is this sword decent???

lklawson

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Absolutely, Kirk. I personally think this has a lot to do with the fact that the sword was developed pretty much exclusively for the killing of other human beings, so it represents the power over the lives and deaths of other people (hence it being symbolic of so many kings/emperors/etc), as opposed to other weapons that were designed initially as hunting tools, and then adapted, such as spears, bow-and-arrow, knives, even rifles. But swords, like pistols, are not really suited to hunting due to their (relative) short range. But they are incredibly effective at seperating someone from their life.
In a lot of ways, there's a sort of cultural "feedback loop" on these sort of things. It's desirable and mythic because, umm... it's desirable and mythic. Over and over again, into itself. :)

Of course, you do know that that was not what MBuzzy was refering to, right?
I'm not trying to be a wang. I think that's probably not what Mr. Buzzy was referring to but I think it is an important factor in why the OP was referring to it. A wooden sword just doesn't have the same emotional impact as a live blade.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 
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lklawson

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I think you misunderstood me....I am 100% aware of the reasons why a sword should be steel....
I have no doubt that you do, and I'm not doubting your assertions and recommendations. But you're thinking of PRACTICAL reasons. I'm contending that an important driving reason behind many sword purchases, even for "serious martial artists," have less to do with practical practice and more to do with emotional reasons.

I am asking why the OP is so intent on getting a jingum (live blade)?
Yeah, I'm with you so far.

If it is only for Kata, as many other have said, a bokken or practice blade will do and he can get it at the cost that he's looking for.
And here's where I think we started thinking cross-wise. I contend that for many people, perhaps (even likely) the OP, practical reasons are not the sole motivator. "Real Swords" have a mystique that is, possibly, even more important to martial artists.

I have developed a very healthy respect for live blades through years of cutting practice
[nods]That'll tend to do it, yeah. And perusing the net's store of pics from "I was test cutting and it went wonky fast - here's a pic of what's left of my leg" doesn't hurt in that regard either. But, yeah, practical experience goes a long, long way.

and I firmly believe that you should use very strict judgement as to when you use a live blade. I do practice my forms with a live sword occassionally, because I think it is necessary, but not every time. Not even close. I still only use a bokken most of the time.
Sure thing. I agree that "live blade" practice shouldn't be promoted for the newbie. However, if you want to understand the weapon you're studying, at some point you've got to do some actual work with said weapon. Sure, start with wood/rattan/bamboo/whatever. Progress to blunts and "proper weight" blunts, etc. But at some point you've got to actually handle "the real deal" if you want to know your weapon.

At what point? Well, we all agree that "white belt" probably isn't it. Past that, it's really a matter for the student and instructor, right?

Another reason I ask is that I also train in Tang Soo Do and I realize that some schools do train weapons, but sword IS NOT a primary part of the curriculum - I would be surprised if it was even introduced before cho dan.
Many years ago, I also practiced TSD so I share your feelings.

It just doesn't seem like enough time to be practicing forms with a live blade to me. Even some of my most basic sword forms can be very dangerous to practitioner and observers if not done with care.
You and I agree that swords, improperly handled, can be dangerous. Same goes for most tools in our world I suppose.

You ask "why does it have to be a steel blade?"

For the same reason that the vast majority of people who walk through your door and want to learn a weapon will want the sword to either be the first or the end-goal at the very least. The same reason that people who go to one of my friends teaching Knightly Combat want to learn the sword. The same reason as fill-in-the-blank. You're experienced, you know all the reasons give and have probably had them presented to you personally umpteen times by now.

I'm honestly not trying to be a jerk. I'm just answering the question with unfortunate honesty. It has little to do with practical reasons and boat-loads to do with the emotional context of swords. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Ken Morgan

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Emotional impact? OK.

Look for partner practice a wooden bokken is best, for the simple reason that an iaito or a shinken will take damage to the blade. Also, regardless of what you think, when it gets down to it, sword is a hobby, we have to get up and go to work or school tomorrow, using anything other than a wooden bokken for partner practice is dangerous. It is a danger we do not have to subject ourselves to in order to learn how to use a sword.

For solo kata, use whatever you can afford and what feels right in your hands. I use a shinken simply because I like its weight and balance. I would gladly use an iaito if I could find my shinkens twin. (BTW I used a bokken for my first six months, then an iaito for five years and I have been using a shinken for the last six years). Sometimes in class I will start training with my iaito or my bokken for a few weeks just to get a different feel, especially if I am working on something frustrating. Ive cut myself more than a few times, and I dont want to do so again.

Rocket999, dont buy the sword you mentioned. Wait and save up your money and buy something much better from one of the sites everyone has thrown out to you. In the intern use a nice bokken. In the end, its the practicing thats important, not the tool in your hands.
 

Ken Morgan

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I have no doubt that you do, and I'm not doubting your assertions and recommendations. But you're thinking of PRACTICAL reasons. I'm contending that an important driving reason behind many sword purchases, even for "serious martial artists," have less to do with practical practice and more to do with emotional reasons.

Yeah, I'm with you so far.

And here's where I think we started thinking cross-wise. I contend that for many people, perhaps (even likely) the OP, practical reasons are not the sole motivator. "Real Swords" have a mystique that is, possibly, even more important to martial artists.

[nods]That'll tend to do it, yeah. And perusing the net's store of pics from "I was test cutting and it went wonky fast - here's a pic of what's left of my leg" doesn't hurt in that regard either. But, yeah, practical experience goes a long, long way.

Sure thing. I agree that "live blade" practice shouldn't be promoted for the newbie. However, if you want to understand the weapon you're studying, at some point you've got to do some actual work with said weapon. Sure, start with wood/rattan/bamboo/whatever. Progress to blunts and "proper weight" blunts, etc. But at some point you've got to actually handle "the real deal" if you want to know your weapon.

At what point? Well, we all agree that "white belt" probably isn't it. Past that, it's really a matter for the student and instructor, right?

Many years ago, I also practiced TSD so I share your feelings.

You and I agree that swords, improperly handled, can be dangerous. Same goes for most tools in our world I suppose.

You ask "why does it have to be a steel blade?"

For the same reason that the vast majority of people who walk through your door and want to learn a weapon will want the sword to either be the first or the end-goal at the very least. The same reason that people who go to one of my friends teaching Knightly Combat want to learn the sword. The same reason as fill-in-the-blank. You're experienced, you know all the reasons give and have probably had them presented to you personally umpteen times by now.

I'm honestly not trying to be a jerk. I'm just answering the question with unfortunate honesty. It has little to do with practical reasons and boat-loads to do with the emotional context of swords. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk

Interesting, but I disagree.

In my experience choosing a sword is based on practical reasons not emotional. To a newbie who has not idea what the JSA are about perhaps, but that quickly fades with everybody who has practiced more than a year or two.

I know plenty of amazing swordsmen who have never used a shinken before. You do not need to ever use a live blade in order to a good swordsman. Again, its not the tool that is important, its the attitude.
 

lklawson

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Emotional impact? OK.
Yup. That's why a lot of people want to take up the sword.

Look for partner practice a wooden bokken is best,
I do not disagree in the least. Partner practice with live steel is dangerous. It's hard enough to do with blunt steel. Live "edged" bladed partner practice is just freaking insanely STUPID.

By my point is to motivation.

for the simple reason that an iaito or a shinken will take damage to the blade. Also, regardless of what you think, when it gets down to it, sword is a hobby, we have to get up and go to work or school tomorrow, using anything other than a wooden bokken for partner practice is dangerous. It is a danger we do not have to subject ourselves to in order to learn how to use a sword.
I've never said any different and, in fact, have specifically said much the same thing elsewhere.

The question at hand wasn't "is two person partner practice with live steel a good idea?" but rather, "why does the OP want to use a steel sword for solo kata?" I firmly believe I have given the base answer.

In the end, its the practicing thats important, not the tool in your hands.
I can't fully agree. Yes, to a point, this is true. But at some point in the development, you must pick up the actual tool. There's only so many virtual engines you can rebuild before you have to work on an actual V8. There's only so many times that you can do dry-fire drills with your pistol (yes, it's important!) before you have to actually go to the range and put lead downrange. And if you really want to understand your blade, at some point you're going to have to pick up an actual sword.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

lklawson

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Interesting, but I disagree.

In my experience choosing a sword is based on practical reasons not emotional. To a newbie who has not idea what the JSA are about perhaps, but that quickly fades with everybody who has practiced more than a year or two.
I agree. But that's not what I was talking about. As I said, I'm talking about what motivates people to want to learn/use the sword.

I know plenty of amazing swordsmen who have never used a shinken before. You do not need to ever use a live blade in order to a good swordsman. Again, its not the tool that is important, its the attitude.
I can not agree. Yes, there's a lot you can do using various sword simulators that can help you improve. But if you want to learn to use a tool, at some point you have to actually use the tool.

There's a reason that mogito exist. If there was no need for them, then everyone would use boken or bokuto. But instructors recognized the need to train with steel blunts so they and their students could get an accurate "feel" of the blades.

It's the same reason that tameshigiri exists. Because if you want to understand how to cut with a blade, you have to cut with a blade. Cutting air, simply isn't enough. There are too many easy to miss problems that can occur "cutting air" which become apparent when test-cutting. (And, yes, if you don't understand how to cut and/or thrust with your blade, then you don't fully understand your blade.)

Please do not think that I am saying that two person drills are the right place for live blades. That is foolhardy. Even blunt steel blades should be reserved till after significant development with two person drills.

Nor am I saying that live blades are a great idea for solo drills. Blunts are better for this.

But I am saying that both blunt and live steel weapons are absolutely required for various elements of your training if you really want to understand the weapon.

Now, I think I've been pretty clear about my position and have laid out why I hold it, along with references to "real world" training. I don't feel like having an argument over it. If anyone wants me to clarify my position or answer specific points, I'll be happy. But, I want to quit before it turns into a pissing match.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Ken Morgan

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But at some point in the development, you must pick up the actual tool. There's only so many virtual engines you can rebuild before you have to work on an actual V8. There's only so many times that you can do dry-fire drills with your pistol (yes, it's important!) before you have to actually go to the range and put lead downrange. And if you really want to understand your blade, at some point you're going to have to pick up an actual sword.

Ok, so we disagree here.
I still don't think it is ever necessary to use a live blade ever in one's JSA's career. I know of many amazing people who have done just that.
 

Ken Morgan

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Now, I think I've been pretty clear about my position and have laid out why I hold it, along with references to "real world" training. I don't feel like having an argument over it. If anyone wants me to clarify my position or answer specific points, I'll be happy. But, I want to quit before it turns into a pissing match.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk

No problem. The JSA are a big thing, we each can have our own opinions freely.

BUT YOU"RE WRONG!! :)
......Kidding!!

My experience tells me otherwise, as does yours. I don't think there is anyway to prove one point or the other.

Take care,
 

Sukerkin

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:lol: Reminds me of the old joke about how many opinions you'd get if you asked ten Economists a question :D.

I'm sort of in the middle on the Shinken issue, thinking a bit like both Ken and Kirk (it depends on whether I have my 'student' or 'instructor' head on and what standard of swordsman I'm pondering :D).

I think that at some point the transition to live blade should be gone through as, from my own personal perspective, there is that 'emotional' difference between iaito and shinken that arises from that knowledge that it is a weapon, and not a simulacrum of one, that you hold.

Now that's something that's going to vary from person to person and I have no doubt that there are some that are quite capable of possessing the internal resources to 'feel' that sensation without having used a live blade. It is also true that once you have practised with a shinken it is possible to carry that sensation with you whenever you practise, whatever you are using.

That is what I have had to do with the changes in law regarding katana over here in the Land of the Overly Legislated :(.
 

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But I think that we are all united when we advise our new contributor that the last thing he needs to start with is a live blade.

After all, hands up here those of us who have cut ourselves in our training when we moved to shinken :hand in the air from me:. It was only the once due to misjudging how long the kissaki was whilst performing mon iri but that was enough of a reminder that edged steel permits no liberties or inaccuracies.
 

lklawson

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But I think that we are all united when we advise our new contributor that the last thing he needs to start with is a live blade.
Absolutely. This isn't the 15th Century. There's no need to rush training.

After all, hands up here those of us who have cut ourselves in our training when we moved to shinken :hand in the air from me:. It was only the once due to misjudging how long the kissaki was whilst performing mon iri but that was enough of a reminder that edged steel permits no liberties or inaccuracies.
Pft. I'll do you one better. I cut myself practicing rapid-deployments with a 3 1/2" "tac-folder."

And I only WISH I could say it was while I was actually practicing those deployments.

Nope. Not me. I gotta be different.

I'd finished my flick-opens and decided, "well, that's enough for today. don't want to stress it or push my luck." So I switch from my "tactiKool" open & close to a standard "two-handed safe close." I let the back of my thumb get over the mouth and the blade slipped from my fingers, spring tensions taking over.

Instant owwie. <sigh>

But I was able to take home a lesson. When I was actually "working" I my awareness on high. When I'd "finished" I let myself get foolishly lax.

At least I didn't get a scar from this one. :p

Still carry the knife though.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

MBuzzy

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I'm not trying to be a wang. I think that's probably not what Mr. Buzzy was referring to but I think it is an important factor in why the OP was referring to it. A wooden sword just doesn't have the same emotional impact as a live blade.

Here's the thing though - there are WAY WAY too many people running around with little to no sword training who just think swords are cool - that is the wrong kind of emotion here. Personally, I don't give two hoots about a sword's emotional impact unless a person is 1) a Feudal Warrior or 2) a TRAINED sword expert. In my style, you won't even TOUCH a live blade until you've been training for at least a year. After that it is under tight supervision. I just have to question why it is so important that it be a live blade and not a practice sword.
 

Flying Crane

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But I think that we are all united when we advise our new contributor that the last thing he needs to start with is a live blade.

After all, hands up here those of us who have cut ourselves in our training when we moved to shinken :hand in the air from me:. It was only the once due to misjudging how long the kissaki was whilst performing mon iri but that was enough of a reminder that edged steel permits no liberties or inaccuracies.


I can do you one better than that: I managed to stab myself in the shoulder with a SPEAR!!

Thankfully it didn't have a proper point or edge on it, but it does have a solid head on it. Ended up being just a scrape, but it left a scar.

Now if anybody asks about the scar, I just fix them with a steely gaze and say, "spear wound..."

I actually had a couple of training shirts that had holes in them from getting caught in the spearhead when I would flip the weapon backwards to grip it behind the head and stab behind me. It's in the Shaolin form that I practice, so it's a legitimate move. But my shirt was hanging loose and I stabbed thru it a couple times.

Hey, yeah, weapons can be dangerous to work with. Best to recognize some basic safety limits.
 

Ken Morgan

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In my style, you won't even TOUCH a live blade until you've been training for at least a year. After that it is under tight supervision. I just have to question why it is so important that it be a live blade and not a practice sword.

We don't have any rules on when you can use a live blade, generally it comes in around the four to five year mark and I know if you weren't ready for it Sensei would not let you practice with one.

I agree you don't need a use a shinken in order to be a real swordsman.
 

MBuzzy

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lklawson,

I think we agree in most of what we're saying - I do completely agree that the emotional aspect is WHY most people get into swords and why people want a live blade....I just personally think it is wrong!

The thing is - MOST people who show up and want to learn sword just because "swords are cool" and "I want to be a samurai" never last long enough to get a live blade. Temper that with all of the people that go on ebay and century and try to buy a cheap live blade to play with in their back yards - not that I'm trying to say that anyone here is doing that....it is just where my strong opinion on the subject comes from.

So I think we agree in a roundabout way!
 

OnlyAnEgg

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Temper that with all of the people that go on ebay and century and try to buy a cheap live blade to play with in their back yards - not that I'm trying to say that anyone here is doing that

ummm...I did.
Mostly, I play with my bokken, though
 

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