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.