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Old 08-02-2005, 10:18 PM   #15
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: "blocking" with japanese sword

By the way, we also tried me holding the jo out straight with both hands while Tony cut down on it. The problem was Tony had the advantage of leverage. A strong swordsman gets their hips and body behind their cuts. So there is a lot of power and leverage involved. And with a long jo floating "out there" I simply couldn't hold it out -- he'd blow through me every time. I had to seriously commit to a strike to even meet the sword but the failure point of the jo was certainly before the edge. Against the flat of a good sword is possible, but someone would really have to hold onto that other end of the sword with some serious strength. I understand many in jodo do a very powerful, snapping "strike" against the side of blades to snap them, but I've never seen it done for real against a real blade. That I'd love to see for myself in some sort of real scenario.

But then again, Japanese swords, contrary to popular conception, range in quality from fantastic down to downright terrible. Even the old ones... Of course that's not something you're supposed to say out loud, but it is the truth...

It was an interesting weekend for us, however. With all of us together with the express purpose of testing a number of swords we had on hand, well, we had some fun. Some was videotaped but the more, um, shall we say stupid stuff we did wasn't. We simply didn't want anyone else trying it. We even had an emergency room Physician standing by...

And no, I will never reproduce the jo vs. sword test. I have that on private video tape and I must say my scowling face was *way* too close to a sharp sword moving at high speed for my comfort level. We did it, but... Not again...

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