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Nihonto in Koryu Bujutsu Today

 
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rikoseishin
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 12:02 pm    Post subject: Nihonto in Koryu Bujutsu Today Reply with quote
This is a thread started after this conversation began in another section.

Please post your thoughts and ideas about the practicality of Nihonto, and how you define Nohonto, and their application in the current practice of koryu bujutsu in general, or your particular ryu.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
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Please post your thoughts and ideas about the practicality of Nihonto, and how you define Nohonto, and their application in the current practice of koryu bujutsu in general, or your particular ryu

Not real sure just what you're looking for here Jonah.
Practicality? ... if you're practicing the Japanese sword arts and are of sufficient experience to be using a shinken, then a nihonto is very practical, although quite expensive.
Definition? ... the Japanese government has already defined nihonto as those swords made by traditional Japanese methods. No other steel swords are allowed in Japan, not even WWII gunto.
Application? ... if you mean whether they should be used for tameshigiri or just kata, I suppose that would depend upon the nihonto. If it is a 300 year old antinque in pristine polish, then it would be ridiculous to actually use it for anything other than study in my opinion. If it is a lower grade sword, or it's in need of a new polish, then I see no problem with using it for kata. I would personally discourage anyone without lots of experience from using any antique for regular practice though, as it is possible to mess up a sword if you're not very experienced. If it is a modern made (shinsakuto) sword, I see no reason not to use it for tameshigiri also. I have known some very experienced practitioners to cut with some pretty high value swords though. If you have enough experience and know what you're doing, it doesn't pose a danger to the sword to use it in the way it was made to be used.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Paul,

This is just a continuation of the Hanwei Katana thread. I started this thread so that people could continue their conversation form that thread, and still have it in the right section of the forum.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ahhh ... I see!

Thanks, I was a bit lost there for a minute! Smile
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JLBadgley
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
To continue the thread from a previous post:

Regarding Iaito--I shouldn't automatically characterize any sword by its materials alone; there's a lot more that goes into it. And a non-steel sword is essential if you want to get through customs without any problems (I've been through the magnet test). That said, the ratio of metals and the weight is, imho, an issue. I've used Nihonto, Japanese iaito, Chinese shinken, and others. In my opinion, many iaito are too light. Frankly, many shin-shinto are too light, imo. I would contend that later period the swords were more decorative than functional for *most people*. There is a similar trend in Europe where you see the court dress swords getting smaller and smaller, till some are hardly bigger than a dagger and maybe as big around as a pencil.

That said, I don't think we need to go back to the huge Nambokucho swords--some of the tameshigiri competition community really likes these monsters because they usually have a lot of niku and thus both take the punishment and dish it out (even if you aren't very good yourself).

These are my preferences for the arts I practices--ymmv.

-Josh
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
As to the link to iaito I posted earlier.


Hi Moses, I am curious about the iaito you have for sale. It came up in a forum where I had posted a link to your site. Are they made in the USA? or somewhere else? Thanks, John Here is the link if interested.http://forums.samurai-archives.com/viewtopic.php?t=2944


i am a disributer for a japanese company


A matter of what you prefer after all. John
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
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i am a disributer for a japanese company

I'm sure he is, but those swords are not made in Japan. It is illegal to make steel swords other than traditional nihonto, and his web site specifically says that they are made outside of Japan. They are also not made in the U.S. as an inexpensive handle wrap costs about $300 here, just about the cost of that entire sword. Since they don't look anything like the swords coming out of the Thai factory, This pretty much leaves them to be made in one of the Chinese factories. I've not personally handled any sword from any of the Chinese factories that felt as close to a traditional nihonto as an inexpensive aluminum alloy iaito. That was the point I made in the other thread, so I think it's worth reiterating here.
Quote:
A matter of what you prefer after all.

It always has been. If you'd like to practice your art with a lead pipe, that's a matter of what you prefer also. However, there is a chance that they would allow you to bring your lead pipe into Japan to train with. There is NO chance that they would allow you to bring that stainless steel sword in with you.

As I've said before, these are my opinions based upon my experiences. Others may vary.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
You know, I have used production Chinese swords--and some of them felt much closer to the Nihonto I've handled than some of the Japanese iaito I've purchased, so it isn't always true. Still, they didn't feel like a good custom sword, and I believed they all retailed close to $1k, so they weren't the cheaper swords.

To me, it is more about the smith than 'Nihonto', really. Is the smith a good smith who takes pride in his work and is creating an individual sword? Or is it coming off of a production line? There is definitely a different feel between the two.

Cheap swords out of any country are going to be cheap swords, though.

-Josh
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Interesting. Thank you all for your posts. So I guess the best idea would be to buy the blade first. I'm going to post my other questions about Nihonto in Arms and Armor.
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