Shinwa vs Musashi vs other brands

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

  1. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Yes, your system/approach has a different mentality, that's what we've been telling you… you really don't have the first clue about this area at all, as you have nothing to compare it to, or anything to provide you with an actual frame of reference.

    Oh, for gods sake, can you please learn to read? No, that's not what the OP asks, and yes, we did answer his question. The OP is as follows:
    "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."

    He's trying to research the companies, and see how they compare to each other, and "other" brands… he never, not once, asks if we can recommend a sword. You're inventing your own questions. All he asked was for information on the two "brands", and for any other he was not familiar with. Which was answered on the first page by Flying Crane and myself, along with some very salient advice from Hyoho.

    My answer, for the record, was:
    (with regards to what the two "brands" are like)
    "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…."

    (with regards to if they are, in the OP's words, "good companies")
    "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."

    (with regards to any difference between the brands)
    "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."

    (with regards to "other brands")
    "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!)."

    The entirety of the OP was addressed, bit by bit. And none of your ideas, throughout the entire thread, are even hinted at.

    Honestly, the next post you make I can sum up as being completely irrelevant to the whole discussion, and is simply more evidence that you have no idea of the context of this discussion at all… but I'll go through it anyway.

    Not at all. I've just done a number of videos to another thread showing the variety of sword systems out there, and I've mentioned more than once that particular systems will have particular requirements of their weaponry. I personally train in a number of sword systems, and the sword used in one is not necessarily suited to another.

    Without at least knowing the intended usage, yeah, I'd hesitate to recommend any of those to anyone (and, really, I'm probably going to walk off on anyone asking me for advice on toilet paper…). I mean, I'm looking at possibly getting a new car next year some time… without knowing anything about my requirements, needs, or preferences, what car can you recommend is best suited to me?

    More realistically, though, this entire post, and your entire series of posts in this thread, read like someone asking for advice on makes of (Russian) cars, and you keep recommending a motor bike, as you think riding around the mountain is what you would do with one, without once stopping to understand even the question in the first place.

    Firstly, no, it's not a "very similar question". A sword is not the same as a knife, the usage is very different (one is a specialised tool for the study of particular, specific systems of knowledge, the other is a multi-purpose utility tool which has many practicalities in todays world), and the question by itself includes far more information about usage (survival knife).

    Secondly, due to those differences, it's much easier to make a recommendation, as there is less variation involved, and far more universality over usage itself.

    What does that have to do with the discussion here, other than the fact that you can't follow what's being said and why?

    You're still not being relevant, you know…

    Knives aren't relevant to here, nor is anything you "would recommend" for reasons that don't apply to this topic.

    As said, though, your opinion in this matter, due to having no experience, no knowledge, no insight, no understanding, and no ability to even read the posts correctly, is worth exactly nothing. Or less.

    We're being helpful. You, frankly, are not. Mainly because you don't know what you're talking about, and are confusing the issue entirely.

    Which means exactly what if what the sword is needed for is iaido? I mean, some of the basic traits of a "sword" that will "chop hard stuff and not break" is that it's heavy, poorly balanced, tip-heavy, thick, and more… whereas a sword for iai needs to be properly sized to the person (and the ryu-ha), well balanced, not tip-heavy, and more.

    So the question is, why do you think that your "usage" of a sword is even relevant to the OP's request and requirements?

    No, we've mocked idiots who have no idea of how to even hold a sword being put forth as experts, credible, relevant, or anything else other than a sad, sad joke.

    Knives are not swords. Knife makers are not, by any stretch of the imagination, good at making swords. A friend of mine (and former member here) is a highly skilled knife maker, and wanted to turn his hand to trying a sword, starting with a kodachi (short sword). He has experience in swordsmanship, Japanese arts, and making blades… but, after some experimentation and research, realised that, frankly, there's a world of difference between the two. A sword is not simply a much longer knife. So who the hell cares if they make decent knives? It's completely irrelevant to this thread, this forum, and this discussion.
     
  2. Felix Galt

    Felix Galt White Belt

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    No, 刀 means 'sabre'. 剣 means 'sword', in the sense of a two-edged sword. 刃 is 'blade'.
     
  3. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    OK. Since we're getting pedantic here, 刃 is usually used when referring to the cutting edge, not the entire blade. It is also used sometimes to refer to the blade of an electrical plug. 刀 is usually used when referring to a sword such as a daito (long sword) or katana. 剣 is usually used when referring to something having to do with swords such as shinken (true sword) or kendo.

    Hyoho could give more insight as he lived a long time in Japan and so is very familiar with the language. However the usage arguments don't really add to the discussion.
     
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  4. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hmm. No.

    Paul has already answered, but no, that's not correct at all, really (hmm… not a follower of Kacem Zoughari's odd ideas, are you?).

    刀, pronounced "to" or "katana", refers to a blade, not even particularly a sword… in Chinese, it's pronounced "dao", and is commonly used to refer to a knife… 剃刀 (kamisori, another "special" reading) refers to a straight razor used for shaving… 小刀 (kogatana) means a pocketknife… 長刀 is the old way of writing "naginata", although it was occasionally used to refer to particularly long swords as well, leading to a different character set being adopted for the weapon, 薙刀.

    剣, pronounced alternatively "ken" or "tsurugi", refers more to a sword (Chinese, "jian")… meaning a wholly assembled weapon, not specifically a "two edged sword" or anything of the kind. While it is true that the original kanji, imported from China, was their character used to refer to a double edged, single hand weapon, it was taken by the Japanese to refer to their own native weaponry. What you have to remember is that the Chinese written characters were taken and adopted to use for Japanese concepts and terminology… and, being such a context-driven language, things are rarely as cut and dried as you've made out.

    刃, pronounced "ha" or "jin", is a reference to the edge of the blade, rather than the whole thing itself. From it, we get terms such as 白刃 (hakujin), meaning a drawn sword, but literally meaning the white edge of the blade (hamon).

    As far as the word for "sword" is concerned, all of the following can be translated accurately as "sword"… and used almost interchangeably in many cases.
    剣 - ken/tsurugi
    刀 - katana/to
    太刀 - tachi
    真剣 - shinken
    刀剣 - token
    兵刃 - heijin
    長剣 - chokken
    大太刀 - odachi

    as well as any number of ryu-ha specific terms, as well as terms for speciality swords, or variations, such as kodachi etc.
     
  5. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    I'm glad you asked the first thing. No not if you were going to use it and didn't have licence. You might kill or injure someone. Maybe yourself.

    Patronizing? Not in the least. Just handing down what I have been taught over 51 years. It's very simple.... dont mess about with sharp objects. But mainly as I said somebody with no knowledge of Japanese sword arts hacking up water bottles has nothing to with budo whatsoever.

    As mentioned the use of the kanji is pedantic. Shown below in the pic is an original ken 剣 Found about 30 minutes drive from my home. There many swords but a Japanese sword is usually referred to as "to'. A bokken is a wooden sword but in Japan its called a bokuto shaped like Japanese sword. Even a Japanese who knows nothing about Japanese swords might refer to it as 'ken'. Ans of course some arts use the word ken like Kendo, Kenbu. Japanese like to play with Onyomi and Kunyomi giving double meaning to things.

    Tsurugi1.gif
     
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  6. Jameswhelan

    Jameswhelan Yellow Belt

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    Chris, what's your level of proficiency in Japanese? For example, what's you JLPT level? Or, how much immersion have you had in Japan?
     
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  7. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    Well the fact that just to buy or own a sword you have to go through all sorts of licensing and registration. Especially considering the fact that a sword by today's standards is a primitive weapon and nowhere near as deadly as say a full automatic. Sure a sword can kill but so can gazillion other things which are readily available and which you don't need to go through all sorts of licensing and registration to get. Where Im from they aren't so restrictive with primitive weapons but obviously in other parts of the world they are.
     
  8. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    As for what I want a sword for, I want a sword that is of the real kind that they use in the ancient Japanese arts of swordsmanship and that would function effectively as a weapon just like the swords used in such arts. As such, based on the responses on this thread I've come to the conclusion that neither Shinwa nor Musashi make such products. Also, I've come to the conclusion that there are multiple styles of Japanese swordsmanship and different styles require different swords. Iaido from what I understand focuses on drawing the sword and making quick attacks, basically it focuses on starting out with the sword sheathed. Then there are other arts which have different focuses. As it is I will have to do more research to see what different arts there are and what they focus on.

    As it is, I am not interested in cutting stuff such as bottles, tatami mats, trees, ect. It has been made clear that such stuff is not done with Japanese swordsmanship.
     
  9. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    The impression that I get is you have to sign up with the right instructor and be their little minion for years and if you are really good eventually they will let you own something sharp.

    This is for your own good and from now on outside influences are not allowed.
     
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  10. Jameswhelan

    Jameswhelan Yellow Belt

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    Try here:

    http://auctions.search.yahoo.co.jp/search?tab_ex=commerce&ei=utf-8&aq=0&oq=にほん&fr=auc_top&p=日本刀&sc_i=auc_sug_cat&x=0&y=0

    You can get some amazing things on yahoo auctions. Its kinda a meme in JSA.
     
  11. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    I have no idea where you get your information, but it is totally incorrect by any of the great many Japanese sword instructors that I've met. They tend to be a pretty welcoming and open group, for the most part. However, the arts that we practice have certain ideas and requirements that have been handed down from the days when swords were in general use, and students of the arts are expected to follow these requirements and adhere to the ideas if they wish to learn that particular art. One of my newer students had quite a large sword collection when he joined us. He's used several of his swords for tameshigiri so far. He has lamented that he spent so much money buying various Chinese made swords that have turned out to be not worth using. :)

    Sorry if you feel slighted because we dismissed your ideas out of hand, but they have no bearing on what we do or what we're learning so we're just not really interested in them.
     
  12. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    I was a bit slighted when I thought you guys were just duchebags but I understand that it is more of a cultural conditioning issue rather than any sort of free will on your part.

    I am sure the leader is a wonderful and charming man and I understand why an idea that has no bearing on what you do holds no interest.

    So what swords did your mate have that fell apart by the way?
     
  13. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    Oh no, we're pretty much douchebags, depending on who you ask. :) Also, we're definitely free will douchebags.
    The leader of the school that I practice can be seriously rude at times, but he absolutely knows his stuff.

    He didn't have any that fell apart exactly, but just holding together does not necessarily make a sword suitable for use. I've seen Chinese made swords that students have brought in that were dull enough you would swear they were deliberately made that way (Cheness, Huawei). I've seen several swords that had handle wrap that loosened enough that it rendered it unusable (Cheness, Hanwei, Ryansword, a couple of unknown brands) I've also seen a few that did not have the blade properly aligned with the oval of the handle (Cheness, Hanwei, Cold Steel, another unknown brand) Several Chinese made swords have had cracks in the handle from being forced onto the tang (Cheness, and a couple of others that I don't remember the brands). The Cold Steel swords that I have handled were all horribly balanced, much like a sharpened crow bar.

    Now several of these issues would not be that big of a deal for someone that wanted to cut things up in the backyard, but they all render a sword unusable for daily practice in a Japanese sword art.
     
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  14. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    Your slighted? There is no cultural conditioning. Just learning the technique of being at one with ones weapon and being able to test both user and blade in a correct manner. as we say "It cuts".

    Why dont you just go ask your local butcher how to cut? As I already said this post really has nothing to do with 'sword arts'.
     
  15. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    The local butcher uses cutting as a practical skill.

    Absolutely ask the local butcher how to cut. I have certainly asked local pig hunters how to kill things with knives.

    I don't think I have really touched on sword arts in the whole thread as it is only partly applicable. And would not want to be dismissive of an art form that someone enjoys regardless as to how pointless I consider the exercise.

    As far as I am concerned you are still just chopping a mat in half. I mean in my area we have this things called wood chopping competitions which take real skill.

     
  16. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    I slaughter and butcher my own livestock and have 4 hectares of trees. Sometimes clear 2000 sq meters by hand with two blades. If this thread is not about sword arts why even use a Japanese blade to hack things up. I dont.
     
  17. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think musashi said it.

    "People don't move to the beat of just one drum.

    What might be right for you may not be right for some."
     
  18. Felix Galt

    Felix Galt White Belt

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    Ok, so Ihave been waiting to see what the answer to this is. But since there has been no answer let us assume the answer is no proficiency. ;-)

    I speak Japanese at JLPT level 1 (highest level) and Mandarin and Cantonese professionally ("Chinese" :-/). You don't need to lecture me thanks.

    刀 is sabre. 剣 is sword (double edged implement); it is made up with the components 僉 and 刀. This indicates '[two] merged sabres'.

    Except originally, and in martial arts, it refers to a sabre. A single-edged weapon, hence 刀.

    Except originally it refers to a ritual implement used for tonsuring the Buddhist clergy. An object with a single edge, hence 刀.

    Except originally, and in martial arts, it refers to the Japanese short sword. A sabre. In either case, a single-edged object, hence 刀.

    Except originally this was read 'chokuto'. The (straight) sabre of the Kofun and Heian periods. Both things are single-edged objects, hence 刀.

    The naginata has one edge, hence 刀.

    a sword. Two edges, hence 剣.

    A sabre. One edge, hence 刀.

    A sabre. One edge, hence 刀.

    This word is Ideological, categorical and modern.

    This is the name for the field of study that includes all Japanese swords from all eras, single-edged and double-edged and even covers things that are not swords.

    This is like a poetic or a literary word for a hero's magic sword in the water margin.

    This is the modern Japanese word for medieval European swords. Two edges, hence 剣.

    A sabre. One edge, hence 刀.
     
  19. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    Unfortunately, this is a forum labeled Japanese swords and sword arts. We deal in what we train in every day, and often repeat what our Japanese instructors have taught us. We pass on that knowledge when asked, and your interpretations of it are simply that. If you object to what we were taught, then all I can say is perhaps you need to find an instructor in a legitimate Japanese sword art so you too can hear what we hear.
     
  20. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Okay, I stepped away from this thread for a bit (and the forum for a few weeks), but having been called back to it, might as well go back to cover some of the other stuff…

    Who cares what it's like where you are? Japan is it's own country, and they can govern however they feel is best for themselves. Frankly, this need to compare other nations ways of categorising and controlling weapons for their public citizenry with the (by all other standards) incredibly lax weapon laws.

    It really doesn't matter. If you want to buy a sword in Japan, you need to follow the Japanese regulations. And really, they're not that severe. Unless you insist on comparing them with a place where you can buy shotguns in a sporting goods section of a regular mall… you do know how that sounds to the majority of other nations, yeah?

    And you know exactly what that would be based on experience in…. what?

    For the record, if you want a sword that is "of the real kind that they use in the ancient Japanese arts", you will need a traditionally forged shinken… so… got a spare 5-10 grand? Of course, you do realise that many practitioners don't have any such thing themselves… so again, what do you want it for? You didn't actually answer the question, you realise… you said the type of sword you want (with little to no grasp of what you're actually asking for), not what you are wanting it for… which is a different thing entirely.

    Well, that will depend on what your answer to the question of what you want it for is in the first place…

    I'm sorry, what!?! You've "come the the conclusion" that there are varying forms of Japanese sword arts?!?!!? Seriously?!?! All by yourself??

    Dude. You've been told that since the first page and beyond. Hence the question, what are you actually wanting the sword for?

    Yes, Iai (and Battojutsu, and other terms) are largely about drawing the sword… but what does that mean if you're not studying Iai? And, if you are, then you don't need a shinken… so… again… we get back to what you are wanting the sword for?

    Bottles not so much… but tatami omote (tatami mats) are a very standard cutting wari (target). What is clear is that you have not taken on board anything that has been said, or followed the advice given.

    Say, here's a favourite clip of mine (for a couple of reasons…)… oh, look, cutting through tatami omote!


    And, in the interests of personal exposure, here's a shot of me in my first tameshigiri session a number of years ago… issues with my posture are noted, but hey, I had fun!
    [​IMG]
    Once again, tatami omote is the cutting material of choice…

    Er… what?!?

    No, it's not "cultural conditioning". Yes, we have free will. "The leader" is an idiotic character assassination attempt by you, and completely unrelated to anything anyone here has said. And the biggest thing is that your ideas have no bearing at all on this forum, thread, area, or anything else. You might as well be on a butchers forum discussing your favourite salad dressings… its' simply nothing to do with anything on this forum.

    Which is a completely different thing, unless you think the local butcher uses the mechanics and methodology, as well as the equipment of a classical Japanese tradition to prepare this weeks lamb cutlets. So while yeah, the butcher uses their cutting as a practical skill for his trade, it's not the same thing as we're discussing here.

    Garbage. This is the Sword Arts forum… it's completely applicable. You haven't touched on sword arts because you don't know the first thing about them. And you've fought back against any attempt to give you actual information.

    Really… "I thought you were duchebags…. (without) any form of free will… I am sure the leader is a wonderful and charming man…"

    But you weren't being dismissive. Right.

    One more time, this is the Japanese Sword Arts forum. As far as you're concerned? Dude… here, your opinion doesn't hold anything… you don't matter. Your opinion is completely irrelevant… it doesn't matter what it is "as far as you are concerned", because we're only concerned with what it actually is in relation to the topic and sub forum area.

    Wood chopping competitions mean nothing here.

    Your idea of butchers using cutting practically doesn't matter here.

    Your thoughts on what we do don't matter here.

    Until you have some clue of this area, your opinion doesn't matter here.

    You do realise that, when Hyoho talks about the founder of his ryu, he's talking about Musashi sensei particularly, yeah? You do understand that he's not the only practitioner of Musashi's system here, of course? You do know that making comments like that just show you to be a giggling school kid with no filter or desire to actually take on board the benefits of the experience and understanding available to you here, hmm?

    But you're not being dismissive… right…

    There are reasons I didn't answer James, not important enough to get into here (part of it is knowing who James is, and our history, part of it is that I wasn't around on the forum for a while, and didn't think it was important enough to bring back up again… of course, you seem to), but, if you want to feel the answer is "no proficiency", that's entirely up to you. I will say that my Japanese teachers don't actually actively get involved in the JLPT testing unless the student requests it, and I never have… so, for now, leave it at nihongo o benkyoushimasu…. clear enough?

    Good to know. You have, of course, taken on board the context of the conversation, yeah?

    That's the etymology, yeah… but that only shows the origins of the term, not the way it's currently applied… which is what we are actually discussing.

    Look. the thing is, if we're discussing the original usage and application of the kanji and terms, I have no issue with your take on things. But we're not… we were asked specifically to clarify Hyoho's comment that, in Japan, the term "katana" is not common… instead, the term "shinken" is used. Not what they originally were… what the usage is today.

    That said, there are just a few things to consider in your list…

    Yeah, sorry, but I'm going to take Ellis Amdur's word on how the terms for naginata developed, changed, and were applied, so…

    You may want to discuss that with Hyoho there… the form I was meaning (and taking it from) is his Kage Ryu Choken Battojutsu… Kage 1 you might want to check the kanji on the picture at the bottom…

    Finally, I'd like to point out that your own Facebook page, linked on your profile page, is entitled "Aikiken, The Sword of Aikido"… you have a picture on there of "O'Sensei's bokken"… surely, if you're going to be as pedantic as you are, you'd rename those to reflect "Aikigatana" and "bokuto", yeah…?

    I mean, we could also start to look at things like the Kogarasu Maru tachi (太刀), which is double-edged for the last third of the blade… so, should it be 剣 or 刀?

    Application of terms is based on context. I think you'd agree that Japanese is a highly contextual language, yeah, if you're Level 1 in JLPT?
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016

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