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Old 08-29-2012, 02:13 AM   #26
JJF
 
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Re: shinken?

Keith

Nice post. I have to go with Phi though. I don't trust myself to keep a live blade in a display case. I would NOT be able to resist giving it a go, but my skills are not even close to good enough yet. Maybe one day.

Anyway - I fully support that a live blade can be kept as a display piece. My advice to the original poster about going to a sensei first was based on the fact that it seems he want to do some tameshigiri and... well.. we've all seen the 'batter up' approach that you mention.. Let's hope he will stay away from such endavours. Cutting with a sword is not really a good 'do-it-yourself' hobby..

Great day to you all

JJ

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:54 PM   #27
Chris Evans
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Re: shinken?

Quote:
Jørgen Jakob Friis wrote: View Post
Did you check out this site: http://www.japanesesword.net/

or this:

http://www.e-japanesesword.net/

or: http://www.wafu-living.com (check unter iaito)

I have a Tozando Iaito and is quite pleased with it though I am outgrowing it.. I need a longer one now that I have become a bit better... it's not 'heirloom quality' I believe, but they have contacts to sword smiths as well.

Good luck
thanks

"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools."
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:00 PM   #28
Chris Evans
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plastic sheath

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
bought a cheap hanwei iaito a few years back. ok blade with decent balance, not sharpen, but the point is still pretty wicked. i have stuck that thing in my hand a number of times during sheathing maneuvers and drew blood. saw a guy, at an aikido seminar, who had done iaido for a year or two, examined a live blade, ended up slicing his thumb which required a few stitches. i was at a weapon seminar earlier in the year, and we were doing some iaido stuffs. one guy had a bokken in a plastic sheath. one time, as he bended over, his bokken slipped out of the sheath, and he tried to catch it. i told him not to do that. he looked at me and didn't understand. i explained if that were a live blade, he just lost his hand. my iaido teacher drilled it into me that if the blade slipped out, do not ever trying to catch it, just let it fall.

the above stories are some of the cautionary tales when you have live blades. don't forget if you have young kids around, don't ever have live blade in the house. if you do, treat it like you have a loaded gun.
personally, i don't trust myself with live blade. cleaver, on the hand, i am quite comfortable with.
ah, good advice: not to catch a dropping bokken. where may i buy a sheath for my bokken?

my local shop says a shinken from Japan, unsigned, starts at $2800, before tax: I will not be buying unless my instructor tells me I am ready for such.

"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools."
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:17 PM   #29
Chris Evans
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Thumbs up injuries from shinken?

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
I saw an injury where someone shoved the tip of a mogito (or iaito if you prefer -- zinc/alloy bladed, unsharpened) in to his forearm and out by his elbow. Lots of stitches. Serious injury.

Another person I know, highly experienced, shoved a live blade through his own midsection on the side during a kata (obvious he made a mistake). Hospital trip.

And there is a famous event here in Southern California where a visiting sensei severed a finger or two during a live demonstration of kata.

And you don't want to know how many scars I have on my body from both training with the things but also as a full time sword polisher and craftsman. I walked in to the tip of a blade on a rack that was itself screwed to the workbench. I grabbed a tanto I dropped (hmmm, yeah, it's sharp). And I've simply slipped doing what I do. And the (what we call) deli slices I get on my hands sometimes are epic. And as one of the weirdest things was when I started having back problems and changed my position for polishing from the traditional posture I found that when I polished a certain part of the mune I had a habit of occasionally lifting a leg up (no longer locked down in the kamae) and sticking the tip in to my own leg right above my knee cap. It took three time in to exactly the same spot before I managed to break myself of the habit of absentmindedly lifting that leg a bit. Nothing worse than holding a blade embedded in your own leg, taking a deep breath, then pulling it out. Advice -- pull quick and don't flinch that leg muscle. Slow doesn't make it any better.

They are dangerous. There is no safety, no unloading. And people like to swing the things around even when they have no idea what they're doing (and frankly most in Aikido (with some significant exceptions) seriously have very, very little idea of how to handle a sword correctly).

That said... Just be safe. Don't do the things you don't know how to do. If you decide to try some stuff, well, best advice is to get some training. Otherwise go slow. I've seen guys on video saying "be careful" then promptly demonstrate cutting technique with a leading leg seriously close to being where it could take a major cut if they blew the cut they were doing. And then watching them cut ("Batter UP!") usually makes me cringe because it is an emergency room visit waiting to happen.

But again... They're only as unsafe as the person holding it. I have many friends and customers who don't train who have lovely swords in safes or on stands up and out of the way on display. They get them out, lovingly look at them, study them, enjoy the artistry (some can be fantastically beautiful), lovingly clean them, and then put them away. Folk can get really strident about saying "don't get a sword without sensei or training". For some who envision themselves as backyard samurai masters because they've seen *every* episode of Samurai Jack, sure, probably not a good idea. But I dare say most folk out there are reasonable, intelligent and fully mature enough to have a sword. Shrug.
I'll be very careful, as I am with our guns. Thanks for the insights.

"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools."
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:51 PM   #30
Janet Rosen
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Re: plastic sheath

Quote:
Chris Evans wrote: View Post
ah, good advice: not to catch a dropping bokken. where may i buy a sheath for my bokken?
I think you have to buy it as a set so the bokken sits within it properly and releases properly; they are available from m.a. suppliers and I bought it when I was just starting iaido and didn't want to spring for an iaito from day 1. Don't like the bokken well enough to actually use it as my aikido bokken.

Janet Rosen
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:27 PM   #31
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Re: shinken?

Chris

I had a shinken custom made for me by a japanese smith from Kyushu, Japan. Kimura Kanetsugu san made it for my height 2.5.5 Shyaku and it was heavier than normal to cut both hard and soft targets. It took 6 months to make. I simply love it! A custom made sword like this from a 'ranked' smith can cost anywhere from $8000 to $100,000+. The higher end is a sword from Living National Treasure Smith.

Last edited by dreamborn : 02-22-2013 at 01:32 PM.

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Old 02-25-2013, 07:36 AM   #32
ryback
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Re: shinken?

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
That said Hanwei released a sword series called the raptors. 5160 through hardened blades (so no grain, no "temper line" (a horribly incorrect term) and very little subtlety. Kind of course in blade shape and finish. The handles are blocky and boring. The fittings are blocky. The saya is kind of blocky and "one size fits all". But... They're inexpensive and seem relatively durable. Just remember you're not buying a Lexus here... But... I've put a few people in to those simply because I wasn't horribly worried about them being "unsafe". Just not exactly stunning looking.
Very helpful post Keith! I own and practice with a Raptor and I really think that it is the best choice in that price, for a martial artist. I have only two problems: First, i think that it should be a little heavier, it is even lighter than the Bamboo series of Bugei.

Second, the design of the tsuba tends to lightly injure my hand,perhaps i should hold it a little further from the tsuba. To be honest, I actually like its design generaly.Do you know if the steel for the Raptor is of less quality than the Bugei swords?

Now i'd like to ask you some questions,if you'd be so kind. I believe that it will be helpful not only for me, but also the whole thread.
I've been thinking about the Wave katana(without bo-hi) because it offers a bigger variety of choices.Do you happen to know its weight for the 28 inch blade? I was also curious about how wide its Noto is, and how wide is the side of the sword.
I am also interested in the Peace katana.Congrats for its design it's by far the most beautiful sword i've ever seen.Is there any chance for a version of it without the Bo-hi?
Finaly,i'd like to have your opinion on the Samurai katana of Bugei, because i believe that it has the proportionaly appropriate weight for me.

Last edited by akiy : 02-25-2013 at 11:15 AM. Reason: Fixed quote tag
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:26 AM   #33
shadowofleaves
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Re: shinken?

I really like Dynasty Forge and a number of the Paul Chen blades are good. I like to cut with a Practical Plus (Paul Chen), it cuts very well and is reasonable in cost (averages $250.00). Nice aspect about cutting with a sword at this level is if I bend or damage it I am not out several thousand dollars.

If you are getting a shinken for the first time, it is good to start with an inexpensive one to learn with. Taking care of something like this is unusual for some people; learning to clean and care for. Again if it gets damaged a nice blade hasn't been ruined.

Some of my students have been getting some really nice Dynasty Forge "seconds" from Athena for about $250.00. Really good cutters and look nice too. We are still not sure where the blemishes are at on the products.

Once you have some experience with low level shinken and you know how to take take of them, and have learned what you want in a sword; then think about purchasing something nicer.

1. Dynasty Forge
2. Fred Loman
3. Paul Chen
4. Bugei (kinda pricey for what you get)
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:22 AM   #34
JJF
 
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Re: injuries from shinken?

Quote:
Chris Evans wrote: View Post
I'll be very careful, as I am with our guns. Thanks for the insights.
I have little (read: none) experience with guns but I have the sneaking suspicion that it is two very different things. A gun has a 'dangerous end' and a 'safe end'. A live blade has two ends that you need to handle at the same time - for example while doing Nōtō. and it while have almost a will of it's own.

I would NEVER recommend ANYBODY to buy a live blade without extensive training under a competent instructor.

JJ

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 04-04-2013, 07:48 AM   #35
phitruong
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Re: injuries from shinken?

Quote:
Jørgen Jakob Friis wrote: View Post
I would NEVER recommend ANYBODY to buy a live blade without extensive training under a competent instructor.

JJ
there are two kind of people in the world who play with live blade: those who had cut themselves, and those who will be.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:11 PM   #36
Keith Larman
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Re: injuries from shinken?

Quote:
Jørgen Jakob Friis wrote: View Post
I have little (read: none) experience with guns but I have the sneaking suspicion that it is two very different things. A gun has a 'dangerous end' and a 'safe end'. A live blade has two ends that you need to handle at the same time - for example while doing Nōtō. and it while have almost a will of it's own.

I would NEVER recommend ANYBODY to buy a live blade without extensive training under a competent instructor.

JJ
If one is planning on swinging it around, sure. If one is planning on training with it, sure. If one is planning on buying one to appreciate the craft of the sword and do *not* intend to swing it around or otherwise use it, why exactly do they need extensive training? Or do you only tear apart your food since those kitchen knives are so very dangerous...

I am one of those folks who tries to convince martial artists to get proper training in the sword prior to using them. Yup. But absolute comments are also quite silly IMHO.

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Old 04-05-2013, 05:40 AM   #37
JJF
 
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Re: injuries from shinken?

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
If one is planning on swinging it around, sure. If one is planning on training with it, sure. If one is planning on buying one to appreciate the craft of the sword and do *not* intend to swing it around or otherwise use it, why exactly do they need extensive training? Or do you only tear apart your food since those kitchen knives are so very dangerous...

I am one of those folks who tries to convince martial artists to get proper training in the sword prior to using them. Yup. But absolute comments are also quite silly IMHO.
Keith: You are entitled to your opinion about absolute comments being silly (which by the way is also kind of an absolute statement)

None of my kitchen knifes are 70+ cm long. If they were I would probably not allow anybody to touch them either without making sure they know how to handle it. Consider power tools. They are way more dangerous than most people think even though they have some safety features. A Japanese sword does not. It is VERY dangerous and I don't intend to train with one myself for many years - maybe never.

If somebody just want to appreciate the craftmanship - fine - buy it and leave it in a locked display case out of reach. I was under the impression though that some people in this thread intended to buy a sword and 'try it out'. In that case I hope to be at least a few dozen meters away - wielding a first aid kit and a cell phone with 911 on speed dial.

Apart from that - I think we are on the same page. Except I don'¨t see any point in buying a live blade of the types mentioned unless you intend to use it. They are intended for training - not for displaying. Antique swords have different qualities that can be admired when put on display, but if it's just for hanging on your wall then a modern day sword may just as well be a nice iaito with a dull blade in stead of a live razor sharp blade. In my (not so humble) opinion..

Anyway - I just wanted to cut through the debate and state my viewpoint - now I got sucked into a debate again.. will close browser now and get back to work.

Great day to you all

JJ

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:45 AM   #38
Keith Larman
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Re: injuries from shinken?

Quote:
Jørgen Jakob Friis wrote: View Post
I would NEVER recommend ANYBODY to buy a live blade without extensive training under a competent instructor.

JJ
That was what I was responding to.

Each person buys a sword for their own personal reasons and not everyone buys one to train with it even if it is a relatively inexpensive modern made reproduction. I'm doing a very nice piece right now for a retired disabled veteran who has always wanted a sword. I touched up another sword, modern reproduction, for a guy who simply could never afford a nicer piece and again, always wanted one. He has it on display in his house and is quite proud of it.

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Old 04-05-2013, 01:00 PM   #39
Michael Hackett
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Re: shinken?

I know a good number of folks who own live blades and couldn't make a cut with any of them. While they are not swordsmen, they appreciate the beauty and the danger of these wonderful works of art. To simply study a blade is time well-spent in my opinion, whether antique or modern, and can bring great pleasure. Like cherry blossoms, each blade is different and has it's own special beauty. Looking at a live blade in a locked display case is enjoyable, but very much like an iceberg, mostly hidden from view. Carrying the metaphor forward, an iaito is only an icecube by comparison.

Michael
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:16 PM   #40
john2054
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Re: shinken?

I'd just like to add to this discussion, that Chris, what you seem to fail to have missed is that the 'Bokken' you speak of is not the live bladed 'Shinai' sword they use in Iaido, but the wooden edged blade which is used in some Aikido classes. Consequently it is by far the safest option for a beginner who wants to train in swords, but doesn't know where to start. The advantage of having a wooden sword, is that you can wave it around your living room all you want, and no one is going to get hurt. A bruise or two is the worst that can happen. I brought my very own bokken from Academy sports (derby UK), last week for eleven pounds. (About 18 usd). My is made of red Chinese Oak, and is a mighty fine thing is ever you saw one. The only thing is that ever I took it to my Dojo yesterday, my Senseis advised me not to carry it around unsheathed and consequently wrapped it up in black bin bags for me to carry back home.

Now I do remember about fifteen years ago when I had a live 'Seven dragon' Samurai Chinese antique sword from Ebay. Which was a mighty fine to the best of my perception which then was completely the untrained eye, however the police confiscated this when i smashed up a car with it adjacent one day, and I have had neither the inclination nor the means to buy another since that fateful day.

Suffice to say I'm sure that a good bokken is the best bet for your first sword, and I dare say most weapons stockists will do the wooden variety, at a fraction of the price of the live stuff! John.

Last edited by john2054 : 04-05-2013 at 03:17 PM. Reason: correction
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