Posts Tagged ‘Shikomizue’

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but sticks and swords can kill you…

Friday, November 9th, 2007

I’ve always been a fan of stick and staff based weapons, and (quite obviously) bladed weapons as well. In an earlier post on a set of Super Twin Swords, I promised to show you another one of my favorite shikomizue (sword staff) type weapons. Well It’s pay day, and as promised, paydirt!:

Red Action Twin Swords

Red Action Twin Swords
[view full size]

Now this, is a rather unique and interesting take on shikomizue design. Unlike your traditional shikomizue, which hides a single sword in a walking staff, this dealio conceals TWO swords, in a single staff. Pretty nifty. There is yet another twin shikomizue design that I have seen, which I’ll post about if I run into it again, but today is “Red Action” day!!

So if you happened to be walking down the street, trusty “Red Action” at your side, and were to be accosted by some nefarious vagrants, you could whip out twice the sword fighting, butt kickin’ action on the unsuspecting baddies! Very Sweet! Except for one thing. Each sword is sheathed at opposite ends of a single center scabbard/saya. This kinda begs a few questions.

For instance, how secure would the bottom sword be if this were used on a daily basis? Would you constantly have to be watching to make sure you didn’t inadvertently lose a toe to a falling sword blade? And more importantly, which side is up?!? But I supposed if you actually had a practical use for a weapon like this, these questions would be the least of your problems.

From a visual standpoint, this weapon obviously gets it’s “Red Action” name from the blood red and black lacquered finish of the saya and grip, as well as the tarnished copper colored fittings, but beyond that, the aesthetics of the set is somewhat run of the mill. It could definitely be better. But of course I am biased towards dark weapons, and I may just be saying that because it isn’t all black and chrome.

But I like this weapon more for it’s functional benefits, and sheer weapon flexibility, than it’s aesthetics. Not only do you have a staff weapon, you have the option of wielding up to two swords, and would still be able to use the scabbard as backup as a short staff weapon. Now that’s the kind of flexibility I like.

I’ve probably mentioned before how I consider these weapons kinda like basic Swiss army knives. Well, this one even has the right color for it! All it needs is the Swiss army emblem on the saya. Though I kinda doubt that either the Swiss or the Japanese would look too kindly on that particular combination…

Red Action Twin Swords – [Sword Company]

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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