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#21 - infinitereaper (06/25/2014) [-]
Fun Facts About Japan, Blacksmith Edition
Believe it or not, the art of sword making is still alive in Japan. Currently, there are only a few master blacksmiths alive who all have hundreds of years of secret smithing techniques under their belts.

You know those "Samurai swords"? aka Katanas. These master smiths make them. Every single katana you've ever seen (for the most part) on TV or for sale are NOTHING compared to the real deal.
These master smiths are actually considered national treasures by the Japanese government, and the government urges them to take on apprentices in order to preserve their arts lest their techniques be lost forever.

There is also one more thing I would like to mention.
We've all seen those tests on katanas with machines, to see if the swords can really cut through metal and do amazing things, and usually the results aren't that great, BUT I believe the stories of legendary sword masters are at least in part true.
First of all you don't just swing a katana, that's not how it works, it's actually a slight slicing motion, you swing downwards and bull backwards, most poeple don't realize that the way of the sword is an art form.

So every test you've seen with knock off katanas and machines is nothing but a sorry imitation that can't really show us the real limits of the way of the sword.

In fact, here is an example:
Real Samurai Sword Technique   Cutting BB Gun pellet by Isao Machii   Japanese Katana Kenjutsu
User avatar #379 to #21 - imofcnotharveydent (07/04/2014) [-]
I still think broadswords are cooler, just preference.
User avatar #380 to #379 - infinitereaper (07/04/2014) [-]
I like the hybrid sword. Double edged, but sharp.
#357 to #21 - anon (06/26/2014) [-]
is this a real katana or a fake one
pretty impressive to slice 7 50.call bmg bullets
User avatar #358 to #357 - infinitereaper (06/26/2014) [-]
I'm assuming he has a legit one, considering he's Japanese, and world famous for his skill.
#359 to #358 - anon (06/26/2014) [-]
forgot link its another vid Japanese Katana Vs. 50 Caliber BMG
User avatar #360 to #359 - infinitereaper (06/26/2014) [-]
I couldn't say for sure, but the video does speak for itself on cutting edge potential.
User avatar #338 to #21 - divinecreator (06/26/2014) [-]
how can you mention japanese swordsmiths without mentioning the Great Yoshimitsu
#354 to #338 - yisumad (06/26/2014) [-]
**** yeah, Yoshimitsu
#302 to #21 - greatgranpapy (06/26/2014) [-]
This whole argument about swords aside, they also made a pretty sweet bolt action: enter the Arisaka.
User avatar #285 to #21 - imagnetsux (06/26/2014) [-]
where can you get a real katana and where can you learn real Japanese sword technique? i'm willing to travel to japan and blow my savings.
User avatar #342 to #285 - divinecreator (06/26/2014) [-]
youre going to have to spend time earning their respect they dont teach people willy nilly youre going to have to do alot of homework and practice
User avatar #373 to #342 - imagnetsux (06/27/2014) [-]
define "a lot". Im ok with spending most of the day practicing, and adopting some lifestyle changes, if that's what you mean.
User avatar #383 to #373 - vatra ONLINE (07/04/2014) [-]
No dude. It would be more like devoting years of your life.
User avatar #388 to #383 - imagnetsux (07/05/2014) [-]
sounds about as good an idea as college.
User avatar #389 to #388 - vatra ONLINE (07/05/2014) [-]
Hey, if that's what you want to do, go for it!
User avatar #390 to #389 - imagnetsux (07/05/2014) [-]
but is it hard to find someone who will even let you train? if i'm likely to fail because of a lack of information, i'd rather save my money for an indoor waterslide.
User avatar #391 to #390 - vatra ONLINE (07/05/2014) [-]
Look at it this way, the number of available teachers is very limited (The number increases as the skill and secrets decreases) All the best hold onto their knowledge like a mother holds onto a child during a tornado. They are waiting for the perfect person to pass it on to. Now say you take a step or two down from the best. You're more likely to actually have a chance, but you'd need months if not years just to gain their trust.
User avatar #392 to #391 - imagnetsux (07/05/2014) [-]
i'm starting to reconsider, but this still sounds pretty cool. I want a project for the next few years of my life, I guess if I fail at this and end up living in japan for no reason I can always draw hentai.
User avatar #393 to #392 - vatra ONLINE (07/05/2014) [-]
A very noble profession, people need their porn!
User avatar #324 to #285 - infinitereaper (06/26/2014) [-]
Well I don't know much about that, but what I have heard is that a lot of blacksmiths won't even sell you a sword if you don't know some sword discipline. As for the masters, I'm sure they have their own set of rules.
#242 to #21 - jankielftw (06/26/2014) [-]
Well, I heard that katanas were ****** compared to european weapons. Mostly because you couldn't get good steel in Japan, but also because katanas were very expensive and fighting with then was inefficient compared to other weapons of that era. Katanas were mostly used to chop some villagers and as a sign of status, not in real warfare. That leads to another fact - way of fighting with katana sucks compared to european techniques. In Europe there was long evolution of swords and technique of using them, so they could be as lethal as possible. I read somewhere that katanas' evolution stopped in like XII century?

The truth is, if somehow european army got in a fight with a samurai army, nippon dudes would be ******* crushed.

Pic related, saber used by Polish Hussars - easily most badass cavalry or their time.

If I messed with some facts, feel free to corect them. I read about that long time ago, so I could mess with some facts. But the main point is: samurai usually can't win with user of saber or with longsword.
#363 to #242 - vytros (06/26/2014) [-]
Supply and demand, it's a cultural thing. There was no need for "heavy" and "blunt" weapons like longswords in Japan because they weren't wearing as much armor and they preferred cutting things than crushing things.

If they had met knights from the European times, they would've definately come up with a different weapon to level the differences.
User avatar #244 to #242 - infinitereaper (06/26/2014) [-]
Well I'm not talking about katanas of the past, I'm actually talking about the master blacksmiths, master katanas, and master swordmasters of today.
#251 to #244 - jankielftw (06/26/2014) [-]
You got a point here
User avatar #235 to #21 - jukuku (06/26/2014) [-]
Katanas are for girly boys. Katana is **** steel for slant eye faggot warrior. Their steel is weak, like Samurai pussy dog ****** . Claymore is for real man, claymore snap **** pig steel with single strike, I crush mans head with hilt of my claymore, katana cannot even crush my balls. **** pussy pig **** steel.
User avatar #208 to #21 - elricbrostwo **User deleted account** (06/26/2014) [-]
#203 to #21 - aflabagargh (06/26/2014) [-]
**aflabagargh rolled image** To me it's pretty obvious that both the Japanese blacksmithing and Kendo (Way of the Sword) are two form of arts.
**aflabagargh rolled image** To me it's pretty obvious that both the Japanese blacksmithing and Kendo (Way of the Sword) are two form of arts.
#202 to #21 - aflabagargh has deleted their comment [-]
#142 to #21 - ironsoul (06/26/2014) [-]
Sadly though, due to the way that katanas are traditionally made, while they take an insanely sharp edge and are excellent for cutting down a weakly armored opponent (heavy Japanese armor was mostly leather), they have no ability to withstand impacting on metal. This is demonstrated with a traditional katana vs a traditional european sword (which are designed to hack through metal armor)
Sadly though, due to the way that katanas are traditionally made, while they take an insanely sharp edge and are excellent for cutting down a weakly armored opponent (heavy Japanese armor was mostly leather), they have no ability to withstand impacting on metal. This is demonstrated with a traditional katana vs a traditional european sword (which are designed to hack through metal armor)
User avatar #384 to #142 - vatra ONLINE (07/04/2014) [-]
This is why Blocks with katanas are done with redirection, not a stop of force. A longsword can block another sword swing straight on, stopping it cold. With a Katana you hold it at an angle so the other sword connects and then slides away from you.
User avatar #385 to #384 - ironsoul (07/04/2014) [-]
Traditional western styles teach this too, so as not to nick the edge. However, if it comes down to it, you CAN stop a blow with the edge.
User avatar #386 to #385 - vatra ONLINE (07/04/2014) [-]
Yeah, the reason it bent and broke there was because the longsword took the role of an immovable object being viced in like that.
User avatar #224 to #142 - infinitereaper (06/26/2014) [-]
Well first of all that's not even how you use that sword. Every time you see someone just swing a katana like some chopping knife know that the sword is being used entirely wrong.
User avatar #299 to #224 - greatgranpapy (06/26/2014) [-]
I don't mean to sound like a jerk if my phrasing accidentally makes it out to be like that, but how do they really use it then?
User avatar #326 to #299 - infinitereaper (06/26/2014) [-]
Well, you don't really swing a katana per say, I've heard that it's actually a slicing motion. An anon once said you have to pull back on the sword when you swing downwards. At the very least some technique is supposed to be involved. Not just hack and slash.
#395 to #326 - anon (07/18/2014) [-]
Pullbacking is i thing for better cutting, for something similiar watch how in japan they slice a fish.
#200 to #142 - theironzi (06/26/2014) [-]
you can't chop through armour with european swords, the swordsmen back then are taught how to reach into the gaps of a heavily armoured foe (E.G Visor slit, armpits, gap beneath the helmet).

Source: Skallagrim, Youtube, Wikipedia
#240 to #200 - daemascus (06/26/2014) [-]
The impact crushes the armor, hence why larger and more brutally heavy weapons developed in europe
#246 to #240 - theironzi (06/26/2014) [-]
Smashing swords against armour will only damage the sword. Maces, Flails, Warhammers, Poleaxes, and most Halberds, however, can easily damage plate armour.

Below: Observe how the guy on the right did not succeed in cutting through the left guy's gauntlets.
#375 to #246 - daemascus (06/27/2014) [-]
which as I said larger more brutal weapons developed in Europe and why a Katana would not be effective when compared to something like the Danish Axe, forgive me for my lack of knowledge of late medieval Europe I have always been more interested in the sheild-wall period.
User avatar #101 to #21 - enkmaster (06/26/2014) [-]
Another fun fact: The European longsword is capable of the same cutting power of the Katana and, thanks to the specialized wielding required to effectively use it, it is actually a slower weapon in practice than a European blade. It takes quite a bit longer to recover from swinging a Katana than to recover from, say, a 14th century German longsword (Im just using that as an example because thats the style I practice.)

The Katana is a very fine, artisan weapon. It was borne of a specfic requirement for a capable weapon while limited by the poor metals available, and this created one of the most interesting designs in the world. I just find it too...limited, I suppose is the right word. It has too many drawbacks for me to consider the Katana my favourite sword. I need something a little more versatile, but thats just me.
User avatar #102 to #101 - infinitereaper (06/26/2014) [-]
They are very different weapons in practice however, and what the Katana lacks in durability it makes up for in speed, granted you actually know how to use it. As far as I know the longsword doesn't really have any style associated with it other than hack and slash. Either way, old swords are pretty awesome.

I'm personally a fan of the double edged hybrid kind of sword.
User avatar #104 to #102 - enkmaster (06/26/2014) [-]
"As far as I know the longsword doesn't really have any style associated with it other than hack and slash."


Okay, so: Longsword fighting has A LOT of **** to watch for. The whole point of the style I practice is to be able to use any part of the blade as a weapon, to be able to outmanoeuvre your opponent for a final, killing blow. I feel it is best similar to a Great War-era dogfight. Lots of small, subtle movements, the occasional clash and small swipe (as, assuming you have some sort of hand protection/glove/armour on, you can often hold the base of the blade to make for quick swipes and jabs at your opponent. In this position, you are often hunched down slightly, and a downward strike on their part leaves their chest and abdomen open, forcing them to fight in a similar fashion, and on the defensive).

There is no real "Hack and slash" associated with it, as trying to do that will more often than not end with a catch on the guard, reversing to bring the mid of the blade directly onto the neck, or forcing your weapon down and ending with a stab into the gut or chest, or a pommel hit to the nose. Nothing is pointless in combat, every little move is a probe to find the reaction.

There is a huge amount of theory associated with it, and I really cant tell you everything. It becomes instinctive, in a way, to see how someone tenses just prior to their attack. Its really something you need to watch closely or, better yet, try if its available to you. Its also really, REALLY fun. So theres that part.
User avatar #223 to #104 - theshadowed (06/26/2014) [-]
How do you get into something like that?
What do you usually fight with, just a sword? Or do you use a shield as well? I know you wouldn't with a 13th century sword, but do you practice earlier techniques, say from the 9th century?
User avatar #105 to #104 - infinitereaper (06/26/2014) [-]
Isn't that just swordplay though? I mean Japan has stuff like Kendo and Iaido, though I'm not well versed in sword styles to begin with so I digress.
User avatar #107 to #105 - enkmaster (06/26/2014) [-]
Swordplay: "1.sword fighting: fighting with a sword, especially when done with skill"

Thats about as general as description as "Sports: a physical game played" or something to that affect.

Sure, all skilled sword combat is "swordplay", but the style and movements required to do so vary wildly with design, culture and style and necessity. Its like saying soccer/football is the same as curling since both are physical sports. Sure, they fall under the same general category, but are really nothing alike.

The "swordplay" of Renaissance-style Sabre combat is extremely different from Gothic-era broadsword "swordplay". They're all different, and how a German-style longswordsman will react to a situation will be very different to how a Civil War infantry sabre user would react.
User avatar #108 to #107 - infinitereaper (06/26/2014) [-]
I feel you. It seems like something worth looking into. Perhaps I'll read up on it.
User avatar #109 to #108 - enkmaster (06/26/2014) [-]
Its definitely worth the read. And, like I said, see if you can find a (relatively) local school or group that practices European style martial arts or, hell any style swordplay. Its an amazing experience and gives you a generally quite rare skill. A lot of people are interested in the history, but how many can see a Medieval movie and be able to say "that guy ****** up there. I could've cut his ******* throat open were he against me" and actually be right about it?
#97 to #21 - anon (06/26/2014) [-]
And here we see a mall ninja, someone who doesn't know what they are talking about from experience, only from what they read, and believes everything... EVERYTHING. Katanas are so overrated, they are the** fedoras** of swords, whenever someone says how they have "secret techniques" and one million fold nippon steel just makes me picture someone that has a Naruto collection and likes to say japanese terms.

TL;DR - Katanas are not as mystical as you were lead to believe
User avatar #100 to #97 - infinitereaper (06/26/2014) [-]
1) Secret blacksmithing techniques you ******** , in other words forging techniques, the master blacksmiths wouldn't be national treasures if they didn't guard their craft.
2) Katana do have art styles associated with them, it's like an average dude punching and a martial artist punching. Very different.
3) No **** anon, but they aren't as flimsy and unamazing as we are led to believe either.
User avatar #54 to #21 - tittylovin (06/26/2014) [-]
User avatar #47 to #21 - azraelthemage (06/26/2014) [-]
To be fair, all swords used in film/TV are replicas regardless of the material usually some sort of metal they are made of. A real sword costs thousands of dollars, due to them being forged in a traditional sense. I have three replica swords, and, while of great quality, are so obviously fake Though my katana replica has an edge on it...for some reason. that I wouldn't use them in a fight anyway.
User avatar #50 to #47 - infinitereaper (06/26/2014) [-]
I mentioned this actually, most swords you see are just knockoffs not being used correctly, therefore the true potential of these swords I think is a lot less known than people seem to realize.
User avatar #52 to #50 - azraelthemage (06/26/2014) [-]
Most people don't fight with swords either.
#43 to #21 - andrakian (06/26/2014) [-]
True, but you forget two points.
First, one of the best parts of japanese military tradition is its hability of trading old, traditional techniques for new ones if they were proven more effective i.e. samurais trading their naginatas for guns in the XVI century . The katanas of today are massively upgraded versions, made with western steel and taking cues from western cavalry sabers a terribly underrated weapon, if you ask me . They are more like "the best of two worlds" than full, pure samurai katanas.

Also, cutting power is not everything that matters on a weapon. The traditional katana, when made by a master swordsmith, was more powerful than its european counterparts, but extremely fragile. Thus, they became largely ceremonial sidearms, used in duels instead of the battlefield. The main weapon of choice for the samurai was still the naginata/bow in the middle ages and the musket in modern ages. In versatility, endurance and reliability, the katana loses to other sword models.

don't want to be pedantic here, i just love talking about medieval stuff
#206 to #43 - gisuar (06/26/2014) [-]
meant to decaptitate peasants
User avatar #44 to #43 - infinitereaper (06/26/2014) [-]
Each generation improving on the last is even better, and true enough, katanas aren't meant to be for blunt fighting, they are slicing weapons. I like swords in general, and personally would like to see the day the ultimate sword is crafted, one that can cut through anything and never break. I think anyone who has ever liked swords has dreamed of a weapon like that.
#56 to #44 - andrakian (06/26/2014) [-]
Exactly. I love modern katanas just because of that. Its cool to think that there are still people merging different forging styles to keep swords updated, or at least as relevant as possible in modern technology, and it would be amazing to see a totally new, perfectly efficient for modern warfare model coming out of these experiments.

I just wish that western swordfighting was not such a niche. Europe has a very rich tradition of martial arts, but very little is actually practiced. And Olympic fencing just has not the same feel.
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