learning 68 items
A grim day for Mushashi
For those of you who don't know, I am a lover of katana. I often purchase katana swords looking for the best quality at low cost and one of the brands that I've purchased was one named Musashi. One day my brother found a rat that was in our kitchen and rather than touch it, he saw fit to take one of my Musashi kokuto katana to stab and slash at it from a distance. The rat died, sadly now the end of my sword is now bent and slightly curved; don't even get me started on getting it back into it's sheath.
Now I know that there's a reason some swords sell for so low, the carbon content in Musashi is relatively low; meaning its resistant to shattering but also far less rigid than other top performance cutters. Well it's a good thing I've still got dozens more blades, especially my beloved Edo samurai sword, Akagane katana and Nagamaki
  • James Also I was talking about the brand Musashi, not the famous swordsman.
  • scott Im not sure about the construction of musashi swords but in traditional Kats the vast majority of the blade was made of low carbon steel, almost iron and only the cutting edge was of high carbon steel. The reason Musashi switched to using boken in the later part of his life was that he didnt trust steel swords not to bend and warp.
    • Keith By saying that Musashi didn't trust steel swords, you're imply the was a reason not to trust them. Which is just not true. There is a reason why antique katana's are still valued. And people still do tameshigiri with them. Also. Musashi used a bokken for a time because he thought real swords were to violent.
      • scott No I said that Musashi didn't trust them, I am implying nothing, please don't put words in my mouth, if I wanted to say katanas were crap I would do so....and the reason antique Katana are still valued is the same reason any Antique is valued because of age and rarity. As far as them being too violent, from everything I have read Musashu didn't have much of a problem with violence.
        • Keith If someone doesn't trust something. Then there has to be a reason not to trust it. Right? So by saying Musashi didn't trust steel swords. You're saying there has to be a reason not to trust them, or at least, he thought there was a reason not to trust them.
          And the reason antique katana are valued, is because they're a work of art. Not only ascetically, but also in function. Unlike most other swords that were ever made, they were made for quality, not quantity. And yes. Musashi was a 'violent' person. If by violent you mean killed people. Just because he killed people doesn't mean he didn't think something was too violent.
          And if you knew that much about Japanese swords. You would know to simple ignore any myths about them. Because most of them are obvious BS. Things like them being unbreakable, or blah blah blah. And yes, carbon content was different through different parts of the blade. But never so low that it would be considered iron. The steel used to make katana was made from an iron sand. But the swords themselves would in no way be even close to iron.
          As for the real capabilities of japanese swords. Youtube can explain that one for me. But, I'll give an example of an antique I heard about. On the tang was an inscription of the test cut that was done with it. Through a human corpse, and down in to the sand, I believe 11 inchs. (And that might be a little off.) But I know for fact that a katana could go through someone. As long as the swordsman knew what they were doing of course. Seems pretty capably to me.
          • Keith Steel is Steel. Iron was used from the hand guard. And ya, sorry but some of the modern reproductions today are better then what some of the old swords are. Europe had lots of steel, so if a sword broke, they could simply make a new one. Where the Japanese didn't have such options. And that came from the mouth a someone who studies European swords. Because I don't. And never claimed to be an expert about them in any way.
            And that's a pretty basic explanation of a Japanese sword. Better smiths didn't use that method. They used high carbon, low carbon, and mid grades of carbon steel. And layered them in different ways. Depending on the smith.
            As I posted above, I don't believe in any way that the Japanese sword was unbreakable. In fact I know the opposite, because I know it was common practice when a longer blade broke, to re-shape it to a smaller one.
            Yes, a Japaneses sword requires a lot of care. The oil from our hands with cause it to rust. So, they need to be cleaned and oiled a lot. Especially the older ones. As for constantly being polished to keep an edge. Maybe if you cut down someone everyday with it. It only needs polished, or 'sharpened' if you will after doing some extensive cutting. Or maybe being struck on the edge. And, I also know of some 'dull' antique katana that cut through rice/straw mats like butter. Because of the geometry of the blade, not the sharpness.
            As for Musashi. All I said was that he used a bokken over a sharp sword, because he thought live blades were too violent. I never said anything about any of his dueling accounts.
            I also never claimed to be an expert on anything. That was you, and only you! I think, that you think you know everything because you've 'studied swords from blah blah blah' Guess what that doesn't mean crap. If you don't know something, you don't know it. And when someone knows better than you, well you just can't have that can you? By the way, you said I put words into your mouth, put it was you that put words in mine. You're nothing more than a pompous jerk, who has to one up everyone about everything.
          • scott The spine of the blade was made of low carbon steel Fact..the amount of carbon in the steel is what make it steel so low carbon steel is close to iron. Fact..as for most other swords being made for quantity not quality you really don't have a clue...you get your info from youtube and the internet..I got mine from years of study, actually handling swords, and talking to sword smiths...Yes the steel was made from iron sand, a very poor starting point...that is why the swords had to be worked so extensively and a tribute to the smiths ingenuity. Tamahagane the steel smelted from this sand was separated into various qualities low carbon, hocho-tetsu was used for the spine of the sword while high carbon hocho-tetsu was used for the skin of the sword..etc etc.. basically you had a soft core and hard edge...this can lead to warping and bending of the blade when put under heavy stress...sorry to burst your bubble but it does happen, does this make them bad no just a simple fact, they also require frequent polishing to maintain their edge, but a sword that receives too many polishes looses it's ability to hold a edge, again not good or bad just a fact, katanas were in fact high maintenance swords which would in my opinion make the bokken a excellent substitute for dueling and possibly why Musashi used them in such a high percentage of his duels again neither good or bad....and yes many swords were inscribed with how many bodies they cleaved I personally have seen one that was said to have gone through five...as far as Musashi being violent or not well I have read accounts of many of this duels I guess I don't read them as you do.
            Finally I see no further point in continuing this with you since you are obviously a expert on all things sword related...and my years of reading and actual experience have been in error so I'll bow to your greater knowledge. Have a wonderful life
            • scott sorry miss typed in case anyone catches it nabe-gane is the term for high carbon steel IIRC...
        • scott Oh and as a side note I have been studying swords, sword play and history for about 35 yrs now...I don't have any particular fondness for Japanese swords but that doesn't mean I don't know about them, how they were made, what materials were used and just what they were capable of doing, but I also know that most of the mythology that surrounds them is just that Myth.
    • James whoa pretty knowledgeable for a guy who sticks to western swords. C'mon admit it u like katana's too don't cha?