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Chris Arrington





Joined: 06 Apr 2007

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jan, 2009 10:01 am    Post subject: Weapons Master - The Katana New Military Channel Show         Reply with quote

I flipped on the tv last night and saw part of a new show before I fell asleep ( I actually saw more the next moring of the same episode).

Weapons Master ( http://military.discovery.com/tv/weapon-maste...ters.html)
Episode: The Katana

Actually it was quite decent, with some flaws outside of sensationalism, but entertaining and somewhat educational. The premise is that the shows hosts try to create a modern reproduction of a weapon out of modern materials, in this case the katana, and then test them against the same weapons that were built out of traditional materials and techniques.

They went to Japan and showed modern japanese swords masters, making a katana each step of the way. They started with the purify of the black sand to make Tamahagane, up thru the folding of the steel, to the final finishing. The only modern part of the creation of the sword was using a powered trip hammer, otherwise it look quite traditional to me.

The part most interesting to me was the clay mini-blast furnaces that they use to create the steel. Worth watching the show just for this short segment.

Then the host created a katana using modern homogenous steel and a modern shop.

In the last segment, they tested the two weapons and compared them. Of course this was the sensational part. Two interesting points was where they hit a full suit of Samauri armor (of questionable quality in my opinon) and studied the damage.

One set of strikes attacked the neck defenses of the helmet and cut some of the cords of the overlaping plates, but didn't even dent the plates. Of course the host tried to explain that it would be a killing blow. Another set of striked to the temple of the helmet created a decent dent, but nothing worse than what I've seen at a SCA event. Again the host explained that the person would be at least knocked out, if not creating severe head trauma and death. Again, if that was the criteria for death, we would have a lot of dead re-enactors Wink The last was a thrust to the center of the breast plate, that actually pierced it completely. This suprised me. However, the metal looked quite thin, so I wonder how high a quality of armor this was. Indian knock off, or something along historical lines. Overall, the armor held up quiet well.

In the second test, they shot a .45 cal bullet at the sword edge on, and cut the bullet in two, capturing in in super slow motion. Beautiful footage. At first I was amazed, because I had never seen this before. But then I started to consider the physics of this and figured its not too amazing, just something I'd never seen before.

An interesting and entertaining show, if not entirely historic. I would recommend it, just for the forging of the steel alone.
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
Joined: 16 Feb 2006

Posts: 552

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jan, 2009 10:52 am    Post subject: Re: Weapons Master - The Katana New Military Channel Show         Reply with quote

Chris Arrington wrote:
In the second test, they shot a .45 cal bullet at the sword edge on, and cut the bullet in two, capturing in in super slow motion. Beautiful footage. At first I was amazed, because I had never seen this before. But then I started to consider the physics of this and figured its not too amazing, just something I'd never seen before.

An interesting and entertaining show, if not entirely historic. I would recommend it, just for the forging of the steel alone.


Surprising, not for the fact that hardened and edged steel cuts copper jackets and lead bullets. No surprising that they managed to get the alignment perfect for the shot and get the film of it. They probably had several takes. ;-)
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,158

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jan, 2009 1:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

After years of trying to convince people that swords and arrows couldn't punch through armour like butter and finally gaining some traction, we get this.
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Max Chouinard




Location: Quebec, Qc
Joined: 23 Apr 2008

Posts: 108

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jan, 2009 1:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

there are next to zero modern Japanese production armors that really equate the ancient models, most are made for decoration and are not properly hardened. If you look at the kabutowari done on an ancient helmet by Obata Toshishiro sensei and the one done on a modern helmet, you see a huge difference. There are also no koryu techniques that attack the plates directly. I would be curious to see that show, is this this one? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tbnc1KKQdHk
Maxime Chouinard

Antrim Bata

Quebec City Kenjutsu

I don't do longsword
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Max Chouinard




Location: Quebec, Qc
Joined: 23 Apr 2008

Posts: 108

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jan, 2009 2:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55Vi4gpVwxs Is it the armor used at 7:42? If so it is an hanwei model, you could not really go much crappier than this in terms of replica and historical accuracy. The test has thus no meaning except showing that a sword could not cut through even the worst "japanese" armor possible, so it would not cut through a good one (or at least not to do any damage).
Maxime Chouinard

Antrim Bata

Quebec City Kenjutsu

I don't do longsword
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

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Posts: 650

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jan, 2009 5:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've seen the sword splitting a bullet a couple of times and never understood the value of the test. All it really tells you is that a steel wedge will split a lead object, which should come as a shock to no one. Even if you did manage to split an incoming bullet with yoru sword, all you've done is to get yourself two smaller bulletholes. WTF?!
There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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P. Cha




PostPosted: Wed 14 Jan, 2009 11:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
I've seen the sword splitting a bullet a couple of times and never understood the value of the test. All it really tells you is that a steel wedge will split a lead object, which should come as a shock to no one. Even if you did manage to split an incoming bullet with yoru sword, all you've done is to get yourself two smaller bulletholes. WTF?!


See there is a korean version of it where they use a machine gun and cut the sword in half using the machine gun. It's a propaganda piece. They use a small pistol round when they wanna make the katana look good...and a machine gun when they wanna make it look bad.
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Chris Arrington





Joined: 06 Apr 2007

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Thu 15 Jan, 2009 7:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Max,

Yes, that is the armor at the 7:42 mark in the video you posted the link too.

I figured it was a cheap set of armor. The breastplate metal looked very thin at the edges of the point where the breastplate was breached.

Even considering the low quality of the armor, the helm held up pretty well. I would have liked to see what a cut would have done to that breastplate.
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