Archive for the ‘Swords’ category

Sword Cutting Exercises

November 1, 2015

In Japan I had heard one needed a license to own or use shinken or sharp swords. Sword control = gun control in that sense, from the Meiji Era.

This is a Kickstarted video about Historical European Martial Arts or HEMA.

Both videos from SBG newsletter, although the latter video was first seen by me from Mike of Grim Beorn’s blog.

This is a different subject matter entirely, this video above. It is mostly a construction video about how to work with modern steel using modern welding techniques and equipment. I’ve seen a lot of garage and home blacksmith use something similar, and others may have noticed that home shop blacksmith, amateur or pro, tend to have similar setups.

European military tradition

September 12, 2015

A sample of what Europeans learned how to do after centuries of being raided by the Vikings and the Islamic hordes.

Also another video I added recently, about archery. Although I saw it a number of years ago, maybe even before 2012.

Chinese custom swords

September 5, 2015

Some relatively expensive collector level items for blade collectors. At 1k a pop, it’s going to be a little bit hard to use it for testing, although who knows with enough money. It’s cheaper than those sports cars and hybrids.

Courtesy of Sword Buyer’s Guide Online

Sword Stories

October 15, 2014

A resource link to where people can look at or buy swords.

Same story in two links above.

Old news, but recently I heard of others using melee type implements so I’ll do a search. If it is as common as SWAT no knock raids with fatalities at wrong address, it should easily come up.

Nope, seems that incident is rare in the results. So we’ll go with non lethal outcomes.

“The first thing that went through my head is somebody should do something, and that’s when I got really upset and disappointed with myself, because I realized I had the opportunity to do something. And I didn’t want to be a hypocrite who just tweeted about it,” Scaramuzza told the station.

Using that search function brings up more. However, it still didn’t get the two stories I heard from instapundit, a person with a “spear” capturing a criminal/arsonist in his home or the person with a sword stopping two ninjas from attacking a house where his girlfriend was.

L6 Bainite sword steel explanations

October 1, 2014

I was reading about the L6 tool steel, vs the T10, 1060 carbon, and 9160 spring steel swords.

Element Weight %
C 0.65-0.75
Mn 0.25-0.80
Si 0.50
Cr 0.60-1.20
Ni 1.25-2.00
Mo 0.50
V 0.20-0.30(a)
Cu 0.25
P 0.03
S 0.03

I was able to get a more specific list of the composition there, which is restricted to only a few browsers before the subscription requirement kicks in.

Molybedum, Manganese, Chrome, Silicon, seem to be the most important in sword steel construction, for hardness, edge retention, flexibility, and shape retention.

I had most of this information years ago, but it’s good to review once in awhile.

Something strange in the works

June 27, 2014

Reading a story about Japanese samurai customs of testing new swords on peasants.
Courtesy of David Foster.

I feel quite a bit of blade instability and harmonics when cutting through dense objects, using differentially hardened blades.

I wouldn’t be surprised that the brittle construction and steel (ancient) Japan had to use for katanas, would break or chip the blade, if an inexperienced samurai used his blade on wood or bamboo. Thus humans were much more “squishy” even with the bones.

Personally, I prefer thorough hardened blades, relying on the overall heat treatment and steel quality (Spring steel 1060 is reasonable) rather than on the back of the katana to “absorb” shock. The hamon from the differential hardening is nice, though, visually speaking.

The thorough hardened 1045 I use for practice feels much more stable when cutting, although technically it has no edge and thus isn’t “strumming the violin string”.

I’m sure technique perfection would eliminate the harmonics from any cut, using any tool. That is a bit trickier to figure out. It helps if one has supremely strong hand grips though. More on the pinky and ring finger than the index. Not so good for shooters or mouse users, since their strongest finger is the index or middle.

I’m also combining Taiji gut or dantien movements and energy concentration, in order to power horizontal sword strikes and they feel much more “smooth” that way. The energy feedback is a lot less when both of my legs are rooted to the ground, so that when the energy from the sword connects to the object, the object pushes back via one of Newton’s Laws. That energy travels back through my arms and has to go somewhere. If I route it through my stomach and to my two legs (the stomach area connects to the hips, thus can channel open a route to the legs) it hits the ground and goes back to where it came from.

I don’t think I’ve ever read about this issue, since it’s not something people generally talk/write about unless they have actually used a sword to cut targets and that sword was a differentially hardened katana. It’s like the whole sheathing movement. If you don’t use swords, it’s easy to neglect mentioning it and how it isn’t as simple as just pushing the sword back in. Japanese katanas have a bare back with no edge to it, so one normally uses the thumb or fingers to “guide it back in” via touch contact alone. Why is this better than the two edged jian or longsword’s sheathing method? Because you don’t have to get your eyes on target, you can watch around in case the threat is not over. It would be pretty stupid if someone stabbed you in the back while your eyes were looking around to see where to sheathe your sword.

So, that is just one advantage or difference between a one edged saber like sword (the katana) and a double edged longsword. Each tool has pluses and minuses depending on what job you want to do.

I will see if I can produce more testing on this subject. I need a thorough hardened 1060 to test with, since the 1045 is thorough hardened but has a different HRC rating and doesn’t have an edge to begin with (although it cuts through the same things except really light objects).

Japanese 9260 spring steel katana auctions

June 1, 2014

I was looking around for some Cheness 9260 spring steel blades and found that they have some competition on this venue.

My 1060 differentially hardened steel, also from China, has gotten quite a lot of dents in it by now. The sweat on the 1045 steel iaito has soaked into the cloth grip and has stained the white rayskin yellow. I guess that’s what happens when training outside in a rainstorm. Wasn’t my fault, the sky was clear in the beginning, but nature still wanted to push me inside with some flash flood like rain. Little monsoon stopped in an hour or so. Good thing there was no lightning. Swinging a rod of steel around in a lightning storm, I can just imagine it now. That’s Ben Franklin level there.

Spring steel, 9260, and T10 steel are harder to work with, but their resiliency is far better. Japanese swords were historically hardened to the 1095 level, or just about. The edge was pretty hard and could thus hold an edge, but it was also brittle and took supreme edge control for a swordsman not to chip the blade on various targets or when blocking too many hits.

Modern steel can reproduce the same edge quality, but make the entire blade stronger and more flexible even. In terms of practicality, flexibility (spring steel can return to normal after 90 degrees of bending, now that’s a nice block against monster ogre clubs) and unbreakable stability is more important for me than edge sharpness. After all, even an unsharp katana can cut, it just takes more work. The primary problem with chips in the blade is that it disturbs the vector of the blade as it moves through an object. I feel more instability in my hands. I need to get that little modern gadget that sharpens blades (using some diamond hard crushers that can fit in a hand). Like a pencil sharpener, it works just like that.

The h-wei shop also sells Chinese jians.

A sort of rapier plus longsword. That little instruction video looks pretty good. The katana is like a tank. The only thing it can’t manipulate or block are chains or hooks. The jian is a lighter weapon that gets better the more agile and dexterous a swordsman is. Its long distance stabs and defenses can defeat opponents with shorter weapons or outmaneuver opponents with longer and heavier weapons. Taiji can add an additional arm to the swordarm, in order to absorb or block heavy hits, if strictly necessary (such as being trapped, for example, and unable to move out of the blade vector line).

One comment I left on another site:

Personally, I find a lot of versatility in the design of the Japanese katana. While they had to work with inferior steel and this lead to compromises, in the modern world having a flat back is very useful for non lethal blows as well as allowing the use of two arms to block heavy hits such as from baseball bats, rifle stocks, etc. A curved blade is easier to draw, and the flat back allows the use of the finger or thumb to guide the blade into its sheathe without much difficulty or accidental cuts.

A double bladed sword should be easier on the wrists when it comes to spiralling movements or slicing movements.

Ironically, even our average blades forged of 1045 steel would be considered almost divine weapons in the past. While it wouldn’t hold an edge easily, it couldn’t be shattered easily either. And generally, it was the later that killed warriors, not the former.

On a different note, every time the person in the video is looking at the scabbard to sheathe the jian, is a moment somebody can surprise him because he’s not looking around or checking his six. Japanese katanas can be sheathed by touch sensitivity alone, convenient for me.

On a different note, I tested the point of balance of my katana by leaning it over my shoulder. It’s pretty much what the video says. And it “pulls” hard even on horizontal cuts. Nice for slashing through objects, but not so nice if you need to recover to guard because somebody’s serpentine jian is trying to cut your wrist tendons off.

In some ways, swords are like AR-15s, they can be customized to suit the specific user’s style or strengths. Actually in a lot of ways it is like that.