First "live" sword

Discussion in 'Korean Swords and Sword Arts' started by MBuzzy, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. MBuzzy

    MBuzzy Grandmaster

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    Well, I just got my first "live" sharp sword. It is a samgakdo from a chinese forge. Very inexpensive, but high quality for the price. I consider this my "starter sword." Just to give myself a start and some practice on straw cutting and fruit cutting. A few times a year isn't going to cut it....

    Either way, it is my first real sword, so I'm sure that it will always have a special place in my heart.
     

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  2. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Retired

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    Nice!
     
  3. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    Great! Good luck!
     
  4. wushuguy

    wushuguy Purple Belt

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    Be careful, you could poke an eye out with that thing! lol. Actually nice looking sword. Practicing with live blade give you more respect for the weapon, also need to be aware of the edge. Have fun training safely.
     
  5. Grenadier

    Grenadier Administrator Staff Member

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    Looks nice, indeed. Who made it, if you don't mind my asking?
     
  6. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Real swords are fun. Congratulations on taking that step.

    You referred to this as a Korean sword, but it looks like the Japanese katana style. Could you tell me what are the differences, or are they similar enough in design to be considered the same? How about technique, is that similar as well?

    thx.
     
  7. howard

    howard Brown Belt

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    MBuzzy,

    Congratulations... it looks like a very nice sword.

    Do you guys cut from the draw in haidong gumdo?

    If I could offer you any advice (from having worked a good bit with a live blade), it would be to never, never, never let your focus and concentration wander. Especially when you're resheathing.

    Hope you enjoy the sword.
     
  8. MBuzzy

    MBuzzy Grandmaster

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    Actually, I wish I knew....when I got it, I was a bit too excited to remember to ask the name of the forge. I was just thrilled to basically get a $500 sword for closer to $250. That is my local MA store, so I will be going back soon and I'll find out for sure.
     
  9. MBuzzy

    MBuzzy Grandmaster

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    Thanks! I'm very excited, I have handled and cut with live swords often, but have never had the money to get my own.

    The Korean and Japanese swords are very close in style. In fact, they're basically the same. The only differences that I've ever noticed are minor, such as weight and width/length of handle (I've stopped trying to translate sword parts from Korean to Japanese...I just don't know the Japanese).

    This is actually a Katana, designed for Japanese sword practice, but it is basically indistinguishable from a Korean sword.

    As for the technique, that is a bit different. I'm in the process of learning a bit more about Japanese technique, but until then I will have a hard time discussing the differences.
     
  10. MBuzzy

    MBuzzy Grandmaster

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    Thank you very much!

    Not in the same way that Japanese styles do. It is of course possible, but not until much higher levels. Generally, in Gumdo, the sword is drawn and you go to ready position before the cut.

    That does not hold true however for paper cutting or fruit cutting. Both of those are done from the draw more often than not.

    There are always exceptions of course, but most cutting is done based initially on a set of "basic cutting" techniques for each type of medium being cut.
     
  11. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Not long ago I picked up a pair of long and short swords, for basically the same thing, about half of what they originally cost as the shop was going out of business after 30 years. I think I spent $300 or $350 or something for them. They are Musashi brand. Basically, I consider them the bottom end of "real" swords. They are katana clones, and would never match to a real katana made by a master smith in Japan, but nevertheless they are quite real weapons.

    I think there is nothing wrong with them as long as you understand the difference.

    At this point in my game, they mostly just reside in my collection.
     
  12. MBuzzy

    MBuzzy Grandmaster

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    oh yeah, I have no delusions that this is a serious quality sword. I don't REALLY even consider this my "entry" sword, more of a "beater" I think. One that I can practice straw, paper, and fruit cutting on my own with as much as I want. If I damage it, that is fine. This is a sword that I can take apart, learn to maintain, learn to assemble and disassemble, etc without any real worries over hurting it.

    Seriously, even if I chip or hurt the blade, it is still an incredible value of a sword and will do good for what I intend to use it for. Plus, I spoke with some students that use this blade and they are all very happy with it for basic cutting.

    What I consider to be my first REAL sword runs around $2000 and it will be a while before I afford that.
     
  13. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yeah, I'd say you are right on the mark about all points here.
     
  14. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    Interesting.

    Do you have to use a live blade in Gumdo? Or is an iaito allowed?

    Gumdo looks to be very… “flashy” compared with the iaido and kenjitsu I practice. Looks to be many differences, there are only so many ways to use a sword, and both arts have those in common, but iai is more…subtle.

    You cut fruit??? Ummm why? I would think the acidity of the fruit would not be the best thing for your blade.
     
  15. MBuzzy

    MBuzzy Grandmaster

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    We have several versions of what you would call an Iaito. The mokgum (bokken) course. Is used for the beginning students. Then eventually you "graduate" to a Kagum, which is another practice sword. This looks like a sword, scabbard and all, but made of aluminum instead of steal to give students the feel for a real sword, with the weight and scabbard, with without any considerable danger. After that, you go to a Saegum, which is basically an Iaito. It is an unsharpened steel sword. Even after dan, for most practice, you use the saegum. the only reason I ever pick up a live blade is to cut. Occassionally to practice basics....just to get the feel for doing it with a live sword. I find it very humbling to do basic cutting with a live blade.

    Live swords can't be used regularly until you are a Dan, although for cutting seminars and cutting practice, gups (kyu ranks) are allowed to use live swords to get a feel for cutting, under close supervision.

    We do have quite a few spins and such. I suppose it depends what and who you are watching. Some are more flashy than others. Although the style itself is no more flashy than any other sword style in my opinion. The hyung (kata) are longer and there are a lot of them and there are several other exercises for which I don't know if a Japanese equivalent exists.

    Fruit cutting has made a big difference for me. Hitting a flying or moving target and actually cutting it does wonders for accuracy, control, sword awareness, tip speed, technique, among other things. It is also practiced EXTENSIVELY with mokgum (bokken) and bean bags before ever touching a real sword and real fruit. I know that there is no "practical" reason to cut fruit...but seriously, we study sword....I never intend to use this anyway. But the fruit does extend to other areas, I've noticed a marked improvement in my manipulation of the sword after getting good at fruit.

    You have to be VERY careful with the acid though. We oil the sword before and clean it immediately afterwards. Plus, it is only done with Samgakdo (three sided blades)....basically with straw/paper cutting swords. I would never cut fruit with a yukgakdo jingum (six sided or bamboo cutting sword). Most of our cutting is done on Bamboo.
     
  16. MBuzzy

    MBuzzy Grandmaster

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    Also....subtle is kind of relative with sword arts....

    It's tough to be subtle with a 100 cm piece of sharpened steel in your hand. I do know what you mean though.
     
  17. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    :):)

    Proper Iaido is basically, very “stripped down”, no frills sword work. No baton twirling the sword, no jumps, nothing you do not need to get the job done. Get rid of the frills; get rid off all the extra stuff. There’s your opponent, kill him, wipe the blood off, and put the sword away. You’re done. Period.

    I don’t pretend to know anything about your art, outside of a handful of videos on YouTube. Compare the iaido videos and Gumdo videos and you will see a “difference.” There is a different feel to the kata’s.
     
  18. futabachan

    futabachan White Belt

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    We don't have any jumps in MJER, but have you seen Katori Shinto-ryu iai? I'm thinking particularly of nukitsuke no ken and nuki uchi no ken. Jumps or no, it's still true, though, that they don't do anything twirly (spinning the sword on its axis during chiburi notwithstanding) and don't add any frills.
     
  19. futabachan

    futabachan White Belt

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    We'd call both of those "iaito." Most folks use the Al-Zn version, especially since the weapon control laws in Japan make steel iaitos vanishingly rare there.

    How long does it typically take a HDGD practitioner to get to dan rank? Is shodan considered a beginning rank, or a recognition that you're actually pretty good?
     
  20. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    For fun throw in a jump just to see what Ohmi Sensei, Carol and Sandra have to say about it!

    Yeah we’ve gone through Katori a few times, but it’s still more similar to MJER or MSR than any of the Korean stuff. Still very stripped down by comparison.
     

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