Post Reply What IS a katana?
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32 / M / In your dreams...
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Posted 3/22/08
I posted this on another group. Might as well post it here.
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First I'll start by saying what a Katana is NOT.

A Katana is NOT a "Samurai Sword."
A Katana is NOT a Tachi.
A Katana is NOT a Toy.
A Katana is NOT made of stainless steel.
A Katana does NOT transform into a giant sword that is bigger than the wielder.
A Katana does NOT have magic powers.
A Katana is NOT the greatest sword on earth.
A Katana is NEVER straight. ["Ninja Swords" never existed historically.]
A Katana is hardly ever used to parry or block another sword.

What IS a katana?
A Katana IS a Shinken. [Though a Shinken is not always a Katana]
A Katana IS a Daito. [Though a Daito is not always a Katana]
A Katana IS a durable cutting sword which in use is very effective at killing.
A Katana IS a Dangerous Weapon that should be taken seriously at all times and not played with.

Specifications:
First off, calling it a "Samurai Sword" is as silly and stupid as calling a Peacmaker Revolver a "Cowboy Gun" or an arming sword a "Knight Sword." Furthermore aside from being silly and incorrect, it was not used alone by the samurai until the Sword Prohibition Act and even then I am sure some were in secret possession.
Shinken just means "Live Blade" which is not always a Katana. First off, a Katana was worn edge up thrust through an Obi. A "Katana" had very strict measurement rules. If it wasn't constrained to those specific rules, it wasn't a katana. What about a tachi? A tachi is a sword similar to a Katana but with more of a curve and it is worn with fittings to armor edge down. A tachi certainly isn't a Katana, but people often mix them up. Or you can be very vague and list "Daito" which means "Long Sword"

Technically, "Katana" is the only real word for a "Katana." Informally, you can call it whatever you want, but you'd be incorrect. I for one am rarely informal.

So you can list Daito, Tachi, Shinken, and it would all point to a sharpened long sword, but a Katana is in a league of it's own.

Furthermore, one can NOT use a katana properly without formal instruction from a certified instructor. You can NOT learn swordsmanship from books or videos or movies or clips. Only a certified instructor can teach you swordsmanship. To wield a sword without instruction from a certified instructor proses a danger to not only yourself but to anyone and anything around you. Wielding a stainless steel blade is dangerous as well but for the fact that it is not proper metal for a sword, which is why they are called "Wallhangers" and not "Swords" and can break with little resistance as seen in this very real (and funny) clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2EQWCpnIR8

Feel free to comment, have a friendly debate, and add you're own information.
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28 / M / In the Hearts and...
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Posted 4/10/08
What type of oil would you suggest in oiling a sword?
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Posted 4/11/08
Choji oil. It is a specific regulation of mineral oil and clove oil.
Man if you lived in the US I could send you some of the kind I make. I make them in big bottles, not the tiny wussy bottles you always get in a sword cleaning kit.

Go buy a cheap sword cleaning kit from any old site. Doesn't have to be quality. It should come with oil, a mekugi hammer (which you might need but should never use), uchiko, and paper.

Some people recommend WD40 if you don't have Choji oil, but I disagree. It can be used but just seems wrong.
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Posted 4/11/08
Why? I use it cuz its the only oil available here, and kultofathena.com advices sword collectors to use this kind of oil.
So why do you think its wrong?
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Posted 4/12/08
WD40? It's a lubricant, not an oil. It's not going to do what Choji does plus it makes your sword smell like a toolbox. It's disrespectful to the sword and no self-respecting swordsman or collector would even conceive such a thing.

It is also potentially harmful to the blade or so some say. I am not sure this is true, but since there is a chance, I wouldn't risk it.

I wouldn't trust a two-bit place like kultofathena. I listen to people I know are qualified to give advice. Not some place that sells crappy wallhangers and claims they are "Real Battle Ready Swords" which should be an international crime.
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28 / M / In the Hearts and...
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Posted 4/12/08
Then can you suggest any type of oil that might be available here?
If not, can you just tell me how to make a sword oil and its composition so that I can make my own sword oil?
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Posted 4/13/08
Just look around for choji oil. I have no idea what is around there. I asked my friend and he said he just ordered a cleaning kit from some cheapy sword store.
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28 / M / In the Hearts and...
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Posted 4/14/08
Well you said that you make one, why cant you just teach me how to make in small quantities?
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