Test Cutting Soft Targets: A Beginner's Impressions

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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iglazer
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Post by iglazer » Mon Sep 15, 2008 1:47 pm

I tried my hand a cutting for the first time this weekend. Laoshr generously shared some of his bamboo stash allowing me to hack it up with a jian.

The clearest lesson for me is that edge angle trumps blade speed (and strength) every day of the week. My pi and liao cuts with proper edge angle cut throw the very shatter-prone bamboo easily. And those cuts whose edge angle was off were stopped dead in their tracks and did little more than shatter the bamboo.

Two take aways from this. First, I'll need to brighten up my sword practice to really really define not just where the edge of the sword is but its true angle. Second, to me, the lesson of sword edge is directly applicable to empty hand form and alignment. No matter how much juice you send into a push or strike, it will be nullified by bad alignment.

Just a few thoughts.

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