So, who knows anything about swords?

This is a discussion on So, who knows anything about swords? within the Defensive Knives & Other Weapons forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I recently developed a craving to buy a sword. It has no place in my home-defense plan, no practical purpose really, other than looking cool, ...

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Thread: So, who knows anything about swords?

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    So, who knows anything about swords?

    I recently developed a craving to buy a sword. It has no place in my home-defense plan, no practical purpose really, other than looking cool, but I still want one.

    I've decided to focus more on japanese swords than european, because I want a lightweight sword with a two-handed grip. I also don't want "just" a display sword. I want a real sword.

    I've been looking at this one in particular

    http://www.chenessinc.com/tenchi.htm

    I've heard good things about Cheness, and it's reasonably cheap. Does anyone here have experience with them?

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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    Man, oh, man. I think about a year ago we had a good sword discussion on here. Phil Elmore had some good stuff to say, but I don't know if he's even on this board anymore.

    The sword you mention looks pretty good to me. You might look at some of the Cold Steel models (but don't buy any direct from Cold Steel- it'll cost significantly more).

    There are as many varieties of swords out there as there are guns. I'm partial to Western and American versions- but a katana is great thing, I've got to admit.

    I've got two swords, and they, like you say, aren't practical. But they are a hoot to have and practice with.

    Very few things (except unarmed combatives) will make you appreciate your guns as well as a sword.
    "...bad decisions that turn out well often make heroes."


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    Distinguished Member Array Chooie's Avatar
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    This is my choice in steel - light and fast, and beautifully worked.







    http://www.armor.com/rapier211.html

    Kinda pricey though, but quality appears exquisite.
    Last edited by P95Carry; June 21st, 2007 at 09:44 PM. Reason: spaced out pics to separate.

  5. #4
    Distinguished Member Array fed_wif_a_sig's Avatar
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    If your serious, I would highly suggest that you go with the sword used by one of the greatest Samurai in the history of Japan. A wooden katana. This Samaurai was so feared and well known that he is considered to have become a god when he passed on.

    I loaned out my research book on the subject but to be honest, to possess a true katana (metal) will set you back a ton of money. A personal friend and Kendo/Kenjutsu artist had one made for her by a member of the All Japan Swordsmiths Association which is a true work of beauty, and made to the exacting standards of their profession and cost a few buckets of mulah.

    Take a peak at this site for some other info... http://www.bugei.com/tenthings.html
    Steve
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    I have an interest in edged weapons - swords in particular but only for wall hangers as against defensive tools as a primary reason.

    I have a few and I admit they are ''el cheapo'' - ones you can get about anywhere. They do tho decorate the office walls quite nicely

    Long ago I was custodian of a superb cavalry sword but as it was my ex wife's grandfathers, it went when we parted!.
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    A sword story from my youth...

    A friend of mine had a family heirloom passed from generation to generation. It was a Union Infantry Officers Sword complete with sheath and hanger. One of their ancestors was a high ranking officer and had a pretty distinguished career and was thought of as a local hero, enough so that he was mentioned in several books that researched the Civil War and he is still mentioned in various articles up to this day.

    Anyhow, this sword was in excellent condition and hung in a closet. My friend and I would occasionally sneak it out and play with it and even take it outside and cut stuff with it when his parents weren't home.
    We were always careful to put it back in place before his parents came back, we were around twelve at the time.

    They had this big Rhubarb patch that his mom would occasionally make pies with, and one day we decided to cut some with that sword. There was a stone wall that went along side this patch and like a punk, I swung at a rather tall stalk of Rhubarb and bounced it off of that rock wall.

    That beautiful family heirloom busted in half and the top piece went flying in the weeds narrowly missing my friend, in fact he ducked it. We were shocked.Not to mention scared to death.So being the good boys that we were, we put it back where it belonged and never said a word about it, choosing to put off the certain whoopin we were sure we would get.

    As luck would have it, it was several years before his Dad took removed it from its sheath to show to a friend of his that was interested in Civil War artifacts. When he puled that sword from its scabbard, only the top half came out. His Dad was ticked but his friend assured him that it was common for old swords to fracture after a period of time and convinced him that it was a natural occurrence. We were in the living room when this happened and were sure that the day of reckoning Had come. We looked at each other and decided to skedaddle on out if there with our lives.

    It wasn't till a few years ago that we fessed up and told him the truth.It had been close to 35 years ago.
    He told us that he suspected that we had something to do with it and had a hard time his whole life believing that it broke by itself.

    That about all I know about swords.
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    Conan, what is the riddle of steel?
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  9. #8
    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fed_wif_a_sig View Post
    If your serious, I would highly suggest that you go with the sword used by one of the greatest Samurai in the history of Japan. A wooden katana. This Samaurai was so feared and well known that he is considered to have become a god when he passed on.

    I loaned out my research book on the subject but to be honest, to possess a true katana (metal) will set you back a ton of money. A personal friend and Kendo/Kenjutsu artist had one made for her by a member of the All Japan Swordsmiths Association which is a true work of beauty, and made to the exacting standards of their profession and cost a few buckets of mulah.

    Take a peak at this site for some other info... http://www.bugei.com/tenthings.html
    Those are beautiful swords. I am not opposed to having a non-traditionally made sword though. Alloyed steels have come a long way since feudal Japan, and folding and hammer welding the steel to remove impurities isn't as important with a clean homogenous raw steel. Likewise, differential hardening is great when dealing with high-carbon steels, but modern spring steels can be both harder and less brittle.

    I would love to own a traditionally made high-quality japanese blade, just for the beauty of the sword, but you're right, such things come with large price tage, especially considering that a modern sword can be stronger and more durable, just as well-made, almost as pretty, and a whole lot more affordable.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Array Shadowsbane's Avatar
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    Ah nice Japanese swords....oh how I crave them...

    If you want to go for nice quality I would try to find a nice 512 layer Damascus folded steel blade. The price is lower than the 1500 layer and unless you need to go against another similar quality sword you will never notice. Manta Ray skin is also probably the best option for the handle as it does not slip or slide if your hands sweat.

    Full tang double pinned is how you want it set into the handle. Accept no subsititutes.

    A good sword will be heavy (10-17 pounds) but should be able to balance almost perfectly with just your thumb and index finger holding it.

    Good way to tell if a dealer knows his stuff or not is how he (or she) displays their swords. If the sword has the curve facing downward then odds are good they do not know much about their product. Curve pointing up then chances are good that they do.

    For the steel, you should be able to see the lines folded into the blade. Look for them to be mostly consistant in spacing and length. Also they will not be perfect lines but instead have a sort of almost irregular wavy appearance. Perfectly (or almost so) straight lines that are perfectly spaced can imply that you are being ripped off and those are actually stylized file markings.

    Any sword by Paul Chen will be a good one. He is one of the best in the world. (made the Hitori Hanzo swords for Kill Bill.)

    I have lots more information so if anybody wants to know it just pm me.

    edit: As to the strength of modern alloys being stronger than the traditional ways, I would have to disagree. Are the modern methods strong? Yes, can they hold up and preform as well as the traditional versions, My opinion says no. Need to remember one fact....Japanese swords were built not just to go to war with and be used in that fashion, but to be used for several generations. Even then it would not be uncommon to use a 75 year old sword that had been used hundreds of times and come out the victor. Think of them as the 1911s of their day. They can be expensive, but there really is no replacing one if you have held such beauty incarnate for yourself.

    There used to be a video on youtube (dont know if it is still there) that showed a traditional blade striking a modern surgical grade steel blade. The newer one snapped like a dry twig.

    Oh and depending on where you live, I may be able to point you in the direction of a great buy for some almost perfect blades in the 400-700 range, and some very nice ones starting around the 100 mark.
    Last edited by Shadowsbane; June 22nd, 2007 at 01:06 AM.
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    Senior Member Array Shadowsbane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    Conan, what is the riddle of steel?
    The hand that controls the steel is the source of its strength. Quality and quantity make little difference if the hand and the heart are not in the fight.

    Good lesson for CC. If your not comfortable with your weapon and not aware enough or determined enough to make it through then no amount of firepower will help you in the end.

    Did I get it right?
    Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.

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    Thulsa Doom: I wish to speak to you now. Where is the Eye of the Serpent? Rexor says that you gave to a girl, probably for a mere night's pleasure, hmm? What a loss. People have no grasp of what they do. You broke into my house, stole my property, murdered my servants, and my PETS! And that is what grieves me the most! You killed my snake. Thorgrim is beside himself with grief! He raised that snake from the time it was born.

    Conan: You killed my mother! You killed my father, you killed my people! You took my father's sword... ah! [Rexor twists his arm]

    Thulsa Doom: Ah. It must have been when I was younger. There was a time, boy, when I searched for steel, when steel meant more to me than gold or jewels.

    Conan: The riddle... of steel.

    Thulsa Doom: Yes! You know what it is, don't you boy? Shall I tell you? It's the least I can do. Steel isn't strong, boy, flesh is stronger! Look around you. There, on the rocks; a beautiful girl. Come to me, my child... [the girl, enthralled, jumps to her death]. That is strength, boy! That is power! What is steel compared to the hand that wields it? Look at the strength in your body, the desire in your heart, I gave you this! Such a waste. Contemplate this on the tree of woe. Crucify him!


    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  13. #12
    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    Hotguns:

    THAT is a sword story worth tellin'!
    "...bad decisions that turn out well often make heroes."


    Gary D. Mitchell, A Sniper's Journey: The Truth About the Man and the Rifle, P. 103, NAL Caliber books, 2006, 1st Ed.

  14. #13
    Senior Member Array Sergeant Mac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fed_wif_a_sig View Post
    If your serious, I would highly suggest that you go with the sword used by one of the greatest Samurai in the history of Japan. A wooden katana. This Samaurai was so feared and well known that he is considered to have become a god when he passed on.
    A wooden katana is called a bokken.

    The man you refer to was Miyamoto Musashi, a/k/a "the Sword Saint". He wrote the Book of Five Rings, a/k/a the Go Rin No Sho.

    (products of a misspent youth. glad to help)

    edit: IIRC, Musashi killed over 70 men in sword duels, at least the last dozen or so with a bokken.
    Last edited by Sergeant Mac; June 22nd, 2007 at 10:55 PM. Reason: adding info about Musashi

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    VIP Member Array ExSoldier's Avatar
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    My martial art, Aikido is primarily a SWORD art. We practice with the Bokken and the JO stick quite a bit. But really, all I know about swords I learned from watching the HIGHLANDER Movies and especially the TV show! I have a copy of one of the Macleod swords. I used to daydream about catching a burglar in my house with that in my hands in the classic pose from the first movie's climax and me telling said perp....In the end....There Can BE..... Only ONE!

    Seriously, I've read the Five Rings, but I find a much better book of the sword to be a book available at amazon.com:

    Flashing Steel: Mastering Eishin-Ryu Swordsmanship (Paperback)
    by Shihan Shimabukuro (Author), Leonard Pellman (Author) "I aijutsu is the art of swordsmanship in face-to-face combat, as practiced by the samurai of feudal Japan..." (more)
    Key Phrases: third cleansing breath, seitei kata, tatehiza posture, Furikaburi Figure, Individual Kata, Chiburi Figure (more...)
    (32 customer reviews)
    List Price: $18.95
    Price: $12.89 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details
    You Save: $6.06 (32%)
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array ELCruisr's Avatar
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    One problem is very few modern swords that are affordable are really up to true weapons standards. The ones that are, are pretty expensive but then good swords have always been very expensive because they are a whole lot of work to make well. Modern steels do not automatically translate into better swords. They must still be carefully crafted and then even more carefully tempered or they won't survive many strikes.

    The beautiful patterns in both Japanese swords or pattern welded Damascus (which btw is not true Damascus steel) are a result of function more than aesthetics. They create a shock resistant steel that will still hold an edge. Even then broken swords were not unusual in battle.

    Sword shape is also critical to a trained user. When I was studying Iaido I owned a Katana that was modern era shaped and made in the late 1920's. It was OK but to use well required a fair amount of strength and concentration to keep the edge aligned perfect for cuts. This is critical with a sword because an off angle cut usually results in a broken blade. I was once given the incredible honor to do a few practice forms with a blade made in 1297. It was like a living thing in your hands! It's shape was very different and it changed the balance in such a way as to literally follow every movement without much effort. I can understand how they felt a blade was a living thing. When I was done my sensei said now do you understand how a sword can be alive?

    Modern style Katanas have a shape that was actually dictated more by ease of carry than by function. That blade had been built by one of the best masters of the day to keep you alive in battle. BIG difference!
    If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. ~ Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

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