Instructables

Soul of the Sword

Picture of Soul of the Sword
The sword has been revered for many centuries. It symbolizes chivalry, faith, bravery, and strength, all attributes of a good warrior. This Collaboration will attempt to do the sword justice, and provide a guide for starting on the journey to become a swordsman/woman.
 
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Step 1: Getting Started and Practice Weapons, & How To Make Boffer Swords

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First, some terminology:

Fencing: Is the art of armed combat involving cutting, stabbing, or bludgeoning weapons directly manipulated by hand, rather than shot or thrown. Example weapons include swords,knives, pikes, bayonets, batons, clubs, and similar. It also refers to the modern sport fencing, which is the most developed of western swordsmanship to be seen. For the purpose of this Instructable, unless otherwise noted, it will refer to the first explanation.

Sword: Good grief, if you don't know that one, go find something else to do.

Swordsman: One who wields a sword.

Practice Weapons (or waster): A weapon that has been modified, or made outright, to be safe enough for
use for practicing.

Many people seem to believe that they can buy a sword online for $50 bucks, go beat up some cardboard boxes, and boom, there a swordsmen. That is a good way to get started fast, and experience the sound of ringing steel and massive, bleeding wounds.We don't want to do that.
The best place to start is with either with wood swords, or my preference boffer weapons. A boffer weapon is a combat arts practice weapon, which consists of a core (usually pvc pipe) covered in foam (pvc pipe insulation), with some sort of coating (duct tape,fiberglass tape, latex, etc). They are extremely safe, for example, whack someone in the head with a real sword, they'd be dead, with a wood sword, there unconcious, with a boffer sword,they get really mad, but there still alive and healthy. Boffer weapons are versatile (fight with them anytime,anywhere), durable, safe (you're hitting people with foam, whats safer than that?), fun, cheap and easy to make. For these reasons they are great for
all swordsmen, regardless of skill level.
Wood swords are also a good starting point, but as mentioned, they can still inflict some damage. There are many good Instructables on making wooden swords (go to the group Soul of the Sword, it has the best sword Instructables, we made it) so I'll just show you some pictures of mine (with notations on how to make them).

Notes on the pictures describe how to make them.
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cjs12981 year ago
My Grandfather found a soilders helmet and a katana off a dead soilder during the war. He gave eveything away, most likely due to it associating bad memories.
popscott33 years ago
Just buy a brokken...they are just 10 dollers!
a brokken don't you mean bokken
another key thing to look for would be a production stamp such as "made in China" of "made in Afghanistan" those are obvious proof that it isn't authentic.
sadly to point out though, replicas are getting better.... i saw one in a pawn shop awhile back with a plastic hilt and the crappiest acid job i've ever seen with a Marumasa blacksmith stamp.
khauser12 years ago
Your commentary is insulting to those who do have actual, pre-1870's samurai sword that were captured during WW2. I personally have one that , with research, I found was made in 1865 (year of the ox on a lucky day by Sadatoshi and was passed down in the family of Lt. Suhuki (killed May 14, 1943 at the battle of Attu). So, not only is it a true samurai sword, but was captured ON American soil with provenance. Please, in the future, refrain from making blanket statements that tend to devalue high end historical pieces. Thank you.
How did you get it? I want one...
KentsOkay (author)  khauser12 years ago
Cool story, brah!
Good tips, but just to add some things, i partially disagree with the hamon part, i know that traditional hamons are irregular because of the hardening process, but having a regular hamon doesnt mean its a crappy sword, it just means it wasn't hardened the traditional way, so it may not be what collectors or enthusiasts are looking for, but it can still be a good chioce beacause today there are newer techniques to harden steel, just look at modern japanese knives, they do not have the hamon, but are as good as if they had. However a irregular hamon can sometimes be fake, as some makers use acid to draw it, and acid is no regular. For instance, the hamon may not be the guarantee of a good sword, but can be used to determine if the seller is lying when offering a traditionally handmade sword with a regular hamon.
Actually, a well made sword will have a true harmon. The art of Samurai was such that if it was not true, it was passed on to training. The best samurai swords were absolutely true. Only the best were considered worthy of use by a warrior.
why not use those n-force swords, they're safe and the look cool!
and painful! :D
KentsOkay (author)  TheInventor19974 years ago
when I wrote this, they werent sellign those yet. PLus they are expensive for the big ones.
in a documentary on katana makers, the master swordmaker tried to get a regular hamon and he was pretty close
Turpis3 years ago
LOL @ the people who think 7ft. swords are capable of the same performance as a dueling sword such as a rapier or katana. Dood it'll be just like FF7!!!!!!!1111
One.4 years ago
not to be rude, but these are lame compared to the ones i make, and i am 11 years old!!!
trevor3693 One.4 years ago
omg ur parents let u make swords?!?!?!
One. trevor36934 years ago
 I kinda hope you're joking... they're only wooden. I did forge a knife (my infinite pride and joy) at a blacksmiths course, but that's only small. my parent's don't mind about the massive 6-foot swords as long as i keep them out of the way.
And you can hold massive 6-foot swords at 11?
im 11 and i have a massive 7ft sword i think (eh 61/2/7ft) and its easy to lift and swing (well technicily its a stick but its big enough) but after you swing and hit something 20 times or so it hurts now think about this a 35 year old who benches eh 220 idk its been 2/3 years (at the time i benched 30 :() and has a stick twice as strong after three days in a row of fighting he swung his hardest and so did i (rember f=mxa force equals mass times acceleration) bang his stick is in two and mine in one (in that same year i took a stick/log sorta thing and cracked it in three while hitting a baseball
i doubt you're 11
 yes, it takes quite a bit of energy to lift it up, and you cant exactly swing it around, but they're sort of display items anyway, so i wouldn't go fighting people with it.
trevor3693 One.4 years ago
i was thinking u were making actual swords out of metal.
hifatpeople3 years ago
lol at the ww2 part
N3v3rm0r34 years ago
i have found a nice katana while searching two years ago and it costed only 69$ (without shipping) and it was GREAT!!(altough the handle was pretty crappy). performed excellent to all test i put it. it's bad to know that this is an exception :( another thing: this sword is out of stock right now, so posting a link would be useless
Attamet4 years ago
 i would suggest you use a fiberglass rod as a core.
it's much thinner, and more flexible. using that i have seen some really well balanced swords. also a good idea is to make a lead weight as a pommel- it really gives a good feel to the sword.
One. Attamet4 years ago
 yeah. fiberglass rod is really cool to use in boffers, but pvc is usually easier to find and less expensive
 I fence and its not really bludgeoning unless you use saber but if you want gentleman you should do foil.
liny6 years ago
a good katana which is hand made will be able to pass many tests. The first thing you should note is end polish given to the katana. (some katanas take years to get a perfect polish). A true Katana has a good weight and will cut as if it was butter. Real hand made katanas can easily cut bullets without receiving damage.
andrew012 liny4 years ago
It depends on what you mean by cut.  Lead is a soft metal and a katana may be able to cut it if it's not moving, but if you mean cut as in slice the bullet as it comes out of a gun? You need to watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY7li8Lb1eg
Will Knot liny6 years ago
"a good katana which is hand made will be able to pass many tests." Let make note there is Americn Blacksmith who make Katanas styled after the Japanese Blade but are not true Katana's. "The first thing you should note is end polish given to the katana. (some katanas take years to get a perfect polish)." Not true on the average its 3 to 12 months. Most of wich is spent by the Master conteplating the line wich is applied and heated. A true Katana has a good weight and will cut as if it was butter. Real hand made katanas can easily cut bullets without receiving damage." This is the biggest misconception by Americans caused by Hollywood. You are Taking a soft metal (lead) and slamming it into a brittle hard metal there will be at least scratches and in most cases large part broken out of the edge if not compleate breakage of the blade.
The "ultimate test" for a blade, in feudal Japan, was to take an actual human, either a bandit or a condemned prisoner, and give them thousands of small cuts up and down the arms, legs, and torso. If the blade went through this easy and came out sharp, it was a good blade. The last and final cut, however, was often through the mid section of the body. The legs would stay attached anywhere from 30 seconds to a full minute, because the sword would pass through so fast and easy that the entire body would not realize it and would continue working normally as if it was not cut in half, allowing the legs to stay attached for a long period of time. In a more modern demonstration, straw mats are placed upright on stakes and are cut rapidly into chunks to show off the swordsmen's ability. Another common show is to hold a piece of rice paper up, and let it drop onto the blade. the rice paper would contact the blade and would fall right through, cutting it in half.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypG4KQAvqWU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJZ5J7h_L1w&feature=related
Bullet split by Katana.

In the second video, you can see that the Hamon is irregular. But these two are just handguns.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TFIQ-7TxMw&feature=related
The Katana faces off a howitzer.
Actually any decent, heavy knife will cut a bullet fired at it. A popular western shooting trick is to shoot at a bowie knife pounded into a stump and hit 2 targets behind the knife with the bullet fragments. The You-tube video is cool, but not unique or original. American marksmen were doing it back in the 1800's.
I was refuting the statement that "This is the biggest misconception by Americans caused by Hollywood. You are Taking a soft metal (lead) and slamming it into a brittle hard metal there will be at least scratches and in most cases large part broken out of the edge if not compleate breakage of the blade." In the Katana versus handgun video, you can see that there was no large part, if not no part broken off.
liny rickysio6 years ago
First, i said i have been exagerating. I know the physics of the bullet being cut. In addition, the katanas are very strong in coparison the soft lead. The thing that surprised me was the howitzer though. I thought the howitzer would destroy the katana right away (from a previous reply). And by the way, i am not from USA (if American is meant by USA).
liny Will Knot6 years ago
I exagerated by ¨years being polished¨. It is true, a katana will get scratched if they get shot by a bullet but the bullet will get cut. In most cases the blade will break if it is too brittle. Even so, a good katana will be able to cut through a bullet being shot dirrectly on to it with some minimal scratches. (when i mean good is perfect katana, very rare because most are not perfect)
heres something easier...buy a plastic sword and cover it in black and/or red electric tape T__T
UltraMagnus5 years ago
surely something like a "boffer" will feel completely different from a real sword, less weight, more air resistance, etc. and, for a beginner, any sword that is made from carbon steel with a full tang should be fine. it won't be the greatest fighting weapon, but it won't shatter like a stainless wall hanger, or have the blade come flying out and decapitating your neighbours dog...
KentsOkay (author)  UltraMagnus5 years ago
The idea of a boffer is for a completely safe way of doing combat.
EnigmaMax5 years ago
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