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Thread: Martialartswords Shirayuri L6 katana review

  1. #1

    Martialartswords Shirayuri L6 katana review

    Recently, I was fortunate enough that Martialartswords.com allowed me to test their new Shirayuri L6 katana. My background is in Toyama Ryu, and a member of the US Battodo Federation and my dojo is located in NYC so you can conclude tameshigiri is a big staple of our curriculum. So first things first

    first impressions - this L6 katana seemed heavier than the older models that I have previously handled (the flame classic and sunflower classic) but the balance seemed more middle to handle heavy while the previous were middle to a bit tip heavier. Now don’t get me wrong, this is compared to the older models of Martialartswords. I use a Hataya Kotetsu as my regular kata and cutting sword so this sword is uber light for me. I really liked the shape of the sword. It is a shinogi zukuri and is 28 inches long (with habaki). The blade itself is about 1.25 inches wide and not that much niku at all. It has a nice even sori and I really like the kissaki although it took a second to get used to. The kissaki is not really O-kissaki but not really mid kissaki either. Kinda in between. The blade is wider compared to your standard production sword (which I liked) and the shinogi has a good even shape on both sides making this sword a good shape for hard and soft target cutting. The wrap is a suede like material that feels good in your hands and makes sure the grip is held firm. The fittings themselves are well...okie. They do the job. The tsuba is really nice even though it really tore up my forefinger knuckle, but the menuki, fuchi, fuchi kashira were all very...plain giving it a wallhanger feel. For a sword that is really a beauty, I think it deserved better fittings. The saya was very well made. It was tight. No rattling, nice clean shape BUT, it does taper near the koiguchi which you see only on lower end production swords.

    Performance - Okie, first off. Forms. Kata etc. This sword is very well balanced. If you like middle balanced to a wee bit handle heavy swords, then this is for you. The great thing about it is that it feels almost non existent in a sense. That way you can really try to concentrate on you forms and technique. Also since it is so light you can practice longer without and prevalent aching. The wrap makes the sword comfortable so it does not tear up your hands, although the tsuba got several complaints for tearing up that forefinger knuckle. Since the saya is tight, the sword is quiet on batto and noto and because all the fittings are so shiny, you really get people’s attention. (which could be a good or bad thing)

    Second was cutting. The targets were tatami omote (not gyoza) and several people got to test. Now the swords I’m used to are tip heavy swords. Although the technique to cut with these either balance is the same, different emphasis is put on during different points of the swing itself. Because this sword was so light, you really had to “whip” the sword. This is not one of those let the sword do the work for you kind of swords but I find that appealing as well. Must have solid technique and good tenouchi, however if you mess up, the sword is quite forgiving as well. Also since the sword is so light, you really can focus on your technique and body mechanics more than the positioning of sword and such. During nukitsuke, it has a good substantial feel to it and you always feel like you’re in control of the sword compared to who feel clumsy during nukitsuke. BTW this sword was pretty sharp, making a very satisfying sound when exiting the target but only if you had the proper technique behind it.

    Final word - I was quite impressed with this sword. It handled great and performed great too. My only complaints are the habaki (as Dave Drawdy sensei would say..ehh not there yet), saya (tapering of koiguchi), and menuki (looks...cheap). So pretty much it was just the fittings. This would make a great personal sword, or to buy and refit. The blade is the best part about this sword, and makes me wish I didn’t have medical school tuition to pay for however it did raise the interest of several of my students in buying one of the competition models. Thank you to martialartswords.com for giving me the opportunity to test their wonderful new sword. BTW, pictures will be posted up on my website as soon as I get the chance.

  2. #2
    ...very much looking forward to the pictures.

  3. #3
    here are some extra thoughts from my students

    hello my name is daniel park, a 1 year practioner of battodo (toyama ryu). i use the ECMAS katana w/no bohi, its a even sori blade that is tip heavy and near 3lbs. this particular sword requires me to really able to use my body to create the proper tip speed, and a different mechanic where i can allow the sword to throw out its own weight, so the use of this particular sword (the L6) was quite an experience. this blade is definately a looker. the fittings could use a little work, but the point of the sword is to be a weapon and it definately is. with all things, personal preference is a serious factor in choosing such a personal expressive extension. the L6 is balanced closer to the handle so it requires a different mechanic for me to be able to cut with it. being as light as it is and as resilient as it is makes it quite the understanding blade. though my form may not have been on point due to trying to figure it out and understand it, i could still cut. the momentum and explosiveness of this blade is easy to attain due to the balance and light weight, maneuvering is easy as well, you'll have to focus more on your form than the blade being able to handle cutting, this sword can handle itself. my final words would have to be, this sword can definately cut and will cause little of if any fatigue. if you want a blade that is easy to handle and tough this is definately for you.

    This is from Henry Kim
    well, it's very durable considering how light it is
    weight balance was spread evenly so one portion of the sword didn't seem heavier than that other
    I thought the fitting were really nice
    went really well with the sword
    the only bad thing I think was the tsuba

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Posts
    3,180
    for those of you who may not know, Sang is a fairly senior student of Bob Elder-sensei, in Hataya-sensei's line of Toyama. These guys cut quite a bit, and Sang is pretty good (better than me, but that is not saying much). Has placed and won in numerous competitions. He teaches an authorized study group in NYC, and has some very competent students. Just adding some context.

    Dave
    Dave Drawdy
    "the artist formerly known as Sergeant Major"

  5. #5
    I appreciate the kind words dave, i'll sneak you some money later.... : )
    Last edited by sang wooo kim; 09-13-2006 at 08:34 PM.

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