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Can you cut with Gendaito or only Shinsakuto swords?


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Good day,

 

After further deliberation after the advice given to me by this forum, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really want to have a katana to cut with. So I’m looking to put up my Juyo token katana I recently bought, which was getting a new scabbard made and edo fittings done up, for trade or sale. (In another thread of course.) The link below is just for reference.

 

https://www-shoubudou-co-jp.translate.goog/products/detail.php?product_id=182&_x_tr_sl=ja&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=sc&_x_tr_sch=http

 

My question is what earliest year of sword should I be looking for that I’d be able to cut with?

 

Is it safe to cut with gendaitos or should I only stick to shinsakutos?

 

I’m thinking of trading for this sword…

 

https://japanesesword.com/for-sale-pages/2017/9/26/masterpiece-long-shinsakuto-blade-by-ichiro-matsuba

 

Thanks.
 

Best regards,

 

Barrett Hiebert
 

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Barrett,

 

I'd advise a shinken made from modern steel.

 

Modern steel will give better edge holding, higher strength and higher toughness.

 

It's not really a matter of safety. Cutting with a blade is putting miles on it; you're using it as a tool instead of an art object, so you're not preserving it.

 

At best you'll scratch the polish and blunt the blade, necessitating further polishes which remove metal.

 

In all likelihood you'll bend the blade of a Nihonto by cutting with it; causing kizu and you might might eventually break the blade.

 

If you're fine with damaging and maybe destroying the blade, you can use anything you like. If you want the best tool for the job, with the best edge holding, strength and toughness, you want modern steel.

 

Is there any particular reason you want to use a gendaito or shinsakuto for tameshigiri?

 

If you do go that route, be sure to refer to the guidance of Nakamura Taisaburo (or your sensei) to ensure that you commission a blade well suited for cutting and sized appropriately for you. Many katana are not well suited to tameshigiri or to Iaido more generally.

 

For tameshigiri I use a custom made hira-zukuri katana in 1086 steel and many other practitioners of JSA here make use of production swords from China.

 

In any case, be sure that you're buying a suitable shinken and not a blade intended primarily for aesthetic appreciation.

 

Nakamura's Spirit of the Sword will help you find your bearings.

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Mark,

 

Thanks for the lengthy reply. I will heed your advice and put the sword up for sale, consignment to fund a shinken. As for why I wanted a gendaito or shinsakuto, well, originally I thought they would, since newer, be okay for cutting, though now I understand the nuances better. Thanks for clarifying. As for the book recommended I shall go to the book store and see if I can order it.

 

Thanks again for the reply and to all those on this forum in my first thread ever who cared, steering me rightly.

 

PS. A hira-zukuri custom shinken would be my choice as well. Such were made in the Nanbokucho period, from my research.

 

Any way you could pm me with a picture of your shinken?

 

I'd love to check it out.

 

Best regards,

 

Barrett Hiebert

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7 minutes ago, Barrett Hiebert said:

Mark,

 

Thanks for the lengthy reply. I will heed your advice and put the sword up for sale, consignment to fund a shinken. As for why I wanted a gendaito or shinsakuto, well, originally I thought they would, since newer, be okay for cutting, though now I understand the nuances better. Thanks for clarifying. As for the book recommended I shall go to the book store and see if I can order it.

 

Thanks again for the reply and to all those on this forum in my first thread ever who cared, steering me rightly.

 

PS. A hira-zukuri custom shinken would be my choice as well. Such were made in the Nanbokucho period, from my research.

 

Any way you could pm me with a picture of your shinken?

 

I'd love to check it out.

 

Best regards,

 

Barrett Hiebert

 

I'll PM you Barrett.

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Barrett,

 

I am a TSKSR student, and I have two lovely Shinsakuto, one Gendatio, and a fantastic Motohara from EB. 

 

I bought the Moto specifically for cutting, as I have no desire to damage my Nihonto.

 

Most, if not all the guys who practice tameshigiri regularly, will tell you to get a modern mono steel sword, especially when you're starting out.

 

+1 for Spirit of the Sword, it is a fantastic book.

 

Cheers

 

 

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Lots of very good advice above and I wouldn’t fault any of it. No matter what you do it is of utmost importance to use a sword that is actually appropriate for training. Sadly there are plenty of swords out there that only offer frustration or fantasy wrapped in marketing. 
 

I would also add that there are plenty of shinsakuto meant for martial arts use, as it’s illegal to use anything else in Japan!

 

I own both a shinsakuto and a modern monosteel “shinken”, and I cut with both. I for one believe that using a blade with traditional geometry, regardless of who makes it, is a good idea if you are interested in truly developing the body of a swordsman. 
 

In either case you should not need to sell a Juyo sword to buy a training blade as we’re talking about multiples in price here. You should NOT spend $15k on a sword for martial arts use. You should spend $2-6k, maximum. 
 

I would also heartily recommend Motohara/Evolution Blades as far as monosteel swords go. 
 

Here’s an article that might help you (I am one of the authors): https://www.brooklynbattodo.com/reading/5-6-2021/how-to-buy-a-real-sword

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25 minutes ago, Barrett Hiebert said:

Alright guys,

 

Thanks for all the replies. I am digesting the information and making amends as I come across different swords.

 

Would this sword be okay to cut with?
 

https://www.aoijapan.com/katana-osaka-gassan-sadakazu-seitan/

 

Best regards,

 

Barrett Hiebert

 


Definitely not! The shape is wrong for real use, and unless you’re about 5’6” it’ll be too short. 
 

And it’s way too expensive. 
 

Respectfully, what art are you studying and with whom? Your teacher should be able to advise you in addition to us. 

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Fellow forumites,

 

Thank you all for your replies and incredulous reactions. :laughing: Jokes aside. Serious reply.
 

I was merely entertaining the thought. Nothing harmless with asking questions and gaining information. I am well aware that the Osaka Gassan blade is too much to cut with now, being an early antique. At most I was just going to cut pumpkins to not ruin the blade as to get a feel for its handling characteristics. I was entertaining it because it is one of the blade types I prefer. I would of been getting a cutting copy if I did get that blade. The cutting of the soft medium was just a preliminary thought.

 

There is no JSA cutting school here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and the local Kenjutsu school, (Noble House Kenjutsu), has not been able to show their lineage. I most certainly can cut better than the students at my European school. No offence to them but their bodies aren’t optimized. I am not so astute in the terminology department as the academics, hobbyists, that comprise the school. Though they are knowledgeable and excellent educators, hobbyists, etc., I have the physicality, body mechanics, mindset. Plus I’ve been in real close combat and it all translates down the line, with any tool. Just an extension of the arm.

 

Not trying to be rude, though I feel that there is a degree of exclusivity that abounds, and pretentiousness. It’s unbecoming of this community and shouldn’t be allowed through all the sword communities.

 

Come on gentleman, if I can cut fine with the likes of quality European sword equivalent to a modern day Shinken, body mechanics being nothing different, other than the tools used, I can cut with a a Japanese sword. There are no back edge cuts mostly due to a proclivity of single edge blades so that makes it simpler. Though in a real sword fight one edge versus two shouldn’t be a matter of concern if both fighters are at a comparable level.
 

Please don’t take my skill level with a mere cutting of a sword to be a disqualification because I don’t have the necessary school requirements that is considered status quo, couth, especially in the JSA arena.

 

I’m a 32 year old gentleman who can handle himself accordingly, especially with weaponry, as I know their disastrous results, if used unwisely.

 

I’m not meaning to be egotistical or abrasive, and knowing I already have a - 6 reputation due to a dislike of how I’m perceived, essentially, it is petty. That option is ridiculous.

 

I bought a used Albion Ritter before I bought three more sharps for the European school, as a donation to the school, so they could have quality cutting instruments for immediate quality feedback on handling characteristics and cutting abilities.

 

Now if I was unable to cut or unsafe in anyway, do you think I would of been allowed back to a cutting session, even before I purchased those swords as a gift for the school?

 

I actually am 167 cm’s, so technically according to your JSA guidelines, yes I could use that sword. Now having very little sori and due to its mass distribution it be a nimble blade, from my reckoning. Though there are no hard and fast rules really due to profile, mass distribution, length, etc. that should be permitted for one to use. A little wiggle room is understandable. Now due to blade shape it wouldn’t be optimized for draw cuts from the scabbard. Though every weapon must be used with its intended purpose.

 

Furthermore, if I can use my 43 inch training warsword and the sharp equivalent are even longer, well I’m sure I could make necessary changes in my bio-mechanics, to handle any blade. Being that theoretically every single blade can be handled safely, it may just not be optimized for my or your proportions.

 

Food for thought.

 

PS. Correction. Oh and after doing new research there is an Iaido class in my town, though I am unable to attend due to requirement of having two vaccines.

 

So really come on my options are severely limited.

 

And last, others perceptions are their own. It has no bearing as to how I conduct myself, regardless of what you perceive to be agreeable to your liking, background.

 

Best regards,

 

Barrett Hiebert

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Sorry Barrett, your sentiments & justifications on this topic sound more like delusional ramblings. Most members who practice JSA are sensible enough to use modern blades for Tameshi, or at least astute enough not to disclose potentially using valuable antique pieces to cut pumpkins on a forum specifically dedicated to preserving them.   

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I am much more coherent than yourself. Trying out a 100 antique sword once on a pumpkin wouldn’t be catastrophic. It is the majority of users who are academics and hobbyists. I won’t be restrained merely by such resistance from a pretentious populace that resides here. And furthermore your opinion is irrelevant. I take everything with a grain of salt. I’m just getting tired of the pretentiousness that abounds here. You people on this forum for the little time I’ve been here are ridiculously narcissistic and entitled, pretentious beyond belief.

 

I just get tired of all these nazi keyboard warriors here, thinking that what they say is sacrosanct. That I should have to follow all their rules. This forum should be open for discussion, not having a group of people sit their and vilify with their obstinacy.
 

It doesn’t even make me want to participate with the antiquated mindset dinosaurs that seemingly are here.

 

I’m just not going to waste my time anymore here.

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Again, basically furthermore I have no interest engaging in any discussion with the forumites here. So I’m saying my peace.

 

I can just as well preserve any sword in my care. I just always forget that I’m mostly surrounded by a bunch of nerds who like to think their way is the highway. Now frankly I don’t care what you or anyone thinks about me here. That is your perception made in a small inference of time, which comes from your misplaced entitlement and haughtiness. I am in no way held in bondage by what the majority of people think. And your expectations are irrelevant too. I ask for your opinions. I take it under advisement though please don’t misconstrue what I say. I don’t have to sit there and have my intelligence be validated by anyone.

 

You know why I have a problem with the Japanese sword community is because of this. You never see it in the other sword communities. Only here.

 

Swinging around a 700 year old Juyo I have wouldn’t kill it. Cutting once with that Gassan katana at a little over 100 years old wouldn’t kill it. Come on people, grow the fudge up. Getting a tachi style blade made up and swinging it on the ground isn’t wrong. Come now.

 

I always laugh when the nihonto nerds come out crying over every little thing, especially when it comes to their community. It is almost insufferable. Again it totally comes away as exclusive to this community. It is unbecoming and doesn’t bode well.

 

If I can not kill myself or my dog when he is the vicinity while swinging a sharp European sword I can most certainly do it with any blade.

 

You forumites have to get real. Too many academics, hobbyists, administrators, facilitators, collectors here. It’s called dang common sense and trust me I have enough, since I haven’t hurt myself or anyone else. And I’m actually allowed to go to any cutting practice at the European school, for which is only available to me.

 

If you people want to give me a negative reputation point, well, that’s your perception, your choice. It has no bearing on how I operate. Really it’s just hiding a bunch of adults with their narrow minded views playing with swords who are so rigid within their traditional system that they can’t even operate remotely outside the box mentally that has been constructed for them. 

 

And furthermore your opinion of me not being astute for this forums environment in voicing my meagre aspiration to try out a sword within tolerable limits is childish, especially on a forum such as this. This is a forum, a place to discuss.  I have no problem sitting there and letting anyone voice their opinions though when I have ultimate say and these swords would all be perfectly fine under my care. Refer back to top.

 

Refer to quote attached I have on my fridge.

 

And I’m neither delusional or rambling. I’m just fed up with the snobs here, to be honest.

 

 I mean no disrespect to the forumites or any of the swords though again come on. Reality check everyone. No swords or humans, let alone myself would be harmed.

 

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When you're constantly complaining of the same problems and issues in all the various circles and groups you encounter, did you ever stop to think the problem is you?

Want to have a new blade made and play at martial arts? Fine. Go ahead. That's your business.

But talk about using ANY antique blade here, on a forum dedicated to preservation and study? Then get out. This is something that this forum has always stood for: preservation and study. Anything that cannot be made by someone currently living is a candidate for becoming a study or art object; and even many newly made blades are purpose made for study and art purposes.


You also make a lot of assumptions of the folk here; and then sling petty names to try and belittle people who have many times over the experience you do in martial arts and collecting without realizing that many are involved in both. What is even more silly to consider is that they've been actively trying to help and even educate you. What you do sound like, when you've said the above now and in the past, is an entitled brat whose parents never taught the value of humility and respect. I think you're just here to stir the pot because you have nothing else to do with your life. You should really consider your behavior and my very first statement in this post.

 

I think this topic has run its course and the mods/admin should lock it.


Shame on you.
 

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Barrett,

 

I'm sorry you feel that way. It might not feel like it, but people genuinely are doing their best to assist you.

 

There's a thread here from a member who's unfortunately had issues with his shinken bending when cutting after having a bohi carved in it.

 

An art sword may be more prone to bending from the day you get it. The first bend, after professional straightening, could easily wipe more than 90% off the value of the blade depending on the marks (kizu) left on the metal and it can never be repaired.

 

 

This particular forum is focused on the study and preservation of Nihonto, so you will get responses along those lines.

 

I notice that your mentioned at some point being stabbed with an improvised weapon. I was too. A little under a year ago I almost died while protecting an old man and a young woman from a lunatic who armed himself with a broken bottle after I'd disarmed him of his knife. Many others here have similar experiences and there are many military veterans here too.

 

You have the wrong impression of the members here. Please trust me that we are genuinely trying to help you avoid a costly mistake, a mistake that some members here have no doubt made.

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Chris,
 

You can think whatever you want. Stating the facts isn’t belittling anyone. I was merely stating the facts.

 

Most of your guys attitude is better treat those nihonto like a baby or else someone is going to die. If I did anything remotely what I expressed, no one would get hurt and I don’t have to be a senior JSA man to do that.

 

I’m actually an adult, not a spoiled little brat. You are the one gaslighting and using ad hominin attacks. It’s unbecoming of your character. Again I merely stated the obvious. If what I say rankles you then that is on you.

 

Just gets tiring going against the current of mass thought. I now know what all the pioneers felt.

 

Mark,

 

As much as everyone is trying to be helpful they aren’t helping. Sure not everyone here are what I paint with a large brush though come on, the majority aren’t soldiers, warriors in most of these classes, across the board.

 

I don’t need to follow to the letter what is told is right by anyone here and I’m unable to do anything else. For it’s just their opinion. Doing anything I vocalized wouldn’t ruin any of the blades. Anything would be marginal and things really would be nominal. These blades would be kept meticulously and I know full well the need to be immaculate in your surroundings, especially with weaponry for optimal functioning.

 

And actually if I used a kreigmesser, it variations are functionally the same as a katana. One could use the same bio-mechanics in treatises. All that changes is one’s perception and manifesting of that technique based on the system. Sure there’s changes between a Japanese Ryu and European Treatises technically and culturally but at the end of the day the fundamentals are in concert. Bio-mechanics are the same.

 

And to reiterate ad naseum nothing I’ve ever broached the topic would hurt a nihonto or be disrespectful to it. Jeeze Louise.

 

I don’t need to follow the crowd and I know well my capabilities, limitations.

 

I’m not going to waste my time anymore having people tell me what I should do, especially when they can’t handle resistance. Especially when their rebuttal is to redirect that I am the problem. It just flabbergasts me.

 

I’m no meek sheep. Not in my nature. If the forum can’t handle candid discussion of which this place is for, willingly disregarding the main demographic that I have seen time and time again throughout my lifetime in martial arts classes and on forums such as these for the majority, well I’m not here to pander to this community.

 

Truth is never well liked, as been shown throughout history, and even now.

 

I’m not one to dabble in half truths.

 

I’d rather ride the wave of originality and not constrain myself to outdated thinking. It’s called progress. Sure don’t forgot where you came from but seriously there needs be a merging, not this pig headedness espoused here so fervently, without thought.

 

I don’t mean any offence to anyone in this thread though you guys need to give your guys heads a shake.

 

While I know that people are trying to help, misconstruing what I say, insinuatingly wrongly based on their biased perception, is wholly to blame. It’s not that I give a flying hoot what any of you say, I only irks me when it is wrongly relayed, to the person who relayed it to begin with.

 

Telling the truth and nothing but the truth is not acting shamefully. It actually takes courage to go against the majority, the grain.

 

Best regards,

 

Barrett Hiebert

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Barrett,

 

I'm still confused as to why you want to use an antique blade in this way.

 

I just don't understand why you would want to, given what you know of the risks and cost implications.

 

It's not that:

  • you think that antiques are functionally superior.
  • you think that antiques are somehow magical and impervious to damage.

 

So is it that:

  • you're a risk taker and the possibility of losing $10k+ on a single swing excites you?
  • you like the idea of leaving your mark on an antique blade?
  • you're not actually intending to, but like the reactions you get?

 

I'm genuinely curious of the motivation.

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I don't really have the time or energy to respond properly, and I don't think it would help anyways.
You go ahead and use that Koto tachi for one cut on a pumpkin. And then when the angle is wrong, and it bends....and when straightened has shinae ware and is ruined as a 600 year old art piece, just know that the entire Nihonto community worldwide will think you are a pratt.
Someone who posts your intentions on a forum specifically dedicated to the preservation of Nihonto is just not going to get it. I suspect you'll have more joy on one of the Operator/PMC forums for tactical guys who regard these as weapons and not art.
I'm done being pc and polite, and I think you should appreciate that since you just mentioned it's how you work too.
You can stick around and learn stuff here and benefit from some of the best experts in the world (not myself) or you can throw your toys and leave. But what we aren't going to do is promote risky use of Nihonto.

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Barrett.....now I'm being serious....i have someone very close to me with Bi-Polar that I have been struggling to help for over a decade ...your messages remind me so much of his unmedicated hypomanic bouts....and NO I am not saying you have Bi-Polar or NO I am not saying you are hypomanic,  but your messages remind me way too much of this type of behaviour.  Very sadly.

 

I have said this in the past and I can not speak in behalf of the NMB but it may be better if you locate a forum that is better suited to your interests. 

 

I wish you all the best Barrett.

Rob

 

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Thought il add my 2 cents here to our freind @Barrett Hiebert

 

Barrett. I've trained in JSA for 10 years which is still not enough in jsa terms. That's iaido, kendo and niten ryu kenjustu. None of our teachers / sensei who practice tameishigiri have ever used a nihonto or antique blade to cutt with.  This is what modern production katanas are for such as hanwei and bugei. 

 

Secondly you are absolutely wrong about training and technique,  and I find that insulting both to myself and my teachers.

Cutting with a shinken or katana requires years of practice and time in the dojo. Everything from posture, type of cutt, and even safety are critical. Even properly gripping a katana and cutting can not be done learnt from video or book. I was fortunate to learn from a 7th Dan iaido, and it took me ages. 

 

Now for cutting fruit or bottles is just plain disrespectful even to a modern blades ,and i have done it. You sound like me when i was 21. As I've grown older (34) , you just know why this is ridiculous thing to do. First of all it damages the blade via the acidic components of fruit onto a blade, and doing this with an antique is just disrespectful and unimaginable.

 

I started off collecting modern steel which I did use to cutt with, and tatami mats soaked in water are the way to go. 

But even then you need a teacher , and correct technique. Otherwise you're doing disservice to both yourself and the blade.

 

I use to frequent on sbg forums years ago, and they have a community who likes backyard cutting with modern steel. 

I use to do backyard cutting, but the excitement wears off quickly. The  best place to do any cutting is in a dojo with tatami mats, this really shows you how techniques used by the samurai were effective. 

 

There are plenty of great blades under 1k heck even under 600 dollars that can do a great job. If you want a shinsakuto then that's fine also. But I would not swing a 5k blade without any proper training. 

 

Also I would not be asking these questions on this particular message board. As most of us are collectors and jsa students who now appreciate the art of a nihonto rather than how effective it was. (We all know that). I can't even imagine swinging a nihonto, even with the years I have, because I appreciate it differently to when I was a younger, more wild person. 

 

Please take my advice and don't buy an expensive nihonto for backyard cutting. Also please be safe. I have had accidents minor, but a mistake can be life changing. 

 

Regards 

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