What not to use

This Forum is a place for students of swordsmanship to ask advice from moderators Paul Champagne & Scott M. Rodell on how to practice test cutting in a manner consistent with how swords were historically used in combat. Readers use this Forum at their own risk.

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Mimic
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What not to use

Post by Mimic » Wed Feb 08, 2006 2:15 am

Why test cutting should not be done with questionable-quality weapons...



http://www.jokaroo.com/funnyvideos/katana.html
Dancing on the edge of a blade.

Scott M. Rodell
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Post by Scott M. Rodell » Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:56 pm

In a recent email about the antique swords I sell I was asked, "do you qualitfy each blade for cutting too or just for general non-impact practice? selling unknown old blades specifically for cutting might get dicey."



Dicey to say the least.



General I would not recommend using antique blades for cutting practice for two reasons. One is that it is quite likely the blade has seen a fair amount of action in its lifetime. That means the stress of combat may very possibly have caused unseen, internal fractures. Such unseen cracks should not be a problem for forms work, & indeed I've sold a large number of sword to students for training over the years & never heard of one breaking. However, no matter how powerful your fajin is, it does not produce the stress that cutting a hard target does. The second reason I would recommend against using an antique for cutting practice is value. Any blade that is used for cutting practice is going to eventually have to be polished sharp again. Obviously grinding away steel from a blade to resharpen it reduces & eventually wears any its 'death.' Using an antique for cutting speeds up this process.

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Post by Scott M. Rodell » Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:37 am

Since swords are not used as weapons of war any more, I often get the feeling that people don't treat them with the proper respect they should, here is one tragic example...



Florida teen dies after being hit by falling sword

Weapon knocked from wall during play with siblings slashes 10th-grader




Updated: 2:40 p.m. ET March 7, 2006

BRANDON, Fla. - A teenager died after he was slashed by a sword that dislodged from the wall of his bedroom while he was playing ball with his siblings, authorities said.



Joshua Hershberger, 15, was sitting on the floor of his bedroom Monday night, bouncing a ball with his 9-year-old sister and 14-year-old brother when the ball bounced up and knocked a 29-inch (74-centimeter) sword off the wall, where it was displayed, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.



The high school sophomore was slashed in the shoulder and neck and was pronounced dead at a hospital in this Tampa suburb.



The death is being considered an accident and no charges are expected to be filed.



http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11713784/

PaulC
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inspect the handles

Post by PaulC » Wed Mar 29, 2006 11:03 am

Another area where there is a lot of neglect is with the handle. An antique sword with a pristine blade will most likely need the handle replaced or at least re done because of dried out wood, sloppy fit, cracked mountings etc etc.

This happens a lot with older Japanese swords ?the sword may look to be in good condition but the original handle is just waiting to let go of the blade at the wrong moment ( is there a ? right? moment?) This can be VERY dangerous. I feel that handles are far behind blade research at the moment in both less expensive swords and quite a few more costly pieces. Always check your hilting for signs of failure. In a sword where there are only a bamboo peg or 2 too hold things together check OFTEN.

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Post by josh stout » Thu Sep 28, 2006 11:17 am

This question is one that has prevented me from cutting so far other than trimming soft plant stems in my garden. (This is good practice by the way. Unless the cut is good the stems and leaves get a ragged edge that is ugly and bad for the plant. Control is also important, as I want to trim one plant and not its neighbors.) Anyway, I wonder about the moral implications of destroying history by grinding out old chips on an antique. The chips represent information on usage that would be lost forever. Value seems a less important consideration, as an antique I would use for cutting would be one with low quality fittings that still had a good quality blade. Duan dao like that are actually cheaper than even a new mono-steel blade of cutting quality. Considering the safety issue, with an inexpensive antique, a careful visual inspection can spot developing flaws in the blade, but I would just have to trust the tang. So there is a bit of a safety concern still, but the biggest issue for me is the moral implications of destroying historical information.



How do the Japanese people who cut with antiques approach this issue?

Josh
hidup itu silat, silat itu hidup

-Suhu

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J HepworthYoung
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Post by J HepworthYoung » Sat Sep 30, 2006 8:22 pm

josh stout wrote:This question is one that has prevented me from cutting so far other than trimming soft plant stems in my garden.
Getting a clean cut with such targets requires good form and a great edge, you can tell a lot about sword and swordman from the end of a cut thin soft green branch. The subtle tests can be the hardest ones.

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Post by Scott M. Rodell » Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:25 am

josh stout wrote:This question is one that has prevented me from cutting so far other than trimming soft plant stems in my garden...


Josh-



Even this may be too much for an old grip. I've seen swords with even new grips, that were done right, come apart & send the blade flying well before they hit the target.

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Post by Annika » Sun Oct 08, 2006 4:39 pm

Scott M. Rodell wrote:Even this may be too much for an old grip. I've seen swords with even new grips, that were done right, come apart & send the blade flying well before they hit the target.


Even new swords may brake quite easilly if they are used constantly (seen this quite a few times on medieval swordfighting tournaments or practices)
Elen sila lumenn omentielvo.

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Blades Can Break

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Mon Nov 06, 2006 12:03 pm

I found this on the web...



Combat re-enactor bleeds to death from sword wound during performance: [Ca. 1994-1995. London]



During a combat re-enactment, a British performer bled to death in a matter of seconds after having had the femoral artery in his thigh sliced open by a blunted-sword that had broken during the performance. The sword used was a cheap re-enactment blade that was really only intended for use for about a year or so. A quick introductory weapon, in other words. The actual age of the blade was somewhere around 15 years old at that time, as the guy who made these swords stopped that model around 1980. Since the breakage appeared to be the result of metal fatigue, the surviving performer tried to sue the manufacturer of the sword, but lost on the grounds of user negligence.



- Reported by Bj?rn Hellqvist, Sweden and Rob Lovett, London.

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