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Thread: motohaba

  1. #1
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    motohaba

    Hi all

    Ive been thinking about this for quite a while now but it seems to me that the majority of production swords follow the same trend as far as blade width goes : -

    They all tend to fall within the range of 31mm > 32mm or 1.25 " -
    historically this was not the case as blades ranged from a slender 28mm to a stout 35 mm motohaba - thats a significant difference.

    Is it a case of the market leaders like hanwei setting a standard blade width and others following suit or is it a marketing guys idea of what the average blade width should be ?

    the forges like hanwei , KC and Oni do have wider blades that dont taper away to a sliver of a blade but these are exceptions and not the norm

    Oni forge, cheness, hanwei , cold steel, dynasty forge , WKC , Huano , Kris Cutlery,Bugei , furuyama etc - all their major lines have blades around the 1.25 " width - wider blades can be an optional extra but you have to wait and pay for the priviledge with forges like furuyama and others .

    for off the shelf production katana with a wider blade that does not fade away to the kissaki all that leaps out really is the Oni Kyomaru, PC wind & thunder and kami , Bugei Shobu & bamboo and once upon a time LL had some lines with wider blades - not exactly spoilt for choice are we .

    For those of us who like a bit of 'blade presence' the shelves look a bit bare , I hope the PC performance series would rectify this issue but the trade off between sacrificing thickness for more width has only compounded my dillema .

    can any one else offer any more thoughts or opinions instead of my broad , sweeping generalisations on this matter ?

    Mick
    " Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."



    Ephesians 6:11

  2. #2
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    I think you are right, Mike (can I call you mike...? ) and they have taken an average motohaba and stuck with it...

    I believe that the motohaba should be even wider than 35mm, but tapering more at the bottom of the blade near the tsuba then it would taper later along the blade (fumbari). Also, I think that new swords (tachi & katana) SHOULD have prominent fumbari, but since alot of tachi were shortened, the fumbari was lost, and then later or old styles were copied, but in the shortened form etc...

    Anyway, it stuck with me, I must've read it somewhere... Please correct me if I am wrong...

  3. #3
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    Hi Mick. I think it's both a follow the leader thing, as much as it is a generalization of the average katana. Hanwei, (I'm told), didn't always make kotetsu style katana, but this style became ever more popular due to the (perhaps excessive) value put on cutting ever bigger stacks of tatami. When Hanwei changed their lineup everyone else did too.

    On the other hand, I remember being told that "distal taper" was a BIG factor on quality katana, (more specifically, they were more balanced if the smith controlled this too). What probably ended up happening, was that something got lost in translation, and suddenly the idea of somewhat wide blades (motohaba) with a lot of taper (both sakihaba and kasane), created blades with very close POB, that ultimately lack some "substance" on the tip section. Since most people who buy blades do it without really having a true notion of what would be more traditional, they only became more popular, as they are perhaps easier to swing around, and with no meat, easier to cut with.

    In a way, as cutting becomes more popular, I think we will see two types of blades. The traditional style, and the cutting style that may one day look nothing like katana.

    My 2 cents...
    Oblivion is the shield of the mind

  4. #4
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    I hear you guys - I go along with Hrvoje 's fumbari statement as well,

    I would like to see more koshi sori in blade sughata than the staple diet of tori sori we are all raised on

    The LL Mikusa had a slight koshio sori near the tsuka more reminicent of older style tachi blades .

    maybe its just time to stop looking at production swords to fulfill all our needs and go the custom / nihonto route ( shrugs )
    " Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."



    Ephesians 6:11

  5. #5
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    nagasa and the modern swordsman

    I should have called this thread ' production katana dimensions' or something because its not just blade width I see as too standard

    its also nagasa - trying to find a blade length over 29" is a nightmare for guys like Mat Rous who are over six feet tall , why
    forges insist on making these short katana of 27" - 28" in the 21st
    century when average height for a western male is close to six foot is beyond me - surely they know who their customer base is,


    It always comes back to - go buy a custom blade then I know thats the answer but I was wondering why or how these sizes are arrived at , if they are looking at say a shinto katana from the late Edo period to base their design on surely someone would understand that what was suitable for your average asian guy in the 1800's is going to be a teensy weensy bit too small
    for your average , athletic westerner of the 21st century -

    its a fact that people are way bigger than they were 200 years ago - production swords are not .
    " Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."



    Ephesians 6:11

  6. #6
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    Then again Mick, the kinematics of the sword most Ruy are based on, depend on them having certain lengths, so I guess, since most people who practice have to get them in 27'' or something, those are the ones that are bound to sell the most.

    I've been turning up the market for something in 36'' and only now did I find one without a bo-hi, and it's a semi-custom.

    Again, I think it's a bit dangerous to start making "modern" katana, as we can alredy tell they are getting farther away from the traditional aspect...
    Oblivion is the shield of the mind

  7. #7
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    Wink I am all for tradition - maybe size doesnt matter

    believe me I am - but I do come across a hell of a lot of " I love that sword , if only it was 2" longer " comments -

    a lot of tsuka seem to have caught up I just wonder when blade length will , not many tsuka out there under 11" .


    maybe all this bleeting I am doing about motohaba and nagasa length is just me subconsiously revealing freudian hang ups ?

    I must speak to my therapist post haste
    " Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."



    Ephesians 6:11

  8. #8
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    If Freud was right, then this whole forum should become a psychiatric support group!

    I know, I get the same feeling. Particularly in terms of the iaito, that simply do not come any longer than 2.45 shaku.

    Interesting thing about the tsuka... Nowadays we do have bigger hands than the ancient Japanese, but we have longer arms too. So why only the tsuka changed? (Actually I think it's because people do not practice proper tenouchi, and would rather handle swords like short polearms...)

    Oh... and size matters. () A longer range is usually a good thing in combat, if one can use it.
    Last edited by Angelo Silva; 01-27-2008 at 06:38 AM.
    Oblivion is the shield of the mind

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