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A Visser




Location: Amsterdam
Joined: 22 Jun 2009

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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jul, 2010 6:12 am    Post subject: katana vs german longsword; the longsword done right         Reply with quote

Hi all. As I was browsing for interesting movies on youtube I stumbled on something I really wanted to share with you.
Even today we are being tortured on channels as discovery with documentaries about the holy katana. The weapon of the all mighty samurai warrior. the sword that cannot break; the sword that can cut a machine-gun barrel in half.
I'm getting a bit tired of this....sigh. So I was delighted to see these two movies. (it is actually one cut in two halves)
Ok......they are in German. For me (being Dutch) no problem. But a picture speaks louder than a 1000 words.
And these pictures speak very loud..... Happy especially the last part of the second movie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpEC38sL3iU&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Hy_A9vjp_s&feature=related

Have fun
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Christopher H





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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jul, 2010 6:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice result on the final test! Happy
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jul, 2010 7:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher H wrote:
Nice result on the final test! :)


Hehe, yes. But I doubt that guy's statement that the longsword is still good for fighting after that blow. My guess is that it would snap along the gash and cracks after it recieves a blow nearer to the tip.
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A Visser




Location: Amsterdam
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jul, 2010 7:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:
Hehe, yes. But I doubt that guy's statement that the longsword is still good for fighting after that blow. My guess is that it would snap along the gash and cracks after it recieves a blow nearer to the tip.


It probably will. But before that you can at least stick it into the guy who's sword you just cut in half Big Grin
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jul, 2010 1:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't supposed anyone else noticed the sword switch-arounds that went on in that vid?
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Thomas R.




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jul, 2010 1:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

They did switch swords? Eek! Must have missed that...
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jul, 2010 1:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas R. wrote:
They did switch swords? Eek! Must have missed that...


The most obvious one is the swords being cut. Look at the handle of the first, then the second. The second is "marked." Wonder what that means. Happy

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Thomas R.




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jul, 2010 2:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't see it, perhaps you can give us a time stamp?
But what I can clearly see is, that the katana wasn't properly used. He should have done a cut, not a blow... that's what katanas were meant for.

Nevertheless we are talking about "Welt der Wunder" it's a show, which concentrates more on eye candys, than on scientific research. So I won't be that shocked, if they used a $70 Katana to do the thing, instead of ruining a real $1000+ Katana. Confused I think a real katana would have snapped right away on the hit and would not have bent like a cheap metal rod from a junk yard...

Thomas

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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jul, 2010 3:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas R. wrote:
I can't see it, perhaps you can give us a time stamp?


I was wrong, it was the first sword that was "marked." Look somewhere around the 6 minute mark, you will see that the sword being cut has a metal circle/disk on the hilt. This is the sword struck with the katana.

Now look around 6:34. This sword is not marked. This is the sword being struck with the longsword.

Now this is either a pair of swords, one of which was marked to distinguish one from the other, or worse, it is the same sword turned upside down after being damaged by the katana. When looking at the backisde of the "second" sword (6:32-6:33), you can almost see that disk.

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Jon Wolfe




Location: Orlando, FL
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jul, 2010 9:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah, the old clamp-the-sword-down-and-strike-it-with-another-sword-which-is-not-at-all-simulating-the-circumstances-that-were-previously-shown test. That's like Deadliest Warrior level of poor testing. Other than that, it seem like a relatively decent segment, though it didn't really present anything shockingly new. Swords cut through things really well, wow, earth-shattering.
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A Visser




Location: Amsterdam
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Jul, 2010 6:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes.....I can see the the first sword having a marking on the handle. But if that is for distinguishing a 'fixed' sword from a normal one....I can't tell. The story tells that this guy is a very well known sword smith. His katana's are treasured even in Japan. My guess was that he used one of his own for this test. Therefore it should be a good sword I guess......
Even if this breaking test turns out to be fixed, the rest still shows the longsword is at least as good as the katana.
The whole point is breaking the myth of the holy katana vs the clumsy, heavy, blunt, good for nothing European sword. At least that is shown.
In this movie they also say that while they were making these katana's in Japan somewhere in the 15th century, in Europe we were able to make high quality swords already in the 11th century. And that Japan recognizing good quality steel, soon started to import it from Europe.
For sure the last test is poor testing. In a real situation I can't imagine a blade being fixed like this one. Someone must be holding it, so it should always give way a bit. Which I think should absorb some of the blow.
I have seen the documentary they show short shots of. It was on discovery. And it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. So I was more than pleased to see a katana fold over that way...... Big Grin
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Wed 14 Jul, 2010 6:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We may be sick of the katana myths, but I don't think the answer is to create more bullshit in the opposite direction. The katana and the longsword are both fine swords with their own strengths and weaknesses. This is a fluff segment with an obviously fixed text at the end, nothing more.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Jul, 2010 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
We may be sick of the katana myths, but I don't think the answer is to create more bullshit in the opposite direction.


Nonesense. Everyone knows that the Samurai in WWII would use longswords to cut machine gun barrels in half. And that Master Johannes Liechtenauer is actually the founder of kung fu. And he discovered America.

In all seriousness, I'm in 100% agreement with Mike. This is sensationalist sillyness.

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Ozsváth Árpád-István




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PostPosted: Wed 14 Jul, 2010 8:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I looked closer to the video and noticed that the large nick made by the katana (6:02 - 6:10) is nowhere to be found on the second sword (6:41 - 6:48). Even it's turned upside down, that nick is so huge it would be visible from a great distance. The two blows were made roughly in the same place, about 10 cms before the end of the fuller, but certainly not on the same blade. It's obvious that the swords were swapped and the second one snapped due to poor material or bad temper. The results would be the same with an iron pipe.
TV and reality are light years apart... Anyway, an angle grinder is better for doing this.
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J Anstey





Joined: 21 Jul 2007

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PostPosted: Wed 14 Jul, 2010 10:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
We may be sick of the katana myths, but I don't think the answer is to create more bullshit in the opposite direction. The katana and the longsword are both fine swords with their own strengths and weaknesses. This is a fluff segment with an obviously fixed text at the end, nothing more.


Nicely put!
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Neil Gagel




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PostPosted: Thu 15 Jul, 2010 6:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am amazed that so many people feel they have to make everything an "us versus them" type situation where they have to denigrate the other side. Why not just extol the virtues of the longsword, point out how deadly it can be in the right hands and leave it at that? I mean on one hand it's understandable that people want to know what's "best", but it's also intellectual laziness since there is no such thing as "best"... but rather just context.
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Thu 15 Jul, 2010 8:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm going to play devils advocate here. I don't agree Mike that the video was completely bad. Like you and other people who commented in the thread I was disappointed in the "us against them" tone of the ending, and maybe even a bit disturbed by the nationalist implications.

but I think it was pretty well done overall (much better than the US "Deadliest Warior" series), and I think the quality of the cutting tests and the replicas used were decent, as was the technique of the people doing the tests. There was a HEMAista involved, Colin Richards is in the video. I think the video debunked some important myths which still need to be debunked in US pop culture. Namely that European swords were heavy and clumsy and were vastly different from a katana, couldn't cut precisely etc..


As for the final test, frankly I think there is some truth to the idea that a katana is typically a bit more brittle than a European longsword. But regardless, the last test was kind of pointless and the rivalry aspect was unfortunate not to mention the idea of intentionally cutting through one sword with another, but overall I think the video was valuable for pop culture and I would not utterly dismiss it. Most of the information they presented was accurate, it was better than 90% of the material I've seeen on the History Channel or Discovery etc. in the US, (with a few notable exceptions) or the BBC for that matter (also with a few notable exceptions).

For example I just saw a documentary on History Channel about a week ago about the "real" Robin Hood which was atrocious, basically a commercial for the recent disappointing Robin Hood film. It included Mike Loades who I know does know his stuff, and whose work on "The Weapons that made Britain" I quite respected. But this piece was really poor quality, and between plugs for this bad movie spread more myths in half an hour than I'd care to think of. It was vastly inferior to this German piece on almost every level.


J

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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Thu 15 Jul, 2010 8:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Had the video ended before the final test, I'd agree with you. They would have accomplished much without denigrating anything or anyone.

And then they ruined it.

They fixed the test...forget the mark on the sword, I know swords, and I know BS when I see it...what would pretzel a katana like that would similarly damage that type of longsword. So knowing that the last test fas fixed, the credibility of the entire segment is thereby compromised. That's a shame, because the rest wasn't bad.

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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Thu 15 Jul, 2010 11:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It could have just been a lucky accident, or it might have just been a crappy katana replica (the longsword replica might have been more carefully chosen perhaps). I kind of have a hard time imagining they cared enough either way to fake the test, but we could ask Colin Richards, he could probably tell us since he was involved in the shoot.

The bottom line for me, even if that test was faked it was still better than 90% of what I see on this subject. Lets say they expressed 10 memes, one out of ten being questionable or outright misinformation, it's typically the reverse ratio on something like Deadliest Warriors.

J

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Essays on Hroarr

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 15 Jul, 2010 4:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
Had the video ended before the final test, I'd agree with you. They would have accomplished much without denigrating anything or anyone.

And then they ruined it.

They fixed the test...forget the mark on the sword, I know swords, and I know BS when I see it...what would pretzel a katana like that would similarly damage that type of longsword. So knowing that the last test fas fixed, the credibility of the entire segment is thereby compromised. That's a shame, because the rest wasn't bad.


That's quite a statement to make with no concrete evidence besides your personal BS-o-meter. Happy

Anyway, I'm not that surprised at the damage to one sword and lack of damage to the other. The sword(s) they cut into looked kind of like cheap beater swords. Based on how the one broke (it was not cut through) when the longsword hit it, I suspect the target sword (at least in the longsword cut) was pretty sharp with an over-hard blade. So if the katana has a hardened edge and softer back as it's supposed to, I could see the hard edge being chipped through then the soft back bending at impact. Given how the undulating of a hamon usually leads to variations in how deep the hard edge goes, it's possible the cutter simply struck with a part of the edge where the hardness didn't run deep.

Had the target sword in the longsword cut not cracked/broken at impact, you might have seen more damage to the longsword. Instead it fractured out of the way and didn't stop the longsword with a sudden deceleration in the same way the target sword did with the katana.

Hitting a clamped-down static target will cause more damage than battle would in many cases.

Happy

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