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DavidM
08-17-2002, 04:07 AM
Has anyone worked with a live blade before? I tried doing some basics with a live blade...and I notice that I'm clumsy...that it's nothing like my bokken...just wondering if I was the only clumsy one here...

Also....wondering if anyone has a website that describes/shows how to wrap the handle of a katana...which cloth, which ways, etc..

Thanks
David

SeiserL
08-18-2002, 11:19 PM
Careful with the live blade training. Even in my FMA days, we started with wood and rubber, before dull, before live. The psychological aspect of handling a live blade is very different. Go slow. Be patient.

Until again,

Lynn

MaylandL
08-19-2002, 03:09 AM
Careful with the live blade training. Even in my FMA days, we started with wood and rubber, before dull, before live. The psychological aspect of handling a live blade is very different. Go slow. Be patient.

...
Yes absolutely agree. One of the dojos that I train at uses live blades for some of the tachi dori and tanto dori techniques. Training with live blades is restricted to yudansha grades.

There is a risk of being actually cut with live blades and that could lead to some feeling of clumsiness. Generally take your time with it.

I have some personal thoughts about the advantages and disadvantages of training with live blades which I wont go through. I would think carefully about what you are trying to achieve and whether the use of live blades is the most effective way of doing so.

ian
08-19-2002, 03:21 AM
Hi david,

I take it you're talking about just the cutting motion etc. I think actually practising cutting (suburi) with a live blade is usually not too dangerous as long as you're not stupid and don't do it with people standing around. Best thing to do is to take up iaido and learn how to cut properly with a metal weapon; to develop the long sweeping slice motion. Also you'll learn how to care for your weapon (however you'll have to get a dull blade i.e. iato, to train in the classes).

Ian

rachmass
08-19-2002, 05:33 AM
Gee, I managed to cut myself with my iaito several times too!

Bruce Baker
08-19-2002, 08:10 AM
I can't say that I have extensively used a katana, or a live blade for training, but machete's, axes, Bowie knives, and various shorter fatter blades have come across my path to experience.

One of the best training aids to a live blade is one that is somewhat sharp, but not sharp enough to cause a serious cut like a scalpel would. A mostly dull blade.

In my experience of working around two and four cycle motors for boats and cars, even a dull object spinning at high speed can rip and tear the flesh. Caution is a good thing, but it must be practiced while applying the skill, other wise caution is just some label that you forgot to read when the injury happens later.

Not a dull blade, not quite a live blade, and practice, practice, practice.

Nothing more irritating than a deep cut from a mistake, or miscalculation.

Paul Smith
08-19-2002, 09:52 AM
A word of caution here. A Mugai-Ryu iaido instructor relayed a story of his friend, very experienced in iaido, who very nearly lost his life when executing gyo-ka, the final kata of the first series of 20. The iai of this kata involves a vertical draw to jodan (thereby bringing the blade very close to the left armpit while drawing the blade straight up, alongside shidachi's body). It differs from bringing the blade out along the left side on its way to jodan - it is truly vertical. The bottom line is that he sliced cleanly through his left axilla area and severed at least one major blood vessel there. It took several years of reconstructive surgery and therapy to bring him back to the use of his left arm.

My instructor is a 6th dan, and I presume his friend is of like experience. I don't know what his experience was at the time, but what I drew from this experience (no pun intended) is that a live blade is a deadly weapon, it takes years to know what you are doing with it and even then, if these kinds of mistakes can happen, you better know the consequences of an error.

Though I do tameshigiri with a live blade (obviously), I would not presume to use one in my iai for several years. I would urge you to take a close look at your reasons for wanting to train with a live blade, and be careful.

Paul Smith

Liz Baron
08-19-2002, 12:13 PM
For info on the wrapping of the tsuka, try http://pages.prodigy.net/tlbuck/tsuka/tsuka.htm

Liz

Guest5678
08-19-2002, 01:14 PM
DavidM wrote:

"Has anyone worked with a live blade before? I tried doing some basics with a live blade.."

Basics of what?

Besides Aikido, I train in MJERI and work exclusively with a “live blade” in that art.

But I cannot think of any reason to use a live blade for Aikido practice. What basics are you talking about?

-Mongo

Deb Fisher
08-19-2002, 02:21 PM
I still bonk myself on the back of the head with my bokken too often to even consider using a live blade.

You're not the only clumsy one...

ChristianBoddum
08-19-2002, 02:44 PM
Hi !

If I remember correctly -

at easter camp i AArhus 2002 Nishio sensei

didn't have his regular iaito because of some

airport failure so he had to borrow one for that week,while instructing a technique - with a partner - suddenly a funny sound came from him as he realised that he was handling a

live blade instead of the iaito , again by some mixup ,the situation was quickly rectified.

Morale : trust your teacher but always stay alert !

ChristianBoddum
08-19-2002, 02:45 PM
Sorry ! it was 2001 !

gomen nasai !

DavidM
08-20-2002, 04:58 AM
I don't use it with other people in the room, (wouldn't even think about it)...and it's not razor sharp.....as far as what I was doing, I tried a simple shomen stike....and doing some bokken kata with it....I've also notice (IMO) that having a longer handle gives a little bit better control...and have to use my hips more....

I was wondering if I was the only clumsy one when trying just a simple cut

isshinryu88
08-20-2002, 05:27 AM
I don't use it with other people in the room, (wouldn't even think about it)...and it's not razor sharp.....as far as what I was doing, I tried a simple shomen stike....and doing some bokken kata with it....I've also notice (IMO) that having a longer handle gives a little bit better control...and have to use my hips more....

I was wondering if I was the only clumsy one when trying just a simple cut
If it's not sharp, are you sure its a "live" blade? Just because it's metal doesn't make it live. You may have an iaito, a non-sharpened sword.

I studied Shinkendo for a few years. A metal blade has a substantial difference in weight and balance compared to a wooden sword. I would echo everyone elses comments regarding the care needed with a sharp blade. My Shinkendo instructor had a tape of an Iaido competition from Japan. He pointed out a number of competitors who were missing fingers from improperly sheathing the sword.

SeiserL
08-24-2002, 08:45 PM
We (Sensei Phong of Tenshinkai Aikido) just did a photo shot for an upcoming Black Belt Magazine article on Aikido against the five angles of a knife attack. I was surprised and impressed when Sensei decided to shoot the photos with a live blade (Spyderco Police Model).

Until again,

Lynn

DavidM
08-25-2002, 02:51 AM
Mind you I was raised around razor sharp tools all my life, when I say it's not sharp, that means that it won't split a hair in half...it does have a nice edge to it, but nothing RAZOR sharp

Josh Mason
09-17-2002, 05:15 PM
I am a blacksmith/knifemaker, and I have yet to encounter a sharper edge than what's on a Samurai's Sword. Samurai swords have a unique convex edge (cantled edge) that have amazing cutting ability. The Japanese were way ahead of their time in their heat treating and tempering processes.

Suru
09-17-2002, 10:57 PM
I would treat a live blade like I would treat a pistol, shotgun, rifle, etc. It is a deadly, deadly weapon. I've held a live blade and I was nearly frozen with nervousness. The same rules which apply to a shooting range should apply to handling a live blade. Safety first!!

Drew

Jeanine Perron
09-23-2002, 08:54 PM
I work with a wooden bokken, wooden staff, and a Tai Chi Sword. My Tai Chi sword has a dull edge but a sharp point. I have punctured myself with the point. I have also injured myself just as badly with the staff and bokken. I am probaby more careful with the Tai Chi sword due to the sharp point. My ignorance of metal over wood has caused me some pain because I usually let my guard down with the wooden staff and bokken.

Therefore, my point is that no matter what the material is, you have to be careful with the training and knowledge.

Question: Can a highly trained Martial Artist with a wooden staff defend oneself from a sharpend blade? I think so.

SeiserL
09-23-2002, 10:55 PM
Question: Can a highly trained Martial Artist with a wooden staff defend oneself from a sharpend blade? I think so.
IMHO, its the training and intentions of the one holding the weapon that matters more than if its metal or wood.

Until again,

Lynn

G DiPierro
09-23-2002, 11:13 PM
One of the dojos that I train at uses live blades for some of the tachi dori and tanto dori techniques. Training with live blades is restricted to yudansha grades.
Are they crazy? Training Aikido with live blades should be restricted to the shihan grades. Maybe just a bit little lower for tanto dori only. It's very dangerous.

David, IMO there is no way you should be practicing much of anything with a live sword until you have received substantial training in the proper use of an iaito. FYI, as Ian pointed, solo suburi is probably the safest thing you can do, but it is still dangerous for the novice. Next up would be tameshigiri, which involves potential damage to your sword and due the added power you will use is also more dangerous in general. Iai kata involve significantly more risk, as properly resheathing a live blade without cutting yourself is a skill that takes years of practice. Also, as Paul Smith pointed out, certain kata involve controlling the edge very close to your own body parts which can pose a problem even for people with experience. Kumi tachi and tachi dori with a live blade, as they involve other people, are really in a class by themselves. Some koryu may engage in the first, but it will ruin your blade and it is obviously very dangerous. The latter, as I mentioned before, should only be considered by people at the shihan level. Even then, I don't think many of them do much of it. Tachi dori with an iaito, OTOH, is not a bad idea for mid-level yudansha who are experienced with the use of a sword.

By the way, if you are wrapping the handle yourself you are signiifcantly increasing the risks of injury. Poorly wrapped handles are much more likely to come apart as you are swinging the sword, causing the blade to come loose and fly across the room.

Mr. P
09-24-2002, 04:22 AM
While I was on holidays, I met a knifedealer and noticed that his left hand moved oddly.

Actually, it's all a customer's fault...
Take a sit and listen :D ...

A customer wished to see a katana blade a bit closer. The dealer took the blade from its shelf and, suddenly, the customer acted as if he were a child in front of a Christmas tree ! The sword fell and (bad move, I assume :( ) the dealer tried to recover it. He succeeded in :) , but one of his finger is definitly paralysed :dead: .

Why on hell does he tell us that f...... story :confused: ? you would think. Just because I don't think using a true weapon is a good idea :blush: . In aïkido, I don't want to injure anyone. A bokken is all that I need.

Thanks for your attention, you can go on your business :o ...

BC
09-24-2002, 04:29 PM
Question: Can a highly trained Martial Artist with a wooden staff defend oneself from a sharpend blade? I think so.
Why, are there alot of bad guys strutting around Tejas with swords strapped to their hips? That said, I also can't remember the last time I saw someone walking around in public with a jo or bo either.

Sorry, couldn't resist...

Erik
09-24-2002, 04:51 PM
Why on hell does he tell us that f...... story :confused: ? you would think. Just because I don't think using a true weapon is a good idea :blush: . In aïkido, I don't want to injure anyone. A bokken is all that I need.
I tell this story but no one listens.

One of my first instructors brought out a knife one day. Very small and very sharp. We managed ok until the senior instructor came over. I had pinned him, kote gaeshi pin only I was kneeling, and he was showing me what happens when you do it wrong. I remember a short quick prick in my shoulder. No pain either. The truly amazing thing is that my instructor got cut about a week later with the same knife. Sigh!

No biggie in the sense that it only took a couple of stiches and it was truly an accident from his perspective. Of course, a bit deeper or a bit of a different angle and who knows what might have happened. We were static and I got stabbed.

I think it was Chuck Clark who said, "if you aren't getting cut then you aren't really trying".

I think a live blade is simply a way to get our "ya yas" off rather than initiate an honest practice. If anything, you've got to control the attacks so much that it completely removes any element of realism whereas a wooden tanto gives you some freedom.

I suppose we could talk about the time I took a wooden tanto to the head and they glued me back together. That was fun. Imagine if it had been a real blade.

Jeanine Perron
09-25-2002, 12:18 PM
Lynn wrote:

IMHO, its the training and intentions of the one holding the weapon that matters more than if its metal or wood.

Until again

Lynn

Thank you for claifying my point. It is not the weapon in use, but the person behind the weapon.

Thank you again,

Jeanine

Josh Mason
09-26-2002, 05:02 PM
A Samurai sword will undoubtedly cut through any piece of wood or material you put in front of it. Some of your replies imply that a wooden weapon (bokken) could fare with a katana in swordplay. A combat experienced person probably would defeat a novice swordsman with a wooden weapon, but not through weapon to weapon contact.

akiy
09-26-2002, 05:14 PM
Legend has it that the founder of Shinto Muso Ryu jodo, Muso Gonnosuke, was the only person to have defeated Miyamoto Musashi -- with Muso using a jo. You can read the story here (http://www.koryubooks.com/library/wmuromoto1.html).

There's plenty of weapon-to-weapon contact in jodo. The way we do our ken-tai-jo forms in aikido also takes in account the sharp edge of the sword as well...

-- Jun

Chris Li
09-26-2002, 05:50 PM
A Samurai sword will undoubtedly cut through any piece of wood or material you put in front of it. Some of your replies imply that a wooden weapon (bokken) could fare with a katana in swordplay. A combat experienced person probably would defeat a novice swordsman with a wooden weapon, but not through weapon to weapon contact.
Depends on the wood, the sword, and the person doing the cutting. If you've done any test cutting you know that it's not that easy to cut through a solid piece of wood (that's why people use axes) even under good conditions. It would be several times more difficult than that in the heat of battle.

Best,

Chris

G DiPierro
09-26-2002, 05:59 PM
Some of your replies imply that a wooden weapon (bokken) could fare with a katana in swordplay.
Which replies were those? I didn't see any that imply that. OTOH, several replies suggested that for training purposes using a live blade offers little or no advantage over using a bokken. They were not refering to an actual match.
Legend has it that the founder of Shinto Muso Ryu jodo, Muso Gonnosuke, was the only person to have defeated Miyamoto Musashi -- with Muso using a jo.
I have heard from jodo people that the legend of Musashi's defeat at the hands of Gonnosuke is just that, a legend. There doesn't seem to be any solid evidence of Musashi ever losing a match.


There's plenty of weapon-to-weapon contact in jodo.
From what I have seen, much of the weapon-to-weapon contact in jodo is with the tsuka. The rest is with the shinogi or mune. There is, AFAIK, no direct contact with the edge.

akiy
09-26-2002, 06:08 PM
I have heard from jodo people that the legend of Musashi's defeat at the hands of Gonnosuke is just that, a legend. There doesn't seem to be any solid evidence of Musashi ever losing a match.
That's why I wrote, "Legend has it..."
From what I have seen, much of the weapon-to-weapon contact in jodo is with the tsuka. The rest is with the shinogi or mune. There is, AFAIK, no direct contact with the edge.
Of course. I hope I didn't imply otherwise.

I do agree with Chris, though. I found cutting through rolled up tatami omote and bamboo to be pretty difficult in and of themselves. Of course, my tameshigiri skills are quite green, but I'd have to imagine that cutting through a one inch thick stick, especially when wielded by someone who knows what they're doing, wouldn't be as easy as, say, cutting through an inert stick of butter...

-- Jun

G DiPierro
09-26-2002, 07:22 PM
Jun, I have just encountered one of the limitations of this system: the lack of nested quotes.

Regarding Gonnosuke and Musashi:That's why I wrote, "Legend has it..."I'm not sure this is good legend to propagate without cautioning that there is no evidence to back it up. Muramoto does not mention the lack of evidence in his article but rather seems to buy into the legend himself. This is a bit anomalous since the rest of his article appears to be well-researched.

Regarding no edge-to-edge contact:Of course. I hope I didn't imply otherwise.No, you mentioned avoiding the edge in Aikido weapons as well. I was just clarifying what the weapon-to-weapon contact in jodo actually is.I'd have to imagine that cutting through a one inch thick stick, especially when wielded by someone who knows what they're doing, wouldn't be as easy as, say, cutting through an inert stick of butter...Even if the sword was unable to cut cleanly through the jo, I don't see why that aspect is particularly important for the discussion at hand. For example, if the sword were to only cut halfway through, it would weaken the jo significantly and render it ineffective as a weapon. (Perhaps the wielder could then snap the jo in two and use the pieces as a pair of tanjo!) While it is possible that some damage could result to the sword, it should certainly not be counted on. No matter how you slice it, I can't see any advantage to trying to use the jo against the edge itself.

SeiserL
09-27-2002, 01:09 PM
A combat experienced person probably would defeat a novice swordsman with a wooden weapon, but not through weapon to weapon contact.
IMHO, a combat experienced person would not aim for the weapon, but the hand that is holding it. That's one of the differences in training and fighting.

Until again,

Lynn

Alan Drysdale
09-27-2002, 02:07 PM
Josh said: "Some of your replies imply that a wooden weapon (bokken) could fare with a katana in swordplay."

I guess Musashi thought so, as he reputedly used a wooden oar to beat Kojiro Sasake. Or is this a myth also?

Alan

MikeE
09-27-2002, 03:10 PM
I have found that I am accustomed to handling my Chen "practical katana" and use it for iai and tameshigiri.

But.....

I just bought a Chen Tiger katana. (Folded blade) and as of right now I am very leary of it. It has an entirely different feel than the prior.

I cut tameshigiri with it and it scared me.

What I'm getting at is; the psychology of the user really adds to how the sword is handled...even if you are experienced.

There is definitely a difference between having experience with a sword and developing mastery.

SeiserL
09-27-2002, 05:30 PM
What I'm getting at is; the psychology of the user really adds to how the sword is handled...even if you are experienced.
So true. You can sharpen a blade, but what makes it alive is the training and intention (psychology/mind) of the person holding and using it.

Until again,

Lynn

Josh Mason
10-03-2002, 03:04 PM
Lynn, I did mean to say that a combat experienced person with a wooden weapon would find other targets, and avoid the blade all together. I'm sorry that I didn't include that in my answer.

Josh Mason
10-03-2002, 03:09 PM
By the way, How good are Paul Chen's Katana's Mike? I've heard that the Practical Katana is a great sword for the price. Is there a difference in blade quality and sharpness between the Practical Katana, and the other Chen models? The website implies that the blades are the same, just the fittings on the Practical are less fancy. Chen's Musashi sword is killer man!

Adman
10-10-2002, 04:41 PM
So true. You can sharpen a blade, but what makes it alive is the training and intention (psychology/mind) of the person holding and using it.
I was just reminded of a class where I was called up to help sensei demonstrate a technique against a bokken. The attack was munetsuki. He was stating how you just needed to avoid the space taken up by the blade. I attacked and he entered slightly and pivoted his body 90 degrees to illustrate his point. I must've missed his belly by about 1/2 an inch, but when I drew back my bokken we both discovered that I had given his partially opened gi a new button hole!

It's not sharp, it's not steel, but a bokken can very easily be something that surprises you if you're not careful.

Adam

philippe willaume
02-16-2006, 09:57 AM
I am a blacksmith/knifemaker, and I have yet to encounter a sharper edge than what's on a Samurai's Sword. Samurai swords have a unique convex edge (cantled edge) that have amazing cutting ability. The Japanese were way ahead of their time in their heat treating and tempering processes.

I am not sure that is historically accurate

Recent evidence seems to indicate that pattern welding was known by the Celts, in any case by 650 AD we have example of blade, like the Sutton-hoo burial boat one for example, was made from 8 different pieces of iron/steel, each of different metalurgy, pattern-welded and layered (ie folded) into an overlapping chevron lattice pattern, with the edge being made of a seperate, and much hardersteel than the rest, estimated to be close to 60 on the Rockwell scale.
Pre-cruicble steel (mid 13th cent) Scandinavia or Germano/frankish region were renomed up to the 12 hundred for their floded pattern welded sword and scandinavian swords were exported at great cost to Byzance, which is worth to mention, had access to indo-persian wootz (which can be made sharper but is less durable than japanesse or European sword blade).
That being said the lower end of the market blade werenot as complicated as the sutton hoo blade, they were usually two twisted piece(folded bar or arrangement of square rods of soft and hard steel)with a hard steel around edge forge welded.

By the 13th cent Europe was producing crucible steel which really makes better quality steel readilly availiable and swords cheaper and quicker to produce.

Up to the 14th century euroepan sword were really cutting swords. With the advent of the plate or even the transitional armour, trusting ability were required more and more,as cut is unlikely to defeat plate (or padding plate and mail) but an accute point can defeat mail and cloth or pass by the armour overlaping plate.

Hence the balde became diamond sectioned and distal tappered before that blade usually had a long fuller (a grouve in the middle in order to save weight).
And we moved froma realtively thin balde to a blade with a realtively stong spine to provide rigidity when trusting.

philippe

JMichaels
02-28-2006, 12:33 PM
Go easy. Its not the actual cuts that will hurt you while using a live blade. Its usually the stupid mental lapse that costs you a finger or two. No sayabiki on the draw, impaling your left hand doing noto, cutting the webbing of your left thumb doing noto, bowing w/o gripping the tsuba and grabbing at a falling blade. Ive seen 1 nidan have an accident doing noto. On the bright side, it appeared that he wasn't in much pain when he cut his thumb, but bled like a pig.

Nick Simpson
02-28-2006, 01:12 PM
Its not the actual cuts that will hurt you while using a live blade.

Well, they might not hurt initially, but they bloody well will later on. Take it from me, receiving no pain from the cut does not make it hurt any less...

guess Musashi thought so, as he reputedly used a wooden oar to beat Kojiro Sasake. Or is this a myth also?

I've seen the oar that he allegedlly used, in a museum in Kumamoto, Japan. And Kojiro's sword alongside it, so I doubt it's a myth, however, it's hard to prove it entirely I spose.

JMichaels
02-28-2006, 03:18 PM
let me clarify, most people don't hurt themselves while cutting with a live blad, but cut themselves on the draw (cut through their saya and into their left hand) or noto (stabbing the left hand or cutting the webbing of the thumb). Once the blade is out of the saya, it is hard to cut yourself unless you are doing something careless or more advanced katas that are beyond your abilities.

Anyway, if you do anything long enough, a mishap is almost inevitable. I don't know anyone who trains with live blade in iaido who hasn't shed their own blood at least once.