Cold Steel Katana Machete

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Kevin L

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I think the wakizashi is a great choice.
I do have a minor question, Roninsensei.

I have a (slight) background and understanding of certian aspects of Japanese swordsmanship.

That having been said, I get lost on the distinction between a ho-tachi and wakizashi. It seems that a philosophically inclined martial artist that I know (and doesn't speak english very well) tends to use the terms interchangibly, and I was too low-ranked to ask certian questions.

What is the difference between the two names? Or is it like the difference between comparing the color crimson and the color red?

Thank you for your time.
 

Proud Prepper

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What Grandmaster Chris Parker says is, the main way to differentiate a tachi from a katana is the way it is mounted and worn (with the location of the mei, or signature, being the only way to determine whether a particular blade was originally intended to be worn/mounted as a katana or tachi, if it is present!). Some tachi were seen to have a deeper sori, or curvature, but that realistically wasn't actually the case. What they actually had was a differently placed sori, having the greater portion of the curve being nearer the tsuba in a form known as koshi sori (as opposed to nearer the tip, saki sori, or evenly in the middle, torii sori... there was a rare one as well, mainly found in tanto, where the very end of the weapon curved back towards the front, rather than back, known as uchi sori). This koshi sori allowed the tachi to be more easily drawn on horseback (which was also the reason for it's mounting form.... incidentally, a tachi could be mounted and worn edge up in the obi [belt] when it was worn by a gunner, mainly to keep it from dragging or knocking on the ground when they knelt to fire their guns). The blade itself may also not be much longer than a "typical" katana, particularly if it's an early example, as the shorter, lighter weapons were much easier to handle one-handed on horseback once you got too close for the bows and arrows that were actually the samurai's stock in trade and most identifiable weapon.

The longer tachi appeared later in Japan's history, when mounted archery stopped being the dominant form of warfare in Japan, and in close fighting was more common. The curve at this time moved more to the typical katana-style torii sori, while the weapons became more oversized to handle the long reach advantage of the pole-arms such as naginata or yari. It may also be noted that at this time the katana began to be developed, initially being the secondary side-arm to the tachi, and referred to as an uchigatana (striking sword, implying that it was used to strike the final blow in in-fighting), and was worn edge up in the belt. When it became the primary weapon of the samurai (during peacetime, it may be noted), and moved to take the place of the tachi, the wakizashi (literally: inserted at the side, meaning that it was put into the obi on the side of the katana) was developed to take the place of the katana.

In terms of size of weaponry, during the Edo period, the Tokugawa Shogunate issued a range of edicts to control the warriors under them, and amongst them were edicts governing the length of swords, which limited them to less than two and a quarter feet in length. Before that, it was really up to the individual warrior themselves, and the Ryu to which they belonged. For example, the Kage Ryu maintained their favour for oversize weapons, despite the edict. In fact, in stark defiance, they have a minimum length which is nearly half a foot longer than the Tokugawa prescribed length. Other schools such as Shinmuso Hayashizaki Ryu use very long weapons, despite the edicts. All of these weapons are referred to as "katana" in the Ryu that use them. Tachi, on the other hand, were commonly found in the early periods (Heian, Kamakura etc) at even less than two feet blade length. So length is really no indicator at all.

Confused yet?
 

DrHenley

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A bit of steel trivia. The reason the katana is curved is because of the differential heat treatment used in making genuine katanas. The formation of martensite in quenching the uncoated part of the blade causes that part of the blade to expand which in effect warps the blade, creating the curve.

Cheap katanas made using conventional technology have to be made with a curve. Genuine katanas are forged straight and only get the curve during quenching.
 

Roninsensei

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So to wrap the Kevin question up in a way, kodachi usually starts it’s length at close too 24 inches and usually stops just short of 30 inches a Wakizashi starts at 12 inches and ends close too 24 inches. Any sword that is called a Tachi was made earlier than katanas and is usually mounted on the body the opposite way of the katana also because they were mounted differently they were usually signed by the smith on the other side of the katana. They also tend to be more curved but there are plenty of historical examples that are less curved so this may have been a personal preference..
HonTachi just means half a Tachi and was a simple way of describing a wakizashi before wakizashi’s existed. It’s an old sword term and not many use it hence my questioning. One version of the term “Han or hon” is in the staff or Bo world in jujutsu the bo staff is a 6 ft staff, the hanbo is literally half at 3ft. Not many schools still teach the hanbo.
 

KateMTx

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No offense intended, but why do you seem to have reconciled yourself to death in a violent encounter?

You should never give up your life....and if you're in a violent encounter and you believe you're going to die, then do your best to kill your attacker and take him to Hell with you as an honor guard.
Heck no I don't intend to die, and I will fight with whatever I have available, but I am also realistic. I'm pretty small for a grown up person and if someone wanted to kill me it probably won't be that hard no matter how much I fight.
 

tmttactical

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KateMTx --- Fighting spirit and an equalizer. You got the heart, now find the equalizer that works for you.
 

Kevin L

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Heck no I don't intend to die, and I will fight with whatever I have available, but I am also realistic. I'm pretty small for a grown up person and if someone wanted to kill me it probably won't be that hard no matter how much I fight.
Size is irrelevant.....or, rather, requires different tactics.

There is a martial art--divided into several different schools--called tantojutsu.

It is a japanese martial art that focuses on using a knife called a tanto, and while it was often used by samurai....it's my understanding that the art was invented and pioneered by women.

It seems--to me--that the tantojutsu techniques will work with almost any reasonably designed knife.

Stephen Hayes (supposedly a ninja who trained in the Togakure Ryu school, which originated in the mountainous area of Iga Province in Japan) actually seems to prefer a marine corps Ka bar utility knife over a japanese-style tanto. He has stated that the techniques will also work with kitchen knives, or whatever is at hand.

There are online courses (and I prefer live classes to online education) that will introduce you to the basics for free.

When you practice, use fake knives, and try to get more than one person to spar with. If you buy fake blood from a costume shop around Halloween, it can be used on a practice knife to show where one scored a cut.

Sparring with more than one person is important because almost anyone who attacks a small woman is--by definition--a bully, and bullies are almost always cowards, which means that you may have to face more than one attacker since cowards like to have numbers on their side.

If you're interested, look up a martial artist on Youtube named Christa Jacobson.

Don't let the idea of Sensei Jacobson being a transgender person prejudice you against her teachings.

I get the feeling (and it is a gut feeling, not an established fact) that Sensei Jacobson was persecuted and bullied for being gay and/or transgendered, so "she" became an expert in ninjutsu.....and she teaches an excellent library of empty-handed techniques (called taijutsu) which work very well for smaller people.

All of this is free.....and in my mind, you could do a lot worse--when it comes to self-defense--than practicing ninjutsu techniques.

I do have reservations about learning such things on line, as I have a concern that students can hurt themselves if an instructor isn't there to correct the form....but this issue--while valid--doesn't deserve the level of concern that I give it, if you talk to other martial artists.

So, make up your own mind.

That having been said, check out Sensei Christa Jacobson on Youtube.

I hope I helped you.
 
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Roninsensei

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Meh not a fan of Christa and it has nothing to do with her being trans. It has to do with her TRYING to be controversial. Her ninjitsu is not that good and she sells ninjitsu when it just Ju Jutsu she intermingles samurai and ninja too much confusing the subjects even more. . I’ve trained in the Bujinkan and I happen too know that all of the 9 schools except 1 are jujutsu systems. The only ninjutsu art isn’t a fighting system but instead stealth and poisons and the like.. https://www.wayofninja.com/ninja-martial-arts-history/#.XSjSWcplChA Also there’s some pretty big controversy over her sokeship. Soke is a title inherited through blood or direct family line and is there for familial politics. You can’t be an outsider and a Soke. Her documents were clearly written by someone with out actual knowledge of how a Japanese would have used even common things like dates. That doesn’t mean she wasn’t sold this crap by someone else, just means she’s been made aware of these mistakes and continues with fingertips in her ears. This is a common mistake Americans make when faking martial arts backgrounds. You can be an inheritor of a martial discipline and have the proper teaching licenses however, none of this makes you a Soke. I have received 3 fake unsolicited sokeships from several martial arts “societies” all because I created my own martial art and someone I did a seminar for put in a good word, really it’s just an eclectic mix and mash of what has kept me alive in hostile situations but I digress, all of those Soke papers went into the round file. I made the mistake of allowing people to call me Soke (I prefer just Sensei) for about 3 years till I researched the term when prompted by a true Japanese expert. I now correct people if they use the term with me. Next tantojutsu is not a very good knife fighting system and is based on sabotaging an unprepared enemy. Regular knife fighting can work this way if you just suddenly attack someone with a knife. Lol. It had its historical purposes but, it doesn’t preform the same in real life. Most attacks were designed to find weak points in samurai armor. Something like kali or escrima is better for knife stuff. Also don’t forget the good old fashioned American Bowie fighters. Great stuff there.
Can you glean something from Christa? Yes
Are there better people to glean from? Yes
Did I go off on a bit of a tangent? Yes
None of my complaints about her are in regard too her being trans, however many say that I only feel this way because she is. Actually there are several other martial artists that I feel the same way about and they are all Non trans. Please don’t get me started on Steven Seagal.. lol
 

Kevin L

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Meh not a fan of Christa and it has nothing to do with her being trans. It has to do with her TRYING to be controversial. Her ninjitsu is not that good and she sells ninjitsu when it just Ju Jutsu she intermingles samurai and ninja too much confusing the subjects even more. . I’ve trained in the Bujinkan and I happen too know that all of the 9 schools except 1 are jujutsu systems. The only ninjutsu art isn’t a fighting system but instead stealth and poisons and the like.. https://www.wayofninja.com/ninja-martial-arts-history/#.XSjSWcplChA Also there’s some pretty big controversy over her sokeship. Soke is a title inherited through blood or direct family line and is there for familial politics. You can’t be an outsider and a Soke. Her documents were clearly written by someone with out actual knowledge of how a Japanese would have used even common things like dates. That doesn’t mean she wasn’t sold this crap by someone else, just means she’s been made aware of these mistakes and continues with fingertips in her ears. This is a common mistake Americans make when faking martial arts backgrounds. You can be an inheritor of a martial discipline and have the proper teaching licenses however, none of this makes you a Soke. I have received 3 fake unsolicited sokeships from several martial arts “societies” all because I created my own martial art and someone I did a seminar for put in a good word, really it’s just an eclectic mix and mash of what has kept me alive in hostile situations but I digress, all of those Soke papers went into the round file. I made the mistake of allowing people to call me Soke (I prefer just Sensei) for about 3 years till I researched the term when prompted by a true Japanese expert. I now correct people if they use the term with me. Next tantojutsu is not a very good knife fighting system and is based on sabotaging an unprepared enemy. Regular knife fighting can work this way if you just suddenly attack someone with a knife. Lol. It had its historical purposes but, it doesn’t preform the same in real life. Most attacks were designed to find weak points in samurai armor. Something like kali or escrima is better for knife stuff. Also don’t forget the good old fashioned American Bowie fighters. Great stuff there.
Can you glean something from Christa? Yes
Are there better people to glean from? Yes
Did I go off on a bit of a tangent? Yes
None of my complaints about her are in regard too her being trans, however many say that I only feel this way because she is. Actually there are several other martial artists that I feel the same way about and they are all Non trans. Please don’t get me started on Steven Seagal.. lol
I defer to your judgement.

I got a quite different impression of Sensei Christa (especially when I practiced several of the techniques), but I freely admit that I don't have the credentials and/or experience that you seem to have.

And--if truth be told--my bullshit alarm starts to chime when I see people opening schools claiming to teach ninjutsu.

There is so much fraud in the martial arts, that it makes you concerned about how to actually find authentic instructors.

Any of us who are a little older should remember the "ninja craze/fad" that dominated martial arts and the media from about 1980 or '81 until around '88 to '90, give-or-take.

There were instructors whom I always suspected of fraud, like Hanuraku Hoshino, Ashida Kim, Ron Duncan, and so forth. These people cashed in on the fad by writing endless books, selling mail-order courses, and lending their appearence to ads (usually from the Asian World of Martial Arts company, or Dolan Sports) peddling questionable weapons and training tools that were of poor quality.

Lately, I've even begun to question the validity of people like Stephen K. Hayes (who always seemed authentic) and Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi.

As far as I can tell, the only school that I accept as having traditional, authentic ninjutsu techniques is the Tenshin Shoden Katori school in Japan.....and even that is questionable.

It would be nice if there weren't so many con artists and frauds to muddy the waters for younger people who want to commit to an honest course of study.
 
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Roninsensei

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Hayes got all his ninjutsu from Masaaki Hatsumi. He was an Uchi deshi for a couple years in the 70s then the instructor that Hayes was mainly learning from split with Hatsumi and Hayes went with said instructor however he still earned rank in the Bujinkan. Hatsumi admits that of the 9 schools only one is actually ninjutsu and it’s curriculum is all stealth and heiho, no fighting techniques, hence why they now call it Budo Taijutsu. None of ninjutsu historically has ever listed actual fighting techniques. It’s never ever been shown or proven that there has ever been a “ninjutsu” fighting system. There is no historical evidence. All of it came from samurai arts directly. I respect the Bujinkan as a semi capable fighting system. And I like Hatsumi. But is his system historical? It’s questionable at best. Hayes is a capable fighter however his back ground comes from Hatsumi sooooo.
 
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Krime

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Haha ok, I may get a little backlash myself here.
I love the Samurai and everything to do with it/them/the practice/the beliefs/the codes, everything from the Nodachi to the bokken and have years in practice with Katanas, wakizashi, tanto, me n the homies used to kendo shinai for fun.
Imma say this, those $60 katanas are wall hangers. I don’t care if they’re razor sharp, that’s all they’re good for. Actual folded battle ready katanas (etc) are in the hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the metal and maker.
With this being said, they are fast and accurate depending on the user. Experience is a must. Practice is a must.
They are not choppers though.
They don’t fair well for chopping. Don’t believe me? Watch ‘Forged in fire: Knife or death’, they never make it past 1st round and I doubt they’re using amazon bought swords.
Personally, I want one of these and STILL would consider it a wall hanger unless it was my only option:

https://wickedswords.com/products/hand-forged-damascus-folded-steel-red-dragon-katana
 

KateMTx

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Haha ok, I may get a little backlash myself here.
I love the Samurai and everything to do with it/them/the practice/the beliefs/the codes, everything from the Nodachi to the bokken and have years in practice with Katanas, wakizashi, tanto, me n the homies used to kendo shinai for fun.
Imma say this, those $60 katanas are wall hangers. I don’t care if they’re razor sharp, that’s all they’re good for. Actual folded battle ready katanas (etc) are in the hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the metal and maker.
With this being said, they are fast and accurate depending on the user. Experience is a must. Practice is a must.
They are not choppers though.
They don’t fair well for chopping. Don’t believe me? Watch ‘Forged in fire: Knife or death’, they never make it past 1st round and I doubt they’re using amazon bought swords.
Personally, I want one of these and STILL would consider it a wall hanger unless it was my only option:

https://wickedswords.com/products/hand-forged-damascus-folded-steel-red-dragon-katana
I ended up getting the Cold Steel Wakizashi Machete and it has served my purposes well. My little sister loves it probably as much as I do, maybe even more. I might get her one for her own in few years.
Is it what I would consider a real sword? No. But it serves my purposes (which were more machete oriented than sword to begin with anyway). And it is a decent quality blade so far, especially for the price.
 

DrHenley

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Genuine Katana making is a whole lot more than just folding steel. They start with iron sands in a bloomery, creating tamahagane, and then break it apart and sort the pieces based on carbon content. The highest carbon pieces go into making the edge while the spine is made from lower carbon pieces. I seriously doubt that anyone would use a genuine Katana for Knife or Death competition. Do you even know how difficult a genuine Katana is to acquire? We'd be talking about something like using an original Shelby Cobra in a demolition derby.

This is tamahagane, which is what a genuine Japanese Katana is made from:
 
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Roninsensei

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Krime!

Long time no see. You are right that most older katana aren’t made for hard use. A lot of modern katana can be though. Especially using the new high carbon steels. A full sized katana is trouble for work anyways. A wakizashi would work well though. I’d recommend a machete before most if not all of em and Kate got the best of both worlds with the wakizashi machete. Lol.
 

Roninsensei

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Also I role my eyes every time I see a katana on knife or death. It was never designed for that kind of abuse. Get a kopis or kukri. Lol
 

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