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Old 12-25-2004, 03:26 PM   #1
Bill Danosky
 
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I don't want to dismember my opponents.

I sure do love a katana!

But I find the ethics of Kenbudo are at odds with "my" Aikido. Like many people, I find something appealing about the spiritual facets of the budo ideal. But I practice Aikido because you don't really have to harm your opponent to defend yourself, unless you choose to, for whatever reason.

I'm finding that I'm getting more and more soft-hearted in my old age. Unless there are some very serious mitigating circumstances, I prefer not to have to kill anyone, or really even cause anyone any permanent injury.

OTOH, sometimes a weapon is called for, like in cases of multiple opponents, or when defending against "major" weaponry.

Who has similar reservations? What have you done to find a comfortable compromise between effectiveness and, shall we say "over-effectiveness"?
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Old 12-25-2004, 10:02 PM   #2
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

M. Ueshiba wrote:

The penetrating brilliance of swords
Wielded by followers of the Way
Strikes at the evil enemy
Lurking deep within
Their own souls and bodies

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote:
you don't really have to harm your opponent to defend yourself, unless you choose to, for whatever reason.
Without the ability there is no choice...which is why my signature is what it is.

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote:
I'm finding that I'm getting more and more soft-hearted in my old age. Unless there are some very serious mitigating circumstances, I prefer not to have to kill anyone, or really even cause anyone any permanent injury.
This is not soft-hearted this is humanity.

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote:
OTOH, sometimes a weapon is called for, like in cases of multiple opponents, or when defending against "major" weaponry.
M. Ueshiba wrote:

"The essence of the martial arts is the spirit of loving protection of all beings in the universe."

This includes you.

The sword is a weapon and a weapon is a tool. The tool does not direct the person wielding it. How we use the sword is up to us. We can train with it as a means of cutting down an opponent or we can train with it as a means of tempering ourselves and stripping away the layers of falsehoods we surround ourselves with.

But that's just my take

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 12-25-2004, 10:04 PM   #3
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

So get really good with a bokken
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Old 12-25-2004, 10:32 PM   #4
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

Thanks. I was waiting to see if anyone would mention using a bokken as a primary weapon before I brought it up. I was considering it myself as there isn't really any blade to blade contact in kendo a really good bokken couldn't take (is there?). I think I could do an adequate amount of damage with my bokken without permanently disabling an opponent.

I wouldn't think I'd want to get tagged with an iaito, either. I have another thread going about the comparison between the various regional edged arts. As I mentioned in it, I don't know what context I'm talking within here, but unless my opponent is wearing a suit of armor it probably doesn't matter if the blade's sharp or not, as long as it doesn't break.

Anybody know how well they hold up? I've seen some steel iaito but I'm pretty sure they are basically a katana.
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Old 12-26-2004, 01:01 AM   #5
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

I would think that those doing kenjutsu don't want to dismember each other either.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-26-2004, 02:14 AM   #6
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote:
Thanks. I was waiting to see if anyone would mention using a bokken as a primary weapon before I brought it up. I was considering it myself as there isn't really any blade to blade contact in kendo a really good bokken couldn't take (is there?). I think I could do an adequate amount of damage with my bokken without permanently disabling an opponent.

I wouldn't think I'd want to get tagged with an iaito, either. I have another thread going about the comparison between the various regional edged arts. As I mentioned in it, I don't know what context I'm talking within here, but unless my opponent is wearing a suit of armor it probably doesn't matter if the blade's sharp or not, as long as it doesn't break.

Anybody know how well they hold up? I've seen some steel iaito but I'm pretty sure they are basically a katana.
Bokkens are strong weapons, but alike all wood, they can be broken, and like all hard objects vs humans, they can do the breaking. A bokken can easily break an arm or crush the skull and kill someone (this is obvious with Musashi's most famous victory, against Sasaki Kojiro.) Of course you could always just whack someone until they didn't want to fight you anymore...

Iaito are dull Katanas, made out of an Aluminum-Zinc Alloy, instead of steel. It can hold up well on it's own, but it's also not very strong, so hitting someone with it can bend, or warp the blade, if it's not very well made.

For non lethal defense, Kubotans are good.
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Old 12-26-2004, 04:50 AM   #7
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

YMMV, but, most folks who study kenjutsu/iaido/kendo do not do so because they want to fight with a sword. It's not about that at all. If you're being taught that it it, your teacher needs a reality check.

And kenbudo is sort of an odd construction. Is that the term used in your dojo or something you've picked up somewhere? Interesting to know the derivation.

We can learn lots from sword training, things dealing with timing, distancing, control of space and conection, but nobody who _seriously_ studies the sword in the Japanese budo context should expect to take that training as anything other that theoretical, historical and perhaps somewhat esoteric.

Today, he sword is a tool we use to learn about us, not a tool to destroy others.

I've often said the same thing about empty-hand budo training for that matter ...

Chuck

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Old 12-26-2004, 05:49 AM   #8
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

I think kenbudo means Way of the Sword in War. Or a less literal translation: Using the sword in War/on the battlefield.

Ken=sword
Bu=war
Do=way
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Old 12-26-2004, 08:28 AM   #9
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

Quote:
Chuck Gordon wrote:
kenbudo is sort of an odd construction. Is that the term used in your dojo or something you've picked up somewhere?
Hi, Chuck.

I think I actually picked that up here on Aikiweb. I took it to mean "Sword-war-art" although it could be sort of a Bush-ism.

I see the Truth in your statement about sword training being about much more than sword-fighting. The odds are so far against me getting into a swordfight, anyway, this is probably a non-issue.

I think I'll start shopping for a non-sharpened, steel iaito and "get over it".

Anybody ever seen one?

Last edited by Bill Danosky : 12-26-2004 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 12-26-2004, 08:41 AM   #10
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

I suggest you just pick up a $10 bokken, because an Iaito, without a requirement is a waste of money.

While today you probably won't be getting into any sword duels, you can't shun the truth that a sword, in the end, is a weapon, made to kill others.
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Old 12-26-2004, 02:20 PM   #11
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

Yes, I have a nice bokken already.

You know, a sword is an interesting thing- no matter what culture it's from, it's almost always a symbol of truth, learning and higher principals. Yet it's actual purpose is most grim. It's often from reflecting on life's dichotomies that we learn the most essential truths.

So when you say, "An iaito without a requirement", it forces me to examine what I'm really using it for. Can I take it from your (Bronson, Chuck and Thomas') statements that the real, modern purpose is not as martial as the casual observer would imagine? How interesting....
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Old 12-26-2004, 08:57 PM   #12
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote:
Yes, I have a nice bokken already.

You know, a sword is an interesting thing- no matter what culture it's from, it's almost always a symbol of truth, learning and higher principals. Yet it's actual purpose is most grim. It's often from reflecting on life's dichotomies that we learn the most essential truths.

So when you say, "An iaito without a requirement", it forces me to examine what I'm really using it for. Can I take it from your (Bronson, Chuck and Thomas') statements that the real, modern purpose is not as martial as the casual observer would imagine? How interesting....
Well, I only said that getting an Iaito that can cost up to $300 without a requirement for Iaido is a waste of money, because it's a dull sword. You might as well get a Paul Chen Practical Katana Generation 5 from http://imperialweapons.com for $180. As it's a shinken, and a decent one as well.

I think that a sword could be used as martial as it once was, however you can't really carry a sword around, therefore the only reason to continue practice of sword arts are to better oneself, and tradition. I think Japanese sword arts are great sources of self enlightenment, and honour. And yes..I love Japanese sword arts.
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Old 12-27-2004, 12:37 AM   #13
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

Quote:
Thomas Dixon wrote:
...an Iaito that can cost up to $300
Actually, the cheapest one I've found (it's the one I have...for now) is around $230 U.S. It's at the bottom of THIS page.


Quote:
Thomas Dixon wrote:
You might as well get a Paul Chen Practical Katana Generation 5 from http://imperialweapons.com for $180. As it's a shinken, and a decent one as well.
Well, it's sharp at least. I'm not sure but there are probably some weird rules as to what can actually be called a shinken. I own a Practical Plus Katana and I don't know if I'd go so far as to call it decent. It's functional--I haul it out when we do tameshigiri, but I don't think it would be all that great for regular iaido practice.

Quote:
Thomas Dixon wrote:
I think that a sword could be used as martial as it once was,
I don't know who said it, but it goes something like: "The jawbone of an ass is just as deadly a weapon now as it was 10,000 years ago."

Quote:
Thomas Dixon wrote:
the only reason to continue practice of sword arts are to better oneself, and tradition.
That's not the only reason. My woman thinks it's sexy

Quote:
Thomas Dixon wrote:
I love Japanese sword arts.
THE most compelling reason to study them (or anything really)

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 12-27-2004, 02:05 AM   #14
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote:
Actually, the cheapest one I've found (it's the one I have...for now) is around $230 U.S. It's at the bottom of THIS page.




Well, it's sharp at least. I'm not sure but there are probably some weird rules as to what can actually be called a shinken. I own a Practical Plus Katana and I don't know if I'd go so far as to call it decent. It's functional--I haul it out when we do tameshigiri, but I don't think it would be all that great for regular iaido practice.
They're functional, which is what I meant by decent.

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote:
I don't know who said it, but it goes something like: "The jawbone of an ass is just as deadly a weapon now as it was 10,000 years ago."
PELVIS!!

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote:
That's not the only reason. My woman thinks it's sexy
Oi? Rarity.

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote:
THE most compelling reason to study them (or anything really)

Bronson
Exactly.
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Old 12-27-2004, 02:09 AM   #15
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote:
Well, it's sharp at least. I'm not sure but there are probably some weird rules as to what can actually be called a shinken. I own a Practical Plus Katana and I don't know if I'd go so far as to call it decent. It's functional--I haul it out when we do tameshigiri, but I don't think it would be all that great for regular iaido practice.
I have a question. If it's good enough to cut then why isn't good enough to not cut.

First thing I noticed when holding a real sword over a shinken was the weight but the question is serious.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-27-2004, 02:20 AM   #16
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
I have a question. If it's good enough to cut then why isn't good enough to not cut.
It's a cumbersome oaf of a sword and I really don't like the handle design that much. It's like a straight hunk of wood wrapped like a Japanese sword handle. Take a look at the difference in handles on the two below. The PPK has a monster tsuka compared to an actual iaito, and it handles like a three legged pig in too big shoes.

But that's just me

Bronson
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"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 12-27-2004, 05:45 PM   #17
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

Bronson,
We've typed and typed on this thread and I still haven't seen anything that says it better than your tag line:

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."

I guess this makes me a true pacifist wanna-be.

Last edited by Bill Danosky : 12-27-2004 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 12-27-2004, 10:35 PM   #18
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote:
It's a cumbersome oaf of a sword and I really don't like the handle design that much. It's like a straight hunk of wood wrapped like a Japanese sword handle. Take a look at the difference in handles on the two below. The PPK has a monster tsuka compared to an actual iaito, and it handles like a three legged pig in too big shoes.

But that's just me

Bronson
Well it's not a custom made Shinken form Japan. It's just a production line functional Katana...

If you wanted a really good Shinken you can get one from Last Legend or SwordStore, both which I believe are made by Paul Chen in China...But superior quality comes with a superior price tag.
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Old 12-28-2004, 09:47 AM   #19
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

Quote:
Thomas Dixon wrote:
If you wanted a really good Shinken you can get one from Last Legend or SwordStore, both which I believe are made by Paul Chen in China.
Hey I never thought of that

I think I'd float some business to a swordsmith friend of mine and see what he could come up with. He typically makes European swords but his workmanship is outstanding and I know he could make me a very nice cutting sword, he is a true craftsman.

Quote:
Thomas Dixon wrote:
...But superior quality comes with a superior price tag.
Which is why I have what I have. I've had the opportunity to cut with some of Paul Chen's higher quality/higher priced models and they were quite nice. Unfortunately much too pricey for me. It was also my first cutting sword. I figured if I bent or somehow ruined a $200 sword I could deal with it a lot better than if I ruined a $5000 sword

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 12-28-2004, 09:48 AM   #20
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote:
I guess this makes me a true pacifist wanna-be.
Me too

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 12-28-2004, 09:55 AM   #21
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

In the opinion of whoever wants to post one, does a highline Paul Chen (Orchid, Shinto, etc.) count as a shinken? How about Cold Steel's Warrior/Imperial series? How is "Shinken" actually defined? I was under the impression that all "Shinkens" are made in Japan but I don't think that is correct now.

Also, I was wondering in another thread if anyone has ever done (or seen) tameshigiri with a Cold Steel katana? They're beautiful swords and their claim is that they're the best, but I don't think they're very popular with the real "users". Anyone know why that is?
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Old 12-29-2004, 04:05 AM   #22
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Disgust Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote:
Hey I never thought of that

I think I'd float some business to a swordsmith friend of mine and see what he could come up with. He typically makes European swords but his workmanship is outstanding and I know he could make me a very nice cutting sword, he is a true craftsman.



Which is why I have what I have. I've had the opportunity to cut with some of Paul Chen's higher quality/higher priced models and they were quite nice. Unfortunately much too pricey for me. It was also my first cutting sword. I figured if I bent or somehow ruined a $200 sword I could deal with it a lot better than if I ruined a $5000 sword

Bronson
Be careful, he might want to watch a Japanese Swordsmith (not a Japanese swordsmith, but someone who mostly makes Japanese swords..) Because it's a compltely different process than making european swords..lol
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Old 12-29-2004, 04:13 AM   #23
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote:
In the opinion of whoever wants to post one, does a highline Paul Chen (Orchid, Shinto, etc.) count as a shinken? How about Cold Steel's Warrior/Imperial series? How is "Shinken" actually defined? I was under the impression that all "Shinkens" are made in Japan but I don't think that is correct now.

Also, I was wondering in another thread if anyone has ever done (or seen) tameshigiri with a Cold Steel katana? They're beautiful swords and their claim is that they're the best, but I don't think they're very popular with the real "users". Anyone know why that is?
Personally, I define Shinken as a fully functional katana. Shinken translates as "Live Sword" so, I guess thats how I define it. However, Nihonto, means Japanese Sword.

I think an Orchid, etc. from Paul Chen counts as a Shinken.

I would also count Cold Steels Warrior/Imperial series as a Shinken.

Never seen Tameshigiri with a Cold Steel Kat, but my assumption as to why they're not that popular has to do with their pricetag, and the competition's price. Why pay $500 for a Cold Steel Kat, when I can get a proven quality Last Legend or PC Shinto for around the same price, if not less?
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Old 12-29-2004, 05:50 AM   #24
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote:
How is "Shinken" actually defined?
Shinken = 'real' sword, ie, sharp, steel blade. What's a shinken? No hard and fast rules, but shinken, to me, is only a differentation between a sharp and one that is rebated or intentionally blunt for whatever purposes.

Nihonto = Japanese sword (a wide range of other swords intersects this category though), normally, but not necessarily one made by a Japanese swordsmith. Some argue that any sword made in the Japanese style is 'nihonto', but others want to restrict the label to only those swords made in Japan in the traditional manner, by Japanese swordsmiths.

Mogito = 'Imitation' sword, often alloy blade, but not always. Includes 'iaito' and 'kendoyo', seldom sharp.

Iaito = Iai sword, one made specifically for training in sword drawing arts.

'Ken' was once used to identify any straight sowrd in the style of Japanese swords before smiths started applying the distinctive curved, single-edged tachi/katana shape to the blade.

'To' was once only used to describe the curved blade swords most folks associate with Japanese sword arts.

Thus bokken (a fairly modern term, I think) _technically_ describes a wooden version of the old-style straight bladed ken. Bokuto would be technically more accurate, but isn't used as widely as bokken.

Tachi and katana decribe mounting methodologies of the curved blade. Tachi were slung, edge down, katana worn thrust through the obi. There were other slight differences in the blade structure, but broadly speaking, the difference was the way they were worn.

Daito = Big/greater sword
Shoto = Little/lesser sword
Daisho = paired long and short swords

The Japanese have more words to describe bladed weapons and their fittings than the Eskimos have to desribe snow ...

Chuck

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Old 12-29-2004, 07:57 AM   #25
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Re: I don't want to dismember my opponents.

Quote:
Chuck Gordon wrote:
Shinken = 'real' sword, ie, sharp, steel blade. What's a shinken? No hard and fast rules, but shinken, to me, is only a differentation between a sharp and one that is rebated or intentionally blunt for whatever purposes.

Nihonto = Japanese sword (a wide range of other swords intersects this category though), normally, but not necessarily one made by a Japanese swordsmith. Some argue that any sword made in the Japanese style is 'nihonto', but others want to restrict the label to only those swords made in Japan in the traditional manner, by Japanese swordsmiths.

Mogito = 'Imitation' sword, often alloy blade, but not always. Includes 'iaito' and 'kendoyo', seldom sharp.

Iaito = Iai sword, one made specifically for training in sword drawing arts.

'Ken' was once used to identify any straight sowrd in the style of Japanese swords before smiths started applying the distinctive curved, single-edged tachi/katana shape to the blade.

'To' was once only used to describe the curved blade swords most folks associate with Japanese sword arts.

Thus bokken (a fairly modern term, I think) _technically_ describes a wooden version of the old-style straight bladed ken. Bokuto would be technically more accurate, but isn't used as widely as bokken.

Tachi and katana decribe mounting methodologies of the curved blade. Tachi were slung, edge down, katana worn thrust through the obi. There were other slight differences in the blade structure, but broadly speaking, the difference was the way they were worn.

Daito = Big/greater sword
Shoto = Little/lesser sword
Daisho = paired long and short swords

The Japanese have more words to describe bladed weapons and their fittings than the Eskimos have to desribe snow ...

Chuck
Dont' forget the Blade up portion of what defines a Katana.

Would the best description of the actual sword, without having to label it a Katana or Tachi, be "Nihon Daito"? Just wondering if you agree?
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