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Katana

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Topic: Katana
Posted By: King Kang of Mu
Subject: Katana
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2011 at 08:07
To be honest I don't know much about Katana actually.  I just found a couple of cool clips so I thought read few wiki pages and hopefully learn some more from people who are interested in it. 


ok let's start out with a brief history.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/268469/a_brief_history_of_the_katana_sword_pg2.html?cat=37 - http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/268469/a_brief_history_of_the_katana_sword_pg2.html?cat=37

The art of sword making in Japan reached a pinnacle during the time known as The War of Onin(1467-1477). This was a period when civil war rocked the country and the armor and weapons created were considered superior even to those created today.

The forging of the katana could take many days and was considered a sacred art. Several artisans were involved in the fabrication of the sword. One smith would forge the blade, another would fold the metal and another would polish the blade. There were even specialists who attended to sheath, hilt, and tsuba (handguard). The most famous part of fabrication process was the folding of the metal. As the name implies, folding is a process in which the metal is bent over itself and hammered flat. The folding process creates multiple layers which increases the strength of the metal. The number of folds varied from one sword to another, but swords with more than 16 folds were uncommon . Each fold results in 2^n layers (n is the number of folds).
A sword folded 12 times would contain over 4000 layers......




Now we turn off the light and Katana porn time......bam chika bam,,,,

this is actually the first clip got me interested.  it's an experiment(?) done by a japanese tv but this clip must be from korean rebroadcast. it has korean subtiles.  i don't think you will need a subs though, it speaks for itself.

Katana vs
.50 Caliber Machine Gun
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9b1rnHdq3Rs - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9b1rnHdq3Rs

although it looked like the machine gun just annihilated Katana at normal speed, when they slowed it down, you can see it took 6 bullets before it finally broke off!   and imo it only took 7 bullets because the gun was aimed at same spot.  you can see each shot it took, the metal gets pushed in compacted and cracked, loses its sharpness and no longer able to split the bullet.  had each shot been aimed to hit different spots it would have taken much more than 7 bullets imo.



next clip is off of one of those either history channel or military channel shows. 

Japanese Katana VS European Longsword - Samurai sword VS Knight Broadsword


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDkoj932YFo - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDkoj932YFo

i don't think these demonstrations are as accurate reflection of their effectiveness in a fight, considering difference in usage of, tactics, armors(weight and mobility), shields(huge difference here), even average physical statue of soldier who might have used them, etc.   but still entertaining and says lot about their design and effective way to maximize that design, or design to maximize certain effect.



last clip is to bring make my post bit more historic and respectable....Big smile

Japan's most famous Katana swordsmith 小林力夫 Kobayashi




well i hope you enjoyed them.  tell me if you noticed something i didn't mention or something to add to them or want to correct something.  and if you have a question, i won't be much help, but someone around here will be.....Smile







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Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought.

Milan Kundera



Replies:
Posted By: Flipper
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2011 at 08:33
Hah! What a coincidence! In the past weekend I was watching a documentary on  Japanese Katana VS European Longsword. In that case both seemed equally effective, however the experts were going for the Katana. The process of making one is amazing. The thin line between soft and hard steel, the techniques of grinding etc.


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Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2011 at 08:51
I have a special favoritism for European long swords, given those were the weapons of the Cid.




Posted By: King Kang of Mu
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2011 at 09:03
Originally posted by Flipper Flipper wrote:

Hah! What a coincidence! In the past weekend I was watching a documentary on  Japanese Katana VS European Longsword. In that case both seemed equally effective, however the experts were going for the Katana.
  
hi, Flipper,
 
ya, i was trying not to sound like another 'vs' thread, but with two 'vs' clips on my first post, i made it unavoidable.Smile   but like my comment following th 2nd clip, that i feel there are limits to these kind of comparisons that designed to measure the effectiveness somehow.  a weapon's effectiveness is not solely based on just the physical properties of the weapon, like hardness of material or shape, size, weight, etc.  if anything the skills and familiarity of the user makes biggest difference than anything else if you ask me.  but having said all that history is full of one group of people developing new ways to make harder swords and evetually conquering neighbors with not-as-hard swords.  so it matters.  but still the interpretation can be subjective. 
 
Originally posted by Flipper Flipper wrote:

The process of making one is amazing. The thin line between soft and hard steel, the techniques of grinding etc.
 
that's what i'm interested in  more too.   hopefully i can tell you more about it in few days.....Wink


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Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought.

Milan Kundera


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2011 at 09:10
We should remember that the Katana was designed to combat against light soldiers while the long sword was used to kill knights in full armor.

Aren't we comparing different things?


Posted By: King Kang of Mu
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2011 at 09:22
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

We should remember that the Katana was designed to combat against light soldiers while the long sword was used to kill knights in full armor.



yes.... i would agree....that's why i mentioned armors and shields on my first post.  especially shields, i can't remember seeing any samurai shields.  if there are some ninja shields i wouldnt be surprised but.....   and that makes huge difference i think.  with longswords you need to able to deliver blunt trauma as well as cut through to push through all those layers of armors and shields whereas katana is almost solely designed for cut through.

Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:


Aren't we comparing different things?

that's fine, pinguin. i was just stating my personal interest.    the purpose of the thread is to learn more about katana, and if comparison is a method we choose then so be it.Smile


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Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought.

Milan Kundera


Posted By: King Kang of Mu
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2011 at 09:42
i should also mention that lot of Katana moves(if not most) involve two hand cutting stroke with intricate foot works.  many of those moves aren't just possible if they had to fight with heavy shield and armor regardless whether they had Katana or wal-mart machete.

i'm looking up some more info on samurai shields but only thing i can find so far is some replica merchandises which makes me wonder if these are based on any historic evidence at all.  anyone have any more info on that, i would appreciate it.....Smile 


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Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought.

Milan Kundera


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2011 at 11:08
I found a video that shows long swords also cut well.




Posted By: Joe
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2011 at 11:09
How sick though would it be to have a WW2 Jap officer katana? Seriously.Those things are still sharp as hell and are only 600(give or take a few hundred) dollars. I'd pay six hundred of a historical sword that still works in the way it was suppose to.


Posted By: King Kang of Mu
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2011 at 11:36
cool, pinguin.  it seems like different type of longsword is used too, bit shorter and gets wider toward the handle too which would make them less bendable and more leverage at the tip.   looking at the attire, maybe early italian renaissance period? not sure.....

speaking of different types of long swards,  i did find an article that lists all different types of katanas chronologically. (both katana and katanas are accepted in as plural in english because it doesn't have a plural word in original japanese).

http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Japanese_Swords - http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Japanese_Swords   



http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Image:Sugata_history2.gif">Image:Sugata_history2.gif
 
 
 
 
 
P.S.
a timeline to go along with above chart, from the same article.
 
 
 
Academically, Japanese swords are divided in periods as follows :
  • Jokoto      pre-938,
  • early Koto      938 ~ 1319,
  • middle Koto       1319 ~ 1460,
  • late Koto       1460 ~ 1596,
  • Keigen-Shinto       1596 ~ 1624,
  • Kanei-Shinto       1624 ~ 1658,
  • Kambun-Shinto       1658 ~ 1684,
  • Genroku-Shinto       1684 ~ 1764,
  • early Shinshinto       1764 ~ 1818,
  • middle Shinshinto       1818 ~ 1854,
  • late Shinshinto       1854 ~ 1868,
  • Gendaito      1868 ~ today.

  

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Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought.

Milan Kundera


Posted By: Joe
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2011 at 11:39
The real question is are you willing to respect the weapon for what it is? Its not a toy or an ornament you hang on your wall or even a historical questions it was designed for cutting people into pieces.


Posted By: Guest
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2011 at 11:55
R. Lee Emery is hilarious, i like watching his shows. By the way, what happened to the blond in the third video? I thought she would model the sword in a sensual way by the time they were finished? Big smileWink

Anyways... I had a purely Hollywood stylized show piece Ninjato/Ninjaken/Shinobigatana at one time. It was pretty to look at, but not one of my prize memorabilia in my old knife and sword collection. That would have been the reserved for a traditional Katana. Unfortunately for my teen years, my parents were concerned about the expenses in procuring one and as well as my making it out of those years in one piece, literally!

As for Samurai shields, i am not very aware of that either, but i would tend to think that if carried then the shields primary use would have been probably against the effects of arrows rather than the slicing power of the Katana as evidenced in the videos.


Posted By: Joe
Date Posted: 26 Feb 2011 at 12:47
http://www.coldsteel.com/japanwarrior.html - http://www.coldsteel.com/japanwarrior.html

This company sells Katana swords which aren't accurate in the sense that its exactly what was used by Japanese warriors. The sword however is extremely sharp and is characterized as designed for a man of average height of 5'7" to 6' and a "heavy chopper" which some say is a pro and a con. So apparently cold steel isn't for everyone but if you bought a katana with the intentions of actually killing people this would be the one to get. The metal is said to be exceptionally strong as well. I read several reviews and watched their promotional vids and they appear to be what they say; a sword that could chop stuff into pieces.



I think it does what they claim. Some of what they cut up is cardboard or bottles. The sword however does cut meat and bone in one or two slices and it stabs through a metal barrel. They even put the sword on a piece of wood and do pull ups with it. It'd be interesting if ALL their swords are the same quality.





Posted By: opuslola
Date Posted: 27 Feb 2011 at 10:49
Please everybody, do not ever carry one of these swords to a gun-fight!Angry
I just thought that I'd give the warning that our current governmental mother society would give it!

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"History, a distillation of rumour."-Thomas Carlyle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Carlyle


Posted By: Joe
Date Posted: 27 Feb 2011 at 13:19
Imagine though using a katana though? Imagine just slicing through a guys body; bones breaking muscles tearing, blood going and so on splashing everywhere. If a person has a pistol fifteen to twenty feet away and you have a sword or a knife and charge them you will kill them. It takes long to take the gun out of the holster and fire and than it does for someone to sprint like 2-3 yards and stab somebody. Though the obvious is true "don't bring a sword to a gun fight". With a correct katana I can cut of  your head off, your arms, your legs slice almost all the way through you midsection. I probably could stab the blade clean through your body and With a katana sword i could theoretically dismember you in under a minute. With an ak 47 i could kill you from 100-300 yards away with two bullets in a second.


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 27 Feb 2011 at 13:56
You should consult a psycologist. These obsesions you have may lead you to the dark side of the force.


Posted By: Joe
Date Posted: 27 Feb 2011 at 14:06
You could cut a guy to pieces in under a minute. Imagine doing that in front of a group of people? They'd be so shocked and afraid. The katana truly has power.


Posted By: King Kang of Mu
Date Posted: 27 Feb 2011 at 14:18
 
 
Originally posted by opuslola opuslola wrote:

Please everybody, do not ever carry one of these swords to a gun-fight!Angry I just thought that I'd give the warning that our current governmental mother society would give it!


Originally posted by Joe Joe wrote:


If a person has a pistol fifteen to twenty feet away and you have a sword or a knife and charge them you will kill them. It takes long to take the gun out of the holster and fire and than it does for someone to sprint like 2-3 yards and stab somebody. Though the obvious is true "don't bring a sword to a gun fight". With a correct katana I can cut of  your head off, your arms, your legs slice almost all the way through you midsection. I probably could stab the blade clean through your body and With a katana sword i could theoretically dismember you in under a minute. With an ak 47 i could kill you from 100-300 yards away with two bullets in a second.


I can see that at some situations, like in small space and short distance apart, a sword and the skill to use it could be more effective than a gun  but in general terms i have to say guns are more effective than any swords.

actually one of the best example would be actually Imjin War between Joseon Dynasty of Korea and Hideyosi era Japan.  Of course it wasn't guns vs Katana per se.  I would say perhaps by 15th century and onward Japanese Katanas were better than most of Korean swords if not even earlier.  It was Japanese matchlock vs Korean swords and bows.  I actually looked up to see what Western type of gun they modeled after but no success yet.   My guess would be Portuguese but i don't know. 

http://www.japanese-guns.com/ - http://www.japanese-guns.com/
 
above guns are modern day replicas by Japanese artisans I think.  and I think they are  Edo period models though, so the ones that used in Imjin War might be proto types of these. 
 
http://yisunsin.prkorea.com/battle3.htm - http://yisunsin.prkorea.com/battle3.htm
 
that site is actually Yi Sun Sin site so those three might be from Imjin War. 
 
 
Either way it wasn't Katanas that won the battles for Japanese on the land.  It was these muskets.  Josoen might have had a small experimental elite unit armed with Ming muskets but I think that was very rare if they even had it at all.   actually that might be a good thread, weapons of Imjin War by Japanese, Koreans and Chinese.   


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Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought.

Milan Kundera


Posted By: King Kang of Mu
Date Posted: 27 Feb 2011 at 14:23
Originally posted by Joe Joe wrote:

Imagine though using a katana though? Imagine just slicing through a guys body; bones breaking muscles tearing, blood going and so on splashing everywhere.


aye, Joe.....why am I  not surprised that you would being so descriptive(?) about it at some point?Tongue   hehehe   just teasing ya. 

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Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought.

Milan Kundera


Posted By: Guest
Date Posted: 27 Feb 2011 at 14:27
That is some imagination you have there Joe, uh-huh... Of course, it only stands in reasoning that you obviously wouldn't condone it, right? If i may be so bold, you really need to be adding some caveats for a few of your posts.


Posted By: King Kang of Mu
Date Posted: 27 Feb 2011 at 14:47
oh here is a PBS docu called Japan: the Memoirs of a Secret Empire to go along with this thread when you guys bored.  bit of 'Orientalist' tone like many of these Western docus on 'East' still, but still a good docu I thought.     I will upload the first episode and link the playlist.  3 episodes total about hour each.

 

http://www.youtube.com/show?p=BcRMz-jlw8Y&s=1 - http://www.youtube.com/show?p=BcRMz-jlw8Y&s=1


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Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought.

Milan Kundera


Posted By: Joe
Date Posted: 28 Feb 2011 at 02:15
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

That is some imagination you have there Joe, uh-huh... Of course, it only stands in reasoning that you obviously wouldn't condone it, right? If i may be so bold, you really need to be adding some caveats for a few of your posts.

Thats what the Katana was made to do though. LOL You might need one when the zombie apocalypse comes.


Posted By: es_bih
Date Posted: 28 Feb 2011 at 03:48
Originally posted by Joe Joe wrote:

Imagine though using a katana though? Imagine just slicing through a guys body; bones breaking muscles tearing, blood going and so on splashing everywhere. If a person has a pistol fifteen to twenty feet away and you have a sword or a knife and charge them you will kill them. It takes long to take the gun out of the holster and fire and than it does for someone to sprint like 2-3 yards and stab somebody. Though the obvious is true "don't bring a sword to a gun fight". With a correct katana I can cut of  your head off, your arms, your legs slice almost all the way through you midsection. I probably could stab the blade clean through your body and With a katana sword i could theoretically dismember you in under a minute. With an ak 47 i could kill you from 100-300 yards away with two bullets in a second.

Actually, they were designed to stab, and if you actually study early warfare you'd see that not everyone just died all the time. Or most especially was cut into a million pieces for "fun."

But yeah, just got see a shrink dude, its highly recommended... or grow up, or better yet get laid, it helps a lot. 


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Posted By: Joe
Date Posted: 28 Feb 2011 at 03:50
Originally posted by es_bih es_bih wrote:


get laid, it helps a lot. 


It does, but I'm also a dude so imagining what a "sword could do" is comes with the territory. I did address stabbing and saw how many of the modern functional swords sold by companies like Cold Steel could stab through a car hood or a metal barrel with ease and a hard thrust. There is unbelievable amounts of functional katanas being sold but there is also many cruddy ones. Like bad ones that are layered and your "just better off" buying a machine made blade. Though apparently Hanwei and Cold Steel are the best "beater swords" that aren't exactly accurate but do what their billed as a sword made to kill or as they say "functional". A sword isn't some stupid ornament you buy at the mall and leave on your wall forever.


Posted By: Shingen The Ruler
Date Posted: 01 Mar 2011 at 07:37
Originally posted by King Kang of Mu King Kang of Mu wrote:

I can see that at some situations, like in small space and short distance apart, a sword and the skill to use it could be more effective than a gun  but in general terms i have to say guns are more effective than any swords.


You also have to take in account the fact that it does not require much training to be deadly with a firearm, relatively speaking. This is one of the main reasons why firearms replaced swords, naginatas, spears and bows and arrows on the Japanese battlefield.

An ashigaru teppo unit with little training was more effective than the highly trained sword or bow and arrow units that predated them.


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 01 Mar 2011 at 08:34

Joe, you are over-signifying the sword as a tool. A pistol is a tool. A sword is something more. The main reason for a pistol/firearm is to kill the enemy. The reason for a sword (for a Japanese nobleman) was to learn to know oneself, if I can put it as crudely as that. 



Posted By: Joe
Date Posted: 01 Mar 2011 at 09:52
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Joe, you are over-signifying the sword as a tool. A pistol is a tool. A sword is something more. The main reason for a pistol/firearm is to kill the enemy. The reason for a sword (for a Japanese nobleman) was to learn to know oneself, if I can put it as crudely as that. 


Slightly true but not necessarily. I could practice for years Kenjutsu and Iaido and adsorb those "ideas" but really it comes down to precision and ability as well as an ability to kill. I've been reading a lot about Samurai sword training and samurai recently. So I'll have to examine the religious "journey" aspect of Katana training.


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 01 Mar 2011 at 10:32

Well, the fact that you refer to the 'katana' where I refer to the 'sword' already tells me that you are taking a very narrow view. It's not only about the single sword that you could hack/stab/slash with, it's first about the craftsmanship that goes into the construction of the blade, then it's about the man who wields the blade, and thirdly it is about how to wield the blade. 

Everyone (you understand what I mean) can kill with a sword. The art and beauty of the sword lies not in killing with it, but in achieving a higher spiritual existence. The true master of the blade is not the one who kills a thousand men, but the one who wins every fight without unsheathing the blade. 

I am quite heavily borrowing from Yagyu Munenori in this, but as well as I can remember, Yamamoto Tsunetomo is on the same lines in his writings, as are Miyamoto Musashi and Lafcadio Hearn (who, despite not being a Japanese nobleman, has still written down worthy notes about the soul and spirit of the Japanese person). To a lesser degree, you find the same motive apparent in the poems of Nogi Maresuke (that he wrote during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05), and I would say that the majority of the zen buddhist monks also have the same line in mind. 

Therefore, even if you practice all the different martial arts forever, you would not achieve anything that's worth achieving unless you took the trouble of putting your mind to the problem. Again, it's never the killing that's the problem, the problem always lies in living. 



Posted By: Joe
Date Posted: 01 Mar 2011 at 11:45
Yeah but if you have that killer instinct and your highly trained your a force to be reckoned with. If my memory serves me correctly though and yes I am having a "narrow view" of swords as we were talking about the Katana and "killing people with it". I could for one bring up the Gladius. I could buy a gladius and stab a guy about three inches in with a gladius. Thats a killing wound with such a sword as they are quite wide. There is no "special" religious aspect to training with a gladius. It could be said in the similar fashion with Japanese sword training ideals that its a "group ideal" rather than an actual one. . Why would you train with a katana or a gladius or any other sword if your not ready to kill. I understand being diplomatic and such is best but why train with such weapons if your not willing to kill?

If I've killed a thousand opponents with a sword. That is a thousand deaths by my hands with the said weapon. I'd say thats more valuble than training my whole life to never do anything. A man can find a spirit in violence and many have. I bet more samurai in times past were obsessed with their fighting and battle abilities rather than being "diplomatic". They were allowed to kill people for "disrespect" or if somebody owned a katana. So the samurai weren't exactly the sharing kind when it came to their "swordsman journey" were they?


Posted By: Guest
Date Posted: 01 Mar 2011 at 14:20
Originally posted by Joe Joe wrote:

Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

That is some imagination you have there Joe, uh-huh... Of course, it only stands in reasoning that you obviously wouldn't condone it, right? If i may be so bold, you really need to be adding some caveats for a few of your posts.

Thats what the Katana was made to do though. LOL You might need one when the zombie apocalypse comes.


Oh well, a zombie apocalypse, huh? Why didn't you just say so! Why use a Katana when i can very well just stick with the specifically modified for my car, GAU-8 avenger 30mm Gatling, thank ya very much! Whoo-hoo Big smile


Posted By: King Kang of Mu
Date Posted: 01 Mar 2011 at 19:45
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:


Oh well, a zombie apocalypse, huh? Why didn't you just say so! Why use a Katana when i can very well just stick with the specifically modified for my car, GAU-8 avenger 30mm Gatling, thank ya very much! Whoo-hoo Big smile

 
LOLLOLLOLLOLLOL

very funny panther.    I think Joe meant you need to severe their heads or spine to kill it which you might need few shots without perfect accuracy.  but then again you don't need much accuracy with Gatling.  but good luck to ya when they get close......Tongue
 
 
 
Originally posted by Joe Joe wrote:

A man can find a spirit in violence and many have. I bet more samurai in times past were obsessed with their fighting and battle abilities rather than being "diplomatic". They were allowed to kill people for "disrespect" or if somebody owned a katana.


there is something to that statement.  i was watching this movie called Last Castle with Robert Redford.   His character was court marshaled commander in military prison and he was teaching his fellow inmate how to salute.  And he said something like it originated from medieval knights.  before they went on the battles(mostly duels I would assume), they lifted the visors of their helmet to see each other eye to eye, to acknowledge each other, to give respect to what you are about to kill.  You can see these kind of metaphors in movies like Avatar or some other new ageism, or environmentalism, cultural/ethno diversity arguments also, even among modern day hunters actually. those are  aspects that i do appreciate to a degree.   But in practical condition, defining what is respectable means also defining what is disrespectable which can easily turn into an excuse for violence. 
 
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

it's first about the craftsmanship that goes into the construction of the blade, then it's about the man who wields the blade, and thirdly it is about how to wield the blade. 

Everyone (you understand what I mean) can kill with a sword. The art and beauty of the sword lies not in killing with it, but in achieving a higher spiritual existence. The true master of the blade is not the one who kills a thousand men, but the one who wins every fight without unsheathing the blade. 

those statements are very true too Rider.   often it's the mental game that decides fight and sometimes just by how you walk into the fight the fight is already decided and there is no need.   and that's even nothing to do with metaphysical spirituality, just being aware of one's ability and surrounding at all times.  but just that in itself has much spiritual connection like being in a subconsciously awaken state.  you become more sensitive to little noises around you or you sense the danger ahead and so on.

 
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

 it's never the killing that's the problem, the problem always lies in living. 

 
omg, that statement is so epic that i want to frame it!   it's kind of statement that so perfect as it is that i don't even want to break it down actually.
 
Well done, Rider!
ClapClapClapClap
 


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Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought.

Milan Kundera


Posted By: hugoestr
Date Posted: 01 Mar 2011 at 22:26
Pretty nice post, Rider.

Although it is worthy to mention that this kind of perfection through craft seems to be something that Japan has and applies to practically anything.

The ritualized forms are actually an amazing teaching tool, since a form has a lot of built-in instruction in it. That is something that I believe is worth emulating.


Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 01 Mar 2011 at 22:40

Even a gladius is something more than just a weapon. True, the Romans never attested a special value to the gladius, but this is not to say that they did not appreciate the spiritual aspect. Indeed, there is very much evidence that they did appreciate it. Take for example the quote by Metellus Scipio who said 'Imperator se bene habet', or 'Your commander is alright.' when he had a dying wound even though he'd been a total coward in his life.

You might think it's all "cool" and "hip" to just charge with the sword, but there's more to it. Even in Kurosawa's 'Seven Samurai' you've got a scene where the reckless man loses while the calm one wins. And the battle was decided before either drew the sword. 

Originally posted by Joe Joe wrote:

Why would you train with a katana or a gladius or any other sword if your not ready to kill. I understand being diplomatic and such is best but why train with such weapons if your not willing to kill?

Why do you go running if you're not going to participate in a marathon? Why sail if you're not going to sail around the world? Being diplomatic is indeed the best, but you are confusing this with what I am saying. It is not about training to kill. It is, first and foremost, about training itself. The act of training and improving.





Posted By: Joe
Date Posted: 02 Mar 2011 at 07:30
The same could be said about the modern military.

"This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My rifle, without me, is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me."


I understand there's a spiritual attachment and awareness gained from training in such deadly arts but also arrogance, greed and anger can come from them as well. I feel its fickle to associate a spiritual aspect so strongly for something was designed to kill. I just think that as humans we attach special meanings to acute awareness and special training. A samurai, a knight or any "warrior" mythological or current is a special person in the sense they have extra abilities. The ability to kill is central. I could be a serial murderer you don't know. I could even have a ritual in which I enjoy the chase and hunting down of people. That still at the end of the day means though that I kill. There is a special meaning in our heads. I'd say "riflesmans" creed's and any variation of such is designed to attach people to the special nature of their killing tool, whether it is a katana,  a gladius or an M4. Most people who are warriors in the military will admit they are warriors but few will ever say "I'm a killer" pure and simple. Few will admit their "special nature" or religious aspect is nothing more than superhuman awareness of themselves and them around them.


Posted By: Kirghiz
Date Posted: 02 Mar 2011 at 09:51
Originally posted by King Kang of Mu King Kang of Mu wrote:

oh here is a PBS docu called Japan: the Memoirs of a Secret Empire to go along with this thread when you guys bored.  bit of 'Orientalist' tone like many of these Western docus on 'East' still, but still a good docu I thought.     I will upload the first episode and link the playlist.  3 episodes total about hour each.

 

http://www.youtube.com/show?p=BcRMz-jlw8Y&s=1 - http://www.youtube.com/show?p=BcRMz-jlw8Y&s=1
Thanks again KKM.  I enjoyed watching this documentary.



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