Shinai is a weapon used for practice and competition in kendo representing a Japanese sword. Shinai are used in other martial arts, but may be styled differently from kendo shinai, represented with different characters; the earliest use of a bamboo weapon to train with instead of a sword is credited to Kamiizumi Nobutsuna of the Shinkage-ryū. The modern shinai, with four slats of bamboo, is credited to Nakanishi Chuzo Tsugutate of Nakanishi-ha Ittō-ryū; the shinai was developed in an effort to reduce the number of practitioners being injured during practice, making a practice weapon, less dangerous than bokutō, the hard wooden swords they were using. This is the motivation behind the development of bōgu, the armour that protects the kendoka; the word "shinai" is derived from the verb shinau, meaning "to bend, to flex", was short for shinai-take. Shinai is written with the kanji 竹刀, meaning "bamboo sword", is an irregular kanji reading. In kendo, it is most common to use a single shinai, sometimes called itto style.
Some kendoka choose to use two shinai. This kendo style is called ni-tō, a style that has its roots in the two-sword schools of swordsmanship such as Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū. A ni-to combatant uses a long shinai called the daitō, held in the right hand, a shorter shinai, called the shōtō, held in the left hand; the holding position can be switched, with the daito in the left hand and the shoto in the right. The daitō is lighter than a shinai used in the itto style of kendo. Specifications for shinai used in kendo competitions that follow the International Kendo Federation rules, are below. Sizes and style of shinai vary. For example, an adult may be able to use a shinai, too heavy for a younger person, so shinai with different sizes and characteristics are made. Shinai are available in many balances. A shinai should not be confused with a bokutō, which has a much more similar shape and length to a Japanese sword and is made from a single piece of wood. However, both shinai and bokken are used in kendo.
The slats of a shinai are made from dried bamboo. Some may be treated by smoking them, or soaking them in resin. Shinai slats are made of carbon fibre, reinforced resin, or other approved alternative materials; the shinai comprises four slats known as take, which are held together by three leather fittings: a hilt, or handle wrapping. The parts are all secured with a string; the nakayui is tied about one-third of the length of the exposed bamboo from the tip. This holds the slats together and marks the proper kendo striking portion of the shinai, or datotsu-bu. Inserted between the ends of the slats, under the saki-gawa, is a plastic plug saki-gomu, under the tsuka-gawa there is a small square of metal chigiri, that holds the slats in place. A hand-guard tsuba is fitted on the tsuka-gawa before it ends and the bamboo slats show; this is held in place by a rubber ring tsuba-dome. Far from dangerous, a shinai is used as a practice sword in order to simulate the weight of a katana or a bokken without injuring the user or the target.
The four slats tied together are designed to reduce the force of impact of a blow. Upon hitting the target, the four staves flex and compact together, spreading the force of the blow over a longer period of time; this reduces the harm it can impart on a target, leaving at worst a bruise when wielded by the strongest users. A shinai must be properly taken care of or it can pose a danger to both the user and the people around it. Shinai should be inspected for splinters and breaks before and after use, maintained in a manner considered most appropriate by one's style, dōjō, or sensei. Many people believe that oiling and sanding a shinai prior to its first use, periodically during use, can extend its life. However, some disagreement exists on. To properly inspect a shinai, one first examines the area around the datotsu-bu, inspecting all sides of the shinai for splinters; this is important, as bamboo splinters can cause injury. The saki-gawa should be intact and the tsuru should be tight so that the saki-gawa does not slip off the end of the shinai during use.
In addition, the nakayui should be tight enough. When not in use, shinai used in kendo practice should be either laid on the floor or leaned vertically against a wall; some instructors require the base of the tip leaning against the wall. In kendo, the shinai is treated as a substitute for a metal sword and should be treated as if it was as dangerous; when a shinai is placed on the floor, it is considered poor etiquette to step over it. In kendo competitions that follow the FIK rules, there are regulated weights and lengths for the use of shinai. Shinai are without tsuba or tsuba-dome; the full length is measured. Maximum diameter of the tsuba is 9cm. Shinai are without tsuba or tsuba-dome; the full length is measured. Maximum diameter of the tsuba is 9cm; the ancestor of the modern kendo shinai is the fukuro-shinai, still in use in koryū kenjutsu. This is a length of bamboo, split multiple times on one end, covered by a leather sleeve; this explains the name fukuro, which means sack or pouch. Sometimes the older and rarer kanji tō (
The yoroi-dōshi, "armor piercer" or "mail piercer", were one of the traditionally made Japanese swords that were worn by the samurai class as a weapon in feudal Japan. The yoroi-dōshi is an extra thick tantō, a long knife, which appeared in the Sengoku period of the 14th and 15th centuries; the yoroi-dōshi was made for stabbing while grappling in close quarters. The weapon ranged in size from 20 cm to 22 cm, but some examples could be under 15 cm, with a "tapering mihaba, iori-mune, thick kasane at the bottom, thin kasane at the top and moroha-zukuri construction"; the motogasane at the hamachi can be up to a half-inch thick, characteristic of the yoroi-dōshi. The extra thickness at the spine of the blade distinguishes the yoroi-dōshi from a standard tantō blade. Yoroi-dōshi were worn inside the belt on the back or on the right side with the hilt toward the front and the edge upward. Due to being worn on the right, the blade would have been drawn using the left hand, giving rise to the alternate name of metezashi, or "horse-hand blade".
Japanese sword Otoya Yamaguchi Tantō Wakizashi Stone, George Cameron. A Glossary of the Construction and Use of Arms and Armor in All Countries and in All Times. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications. P. 678. ISBN 0-486-40726-8. Nihontō message board forum Richard Stein's Japanese sword guide
Katana were one of the traditionally made Japanese swords that were used by the samurai of ancient and feudal Japan. The katana is characterized by its distinctive appearance: a curved, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands. "Katana" is the term now used to describe the family of swords known as nihontō that are 2 shaku 60 cm in length, or longer. Katana can be known as dai or daitō among Western sword enthusiasts although daitō is a generic name for any Japanese long sword meaning "big sword"; as Japanese does not have separate plural and singular forms, both katanas and katana are considered acceptable forms in English. Pronounced, the kun'yomi of the kanji 刀 meaning dao or knife/saber in Chinese, the word has been adopted as a loanword by the Portuguese language. In Portuguese the designation means machete; the katana is defined as the standard sized, moderately curved Japanese sword with a blade length greater than 60 cm. It is characterized by its distinctive appearance: a curved, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands.
With a few exceptions and tachi can be distinguished from each other, if signed, by the location of the signature on the tang. In general, the mei should be carved into the side of the nakago which would face outward when the sword was worn. Since a tachi was worn with the cutting edge down, the katana was worn with the cutting edge up, the mei would be in opposite locations on the tang. Western historians have said that katana were among the finest cutting weapons in world military history; the production of swords in Japan is divided into specific time periods: Jōkotō Kotō Shintō Shinshintō Gendaitō Shinsakutō The first use of katana as a word to describe a long sword, different from a tachi occurs as early as the Kamakura Period. These references to "uchigatana" and "tsubagatana" seem to indicate a different style of sword a less costly sword for lower-ranking warriors; the Mongol invasions of Japan facilitated a change in the designs of Japanese swords. Thin tachi and chokutō-style blades were unable to cut through the boiled leather armour of the Mongols, with the blades chipping or breaking off.
The evolution of the tachi into what would become the katana seems to have continued during the early Muromachi period. Starting around the year 1400, long swords signed with the katana-style mei were made; this was in response to samurai wearing their tachi in what is now called "katana style". Japanese swords are traditionally worn with the mei facing away from the wearer; when a tachi was worn in the style of a katana, with the cutting edge up, the tachi's signature would be facing the wrong way. The fact that swordsmiths started signing swords with a katana signature shows that some samurai of that time period had started wearing their swords in a different manner; the rise in popularity of katana amongst samurai came about due to the changing nature of close-combat warfare. The quicker draw of the sword was well suited to combat where victory depended on short response times; the katana further facilitated this by being worn thrust through a belt-like sash with the sharpened edge facing up.
Ideally, samurai could strike the enemy in a single motion. The curved tachi had been worn with the edge of the blade facing down and suspended from a belt; the length of the katana blade varied during the course of its history. In the late 14th and early 15th centuries, katana blades tended to have lengths between 70 and 73 centimetres. During the early 16th century, the average length dropped about 10 centimetres, approaching closer to 60 centimetres. By the late 16th century, the average length had increased again by about 13 centimetres, returning to 73 centimetres; the katana was paired with a smaller companion sword, such as a wakizashi, or it could be worn with a tantō, a smaller shaped dagger. The pairing of a katana with a smaller sword is called the daishō. Only samurai could wear the daishō: it represented their social power and personal honour. During the Meiji period, the samurai class was disbanded, the special privileges granted to them were taken away, including the right to carry swords in public.
The Haitōrei Edict in 1876 forbade the carrying of swords in public except for certain individuals, such as former samurai lords, the military, the police. Skilled swordsmiths had trouble making a living during this period as Japan modernized its military, many swordsmiths started making other items, such as farm equipment and cutlery. Military action by Japan in China and Russia during the Meiji period helped revive interest in swords, but it was not until the Shōwa period that swords were produced on a large scale again. Japanese military swords produced between 1875 and 1945 are referred to as guntō. During the pre-World War II military buildup, throughout the war, all Japanese officers were required to wear a sword. Traditionally made swords were produced during this period, but in order to supply such large numbers of swords, blacksmiths with little or no knowledge of traditional Japanese sword manufacture were recruited. In
The Kabutowari known as hachiwari, was a type of knife-shaped weapon, resembling a jitte in many respects. This weapon was carried as a side-arm by the samurai class of feudal Japan. Kabutowari were around 35cm long. There were two types of kabutowari: truncheon-type; the dirk-type was forged with a sharp dirk-like point, which could be used to parry an opponent's sword, to hook the cords of armor or a helmet, or like a can opener to separate armor plates. The sharp point could pierce weak areas of an opponent's armor like the armpit area; the blade of this type of kabutowari was a curved tapered square iron or steel bar with a hook on its back edge. In combat, one could catch a blade with that hook, as with a jitte; some kabutowari of this type were mounted in the style of a tanto with a koshirae. The truncheon-type was blunt, cast iron or forged truncheon-like weapon resembling a tekkan or a jitte; this type of kabutowari had the same basic shape as the dirk-type kabutowari including the hook, but it was blunt and not meant for stabbing.
It would appear, according to Serge Mol, that tales of samurai breaking open a kabuto are more folklore than anything else. The hachi is the central component of a kabuto; this would require enormous pressure to split open. This idea that the kabutowari was somehow able to smash or damage a helmet kabuto is most a misinterpretation of the name which could have several meanings, as hachi could mean skull or helmet bowl and wari could mean, rip, crack or smash. In modern times there is no ryū known to train with kabutowari, although certain dojos within Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu still train with them, as an extension of jittejutsu. A number of weapons retailers in Japan still sell usable kabutowari. Hachiwara Defensive Weapons of the Samurai
Samurai were the military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan. In Japanese, they are referred to as bushi or buke. According to translator William Scott Wilson: "In Chinese, the character 侍 was a verb meaning'to wait upon','accompany persons' in the upper ranks of society, this is true of the original term in Japanese, saburau. In both countries the terms were nominalized to mean'those who serve in close attendance to the nobility', the Japanese term saburai being the nominal form of the verb." According to Wilson, an early reference to the word samurai appears in the Kokin Wakashū, the first imperial anthology of poems, completed in the first part of the 10th century. By the end of the 12th century, samurai became entirely synonymous with bushi, the word was associated with the middle and upper echelons of the warrior class; the samurai were associated with a clan and their lord, were trained as officers in military tactics and grand strategy. While the samurai numbered less than 10% of Japan's population, their teachings can still be found today in both everyday life and in modern Japanese martial arts.
Following the Battle of Hakusukinoe against Tang China and Silla in 663 AD which led to a retreat from Korean affairs, Japan underwent widespread reform. One of the most important was that of the Taika Reform, issued by Prince Naka-no-Ōe in 646 AD; this edict allowed the Japanese aristocracy to adopt the Tang dynasty political structure, culture and philosophy. As part of the Taihō Code of 702 AD, the Yōrō Code, the population was required to report for the census, a precursor for national conscription. With an understanding of how the population was distributed, Emperor Monmu introduced a law whereby 1 in 3–4 adult males were drafted into the national military; these soldiers were required to supply their own weapons, in return were exempted from duties and taxes. This was one of the first attempts by the Imperial government to form an organized army modeled after the Chinese system, it was called "Gundan-Sei" by historians and is believed to have been short-lived. The Taihō Code classified most of the Imperial bureaucrats into 12 ranks, each divided into two sub-ranks, 1st rank being the highest adviser to the Emperor.
Those of 6th rank and below were dealt with day-to-day affairs. Although these "samurai" were civilian public servants, the modern word is believed to have derived from this term. Military men, would not be referred to as "samurai" for many more centuries. In the early Heian period, during the late 8th and early 9th centuries, Emperor Kanmu sought to consolidate and expand his rule in northern Honshū, sent military campaigns against the Emishi, who resisted the governance of the Kyoto-based imperial court. Emperor Kanmu introduced the title of sei'i-taishōgun, or shōgun, began to rely on the powerful regional clans to conquer the Emishi. Skilled in mounted combat and archery, these clan warriors became the Emperor's preferred tool for putting down rebellions. Though this is the first known use of the title shōgun, it was a temporary title and was not imbued with political power until the 13th century. At this time, the Imperial Court officials considered them to be a military section under the control of the Imperial Court.
Emperor Kanmu disbanded his army. From this time, the emperor's power declined. While the emperor was still the ruler, powerful clans around Kyoto assumed positions as ministers, their relatives bought positions as magistrates. To amass wealth and repay their debts, magistrates imposed heavy taxes, resulting in many farmers becoming landless. Through protective agreements and political marriages, the aristocrats accumulated political power surpassing the traditional aristocracy; some clans were formed by farmers who had taken up arms to protect themselves from the Imperial magistrates sent to govern their lands and collect taxes. These clans formed alliances to protect themselves against more powerful clans, by the mid-Heian period, they had adopted characteristic Japanese armor and weapons; the Emperor and non-warrior nobility employed these warrior nobles. In time they amassed enough manpower and political backing, in the form of alliances with one another, to establish the first samurai-dominated government.
As the power of these regional clans grew, their chief was a distant relative of the Emperor and a lesser member of either the Fujiwara, Minamoto, or Taira clans. Though sent to provincial areas for fixed four-year terms as magistrates, the toryo declined to return to the capital when their terms ended, their sons inherited their positions and continued to lead the clans in putting down rebellions throughout Japan during the middle- and later-Heian period; because of their rising military and economic power, the warriors became a new force in the politics of the Imperial court. Their involvement in the Hōgen Rebellion in the late Heian period consolidated their power, which pitted the rivalry of Minamoto and Taira clans against each other in the Heiji Rebellion of 1160; the victor, Taira no Kiyomori, became an imperial advisor and was the first warrior to attain such a position. He seized control of the central government, establishing the first samurai-dominated government and relegating the Emperor to figurehead status.
However, the Taira clan was still conservative when compared to its eventual successor, the Minamoto, instead of expanding or stre
Japanese swordsmithing is the labour-intensive bladesmithing process developed in Japan for forging traditionally made bladed weapons including katana, tantō, naginata, tachi, nodachi, ōdachi, ya. Japanese sword blades were forged with different profiles, different blade thicknesses, varying amounts of grind. Wakizashi and tantō were not scaled-down katana; the steel used in sword production is known as tamahagane, or "jewel steel". Tamahagane is produced from iron sand, a source of iron ore, used to make Samurai swords, such as the katana, some tools; the smelting process used is different from the modern mass production of steel. A clay vessel about 1.1 m tall, 3 m long, 1.1 m wide is constructed. This is known as a tatara. After the clay tub has set, it is fired until dry. A charcoal fire is started from soft pine charcoal; the smelter will wait for the fire to reach the correct temperature. At that point he will direct the addition of iron sand known as satetsu; this will be layered in with more iron sand over the next 72 hours.
Four or five people need to work on this process. It takes about a week to complete the iron conversion to steel; because the charcoal cannot exceed the melting point of iron, the steel is not able to become molten, this allows both high and low carbon material to be created and separated once cooled. When complete, the Tatara is broken to remove the steel bloom, known as a kera. At the end of the process the tatara will have consumed about 10 short tons of satetsu and 12 short tons of charcoal leaving about 2.5 short tons of kera, from which less than a ton of tamahagane can be produced. A single kera can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, making it many times more expensive than modern steels; the swordsmiths will break the kera apart, separate the various carbon steels. The lowest carbon steel is called hocho-tetsu, used for the shingane of the blade; the high carbon steel and higher carbon pig iron, called nabe-gane, will be forged in alternating layers, using intricate methods to form the hard steel for the edge, called hagane, the springy metal jacket, called kawagane.
The most useful process is the folding, where the metals are forge welded and welded again, as many as 16 times. The folding removes impurities and helps out the carbon content, while the alternating layers combine hardness with ductility to enhance the toughness. Tamahagane is only made three or four times a year by Nittoho and Hitachi Metals during winter in a wood building and is only sold to the master swordsmiths to use once it is made; the forging of a Japanese blade took many days or weeks, was considered a sacred art, traditionally accompanied by a large panoply of Shinto religious rituals. As with many complex endeavors, rather than a single craftsman, several artists were involved. There was a smith to forge the rough shape a second smith to fold the metal, a specialist polisher, a specialist for the edge itself. There were sheath and handguard specialists as well; the steel bloom, or kera, produced in the tatara contains steel that varies in carbon content, ranging from wrought iron to pig iron.
Three types of steel are chosen for the blade. The high carbon steel, the remelted pig iron, are combined to form the outer skin of the blade. Only about 1/3 of the kera produces steel, suitable for sword production; the best known part of the manufacturing process is the folding of the steel, where the swords are made by heating and folding the metal. The process of folding metal to improve strength and remove impurities is attributed to specific Japanese smiths in legends. In traditional Japanese sword making, the low-carbon iron is folded several times by itself, to purify it; this produces the soft metal to be used for the core of the blade. The high-carbon steel and the higher-carbon cast-iron are forged in alternating layers; the cast-iron is heated, quenched in water, broken into small pieces to help free it from slag. The steel is forged into a single plate, the pieces of cast-iron are piled on top, the whole thing is forge welded into a single billet, called the age-kitae process; the billet is elongated, cut and forge welded again.
The steel can be folded transversely, or longitudinally. Both folding directions are used to produce the desired grain pattern; this process, called the shita-kitae, is repeated from 8 to as many as 16 times. After 20 foldings, there is too much diffusion in the carbon content; the steel becomes homogeneous in this respect, the act of folding no longer gives any benefit to the steel. Depending on the amount of carbon introduced, this process forms either the hard steel for the edge, or the less hardenable spring steel, used for the sides and the back. During the last few foldings, the steel may be forged into several thin plates and forge welded into a brick; the grain of the steel is positioned between adjacent layers, with the exact configuration
A baseball bat is a smooth wooden or metal club used in the sport of baseball to hit the ball after it is thrown by the pitcher. By regulation it may be no more than 2.75 inches in diameter at the thickest part and no more than 42 inches in length. Although bats approaching 3 pounds were swung, today bats of 33 ounces are common, topping out at 34 ounces to 36 ounces. A baseball bat is divided into several regions; the "barrel" is the thick part of the bat. The part of the barrel best for hitting the ball, according to construction and swinging style, is called the "sweet spot." The end of the barrel is called the "top," "end," or "cap" of the bat. Opposite the cap, the barrel narrows until it meets the "handle,", comparatively thin, so that batters can comfortably grip the bat in their hands. Sometimes on metal bats, the handle is wrapped with a rubber or tape "grip". Below the handle is the "knob" of the bat, a wider piece that keeps the bat from slipping from a batter's hands. "Lumber" is an often-used slang term for a bat when wielded by a able batter.
The "bat drop" of a bat is its length, in inches. For example, a 30-ounce, 33-inch-long bat has a bat drop of minus 3. Larger bat drops help to increase swing speed; the bat's form has become more refined over time. In the mid-19th century, baseball batters were known to shape or whittle their own bats by hand, which resulted in a wide range of shapes and weights. For example, there were flat bats, round bats, short bats, fat bats. Earlier bats were known to be larger than today's regulated ones. During the 19th century, many shapes were experimented with, as well as handle designs. Today, bats are much more uniform in design. On June 17, 1890, Emile Kinst patented the ball-bat, or banana bat; the bat is shaped with a curve, hence the name banana bat. The creator of the bat, Kinst wrote: "The object of my invention is to provide a ball-bat which shall produce a rotary or spinning motion of the ball in its flight to a higher degree than is possible with any present known form of ball-bat, thus to make it more difficult to catch the ball, or if caught, to hold it, thus further to modify the conditions of the game".
The mushroom bat, made in 1906 by Spalding. With baseball bats being larger in the 1900s the Spalding company designed a larger bat with a mushroom-shaped knob on the handle; this enabled the batter to get a better distribution of weight over the entire length of the bat. The Wright & Ditsons Lajoie baseball bat; this bat had two knobs on the handle. The lowest knob was at the bottom of the handle and the other knob was two inches above the lowest knob; this was designed to have better spacing between the hands due to the knob being in the middle of the grip. This gave batters an advantage when they choked up on the bat, because the second knob provided a better grip. In 1990, Bruce Leinert came up with the idea of putting an axe handle on a baseball bat, he filed a patent application for the'Axe Bat' in 2007 and the bat started being used in the college and pro ranks over the following years. In 2012, the Marietta College Pioneers baseball team won the NCAA Division III World Series using axe handled bats.
Several Major League Baseball players have adopted the bat handle including Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, George Springer, Kurt Suzuki and Dansby Swanson. Baseball bats are made of a metal alloy. Most wooden bats are made from ash. Hickory has fallen into disfavor over its greater weight, which slows down bat speed, while maple bats gained popularity following the introduction of the first major league sanctioned model in 1997; the first player to use one was Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays. Barry Bonds used maple bats the seasons he broke baseball's single-season home run record in 2001, the career home run record in 2007. In 2010, the increased tendency of maple bats to shatter caused Major League Baseball to examine their use, banning some models in minor league play. Manufacturers position each bat's label over the mechanically weaker side of the wood. To reduce chance of fracture, maybe deliver more energy to the ball, a bat is intended to be held so the label faces sky or ground when it strikes the ball during a horizontal swing.
In this orientation, the bat is considered stiffer and less to break. Different types of wood will fracture differently. For bats made of ash, labels will be where the grain spacing is widest. For maple bats they will be positioned where grain is tightest. Maple bats in particular were once known to shatter in a way that resulted in many sharp edges, sometimes creating more dangerous projectiles when it broke. Maple bat manufacture evolved in cooperation with Major League Baseball, paying special attention to grain slope, including an ink spot test to confirm safest wood grain orientation. Based on consistent anecdotal reports of sales at sporting goods stores, Maple appears to be displacing Ash as most popular new baseball bat material in the United States. Next and rising in popularity is Bamboo, which has more isotropic fine grain, great strength, less weight for a bat of any given size. Within league standards there is ample latitude for individual variation, many batters settling on their own bat profile, or one used by a successful batter.
Bats were hand-turned from a template with precise calibration points. Significant temp