Shinwa vs Musashi vs other brands

Discussion in 'Japanese Swords and Sword Arts' started by PhotonGuy, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    Shinwa and Musashi both make Japanese style katanas. Now Im trying to research if they're good companies and how they compare to each other as well as other katana brands.
     
  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I have a couple Musashis, picked them up more on a whim than any other reason, I do not train in Japanese sword. They cost in the range of $150 to about $400, I think mine are $200 - 300 range or so.

    These are on the bottom rung of what is a real sword. Meaning: they are made from what I suspect is reasonably decent quality steel, and they are sharp. Yes, you could kill your neighbor with it, or your dog or yourself if you get careless.

    However, they are a katana clone, not a real katana. I suspect someone with a legitimate background in Japanese sword methods would find plenty of issues with them, in terms of proportion, weight, balance, construction, etc. that is all stuff I am not qualified to comment on.
     
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  3. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    Its best to get an instructor, do some practice then let him choose based on your height and reach etc. A good blade also is balanced in a certain way.
     
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  4. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Well… they're cheap SLO's (sword-like-objects) shaped in a way reminiscent of Japanese weapons… that's about as far as I'd go….

    Define "good companies". Do they treat their workers well? Are they ethically grounded? Do they make a good profit, and are a good stock market investment? Or are you asking are they companies that make a good product (not the same thing… McDonalds is a great company by some of the above criteria, but they're hardly going to be the first choice for quality dining, if you get my drift)?

    Figuring you mean the latter, it will really depend on what you expect to get for your money… personally, I see nothing of any appeal at all… but that's coming from my perspective and requirements.

    They're both cheap, and are designed more for someone who doesn't actually train with a sword, but thinks they're "cool"… realistically, there's not a lot to separate them.

    Most "katana" that come under a brand name aren't going to be quality, or overtly realistic when it comes to genuine feel, construction, and more. The reason is fairly simple… a brand (company) creating particular "models" of swords are, by necessity, creating a mass-produced item… and are going to suffer from the limitations present in such standardisation. Additionally, they are made to a particular budget… which never helps.

    When looking at quality swords, typically you're looking at the smith… not a company… of course, when you do that, you're looking at a genuine item, which changes the price quite dramatically.

    But the real question here isn't what the swords are like… it's what you want them for. A sword for iai is going to have a different requirement than one for tameshigiri… and one for an experienced practitioner will be different to one for a beginner… and one to just look good hanging on a wall is different again. If it's to be used, as Hyoho said, you should consult with your instructor… and, if you don't have one (in sword, which I don't believe you do), then get one before getting a blade (especially a live one!).
     
  5. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    Chris didn't know you had Dr Ah Loi Lee over there. I remember her from the UK back in the 70s at Iaido seminars.
     
  6. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hi, Watkins-sensei,

    Yes, Dr Ah Loi Lee is the technical director at the Keishinkan in Perth… however it must be clarified that I do not train under her tutelage, as I visit Perth every few months (next trip in November, all things going according to plan) to train in TSKSR there. Being 2,700km (1,600 miles) away, it's not a trip I can make each week, sadly… from what I understand, Dr Lee is teaching Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido (among other things), which I am also studying under a different teacher (and line) here in Melbourne…. on top of my other kenjutsu study and teaching responsibilities…
     
  7. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    Me neither. She used to help translating at seminars. First met her when she was helping the late Haruna Sensei MJER.
     
  8. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    I wasn't under the impression you were her student, ha!
     
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  9. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    I do have a sword instructor and I've posted his link here. Im trying to find other sword instructors to compare him to.
     
  10. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    Nope, you said that you DID some sword for about a year, not that you currently have an instructor. I also remember you stating emphatically that you would never buy a factory made sword, and yet here you are asking about them. :)
     
  11. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    As I recall, he wanted one of the magic swords sold at the Ren Fair.
     
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  12. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    I do have a sword instructor that I take private lesson with from time to time. In addition to swords he teaches all sorts of other weapons but when I posted the link to his school it resulted in unfavorable responses and so that's partially why Im researching what other instructors might be available as I want to compare him. Other than a wooden practice sword I would never buy a sword that is made by factory machines but just because a company makes swords doesn't mean they aren't hand forged. Shinwa claims to hand forge their swords and that's partially why Im asking about them here, Im trying to see if there's any validity in their claim.

    BTW I thought you had put me on ignore some years back.
     
  13. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    What do you need this sword to do?

    You can get sword shaped machetes that are sturdy enough to chop a tree down. Or cut some bamboo.

    Which is the direction i would head.
     
  14. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    Well I actually do regular jungle clearing. I came second in All Japan Championships so do have cutting skills Since I started some years ago I have experimented with different blades. A normal WWll gunto that are quite sharp although factory made and a nice meaty shoto that I still own and use for throwing practice. Then there are all the Filipino blades I use. The forging is crap but it has been the different shapes weights and lengths that interest me. I have and still do cut fairly large trees 5/7 cms bamboo and heavy jungle growth etc By far the best is the kukri shape that outperforms any Japanese shape. But of course the edge needs constant sharpening.

    There are basically two kinds of Japanese blades forged today. In Japan we dont use the word 'katana' So you can rest assured if anyone does its either not made there or its a foreign outlet. In Japan they forge "shinken". The variation is that some are used for Iai (Iaito). And other more meaty ones are forged for test cutting (tameshigiri) and batto jutsu. These are usually half polished (han togi) as highly polished blade tends to slip as it cuts The chinese produced passable blades too. It could be advantageous for more foreign blade makers to actually use people that "know how to cut". rather than some of the butchers you see on videos. There good blades out there. Foreign makers have no restrictions as they have in Japan and can use some amazing steel and decent machinery. You get what you pay for.
     
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  15. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    And i am assuming for something like chopping bottles in half in your back yard. A condor made katana will do fine.
     
  16. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    Made in El Salvador? Bit risky. Chopping bottles really isn't something I would do anyway. I use an opener.:confused:
     
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  17. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I keep a corkscrew handy for these needs.
     
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  18. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    When last you brought up your "training", you spent 8 pages avoiding the question, saying that you'd taken "some lessons in kendo, iaido, and kenjutsu", among your "talking to people who make and sell swords (at renaissance fairs)"… eventually giving a link to a group training in Tenshin Ryu, a modern invented, and highly dubious system created by Fred Lovrett, which you'd trained at for "about a year" (speaking in the past tense then).

    Is this who you're still training with? If so… yeah, you so far have exactly zero experience with Japanese sword…

    For reference, the thread is here: Canada makes good swords On the last page, we finally got a link to a school… which was not a promising sign…

    Oh, and for the record, here is a clip of the instructor at that school, flailing around a bokuto like he's trying to shoo flies from his face…


    There are some very good schools (one in particular) in the New Jersey area, which I've linked before, but I'm not about to give you the link… to do so would be to recommend you to the school, and frankly, I have no interest in doing that.

    But here's the thing I will tell you… it's not so much about the instructor, but what they're teaching (what system). Conti, teaching Lovrett's "Tenshin Ryu" system, isn't the issue… it's the system itself. By teaching a system that is so deeply flawed and lacking in legitimate usage and knowledge of combative sword work, no matter how good the instructor might be (given proper education), they will always be limited by the problems in the system. So don't look at instructors… look at what system the instructor is teaching.

    "Hand forged" is as much marketing speak as any indication of manufacturing methodology these days, it seems… here's the thing (and you've been told this before), a genuinely hand-forged sword will not have the consistency to create particular models the way that Shinwa and others do, and will start at around $5,000 for an unknown (new) smith… "weapons" at this level (Shinwa, Musashi etc) are never going to be "quality"...
     
  19. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    That's no fun.

     
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  20. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    Nice baseball swing. He can come and chop my firewood any day. Good job the bottle cant cut him back.
     

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