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Old 05-03-2005, 09:11 PM   #26
MikeE
 
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Re: A warning! Not the chen swords!

Keith thanks for the indepth information. Sorry if I ticked you off, but, it was nice to get a straight forward answer for once. BTW, shouldn't a Seidokan guy have a thicker skin?"

I'll be sure to let you know if we have a PK or PPK fail.

Mike Ellefson
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Old 05-04-2005, 09:12 AM   #27
Keith Larman
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Re: A warning! Not the chen swords!

Quote:
Michael Ellefson wrote:
BTW, shouldn't a Seidokan guy have a thicker skin?"
I'm sorry, but I don't see the connection. Am I missing something?

Quote:
I'll be sure to let you know if we have a PK or PPK fail.
There are three types of failures that are common in Japanese sword. One is taking a set during a botched cut. That's just a bent sword and usually can be repaired. This is actually the "intended" failure mode of these blades when properly heat treated. Another is poor construction of the tsuka resulting in a tsuka failure. On looseness or rattle the sword should be repaired and not used again. Total tsuka failure can result in a projectile blade or the blade rotating back into the swordsman, usually tearing up their hands pretty bad.

Blade shattering due to suboptimal heat treat is in general vastly more dangerous. Fatigue stresses build up over time and the "perfectly solid" sword can suddenly shatter resulting in a catastrophic failure even in a "good" cut. The failure of this type usually involves the now broken piece flying in one of three directions. Most common is straight down if the fragment gets tied up with the target. But sometimes they fly forward with great speed, especially if they break at the point of target contact (suboptimal heat treat -- usually overheating resulting in grain growth combined with thin cross section). On other failures when they shatter inside the contact point (usually related again to suboptimal heat treat and thinner cross sections) they flip back at the swordsman, again with considerable velocity. And it will still have that long, sharp edge.

Odds of these failure are low. But the repurcussions of a failure like the latter are rather significant. Kinda like playing russian roulette with a gun with 100 chambers and only one bullet.

Best of luck.

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Old 05-04-2005, 01:10 PM   #28
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Re: A warning! Not the chen swords!

Quote:
You do realize that the purpose of hi, including bohi, is in no way related to tachikaze, right?
Traditionally NO. However the purpose of bohi on THOSE swords is to create tachi kaze. You're not going to be thrusting an alluminum blade into a man anytime soon to warrant the need for an air pocket to make the sword easier to withdraw.

In fact tachikaze is the purpose behind bohi on almost all modern iaito. People these days use it as a TOOL to help their technique. The person was asking about buying iaito. Because these days most styles practice / judge their technique by their tachikaze, I advised him that this wouldn't be a great sword to practice with.

Why did you even bring up the "purpose" of bo hi? It's not even relevent to the question that was asked.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 05-04-2005, 01:12 PM   #29
MikeE
 
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Re: A warning! Not the chen swords!

The connection is that Kobayashi Sensei wasn't too fond of someone taking themselves too seriously. I meant it purely in jest.

I just held a last legend for the first time. I liked how it is designed more for tameshigiri. Any thoughts on these blades, or levels that you would stay away from?

Feel free to e-mail me if you wish. mike@midwestaikido.com

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Old 05-04-2005, 02:56 PM   #30
Keith Larman
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Re: A warning! Not the chen swords!

Quote:
Michael Ellefson wrote:
The connection is that Kobayashi Sensei wasn't too fond of someone taking themselves too seriously. I meant it purely in jest.
Ah, okay, just wasn't sure what you were referring to.

True, Kobayashi had a very light hearted approach, but he also took what he did very seriously at the same time. Most of the time I let these kind of threads go because they really don't matter. Overwhelmingly most on-line today discussing swords are basing what they know on experience solely with production swords. Few have even seen a decent antique let alone a good one in good mounts. So most discussions on-line, especially comparison different swords, is much like discussions where two guys whose entire martial arts experience is limited to Mortal Combat on their Nintendo are discussing the relative merits of Aikido vs. Daito Ryu. Or Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu vs. Mugai Ryu vs. Muso Shinden Ryu vs. Katori Shinto Ryu. It is near impossible to discuss with people who don't already have a solid foundation. So much of it I just shrug and don't worry about because it ultimately has little to do with me or the stuff I tend to work on. But I do take comments which have some implication towards the integrity of people I know rather seriously. To say they're just "repackaged" blades basically waves away the hard work of a number of people.

But no, I really don't take myself all that seriously. Heck, the class I taught last week had them doing aikido to Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue". I do take swords seriously, however. So did Kobayashi sensei, by the way. Mrs. Kobayashi lent me a number of his books from his collection a few years ago to study because they're long out of print. He had apparently attended a number of very good sword shows over the years and was fairly versed in some of the better historic blades.

Quote:
I just held a last legend for the first time. I liked how it is designed more for tameshigiri. Any thoughts on these blades, or levels that you would stay away from?

Feel free to e-mail me if you wish. mike@midwestaikido.com
Last time I said anything about them I got hit with a bunch of hate mail. It is a rather personal issue to many.

I think you get what you pay for. A good sword is a combination of a properly forged and heat treated blade with good quality mounting, fit and finish. Production blades are by necessity exercises in compromise. The question is whether the compromises made are important to you or not. Or whether they impact safety or use.

Also ask whether you're buying a blade because it cuts mats well or because it is a good example of a Japanese sword. I have a $8 machete in the garage that cuts mats fantastically (I put a nasty edge on it one day to prove the exact point). But it isn't appropriate as a Japanese style sword for a traditional sword art. I've seen a couple of their early blades including a "competition" sword and found the sugata awkward (heavily koshi sori with a very awkward straight section from mid blade through the tip), the sugata totally incorrect by historic standards, and the mounting to be not what I'd want to use. But again, I have rather high standards for what I'd consider appropriate and I personally want my Japanese style sword to be, well, Japanese in style.

Your mileage may vary. If it's what you like, well, whatever floats your boat.

And to last legend fans now upset with me -- please forward all hate mail to "BGates@microsoft.com". Thanks.

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Old 05-04-2005, 03:01 PM   #31
Keith Larman
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Re: A warning! Not the chen swords!

Quote:
Nathan Gidney wrote:
Traditionally NO. However the purpose of bohi on THOSE swords is to create tachi kaze. You're not going to be thrusting an alluminum blade into a man anytime soon to warrant the need for an air pocket to make the sword easier to withdraw.

In fact tachikaze is the purpose behind bohi on almost all modern iaito. People these days use it as a TOOL to help their technique. The person was asking about buying iaito. Because these days most styles practice / judge their technique by their tachikaze, I advised him that this wouldn't be a great sword to practice with.

Why did you even bring up the "purpose" of bo hi? It's not even relevent to the question that was asked.
The notion of the groove providing an "air pocket" to simplify removal of a blade is an urban myth. The other as a "blood groove" is similarly a bit of over-romanticized BS.

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Old 05-05-2005, 05:11 AM   #32
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: A warning! Not the chen swords!

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote:
The notion of the groove providing an "air pocket" to simplify removal of a blade is an urban myth. The other as a "blood groove" is similarly a bit of over-romanticized BS.
see this article: http://www.balisongxtreme.com/balipl...ms/blgrfaq.htm

it's quite interesting...

George S. Ledyard
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Old 05-05-2005, 08:49 AM   #33
Keith Larman
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Re: A warning! Not the chen swords!

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
see this article: http://www.balisongxtreme.com/balipl...ms/blgrfaq.htm

it's quite interesting...
Yup, interesting read.

And for those who read it, I have to point something out. While they are trying to dispel the myth about blood grooves they manage perpetuate a completely different common myth. They talk about bo-hi (fullers) using the same misunderstanding of I-beams that most people have. The statements about "stiffening" and not sacrificing any strength are simply incorrect. You cannot remove material without sacrificing strength. It simply doesn't work that way. The issue is more about strength to weight ratios and also removing mass in such a way as to *minimize* the loss in one dimension. Bo-hi are fantastic in how they lighten in that they minimize the loss of rigidity along the vector you would use cutting. But you still lose some. Always. Period. Rotate the blade a bit during a cut and the blade will be more susceptable to bending than it would have been had the bo-hi not been carved in. So it is *not* as strong and certainly not stronger. But if you keep your hasuji proper it will be *almost* as strong and lighter. Just don't pooch a tough cut...

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Old 05-05-2005, 12:41 PM   #34
Bronson
 
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Re: A warning! Not the chen swords!

Hey Keith,

Glad to have someone with your sword experience posting here.

Do you have an opinion on what would be a decent starting cutter for someone who does occasional tameshigiri as part of Iai practice.

Thanks,

Bronson

P.S. Are you going to Summer Camp?

"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 05-05-2005, 01:39 PM   #35
Keith Larman
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Re: A warning! Not the chen swords!

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote:
Hey Keith,

Glad to have someone with your sword experience posting here.

Do you have an opinion on what would be a decent starting cutter for someone who does occasional tameshigiri as part of Iai practice.

Thanks,

Bronson

P.S. Are you going to Summer Camp?
Hey, Bronson, nice to see ya here.

The irony for me is that I work on swords that I can't afford myself. Well, not an pay the mortgage and preschool bills. I am just about finished a beautiful bainite katana by Howard Clark in full mounts that I would love to keep for myself. Unfortunately, I can't afford my own work. A very odd situation, but every time the rugrat smiles at me, I remember why money goes into the bank. Schools are too damned expensive these days and I shudder to think what college is going to cost in 14 years...

What I use is a 29.5 Dragonfly with a 12-inch tsuka with Bo-hi from Bugei. I practice tameshigiri occasionally and have invited a few folk you probably know over for small practices in proper form with a real target. My dragonfly with bo-hi has seen a few, um, shall we say, poorly aligned cuts in its time. And honestly to my surprise the blade is no worse for wear. I wouldn't use the blade on bamboo because of the edge geometry being a bit too thin for such a hard, impact target. But on mats the thing cuts like a light sabre. The bo-hi also makes it very light and fast which is critical for me. All these years of polishing hunched over has resulted in some very sore fingers, wrists, elbows and shoulders. So I'm usually nursing something and I wanted a sword as light as possible. For me it is the difference between being able to practice and polish or to give up the sword completely because frankly it just hurts too much to practice with proper form. For someone who isn't quite as, well, banged up as me, the dragonfly without bo-hi is probably a better choice. They are robust enough to handle screwups and a bit heavier due to the lack of grooves. Very scant niku so they're more or less like lasers through soft targets. And still with traditional shaping and feel. I like them a lot. The biggest problem Bugei has had with this sword is that they are so far backordered the customers are getting irritated. Victim of popularity I guess.

No, camp is out for me this year. I was planning on going but with trips this month already out to Chicago for the Token Kai (transl: big honking sword show), trip to the San Fran Token Kai in August, a trip to Japan later this year to the Dai Token Ichi and with a bunch of relatives happening to be in town the very weekend of camp, well, I need to conserve redeemable marriage points. And now they've basically got me covering half the classes at AIA while everyone else is up at camp.

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Old 05-09-2005, 07:57 PM   #36
Bronson
 
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Re: A warning! Not the chen swords!

Keith, thanks for the sword info.

Sorry you won't be making it to camp This is my first one in Cali. and I was hoping to meet as many people as possible.

Thanks again,

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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