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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Sword myths, help me out  (Read 36844 times)
toli
Member

Posts: 313


« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2004, 01:02:56 PM »

Quote from: Valamir

Actual period suits of armor, with nary a mention of wood or bamboo to be found.


I think the reference to bamboo and or lacquered leather refer to earlier time periods than your examples.  

Metal breast plates in particular become more common in the 1500's after the Portuguese start selling muskets to the Japanese and the J's start producing them themselves to some extent.
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NT
Ashren Va'Hale
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Posts: 427


« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2004, 01:28:07 PM »

Caz's article rocked, I will definately use that in my final essay. Thanks caz!
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Philosophy: Take whatever is not nailed down, for the rest, well thats what movement is for!
Jake Norwood
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« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2004, 02:05:23 PM »

**gag**wheez**twitch**gasp...

flump.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Salamander
Member

Posts: 450


« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2004, 02:23:06 PM »

Quote from: Jake Norwood
**gag**wheez**twitch**gasp...

flump.

Jake


Yeah, I know Jake.... I know...
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"Don't fight your opponent's sword, fight your opponent. For as you fight my sword, I shall fight you. My sword shall be nicked, your body shall be peirced through and I shall have a new sword".
F. Scott Banks
Member

Posts: 200


« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2004, 07:37:38 PM »

Awwww I don't wanna go back and forth with the armor thing.  Here's the last link I'll put up regarding this.  It actually details the construction of samurai armor. Looks like the main ingredient is laquered leather strips according to these cats.  I guess I'm wrong about the bamboo (not entirely, but since it's largely decorative I'm not counting it as part of the 'armor' proper) so now we have that myth dissipated (hardened leather...who'd have guessed), let's get on to some others.

Learning is fun.
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Salamander
Member

Posts: 450


« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2004, 10:48:42 PM »

Quote from: WyldKarde
Awwww I don't wanna go back and forth with the armor thing.  Here's the last link I'll put up regarding this.  It actually details the construction of samurai armor. Looks like the main ingredient is laquered leather strips according to these cats.  I guess I'm wrong about the bamboo (not entirely, but since it's largely decorative I'm not counting it as part of the 'armor' proper) so now we have that myth dissipated (hardened leather...who'd have guessed), let's get on to some others.

Learning is fun.


Hardly an expert, but...

If I recall my limited history of Japanese armour manufacture, you are all pretty much more or less correct. They started with lacquered wood and bamboo  and evolved up through iron and even steel as the need and industrial capacity dictated and allowed.
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"Don't fight your opponent's sword, fight your opponent. For as you fight my sword, I shall fight you. My sword shall be nicked, your body shall be peirced through and I shall have a new sword".
Tash
Member

Posts: 284


« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2004, 11:30:57 PM »

I'm surprised no one has posted every sword scholars favorite myth:  that you "block" an opponent's blade with the edge of your own.
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"And even triumph is bitter, when only the battle is counted..."  - Samael "Rebellion"
Tobias
Member

Posts: 446


« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2004, 01:11:43 AM »

As to the ninjutsu thing - I've been doing that for 3 years now. Sources are all over the net - if needed, ask.

As to the katana thing - it's all timing, footwork, and flow. And unless you're closely matched, it's over in seconds.

When I used to be a climber, I laughed at movies with climbing in them. Now I laugh at movies with swordfighting or martial arts in them. So maybe you should just watch a few movies again, or reference them as myth - since that'll be the common perception-builder.
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Tobias op den Brouw

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Tom
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Posts: 26


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« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2004, 01:52:04 AM »

Some words on katanas, because I've done a few years of Iaido, which is a japanese samurai-style using the katana. It isn't a fighting style, because you don't fight a partner. You are however, using an actual weapon (sharp, in the higher dans).

A proper katana definitely is sharp. I dare to say sharper than a regular european blade. The fabled silk scarf test is not a myth.
Much of the actual cutting power comes from proper technique, however. A katana is not slashed through an opponent. It is more an actual cutting movement.
You can test the difference yourself: Take a kitchen knife and whatever piece of flesh you want to throw in the pan today. Put the knife on the flesh and press down. With enough power, you will get it in two. Now take another piece of the same kind. Set the knife on top, and draw it towards you, just very slightly pressing downwards. If your knife is any good, you'll make a very deep cut with no effort.
That's the way a katana works in battle, that's why it's curved, and that's how you learn to cut with it. This style of cutting is, IMHO, the major difference between it and european style swords/combat.


Japanese and chinese armours used to be made from wood, in a way. Actually, it was paper. However, it was paper made in a very different way from todays. Our modern paper is from ripped wood pieces. Ancient chinese paper was made from whole wood fabric. It was such much stronger than todays paper, and an armour from layers of this paper was strong enough to stop arrows.


Finally, on parrying: You can parry with a katana. You don't block, as you see it in the movies. In a parry, the blade is held in such a way that the opponents blade hits it at about a 45° angle, and is deflected, gliding alongside your blade until it is past your body.
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Tom
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Posts: 26


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« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2004, 01:59:22 AM »

Quote from: Ashren Va'Hale
I will also destroy the Katana's cut through cars bull crap that you have listed in its more tame version of trees.


During Iaido training, one cutting test is to cut through a 3-4 inch pole of bamboo strips bound together (i.e. not hollow like a single bamboo piece would be).

I'm not sure how this compares to a tree, though. A katana's cutting power depends a lot on how susceptible the material is to a sidewise cut. Flesh is extremely easy to cut that way, wood definitely isn't.
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Salamander
Member

Posts: 450


« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2004, 05:50:22 AM »

Quote from: Tom


A proper katana definitely is sharp. I dare to say sharper than a regular european blade. The fabled silk scarf test is not a myth.
Much of the actual cutting power comes from proper technique, however. A katana is not slashed through an opponent. It is more an actual cutting movement.


I am now obligated to ask you which European blade? What era? Also, have you used or closely examined a genuine European weapon? I have found that a longsword with a 2mm rebated blade can easily cut through a 16" (40cm) frozen pumpkin. I know, I did it with a blunted blade in November of 2003.

Quote

Finally, on parrying: You can parry with a katana. You don't block, as you see it in the movies. In a parry, the blade is held in such a way that the opponents blade hits it at about a 45° angle, and is deflected, gliding alongside your blade until it is past your body.


Now we are in unfamiliar territory, and a bit touchy in Occidental forms as well. Even the word parry is a hotly debated topic. As for  how to properly defend with a katana, I have only the foggiest idea.

However, in European swordsmanship, even when the blade is past you, it is still very dangerous. Most of the swords we use have two edges. ;)
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"Don't fight your opponent's sword, fight your opponent. For as you fight my sword, I shall fight you. My sword shall be nicked, your body shall be peirced through and I shall have a new sword".
Tobias
Member

Posts: 446


« Reply #26 on: June 24, 2004, 06:46:31 AM »

'proper defense with a katana' (the way I am learning it now - but I ain't hot stuff yet) is:

1. Avoid the other's strike through walking/footwork (either completely or with a deflecting/parrying motion at an angle - no power blocks)

2. if neccesary, control the opponent's blade by beating it (with the flat or the back of your blade)

3. take new position where you are able to cut hands and the other cannot strike you (control of distance/stance/length), or make cut to other part of the body and get so close opponent cannot re-cut (control of angle/balance)

This is 'basic' stuff. It's also WAY different from using a fencing weapon (yeah, I've also fenced a little).
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Tobias op den Brouw

- DitV misses dead gods in Augurann
- My GroupDesign .pdf.
F. Scott Banks
Member

Posts: 200


« Reply #27 on: June 24, 2004, 07:08:38 AM »

I've studied pretty much every edged killing instrument ever invented and they combat styles used in handling them.  It's my job.  I teach theatre and my areas of expertise include stage combat and military history.  This is because there's always some yahoo at the back of the theatre going "Hey, that musketeer is holding his sword wrong!"  Just like there's someone who knows all the words to Hamlet and will walk out of the theatre if the actors miss flub a single line.

Those aren't exaggerations, both have happened.  A reviewer panned our Three Musketeers because Aramis's salute wasn't authentic for the actual Musketeers of French history.

Since I drop a lot of info on this thread, I figured I'd better get that out of the way before I'm argued into a corner and it looks like I'm puffing myself up.

I also make blunted weapons for LARPers...call me.  very reasonable prices.

But anyway, the sharpness of european swords has taken some unfair abuse.  Claymores in particular were extremely sharp and could cleave armor, being heavy enough to crush it out of shape, and sharp enough to split the dented metal in one blow.  European swords were developed regionally and there was no one may of making them or designing them.  My personal favorites are of German and Prussian manufacture as they show a nice balance of artistry and function.

Okay...way off topic.

Anyway, the vaunted edge on a samurai sword owes a lot to it's design.  Individually, a samurai sword's features aren't particularly impressive, but the weapon as a whole complements itself.

Example, the samurai sword isn't sharp in the traditional sense.  If you bring the blade directly down in a chopping motion, it won't cut butter.  This is because the blade is actually sawlike in design, with millions of tiny "teeth" running along the edge.  You have to slide the blade along what you want it to cut.  My friends here who study the katana I'm sure were taught the push/pull method where you pull the blade with your bottom hand and push it with the top to get that slicing motion.  

I'm not familiar with the katana in actual use.  I know enough to choreograph a fight with it, but I don't have the intimate familiarity that a lifelong practitioner has.  For weapons, I studied escrima, eventually replacing the sticks with swords once I'd mastered the style.

However, the design of the katana is where it's miracle sharpness comes from.  The "sharp" blade is actually millions of sawlike teeth which are pointing in the direction of the cut.  The weapon's curvature further accentuates this design feature, deepening every cut and making it easier to pull the weapon free of an opponent's body.

Not touching the blade:  Not a Myth exactly, since ancient blades would tarnish easily.  However, with the advent of stainless steel, corrosive oils can be removed from a blade with windex.

Mind you, if a swordsman tells you not to touch the blade of his sword, it's probably a good idea to comply.

I'd give links, but they all seem a little over-impressed with the samurai blade.  While factually accurate, the authors seem to be taking too much creative license with what the weapon can do.  If I find a stage combat informational site (they usually keep it to "need to know") I'll start linking.
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Ashren Va'Hale
Member

Posts: 427


« Reply #28 on: June 24, 2004, 07:40:37 AM »

Guys, again, if you are trying to say something "is true" then cite sources! The guy who posted the links and quotes on teh samurai armor construction did this. Your stage combat experience may be good wyldekarde but its not exactly a period/authentic source. Cite your sources otherwise its just your opinion and frankly, much of what has been given here as opinion reeks of the myths I am trying to debunk. Which is not really that bad for me since I now have more myths to debunk but it means I have to find those sources myself, and I am lazy, and as a lazy person I would much prefer if you did it for me ;)
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Philosophy: Take whatever is not nailed down, for the rest, well thats what movement is for!
Brand_Robins
Member

Posts: 650


WWW
« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2004, 09:40:35 AM »

Quote from: Ashren Va'Hale
Guys, again, if you are trying to say something "is true" then cite sources!


And I will add, even though I'm sure everyone knows this, that when doing scholarly work it is not only imperative to cite sources but to do a proper backgrounding and critique of those sources.

Any number of sword/combat myths aren’t there simply because they’re passed through movies or word-of-mouth. They’re there because they’ve been published in official looking books by people with impressive sounding names and titles. Some of them are simply outdated, older works that haven’t kept up with modern research. Others are… less innocent. Publishers, after all, are often more concerned with making money than being academically correct. (Yes, even text book publishers.)

In short, when dealing with such sensitive topics as the cherished myths you must cite sources, and even then you have to be ready to defend (intelligently and with more sources) the accuracy and reliability of your sources. After all, a well written internet article may sound reasonable – but without further documentary evidence it is just the opinion of one more internet guy, and not any different in factual value than the posts being made here.

-- Brand, picky because he spent so many years grading freshman essays.
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- Brand Robins
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