Looking for an Iaito

Discussion in 'Japanese Swords and Sword Arts' started by HawkHunt, Jul 27, 2016.

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  1. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master of Arts

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    I bet the extreme pitch of your whining is making all the dogs in your neighborhood bark. :) The only thing that I profess to be an expert at is designing electronic systems. Everything else I am only a dabbler.

    So, tell us exactly how you would go about assessing that a person professing to make Japanese style sword blades is a "local expert" rather than a "local dumbass"? How would you determine the difference, given that you have no clue what would constitute a proper Japanese style sword blade? This being the case, how is it that you are expecting others to just somehow "know" this information? Why does that seem reasonable to you?
     
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  2. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    okay. So. Just a couple quick comments. First I would be careful with the whining thing. If the mods are consistent you will be hearing from them. At the very least, you're being rude.

    Second, I haven't endorsed any particular blacksmith or bladesmith. So what makes you think I should need to? I'm pretty sure I haven't put myself out as a vetting authority. In fact, I think I've said that, of course, any local craftsman would need to be vetted. I thought it went without saying that this means with people who are knowledgeable.

    I don't quite understand why you guys are acting threatened. There's no threat here. I keep going back and reviewing what o wrote and so far, it still seems very benign.

    Shoot, you even went into excruciating detail regarding the guy juany had in mind. Sure, he might be more pricey or take longer, but that's not what Brian or jks or Chris said. They were saying that no local person could be competent. You seem to agree that he's quite competent. Do you see how what you've said is not the same as what anyine before you said?
     
  3. Juany118

    Juany118 Senior Master

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    Actually, many reputable sword makers do the polishing and fitting as well and, the last time I checked a katana by Goldberg went in the $2k range.
     
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  4. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    This thread is still dragging on and has tuned into a sales pitch. The OP needs an "Iaito". Not a blade.

    People that mess around with blades before they learn iai are likely to seriously injure themselves. I have even seen experienced people sustain bad cuts and fingers hanging off.

    bad.noto.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
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  5. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    I realize now that I didn't specifically answer your question. How would I go about assessing a person? I'd vet that specific person with people whom I believe are credible and knowledgeable. In what way is this unreasonable?

    It's common sense to do this on an individual level. That's what I referred to in general terms in post 22, and specifically in posts 28 and 29. And you guys are literally doing it with the guy Juany brought up. David Goldberg is a perfect example of one way in which a local vendor can be vetted.

    How would you go about assessing that a person professing to make japanese style sword blades is a local expert rather than a local dumbass?
     
  6. Juany118

    Juany118 Senior Master

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    Oh absolutely. That goes for any edged weapon. Before I started doing carenza with sharps I did LOTS of practice with trainers. Still do at least 50% of solo stuff with trainers today.
     
  7. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    I think those that are not in the Japanese sword world don't seem to realize that buying a blade for many is a very personal, spiritual thing. We are looking for smiths not 'vendors'.
     
  8. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    GM Cacoy Canete only let me use bamboo.
     
  9. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    does the smith give you the sword for free? If not, the terms smith and vendor can both describe the same individual. The terms describe different things. The act of making and the act of selling. I know you live in Japan. If English isn't your native language, maybe you just don't understand the vocabulary.

    If you are getting things for free, you should tell pgsmith your secret because he's paying thousands for his.
     
  10. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    In actual fact forging is relatively cheap. It's the rest of it, polisher, fittings that cost far more. The blade is licenced by the smith but he doesnt sell it. Appraisers are usually a middle man. The smith just takes a cut. It's covered by JuTo Ho (Gun/sword law). They just dont sell to 'anybody". Smiths, polishers, appraisers, practitioners are often the in the same group.

    If you buy in the West it's whole different ball game. But of course we still look for people that know what they are doing. Otherwise.... it's an importer.

    And still you miss the point. The guy needs and IAITO
     
  11. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    I thought we were talking about a blunt sword now though.

    How badly could you mess that up?
     
  12. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think the point is you pay more for a smith over a vendor. Not less.

    You are not just getting a sword. You also get community acceptance

    Think of it like getting a club gi. But times a thousand.
     
  13. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    so, why then are you quibbling over smithing? You're talking in circles.

    And yes, I understood way back on page one that the op is looking for an iaido, which isn't a sharpened blade, and is often not made from steel. I get that it has very specific requirements for balance. It's not a difficult point to get.

    I also get that the op should not mess with a live blade, as it could be dangerous. I believe you when you say that it's personal, and I have never disagreed that listening to one's instructor is a good idea.

    From the beginning, I said only that there might be someone local to work with directly. Why is that such a hard point for you guys to understand?
     
  14. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Jesus, who knows? Now he's saying that the smith is cheap. I really feel like I'm being hazed by a bunch of insecure frat boys, :)
     
  15. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    Blunt swords are filed and abrasives are used to shape it with an edge so it fits in a saya. Just not as sharp as they would be after a polish.

    Realizing that a certain amount of skill is required they don't do that anymore. Today's technology has produced Iaito. For the same reason that things like Kendo was invented. Modern safe methods of practicing sword arts.
     
  16. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yeah but we are also talking about a name brand vs a knock off.

    For me I would buy the knock off if the quality was comparable. I don't really care about the image.

    But then that is also why i would never do a Japanese sword art. Or own a harley for that matter.

    Once you are paying for the name or the licence. Especially if that product is restricted then you will have to start paying real money.

    If you want to iado. Then that is what you have to put up with. There is just a different culture to the art.

    The harley is a good comparison. You couldn't be a hells angel on a Yamaha.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  17. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Honestly, locally means little to me other than the ability to sit down with the smith about exactly what I want to have made... but this is completely out of the scope of the questions of this thread (which comes up again later).

    Help? Yeah. Be a definite indication of what you're going to get? Not so much with the Aikido (particularly), and to a degree with the Iaido (depending on the system, if it's ZNKR, or if it's Mugai Ryu, or if it's Tamiya Ryu, or Toyama Ryu etc etc, the preferences and particulars, as well as the parameters of what is "good" can, and do, change). Thing is, the apprenticeship is the best indication here... but even then, there are questions that need to be answered.

    Yeah... doesn't mean a thing, really.

    I'm sorry, do you want to repeat that, Steve? Most of that is speculation?!?

    Dude. You have no clue whatsoever about any aspect of this area at all. You asked why not go with "the local guy", and I gave reasons, based on my 30 years in martial arts, 25 years in Japanese systems (including sword work), and the last decade focusing on sword systems in conjunction with the rest of my training... and you think that my comments are "most(ly) speculation"?!?!

    What exactly do you class your comments here as?

    You do know that this is really not anything like the resurgence in blacksmithing, yeah? It's not like you just hammer out a shape... swordsmithing is quite a different process, especially when it comes to Japanese swordsmithing. The working of the steel is different (the steel itself is as well, frankly), the tempering and quenching process is different, the shaping is different... and an imitation is not the same thing.

    I'll put it this way... we used to have a member here, Bruno, who is quite an accomplished blade smith himself. He was looking to try his hand at Japanese style blades, and was talking to me about it... he was going to start small (tanto, wakizashi), before moving onto katana... and simply couldn't get it. It was just that different to anything he was already doing.

    So yeah, I'd be very surprised to find anyone that would class as a local expert when it comes to Japanese swordsmithing. It's just too specialised a field.

    Quite a number of senior Iaidoka use shinken... that doesn't mean that they have to, or that a sharpened weapon for Iaito is the same as the sharpened weapon used for tameshigiri and batto-giri. So, frankly, no, you didn't understand what Hyoho was saying.

    No, they're not. Paul covered that later. At the level we're looking at here, such a person is not an option, as the items made by him (traditionally forged, fitted and finished) are going to be thousands of dollars... you are quite simply looking at the wrong end of the scale, and are looking for someone to provide something they don't do, at a price that doesn't exist... local or not.

    The thing is that you're not aware of the needs, requirements, or what the smith is actually providing here. And none of it is relevant to the OP's needs, the threads topic, or anything else. And yes, if it goes against the advice of those well versed, you should probably take their word and ignore the other options if they are, simply, not suitable... which is the case here.

    You don't know how to vet the guy, though. And neither does a new practitioner of Iaido. Hence, talk to your instructor.

    I will give you this, though... if the particular smith is known to the instructor, they have a personal, or professional relationship, knows the work of the smith, knows what the smith is capable of creating, and knows that the smith can work to the requirements of the school and the student, and then, the instructor recommends dealing with that particular smith, within the parameters given by the instructor, then, and only then, would it be fine to go to the local guy. You may notice that there is vetting happening here... but it's not by the student. Which means this all comes back to one thing... talk to your instructor.

    It's obvious that you're confused by the reaction you're getting Steve... but the simple fact is that you are not in any position to assess or ascertain what an expert is at all...

    What makes you think that's the case here? Seriously, when looking at a highly specialised field such as this, what makes you think general rules might apply?

    I feel the reason Brian emphasised the word "local" is that, firstly, it was used to describe what would be looked for, and secondly, when people are looking for a "local expert", they will go for what they think is the best they can get locally first... with the actual level of expertise coming secondary. And we end up with the situation here... where you are, for some reason, arguing in favour of a guy you don't know, offering products in a field you don't have any appreciation of, in an area you have no way of ascertaining any level of expertise or quality of... yet, you insist on arguing with the guys who do know this area, and are telling you what the pitfalls are.

    For the reasons already given, Steve. As Hyoho said, buying a shinken is a very personal thing... it needs to suit not only yourself, but your art (and it's preferences), as well as having a number of other factors coming into it... which is why he says that we look for smiths, not vendors. What he means by that is that the smith is important... not their location (Japan is preferred, mainly as there's a greater access to proper tamahagane, as well as a number of other factors). Smiths get known by word of mouth, and the best are sought out regardless of their location. A vendor is someone who simply sells a product... which is not what we look for.

    Of course, this is still completely irrelevant when looking at an Iaito for a beginner... which is one of the major points of not going for a "local traditional smith"... it's simply not suitable, nor good advice at this point.

    Steve, you have had a habit over the last year or two of thinking that, when you come into an area with little knowledge, and try to offer an ill-informed opinion, when that opinion is not upheld, it's because we're being to serious about it... or that we aren't following what you're saying. Let me spell this out for you. You do not have any clue what you're talking about here. None. We know the situation. You don't. We know the proper (accurate, appropriate) advice to offer. You don't. We know our point, and can see you not understanding it. This failing of understanding is on your side... as you're too caught up in your own self image of "common sense rationality" (how you see your arguments... even though, frankly, they often aren't) to be able to see when we are pointing out that you don't know what you're talking about.

    Your opinion is not only irrelevant here, it's potentially harmful. At the very least, it's a waste of time and effort, as we have to constantly counter your refusal to listen to the guys who do know what they're talking about.

    It does work for it's intended purpose. You just don't see what that purpose is.

    This.

    Although, I will add a little more to the reputation of David Goldberg. Yes, he does enjoy a good reputation as a sword smith... however, thats for the weapons he forges himself. He also sells a range of much lower end weapons (as part of the Skyjiro Forge company), which would be within the cost parameters of the OP... but are the cheaper, imitation style weapons that were cautioned against earlier... the budget cutters I was talking about. And, in those weapons, they are not traditionally forged, not made of tamahagane... in fact, a number of reports are that the blades are bought themselves from a lower end Chinese forge, and simply assembled with fittings by Skyjiro and Goldberg... which would be what the OP would potentially source from him, and are, again, not a recommendation... especially as they are, simply, not what is needed by him.

    No, Steve, the problem is that you are trying to argue on an equal footing with people who genuinely know what they're talking about. If you were actually not trying to imply some form of expertise in this area, you'd listen to what Hyoho, Paul, Brian, and myself have said, and say "okay, thanks for the better information. I wasn't aware of these potential issues". But no, you instead just keep asking, again and again, "but why not?".

    This is the same as your "expertise" threads... you asked a question, were given the same answer by many, many people, and kept arguing against it, and asking the same damn question over and over again. You can't get past the idea of what you think you know being correct. And sometimes, it's not.

    Do you seriously think that's the same thing? How many carpenters are in your town, Steve? Now, how many traditionally trained hand-forging, classical, 400 year old lineage Japanese sword smiths are there? An imported skill set with a highly specialised field and limited appeal versus a fairly common skill set? You think they're equivalent?

    No, Steve, you don't understand the comments or the topic. That's the problem.

    Crap, Steve. You've done nothing but run out of your lane here. You're still doing it. Your very method of posting, arguing against the advice, constantly trying to push your (completely uninformed) opinion through, is a way of implying some kind of authority/knowledge in this area. You have none. This is as far out of your lane as you can get.

    As far as not denouncing and sources, not directly, no... but you have argued against the advice given, and argued against the answers you were provided... which is a way of denouncing the answers given. So yeah... you have.

    I'm sorry, we refuse to listen? Have you actually read your own posts here?

    Ha!

    But you don't know how to vet anyone in this regard... so how do you know if there are any who would pass? And if you don't know that, how can you suggest it? Mind you... I thought you said you "knew some of the players"... but you don't know any smiths who are credentialed for Japanese blades, or the requirements for such...?

    We're not threatened, Steve, we're countering the bad advice you're trying to give with no clue what you're talking about. That's a bit different. And we're trying to get you to see that. And, hopefully, stop it.

    Crap, Steve. Neither Brian nor myself said that no local person would be competent... what we said was that that was not a good piece of advice, and I gave a list as to why. It should also be noted that you are now talking about two different things... the question was why not look to a "local expert" for an Iaito... and the fact is, there aren't any. That then went into a case study of David Goldberg, who doesn't make Iaito, but shinken (live blades), which is a very different thing, and. (at least more common) something that could be encountered... but not what was asked about.

    Once again, you're simply showing that you don't know the first thing about this area, and have no knowledge to base any comments on.

    Actually, no, they don't. A katanakaji (swordsmith) will do a rough polish... but that's about it. The toshigi (polisher) finishes the job, as well as finalising the shape, and bringing out the hamon line, and a number of other details, and is a specialised job in and of itself. The fittings are also commonly done by specialist craftsmen, with the tsuba, seppa, habaki, and so on by one person (sometimes just one person for the tsuba, someone else for the rest), someone else for the tsuka and saya... and potentially one more for the tsuka ito (handle wrapping), although that's often done by the tsuka craftsman as well.

    The unreasonable part is that you're ignoring the vetting provided by those people here who are credible and knowledgable... in favour of your own non-credible and knowledge-less opinion.

    The first thing is to gain some understanding of the topic, Steve. That's where you've fallen down, as you have none.

    No.

    What? No.

    Are you smoking something? This makes no sense whatsoever. No, not at all, you don't have any idea what you're talking about.

    Listen, how is there "community acceptance" for something personal to you? How is a custom, individually crafted, personal item, like a "club gi"?!?!

    Dude. You suffer from the same issue Steve does. You don't have any grasp or clue about the topic, and your opinion is just as lacking in validity.

    Talk to me about the difference in smithing methods and approaches, Steve. Talk to me about the requirements of Japanese blades. Tell me what the relevant methods of assessing quality is.

    If you can't do this, you are in no position to offer an opinion in this matter, as simply, you don't know what Hyoho is talking about. He's not talking in circles, he's just talking well and truly above your head.

    And, yet, you keep talking about a "local smith/expert"... who don't make Iaito... as you're still unaware of the difference between them, other than the lack of a sharp edge. Bear in mind, a shinken will have specific requirements for things like balance as well...which might be pretty much identical to the iaito, depending on the school, usage, and so on. But, despite it being "not a difficult point to get", you're still not getting it.

    Er... okay... not really the point, though. More that it's just not suited to the OPs request, so is not something that enters into the equation.

    There aren't any for Iaito. Why is that such a hard point for you to understand?

    Dude, you're talking crap about things you don't understand. None of this reflects reality. It is not "name brand" at all... in fact, it's not "brand" at all... which is what Hyoho was getting at when he said we look for a smith, not a vendor...

    Seriously... you don't have any idea what you're talking about. I recommend you stop.[/QUOTE]
     
  18. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Speculation that there is no one local would know what an iaido is. That's speculative.

    And, once again, I'm not trying to argue anything, Chris. I'm going between amused and confused at the fear and insecurity you guys have. But I have never suggested I am an authority on iaido. I've also not said anything that requires me to be an authority on iaido. From the beginning, I have tried very hard to say one thing: there may be someone around locally. That's it. And juany provided a good example.

    But I know that no matter what I say, you will tell me I've said the opposite. I think the above is very direct, but youll twist it around.

    So, please. Save it. I don't know if I can stomach your arrogance. Really. It's nauseating.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  19. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Do you want to try that sentence again?
     
  20. Juany118

    Juany118 Senior Master

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    I think, to an extent, that can apply to all bladed arts if you see it in a very specific way. I don't study Kali just because there are techniques in the art that are applicable to my occupation. I do so because in learning the art of the blade I am connecting directly to our past. If that is in you mind the process of getting a blade can be a very special experience.
     
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