is this sword decent???

Brian R. VanCise

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Definitely listen to the advice of all the members here and purchase a booken, fukuro shinai and or iaito to train with. Then train for a long time under the competent eyes of an instructor and eventually when they recommend you to train with a live sword then and only then would be a good time to purchase one. Otherwise you are generally just throwing your money away on junk!
 

kungfu penguin

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mantis swords might have something you can use www.mantisswords.com you need to expect to drop at least 110-1500 bucks for a decent practice model notice i did not not say combat sword this is for practice only a bokken is a good bet for right now and if it was good enough for miyamoto musashi it ought to fill your needs too
 

lklawson

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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!
Fair enough.

And I don't disagree with the idea that pikers and people who aren't mature enough should be weeded out.

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!
Polite Discourse for the win. ;)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

lklawson

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Definitely listen to the advice of all the members here and purchase a booken, fukuro shinai and or iaito to train with. Then train for a long time under the competent eyes of an instructor and eventually when they recommend you to train with a live sword then and only then would be a good time to purchase one. Otherwise you are generally just throwing your money away on junk!
Hard to find anything to disagree with in this advice!

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

d1jinx

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curious as to why no one mentioned any hanwei/ paul chen sword? Reasonably priced and nicely built (I thought) but i have no real in depth experience with multiple cutting and demonstration with them.

I have only "wacked" at a thing or two, once or twice, but not enough to fully realize the reaction of the sword.

Is there an underlying problem with them that i am not aware of?
 

Ken Morgan

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curious as to why no one mentioned any hanwei/ paul chen sword? Reasonably priced and nicely built (I thought) but i have no real in depth experience with multiple cutting and demonstration with them.

I have only "wacked" at a thing or two, once or twice, but not enough to fully realize the reaction of the sword.

Is there an underlying problem with them that i am not aware of?

I've never seen a serious iaido person use one.
I've never held one.
I hear that they are good or hacking away at **** in the backyard but not for serious practice.
Just what I've heard, but i have no personal experience with them.
 

Sukerkin

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I have a matched daisho of Paul Chen live-blades (I refuse to call them shinken :D).

They are servicable, bottom-end, blades for people not overly concerned with their katana-shaped objects being all that true to the 'original'. I only used my Paul Shen katana regularly for about a year and the ito was horribly distorted and worn (compared to my Tozando Iaito, the ito of which has not moved a hair in all the years I've used it).
 
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rocket999

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Thank you for all the replies. I have a bokken I practice with quite a bit.

I have a couple of questions.

First of all, I can't afford anything over $300. I am looking for something I can use for occasional light cutting and for kata.

Now, keeping that in mind, would anyone recommend a good brand in that price range? After doing bit of research, it seems that Musashi is nice in this price range. Take for example the bamboo warrior katana. It is a differentially hardened 1060 steel blade that is double pinned. All the reviews say that is an amazing value. Why is it so cheap? I know people will say it is cheaply made, but how so?

What about a cold steel blade? They are $299, and looking at the promotional videos they look like they should cost more. Any thoughts on these? Does anyone own one? Would you recommend it? I have heard they are slightly heavy, but is that is the only problem there is with it? If it is, it looks really nice.

Any other brands you would recommend within my price range? I know it is tricky to find a sword in this price range, but I have been reading reviews and it seems to be possible.

Thank your any recommendations.

Sam
 

Flying Crane

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I own a Musashi, but I don't know which model it is. I really only bought it because a local shop was closing its doors and was selling off their stock at a discount. I figured, it would be kind of cool to have a "real" katana-style sword in my collection, and at the discount it made sense. But I asked around here on MT and got some perspective, so I knew what I was buying.

I do not have training with the katana, and I do not play with the sword. It actually lurks in the back of my closet, boxed up. It seldom sees the light of day.

The Musashis are made in China, and yes, they are "real" weapons. But that doesn't mean they are real katana. They are katana-like, real weapons. The blade is real, it is sharp, it has toughness in its own way, and it can hurt you or someone else. But it is not a true katana blade. It's a discount blade. It's not made to the same quality standards that a true katana is made, and it's made outside of Japan, by a not-Japanese swordmaker, so I believe that alone is enough to say that it is NOT a katana.

In my opinion, the Musashis are the bottom end of what you could call a "real" katana-like weapon. Will it hold up to actual use? I suspect so, for a while. But I suspect that the quality of the materials in the grip and whatnot (I don't know the Japanese terms) will probably not wear nearly as well as a high-quality piece. Japanese swords seem to have a fairly elaborate grip, when compared to a European sword. This creates opportunity for parts to wear out or fail, so quality materials and workmanship becomes more important.

It's certainly got a full size tang, it's not a rat-tail or welded piece. I doubt if it will snap or simply fly apart of you do kata practice, or some controlled cutting, tho I'd proceed with caution and work up to it gradually, so you don't place demands on it that it might not be up to.

The bottom line is, any long piece of steel with a sharp point and an edge can be a real weapon. But there is a wide range of quality among weapons. Some are cheap, others are expensive. Some are made with high quality materials and a lot of time and effort and skill on the part of a skilled maker. Others are slapped together quickly, without much regard to quality of assembly and fit and materials.

They can all kill somebody, including yourself if you are not careful or if you have an accident.

Any sword, even the best and the most expensive, can fail and can break or come apart, especially if it is abused or its maintenance was neglected, or it's used in a way for which it was not designed. If it breaks or fails, somebody, including yourself or the guy standing next to you, or your pet Fido, or the neighbor's toddler, could get hurt, maimed, or killed.

I'm not sure there is a complete or exact answer to your question. But maybe this will give you some perspective.
 

Ken Morgan

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It is a differentially hardened 1060 steel blade that is double pinned. All the reviews say that is an amazing value. Why is it so cheap? I know people will say it is cheaply made, but how so?


Any other brands you would recommend within my price range? I know it is tricky to find a sword in this price range, but I have been reading reviews and it seems to be possible.

I worked in the steel business for 10 years, 1060 is nothing special, the edge will dull very quickly. A 1080/1090 is a much better choice, but more expensive.

You can be sure the blades are stamped out, ground and machine polished. Maybe even eltro-plated. The fittings will be the same, mass produced in China or some like place.

For $300 I wouldn't buy anything. You may want to buy second hand, the drop out rate in the sword arts is huge, hence a great many almost new blades come up all the time.

Try the classified area at Sword forum http://forums.swordforum.com/
 

d1jinx

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I would like a 10 Body sword one day
icon12.gif
. Probably would cost a fortune though.
 

Sukerkin

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From the JSA perspective, or at least that of this particular parctitioner, if you are looking for a live blade to do serious kata work with, rather than investigate 'test cutting' on an occasional basis, I would be looking for a price tag of around 瞿1000 for the sword. After all, I would not intend to be buying another one for the rest of my life and to go cheaper is a false economy in the long run.

There are bargains to be had, of course, if you happen to drop into the market at the right moment. For example, I got my Tozando iaito for less than it's 瞿650 price tag because they already had a blade the right size for me from a cancelled order.

In the end tho', cheap is cheap and there is no getting around that.

As a side note to rocket, you sound like you have your head screwed on, good sir (and please do not take this the wrong way for I mean no slight) but if you are going to study the sword, most especially if you are going to cut, do it properly, not as an adjunct to your karate. If your karate sensei is also ranked in Iai or somesuch then that's a different matter - if he is not then he is really not suitably qualified to be getting his students whinging live steel around.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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If you have a booken then the next step would be to get a really good iaito. Sukerkin has given you a good link to Tozando and their are several other dealers out there. A decent Iaito would be in my opinion at least $400 and up with probably around $800 to $1,000 being pretty good. Then after practicing with a good iaito eventually buy a good shinken with your teacher's recommendation. Do not rush to playing around with a cheap live sword! Work your way up to it! ;)
 
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rocket999

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Ok then.

I actually have a cheap bull blade already, but it is time to upgrade.

So, are there any good brands of iaitos in my price range? Since I won't be striking anything with it, it seems like there wouldn't need to be as much worry about the blade. It should be fine as long as it is full tang and decent quality.

Any recommended brands?

Sam
 

lklawson

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curious as to why no one mentioned any hanwei/ paul chen sword? Reasonably priced and nicely built (I thought) but i have no real in depth experience with multiple cutting and demonstration with them.

I have only "wacked" at a thing or two, once or twice, but not enough to fully realize the reaction of the sword.

Is there an underlying problem with them that i am not aware of?
They're considered "Entry Level" and "Beater" swords. They're not "traditionally made" and, because of Chinese manufacture, some people distrust them. They're also not generally endorsed by Sensei's in japanese sword arts who, for varying reasons, usually have a preferred style or specific list of smiths/manufacturers.

The functionality of the Paul Chen swords really isn't at question for most people but many "serious" jsa students have quibbles with their weight, balance, and various dimensions and will pass over them for those reasons. FWIW, other many other lower-cost factory made japanese sword makers have the same "problems" for the "serious student" including the likes of Cold Steel. (The most charitable thing I've heard from "serious" jsa students about Cold Steel katanas is that they're "durable." The most common description seems to be that "they're pigs".) Even those few who will accept, reservedly, these factory made ken will usually stipulate that they should be reserved for only beginning students who can't yet afford something better and are not yet skilled enough to "feel" the difference of a good sword and a beater.

Proponents of these swords usually say that this response from "serious" jsa students is "snobbery" but, while perhaps true for some, certainly doesn't cover the breadth of the issues which divide opinion.

Personally, I would recommend the old standby "Ask your Sensei." You certainly don't want to spend money even on an "inexpensive entry level factory made" sword, like Paul Chen stuff, only to find your Sensei gives you a sour look and orders it out of his dojo. Those "inexpensive" are sill a couple hundred.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

jks9199

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Ok then.

I actually have a cheap bull blade already, but it is time to upgrade.

So, are there any good brands of iaitos in my price range? Since I won't be striking anything with it, it seems like there wouldn't need to be as much worry about the blade. It should be fine as long as it is full tang and decent quality.

Any recommended brands?

Sam
First -- I'm going to be blunt. WHO says it's time to upgrade? Are you training with an instructor who really knows the sword -- or somebody who's picked up a few things here and there? There's a world of difference... and your teacher really should know a few sources for you to find a decent blade to train with.

Now... if you can afford $300 today, why not wait a month or two longer, and save that $300, and add to it, so that you can afford a $400 to $500 blade? That's what knowledgeable people are telling you it would take for a bottom-tier workable blade. This isn't something to go cheap on... You'll not only not be able to train properly, but you'll endanger yourself and those around you.
 

MBuzzy

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Thank you for all the replies. I have a bokken I practice with quite a bit.

I have a couple of questions.

First of all, I can't afford anything over $300. I am looking for something I can use for occasional light cutting and for kata.

Now, keeping that in mind, would anyone recommend a good brand in that price range? After doing bit of research, it seems that Musashi is nice in this price range. Take for example the bamboo warrior katana. It is a differentially hardened 1060 steel blade that is double pinned. All the reviews say that is an amazing value. Why is it so cheap? I know people will say it is cheaply made, but how so?

What about a cold steel blade? They are $299, and looking at the promotional videos they look like they should cost more. Any thoughts on these? Does anyone own one? Would you recommend it? I have heard they are slightly heavy, but is that is the only problem there is with it? If it is, it looks really nice.

Any other brands you would recommend within my price range? I know it is tricky to find a sword in this price range, but I have been reading reviews and it seems to be possible.

Thank your any recommendations.

Sam

I'm sorry that we keep talking around your questions, but I just keep coming back to something here....Again - why does it have to be a live blade? My honest suggestion is that if $300 is the most that you can afford - WAIT. Think about it in economic terms....you spend $300 now for a subpar sword, which may be dangerous or have problems. Lower quality steel isn't going to stand up as well to cutting and need to be replaced sooner. Just wait, save for a few more months and get an $800 sword and make an exponential jump in quality. You will be VERY glad that you did.

In my organization, it is such a big deal that you are only allowed to use swords from Federation approved forges. They have forges that consistently supply bad swords, so they solved the problem...Your instructor will tell you when you're ready for a live blade and will help you buy it. That is what you really need, an instructor (A SWORD instructor...not a TSD instructor who also happens to know some sword), who is experienced to guide you through this process.
 

jks9199

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The teacher helping, along with Sukerkin's note about getting a deal brought something else to mind...

Japanese swords aren't one-size-fits-all. Ideally, you get a sword sized to you, with a grip length appropriate to your style. A difference of an inch or two may be all it takes to be able to perform some techniques properly... Again, a good teacher will know the blade length that's appropriate for you.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Okay,

If you are interested in a good iaito then Sukerkin has suggested
www.tozando.com. They are very well respected and I also know several people who are very happy with the iaito that they purchased through them. Here is a direct link to their iaito:http://www.tozandoshop.com/category_s/40.htm Understand that when converting from yen to dollars take the last two numbers off the back and move the decimal point two numerals forward.

瞼45,920.00 roughly = $459.20
 

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