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Render of the Ronin
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Author:  Tacblue [ Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Render of the Ronin

Xaxius wrote:
no the katana is almost always carried edge up this is to facilitate being able to attack or block on the draw since the katana is supposed to be the samurais last mode of offence once he has exhausted his arrows or lost/broke his spear or when the battle becomes a brawl and he has no room to use it.

I too have practiced Japanese style swordsmanship (not kendo but a form of Kenjutsu) and I was told that there are very few styles that carry the blade down on a katana and those are dueling styles as opposed to combat styles because the advantage of those styles is in the unexpected manner of the draw which can bypass an opponents guard due to the attack being vertical rather than horizontal but they tend to be risky styles to use due to being left open should the drawing slash be avoided/blocked or should the opponent have initiated an attack of his own on his draw. in addition this form of draw is also more hazardous to the swordsman performing the draw because should he draw in this manner frequently it eventually wears through the edge of the sheath and can injure the swordsman if he isn't careful.

Not to flog a dead horse, but historical reference begs to differ. IN ARMOUR, as I said in my previous post, the long sword is commonly carried with edge down. This seems due to how the scabbard is attached to the belt. When thrust THROUGH the belt, it seems common for edge up carry. When properly attached via the cords attached to the scabbard, it is typically edge down. Woodblock art contemporaneus with the samurai themselves commonly shows an edge down carry. Admittedly there are some instances of edge up carry, however the majority show edge down (in armour). Almost unexceptionally, most of the statues of ARMOURED samurai, from olden days to present, also show edge down carry. A JAPANESE textbook on samurai armor that I have has a CG rendering of the armour, and it clearly shows edge down carry. In the same text, the live model used to show how the armour is put on also shows edge down carry. That being said, in the same textbook, the model for ashigaru armour shows edge up carry, but the long sword is not attached to the belt, instead merely being thrust through it. Interestingly, it also shows as being worn BELOW the kusazuri, being thrust through a belt worn underneath the armour. There is also photographic evidence from the time of the end of the samurai, which shows ARMOURED samurai wearing the long sword edge down.
I suppose that all the Japanese artisans who made all the woodblock prints, and statues of samurai, from ancient days to the present, as well as Japanese historians, and in fact the samurai themselves, could be wrong in how the long sword was worn, but somehow I doubt it.
For now, I would refer you to: for pictures of historical statues. If requested, I will be happy to take pictures of my various textbooks to prove that I'm not making it up. I'm very familiar with the rationale of certain forms of carry, at least my third dan ranking in Kendo would seem to indicate this, and I readily agree that edge up carry is the rule, rather than the exception when unarmoured, but the reverse seems to be true when in armour on the battlefield, based on historical reference. Still, everyone is allowed their opinions... Just trying to clear up a common misconception about ALWAYS edge-up carry.
All the bickering aside though, I'm just happy that the new Mishima figures have done away with the ridiculous "back-carry" setup that the old samurai figs had. Hopefully the new ones will have detailing on both sides of the scabbards, to accommodate both sides of the edge-up edge-down debate. Obviously the designers of the old figs never tried to draw a long sword from the back. Unless one has sasquatch arms, it's quite difficult, and one of the reasons that the ninja's sword is much shorter than a regular long sword. In any case, the new models are a huge improvement on the old, and I look forward to resurrecting my Mishima army in the near future.
One more fun fact gleaned from the aforementioned textbook: The katana became almost useless as a cutting implement on the battlefield after cleaving through 5 or so bodies, due to the amount of fat, oil, and tissue that accumulated on the edge of the blade. It then had to be cleaned off somehow mid-battle to restore its cutting power. Not something most Western texts mention! ;)

Author:  Malebolgia [ Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Render of the Ronin

Edge up...edge down...sounds a bit like a Karakte Kid mantra ;). I just want the edge to slice open any Dark Legion they encounter!

Author:  Xaxius [ Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Render of the Ronin

Tacblue it is quite possible that the images you have seen were tachi and not katana. they are both Japanese long swords but are worn differently and were prevalent in different times.

taken from Wikipedia:
"Before 1500 most swords were usually worn suspended from cords on a belt, edge-down. This style is called jindachi-zukuri, and daitō worn in this fashion are called tachi (average blade length of 75–80 cm). From 1600 to 1867, more swords were worn through an obi (sash), paired with a smaller blade; both worn edge-up.This style is called buke-zukuri, and all daitō worn in this fashion are katana."

I have done a lot of research on the subject and seen swords on both armored and unarmored individuals worn both ways but as Wikipedia says most of the pictures with the blade down are dated 1600 or earlier while almost all of the ones post 1600 are blade up regardless of wheather the samurai was in armor or not. and changing the way you wear your sword when you put on armor is counter productive since all your muscle memory would be for the blade up position the grip for the draw and manner of the draw is completely different for a blade down sword also sheathing a blade down sword could prove to be problematic with the muscle memory for sheathing it blade up in place.

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