Posts Tagged ‘Cane’

Singing in the Rain…

Monday, November 16th, 2009

And by “singing” I mean “singing blades of steel”. And by “in the rain” I mean “in an umbrella”. Am I confusing you? Well, alrighty then. Here, this should help:

Covert Umbrella Sword Cane

Covert Umbrella Sword Cane

Yeah, that. What did you think I was talking about? A Broadway musical?… BWA HA HA HA HAHA HA HA HAHA HA… *cough* Silly…

Anyhoo, I’ve talked about swords and guns, swords in rifles, swords in canes, swords in pens and lipstick, (or rather knives in pens and lipstick – I don’t imagine a sword could really be well hidden inside a stick of lipstick. Unless said stick belonged to the 50 Ft woman. 🙂 ) so today I thought I’d switch it up a little and talk about… You guessed it! Swords in umbrellas!!

Yep. Unlike the “sword-in-non-functioning-rifle” idea, which was liable to get you shot before you ever had a chance to draw your sword, the sword-in-umbrella concept is so much more practical. So much more sophisticated. So much more… useful. After all, who’s gonna shoot a person armed naught but a lowly brolly?

Let’s say you and some random vagabond get into an argument. The vagrant suddenly pulls a gun. Then all you gotta do is grab your cool black ‘brella, raise both hands into the air and go “wait, wait, wait! Don’t shoot! I’m un-armed!”. Then you walk up to them and go “You know, I’m sorry, I’d really like to apologize for all this.” Then you pull out your sword and run the heathen through. At that point you can say: “Really sorry mate!” and walk off, singing, in to the dark, rainy night…

Riiight… OK. No.

So that would technically be low. Dirty. Dishonorable. Unsportsmanlike even. Like stabbing a person in the back. With a spoon. A spoon covered in warm ketchup. And then telling them you got their spleen and you’re gonna pawn it on the black market… I refer, of course, to running a person through when you could have walked away. Not the part where you are walking along, singing in the middle of a rainstorm at night, though that possesses it’s own unique… intrigue.

So let me categorically state that, if, in the aforementioned scenario, they are willing to talk, then you are obligated to talk your way out of it. Or run away, as fast as your little legs can carry you,  if you can. The “run them through” option is only for when you have no other choice, you are trapped, you cannot leave, and they are no longer willing to talk. And, of course, you are physically able to run them through. :/

Of course, I hate to break it to you, but the reality of life is that, if you actually did somehow find yourself in a situation like that, you’re probably gonna get shot. So be prepared for that possibility.  O_o  But it bears mentioning that if some idiot pulls a gun on you, then allows you to get close enough to them to un-sheath, and subsequently run them through with an umbrella sword… Well, then they probably deserved it.

Not that it’s OK, or right, or anything, I’m just saying… 😀

Covert Umbrella Sword Cane – [True Swords]

Straight swords, plain swords, and sword canes…

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Most of my regular readers will know at this point that I am somewhat partial to sword canes, Shikomizue, or “Prepared Canes” as they are called. The reason is twofold. First because they are simple canes, and I’ve always enjoyed using “sticks” as some like to call them, or staff weapons. So throwing a blade into the mix for me, pretty much makes them completely and uncompromisingly awesome. It’s like bringing a sword to a stick fight. Dirty, but full of WIN. 😛

Blind Fury

Blind Fury

For similar reasons, I am also a great fan of Chokutō. Chokutō (or “Straight Sword”) are, as the name might suggest, just simple straight swords. But while Chokutō and Shikomizue are similar in appearance, the designs are not the same. And while they may both share structural similarities with Shirasya, (I have actually confused these designs on numerous occasions in the past) the three are actually very different in terms of design focus, so I thought I’d talk a little bit about them (I.E. go grab a cup of coffee or tea or whatever, and get comfortable, before you continue reading. 🙂 )

Shirasaya, (or “White Sheath”) swords, regardless of form factor, were designed initially as a storage format for sword blades, and are generally distinguishable from other designs by a very simple, generally unadorned saya and tsuki. Compared to the complex tsuka furniture, mountings and lacquered saya finishes of traditional Japanese swords, shirasaya were stored, lightly pinned, in plain, un-lacquered saya, so that both the saya and tsuki could “breathe” and prevent the build up of moisture that could cause corrosion and or deformation of the blade and tang.

White Double Shirasya

White Double Shirasya

Shikomizue, or “Prepared Canes”, are just that. Walking sticks or canes, designed to conceal a sword blade. The design focus here was the covert carry of a sword, without arousing suspicion. Featuring a featureless straight saya and tsuki, generally cut from the same piece of wood, or cut and finished to look like it was, this was a popular choice for ninjas and other warriors who did not wish to arouse suspicion, but still wanted to be able to carry a sword about them for offensive or defensive purposes.

Zatoichi - Blind Fury Shikomizue

Zatoichi - Blind Fury Shikomizue

Chokutō, or “straight sword” design, on the other hand, was focused on neither conceal-ability nor storage. It was a design born in an age prior to that of differential tempering, and, in fact originated outside of Japan, in places like China and Korea. Differential tempering is a process that produces a hard edge, but flexible spine on a most traditional Japanese swords. It also imparts the characteristic curve to the sword, which was found to be a much more efficient sword design, when used correctly.

However before the discovery of the benefits of curved swords and differential tempering, swords were generally straight, and is here that the Chokutō design came from. A simple straight sword, intended for practical use, with no differential tempering, and no need to conceal the blade. The form of the sword simply followed it’s function and the limitations of the technology of the time. Or so the legends say…

So I’ll bet you’re wondering why I decided to bring all of this up. Well, here’s the thing. I am a fan of anime, one of them being Naruto. Or at least I used to be a fan of Naruto. Been a while since I watched any anime. But at least the first and second seasons were acceptably entertaining. If you are willing to disregard the many annoying filler arcs. :/

Anyway, In the anime, one of our eventual anti-heros, Sasuke Uchiha, wields what can only be called a monstrous black Chokutō called the Kusanagi Grass Cutter. As I mentioned in an earlier post on the topic, there is some disparity between the Anime version of the sword, and the Manga (comic book) version of this sword. In the comic, the sword is white, with a black stripe. In the anime, however, the sword is dark gray with a black stripe.

Sasukes Kusanagi No Tsurugi (Kusanagi Grass Cutter)

Sasukes Kusanagi No Tsurugi (Kusanagi Grass Cutter)

Personally, I prefer the animated version of the sword. But, nonetheless, the most common versions I am seeing are the manga versions, a replica of which was the inspiration for todays post:

Sasuke Uchiha's Chokutō

Sasuke Uchiha's Chokutō

As you can see this is the Manga version of the sword, but despite it’s white saya, it actually looks pretty nice. And it has a sweet black blade. And it appears to of a much higher quality construction than the last one I posted about. So just thought, after my long winded post, that I’d share. 🙂

Now if only someone would make it in black… Actually never mind. I’ll probably just get this one, sand it down and give it the traditional Japanese black lacquer treatment…

Yeah… Go me! 😀

Sasuke Uchiha Chokutō – [King of Swords]

Of Hammers, Swords and Walking Sticks…

Friday, June 19th, 2009

I ran across a rather interesting weapon today, one that combines both old and new battlefield technologies into a contemporary defensive weapon for the modern gentleman. Or not. About it being a modern gentlemanly weapon, I mean. I guess it depends on your point of view. Most civilized folks these days just pack a firearm. Or pack nothing at all, and simply plan to get on their hands and knees, put their hands behind their heads and say “Take whatever you want. I don’t really need it.” But I digress.

Hammer Head Sword Cane

Hammer Head Sword Cane

So this, is a hammer head sword cane. Quite the interesting design, a standard black sword cane, hidden in a smooth black tubular shaft, with a cast metal hammer head grip. On one side a standard hammer head, with cross grid patterned face, and on the other, a perforated spike. Quite a useful combination actually. And this sword cane, unlike most, uses a quick button release, which is an uncommon, but welcome feature in a sword cane. But for me, the most interesting feature of this cane is that hammer/point head.

In medieval times, a similar weapon evolved for the purpose of compromising the ever more heavily armored forces on the battlefield. Most swords weren’t really designed to battle armored opponents, and while most enterprising combatants simply learned how to use chinks in armor to thier advantage, it was sometimes easier and faster to simply compromise the armor.

This is where the war hammer design came from. Put a tough service point (or four) on the head of a small, but heavy impact weapon, and swing it, Louisville Slugger style, at your armored opponent, and you could punch a hole through that armor fairly easily. A small impact area (the point), combined with a relatively large mass (a hammer head) generally tends to do that to hardened metal plating. I’m pretty sure it would really just be a  bad day for the aforementioned armored opponent after that.

Medieval War Hammer

Medieval War Hammer

We don’t generally wear armor these days, however this design is still a good one for defensive impact use. You know, for smacking unruly peeps upside the head and whatnot. Especially for folks who’d rather not actually break out the sword bit if it could be avoided.

And assuming a solid connection between the shaft of the cane and the head (This is usually a very weak link in most sword cane designs) it would be all the more effective because of both the added weight of the hammer head, and the 100% USDA can of whoop a$$ that could be delivered by that pointy bit.

Now that I think about it, those medieval war hammer folks really knew a little too much about bringing the pain…

Hammer Head Sword Cane – [True Swords]

Blind Justice…

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

Today I will be talking about a sword that I have always found beautiful, simple, and elegant, but deceptively benign in appearance. This is the Shikomizue (Cane Sword) used by the famous blind masseuse/swordsman Zatoichi from the Japanese TV and film series.

Zatoichi's Shikomizue

Zatoichi's Shikomizue

I have always admired the Zatoichi character. He was exemplary on many levels. To begin with, he was blind, which at the time, made you the lowest of the low on the social totem pole. Yet in spite of this, not only does he not only does not let this prevent him from being a productive member of society, but in addition, he actively fights (with some rather super extraordinary swordsmanship I might add) against the injustice he encounters on a daily basis.

And then there was his sword. Or rather Sword Cane (aka Shikomizue). Basically it was a sword designed to look like a simple walking stick when sheathed. A deceptive and covert weapon yes, but extremely suitable for a wandering blind beggar who did not wish to attract attention. I really don’t have much to say about this weapon except that because I have always been a fan of both stick fighting and swords, the Shikomizue to me always represented two weapons I love in one glorious package.

The basic premise of the Shikomizue, and the variations if it’s design have always intrigued me, and the one used by Zatoichi was one of the best. It is simply a classic must-have weapon for anyone into swords. Trust me. I wouldn’t steer you wrong. really.

Zatoichis Shikomizue – [SouthWest Blades]

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