. The main difference in ease between drawing a straight and a curved sword is a matter of how the scabbard is attached. If the scabbard pivots enough then there is little difference drawing one over the other until you get at the wielder's extreme reach. At that point the amount of curvature could make the difference, for example, between drawing a 43 inch curved sword vs a 40 inch straight sword, however, both swords will have the same reach, 40 inches, so the extra blade drawn is moot. The hard limit in reach, for drawing a sword, is defined by the maximum distance the user can draw his hand from the scabbard. Any increase in curvature to increase blade length drawn will not increase the sword's reach.

Weapons are all a cumulation of various factors, not any specific one. The main advantage of curved blades isn't in drawing them in a saddle, otherwise foot soldiers all over the world would not have benefited from curved blades.

The primary advantage of a curved blade hasn't changed and it's why most kitchen knives are curved today. Curved blades magnify the cutting force of a blow (pounds per square inch) based on its curvature at the point of contact, exactly the same way high-heels concentrate the weight of a woman at the point of contact between the ground and her heel so that her weight is more concentrated at the point of contact than an elephant's is over the same surface area. That is why a curved blade is a cutting blade.

Curved swords are normally only sharpened on one side, however, early forms of the Japanese katana were sharpened on the backside for about 1/3 of it's length, presumably for the purpose of making the sword more effective for stabbing through armor and for cutting on the back swing. Since this sword type was discontinued, we can assume that, if not out of tradition, then theoretical advantages of the extra cutting surface introduced new unexpected disadvantages. Most probably because: a curved sword is more prone to breaking when making a stabbing motion as the force is concentrated on a specific point of the blade instead of distributed along it's length; double edged swords are well known for accidentally hurting the wielder or a nearby friendly; a sharp needle-like point is more prone to breakage, and subsequent, more frequent, sharpenings would create a progressively shorter sword; and because the pulling motion is naturally weaker than a pushing motion, especially one handed. That is why scythes are normally two handed weapons. Thus, the inner (scythe-like) edge of the early katana probably didn't deliver enough force to cut through armor routinely when used one handed on the back-swing. I haven't seen any records of the reason the sword was discontinued, it could be any one of these reasons, a combination of these reasons, or something else entirely.

There was actually a significant amount of disagreement as to whether American calvary should adopt a straight or a curved sabre. The main arguments used had nothing to do with drawing the sword, so far as I recall. It had more to do with reach and losing a sword because it caught in someone's body. The arguments in favor of a straight sword were greater reach for cutting kneeling infantry or stabbing prone soldiers. The greater reach argument was only valid when discussing straight and curved swords of the same length. Since, as argued above, a longer curved sword could be drawn it was a partially false argument, although the difference in material costs between different sword lengths would have been a valid argument. Swords would have been standard issue not tailor made.

Ultimately, a calvary sword had to be used primarily for cutting so a curved sword is the most natural sword to use. Stabbing and withdrawing a sword while on a moving horse is very difficult even if the user doesn't catch on a bone, and since many soldiers would try to stab more often with a straight sword than with a curved sword it is better to use a curved sword. The compromise in the American sabre is a very slight curvature.

If you want a "battle ready" katana, one that can be used in the dojo for cutting without breaking then there are many well made swords that can be had.


Here the problem is the definition of "battle ready" because that means different things for different swords, and as Mike said, you aren't going to be fighting any Battles with a sword in modern times. For example, American Calvary--when they used swords--could get by with cast swords because they were fighting unarmored people and because the swords would only be used for a relatively short period of the battle. Katana were used by Armored fighters, against armored fighters, for relatively long periods of time. The swords had to withstand a much higher amount of abuse, so a cast sword would break so often it would be unacceptable. Even properly forged swords--folded-- broke often enough because the abuse these swords underwent in battle was significant.

A Dojo practice sword is not a "battle ready" sword at all. If you're fighting a battle with a sword, plan at least 30 minutes of full contact death blow attempts. Something you shouldn't be doing with a metal sword of any kind even in armor for "practice."
Is it the use of the term "battle ready" or perhaps you really think that those who post here in a language forum give a rats ass about fighting tech or are looking here for tips on how to kill with a sword?


1, See above, 2. What do you think got many of us interested in Japan in the first place? 3. See 2.

I practice Yagyu Shinkage-ryu, another Sengoku period school. A primary teaching of that school is 助カ字勝ち juumonji-gachi. I let my opponent cut, and then I cut through his cut. Done right, the swords form a ? and I, cutting second, deflect the opponents sword and cut into him.


While all those techniques are good and great ways to fight under ideal conditions, say a duel. Real battles weren't that way. Real battles were fought be extremely weary soldiers, sometimes in driving rain with low visibility, and against multiple opponents with little room to maneuver. A soldier couldn't wait for the ideal moment to strike, there were too many other forces involved, the solder had make due with any opening and to create openings rather than wait for them, because the longer they wait, the more people they have to fight at the same time.

I would like to debate you that logic. let me get my research together. basic logic also tells you that a curved blade and the structure of said curved blade was to deflect/redirect energy rather than to stop it full stop. again, let me find my stuff and I will gladly frolic in the lands of sword play debate.


Yay! P)
Last edited by Infidel on Thu 08.23.2007 3:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Buying Kimono Over the Internet

Postby Mike Cash » Thu 08.23.2007 6:44 am

Dehitay wrote:
Mike Cash wrote:
Well, I'll bring you a frown by asking you to go back, reread my post, and tell me how you arrived at the mistaken conclusion it was addressed to you.


probly the same way you came to the mistaken conclusion that his post was addressed to you


That would a neat trick, considering that I didn't think that at all.

ghosthacker wrote:
Mike Cash wrote:
Well, I'll bring you a frown by asking you to go back, reread my post, and tell me how you arrived at the mistaken conclusion it was addressed to you.


ghosthacker wrote:
My post was not address to you., but this one is so kindly remove the stick from your ass.


When you were a kid did you have a bicycle with coaster brakes?

Infidel regaled the huddled masses with:

Here the problem is the definition of "battle ready" because that means different things for different swords, and as Mike said, you aren't going to be fighting any Battles with a sword in modern times. For example, American Calvary--when they used swords--could get by with cast swords because they were fighting unarmored people and because the swords would only be used for a relatively short period of the battle.


I recall once upon a time reading that in the War of Northern Aggression edged weapons accounted for just 1.6% of injuries.
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RE: Buying Kimono Over the Internet

Postby two_heads_talking » Thu 08.23.2007 10:21 am

ghosthacker wrote:


I am sorry but when did we go from talking about buying swords to combat use of same? Frankly I am at a lost as to what point you are trying to argue.

Is it the use of the term "battle ready" or perhaps you really think that those who post here in a language forum give a rats ass about fighting tech or are looking here for tips on how to kill with a sword?


from your posts it is obvious we are talking past each other. But to answer your question, I do think that some would be interested in sword fighting etc. I know I am. Sorry if that ruffles your feathers.
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RE: Buying Kimono Over the Internet

Postby two_heads_talking » Thu 08.23.2007 10:55 am

AJBryant wrote:
I've always found that a myth. Heck, watch kendo. Swords are smacking all the time. Simple logic also disproves it. When you're fighting with a two handed sword, and the OTHER guy has a two-handed sword, the only thing you can defend with (and that means beating off the attack) is with YOUR two-handed sword.


Tony


here is a short snippet (again only what i have access to at work) I am still trying to find your own works to back me up here .. ;)

The katana as we know it today with its deep, graceful curve has its origin in shinogi-zukuri (single-edged blade with ridgeline) tachi which were developed sometime around the middle of the Heian period to service the need of the growing military class. Its shape reflects the changing form of warfare in Japan. Cavalry were now the predominant fighting unit and the older straight chokutō were particularly unsuitable for fighting from horseback. The curved sword is a far more efficient weapon when wielded by a warrior on horseback where the curve of the blade adds considerably to the downward force of a cutting action. (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katana )



"Type 94" Non Commissioned Officer's sword of the Second World War; made to resemble a Commissioned Officer's shin guntō, they were made of standard machine steel, with an embossed and painted metal handle designed to look like a traditional tsuka.

(WWII machine steel katana) from the same wikipedia article.

Modern katana manufactured according to traditional methods are usually known as shinsakutō (新作刀?), meaning "newly made swords". Alternately, they can be termed shinken (真剣?) when they are designed for combat as opposed to iaitō training swords.

From the same article.

The tachi became the primary weapon on the battlefield during the Kamakura period, used by cavalry mounted samurai. The sword was mostly considered as a secondary weapon until then, used in the battlefield only after the bow and spear were no longer feasible. During the Edo period samurai went about on foot unarmored, and with much less combat being fought on horseback in open battlefields the need for an effective close quarter weapon resulted in samurai being armed with daisho.
Testing of swords, called tameshigiri, was practiced on a variety of materials (often the bodies of executed criminals) to test the sword's sharpness and practice cutting technique.
Kenjutsu is the Japanese martial art of using the katana in combat. The katana was primarily a cutting weapon, or more specifically, a slicing one. However, the katana's moderate curve allows for effective thrusting as well. The hilt of the katana was held with two hands, though a fair amount of one-handed techniques exist. The placement of the right hand was dictated by both the length of the tsuka and the length of the wielder's arm. Two other martial arts were developed specifically for training to draw the sword and attack in one motion. They are battōjutsu and iaijutsu, which are superficially similar, but do generally differ in training theory and methods.
For cutting, there was a specific technique called "ten-uchi." Ten-uchi refers to an organized motion made by arms and wrist, during a descending strike. As the sword is swung downwards, the elbow joint drastically extends at the last instant, popping the sword into place. This motion causes the swordsman's grip to twist slightly and if done correctly, is said to feel like wringing a towel. This motion itself caused the katana's blade to impact its target with sharp force, and is used to break initial resistance. From there, fluidly continuing along the motion wrought by ten-uchi, the arms would follow through with the stroke, dragging the sword through its target. Because the katana slices rather than chops, it is this "dragging" which allows it to do maximum damage, and is thusly incorporated into the cutting technique. At full speed, the swing will appear to be full stroke, the katana passing through the targeted object. The segments of the swing are hardly visible, if at all. Assuming that the target is, for example, a human torso, ten-uchi will break the initial resistance supplied by shoulder muscles and the clavicle. The follow through would continue the slicing motion, through whatever else it would encounter, until the blade inherently exited the body, due a combination of the motion and its curved shape.
Nearly all styles of kenjutsu share the same five basic guard postures. They are as follows; chūdan no kamae (middle posture), jōdan no kamae (high posture), gedan no kamae (low posture), hassō no gamae ("shaped like number eight" posture), and waki no gamae (side posture).
The katana's razor-edge was so hard that upon hitting an equally hard or harder object, such as another sword's edge, chipping became a definite risk. As such, blocking an oncoming blow blade-to-blade was generally avoided. In fact, evasive body maneuvers were preferred over blade contact by most, but, if such was not possible, the flat or the back of the blade was used for defense in many styles, rather than the precious edge. A popular method for defeating descending slashes was to simply beat the sword aside. In some instances, an "umbrella block", positioning the blade overhead, diagonally (point towards the ground, pommel towards the sky), would create an effective shield against a descending strike. If the angle of the block was drastic enough, the curve of the katana's spine would cause the attacker's blade to slide along its counter and off to the side.[8]
8^ a b Irvine, Gregory (2000). The Japanese Sword: The Soul of the Samurai. London: V&A Publications

that’s jus the little bit I have access to at work. I will find more.
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RE: Buying Kimono Over the Internet

Postby Infidel » Thu 08.23.2007 11:10 am

Mike Cash wrote:

When you were a kid did you have a bicycle with coaster brakes?


I once rode a bike off a 40 foot cliff because the stupid u-breaks gave out on me. Every time I ride a bike without coaster breaks I always feel a bit of fear that the breaks won't work again.

My only regret about buying a multi-speed bike is giving up the reliable coaster break. All the other breaks make me feel like I'm playing Russian roulette.
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RE: Buying Kimono Over the Internet

Postby Shirasagi » Thu 08.23.2007 11:14 am

You call that short? :o

I don't see anything that really disproves Tony's idea of swords smacking together. Rather the last paragraph seems to prove it.

There's an extremely informative thread on this subject over at E-Budo.com, but unfortunately non-members can't see the forums at the moment...
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RE: Buying Kimono Over the Internet

Postby Shirasagi » Thu 08.23.2007 11:21 am

While all those techniques are good and great ways to fight under ideal conditions, say a duel. Real battles weren't that way. Real battles were fought be extremely weary soldiers, sometimes in driving rain with low visibility, and against multiple opponents with little room to maneuver. A soldier couldn't wait for the ideal moment to strike, there were too many other forces involved, the solder had make due with any opening and to create openings rather than wait for them, because the longer they wait, the more people they have to fight at the same time.


I never suggested it wasn't as you describe. 助カ字勝ち is a technique for engaging an opponent's blade, not a philosophy of battle. There are other teachings for that (primary being 懸待風?は一隅を守らず). But the technique was codefied by either Kamiizumi Ise-no-kami or Yagyu Sekishusai (who's quoted in my sig), neither of whom ever knew the duelling years of the Tokugawa Period, but were veterans of many battles in the Sengoku period, and knew conflict on the Japanese battlefield better than anyone now alive. So I'll take their word that it worked.
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RE: Buying Kimono Over the Internet

Postby two_heads_talking » Thu 08.23.2007 2:28 pm

Shirasagi wrote:
You call that short? :o

I don't see anything that really disproves Tony's idea of swords smacking together. Rather the last paragraph seems to prove it.

There's an extremely informative thread on this subject over at E-Budo.com, but unfortunately non-members can't see the forums at the moment...


yes, that's short. I have 10 books at home and 17 different articles I wrote during college about the very same subject. ironically enough. that was just wikipedia info. the other stuff is more indepth about technique and style. In a debate everything you say does not need to disprove your opponent. In my debate experience, sometimes disproving your opponent causes you to lose the debate. it's like Japanese culture, face is more important than winning. :)

oh and to clarify, I never said swords don't smack together. they do, it's inevitable. but instead of trying to stop the energy like one would with a shield or to t-bone sword on sword (like many in europe did) the katana was meant to redirect energy to move it away in a slashing or cutting motion. Of course late on Europe also started to "deflect or redirecte" energy after encountering Japanese swordmasters. And you still see some of that with the Zweihander or claymore techniques used in a more modern Europe, where even the hilt of the weapon was used to redirect the opponent in order to open up his back for a blade thrust or hamstring cut.
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RE: Buying Kimono Over the Internet

Postby tanuki » Thu 08.23.2007 5:54 pm

two_heads_talking wrote:
I am trying to remember the last time the Army or the marines trained their officers how to use their sabres, cultass, or other sword in combat.


*chuckle*
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RE: Buying Kimono Over the Internet

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 08.24.2007 8:42 am

tanuki wrote:
two_heads_talking wrote:
I am trying to remember the last time the Army or the marines trained their officers how to use their sabres, cultass, or other sword in combat.


*chuckle*


lol!! Boy I typo'd that didn't I?
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RE: Buying Kimono Over the Internet

Postby Shirasagi » Fri 08.24.2007 9:04 am

two_heads_talking wrote:
oh and to clarify, I never said swords don't smack together. they do, it's inevitable. but instead of trying to stop the energy like one would with a shield or to t-bone sword on sword (like many in europe did) the katana was meant to redirect energy to move it away in a slashing or cutting motion.


Well, it strikes me that you and Tony don't really disagree very much then, but I'll let him speak for himself. I'd actually be very interested to hear him address some of the points raised here.

One further note, though - there are no few swords remaining from the Sengoku period that are really banged up, with cracks and knotches in the ha, mune, and shinogi. And these are the swords that were saved. Who knows how many were destroyed/abandoned/melted down. While the ideals of Japanese swordsman ship were redirect and cut, I have the feeling that in the heat of battle there was a lot of clashing and banging together going on.
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