Posts Tagged ‘Warrior’

Steel Hands of Shadow… Tekko-Kagi Revisited!

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Not too long ago I posted about of my favorite Ninja tool, the Tekko-Kagi, (or Tekagi), featuring an outstanding example of workmanship by one of my readers, Matthew Wright (who posts here as Mangetsu) of NineDirections.com. I have always been particularly impressed with the authenticity of his work, however he recently put together a refreshed version of the aforementioned tool, as well as his website, and I thought I’d talk a little about my opinion of his the modifications to the traditional design.

So here it is, The Signature Tekko-Kagi from Nine Directions, which he most appropriately called “Steel Shadow”…

Signature Tekko-Kagi - by Nine Directions

Signature Tekko-Kagi - by Nine Directions

The word Tekagi (which is the abbreviated form of Tekko-Kagi) is, if memory serves, a contraction of two Japanese words, “Te”, which means “Hand”, and “Kagi” (a variation of “Kage”), which means shadow. In other words, this is the “Shadow Hand”. This makes a whole lot of sense when you consider that the Ninja (or Shinobi) were also called “Shadow Warriors”, due to their predominantly clandestine methods.

Their specialty was working from, or in, the shadows. As in, the most efficient way to plant a steel claw upside a marks head from a dark corner while their back was turned… 😛

But back to the weapon at hand. This ain’t yo grandmas Tekagi! This design, while fundamentally similar to the traditional tekagi design, differs in two very important respects. First, where there used to be a narrow forearm/wrist band, Matthew has extended the band to an almost full forearm-length leather bracer, to which the rear of the claws are riveted.

Tekko-Kagi - Arm

Tekko-Kagi - Arm

This, by itself, is perhaps the single most useful and functionally outstanding improvement I have ever seen in a tekko-kagi. It provides some additional much needed support, giving the tool much more strength, and should be significantly more comfortable than the traditional design, allowing for the wielder to use it with a lot more power.

Tekko-Kagi - Full

Tekko-Kagi - Full

The claws themselves appear to have been extended to the full length of this longer bracer, creating a full forearm cage that drastically increases the defensive capabilities of the weapon. In addition to this, he has shortened the top hoop, the hand grip, our control point, as it were, so that a much more natural, solid, closed-fist grip can be used to manipulate the claws. This is a *massive* improvement over the old large wide grip of the previous design, as your hand muscles are in a more natural and stronger position this way.

Tekko-Kagi - Grip

Tekko-Kagi - Grip

I have always held that while adherence to tradition is certainly of value, tradition should never get in the way of improvement. The old school ninjas did things the way they did because that was the best way to do them at the time. However their fundamental methodology was not one of stagnation. They constantly improved and modified their techniques and weapons, and were there not so many more effective tools of the trade to use, they would have upgraded their tekagi in much the same way Matthew has done.

Tekko-Kagi - Forge

Tekko-Kagi - Forge

So I say to Matthew, kudos for a job well done! These are perhaps the best designed Tekko-Kagi I have seen in a long time, and I doubt I will see any better. This is outstanding work folks, created with an eye to replicating the look and feel of the traditional design, except much, much better.

Tekko-Kagi - Grass

Tekko-Kagi - Grass

This Tekagi has single-handedly made NineDirections.com my next Site of the Month. If you want some truly outstanding replicas of traditional ninja gear, made with an eye for practical use, as well as authentic construction techniques, Nine Directions is the place to go…

You really can’t go wrong. 😀

Signature Tekko-Kagi – [Nine Directions]

Why do sword makers do this?

Friday, July 31st, 2009

So I suppose this is a rhetorical question, since I think I already know the answers. But here it is. Is it sooo difficult to make a cool looking sword that isn’t mechanically compromised? And yes, I realize that at this point, I should have gotten used to seeing this, but it just doesn’t make any sense.

What, exactly, is the deal with slotted sword blades?

I’ve probably said this a gazillion times before, but the thing is, I keep seeing it over, and over, and over, and it seems like everyone is doing it, and yet it makes no sense at all. And I probably wouldn’t be making such a big deal about it, except today, I was looking at what I thought would otherwise be a really great looking sword, EXCEPT it had freaking slots in the blade. And not just anywhere, but in the *weakest* sections of the blade.

And as if that weren’t bad enough, I found *two* more swords, exhibiting the exact SAME design flaw, on the SAME PAGE. All with stinkin’ lousy SLOTS, in what seems like the WEAKEST parts of each and every blade. You know what? I think it’s a conspiracy. Maybe someone is attempting to compromise what little sanity I have left. In fact, I’m beginning to think someone is slipping crazy pills into all of my drinks.

Which is technically not possible, though, since I make all of my drinks myself. From stuff most creatures would not dare drink. But then again, I might have developed an alternate personality, of which I am blissfully unaware, who is in fact, slipping a mickey into my beverages. It’s the stress, I tell you, the stress… The stress of subjecting myself to these abominations that are trying to pass themselves off as useful sword designs… DAGNABBIT!!!…

OK… If you don’t mind, I’ll need a moment here to gather my wits (presently scattered to the four corners of the earth) about me…

*woo saaaah*… *woo saaaah*…  OK… Let’s try a little logic and reason.

Here’s the first sacrilegious creation:

Black Ninja Warrior Sword

Black Ninja Warrior Sword

The so called “Black Ninja Warrior Sword”. I’m not even going to go into why a “Ninja” weapon ought never to appear in the “Ronin” section of any sword site. But let’s take a good look at this thing. On the surface, not a bad looking sword. A simple cord wrapped grip, a short ricasso flowing into a nice blade contour, with a concave edge that rises to a little belly just before the tip. The spine is fairly simple, with a short scalloped section (which, incidentally, looks nice, but appears to be un-sharpened and therefore purely cosmetic) opposite the ricasso.

Then they added those… slot… thingies. And called them “blood grooves”. Yeah. Blood grooves. Really. Absolutely hilarious. I’d laugh if I wasn’t on the verge of throwing up. Now let’s take a good look at this sword. Besides the tip, where is the thinnest section of the blade? See it? In the middle of the little concave arc of blade? Good. Now where are those slots? Yeeesss… Right there… Partying hard… Right there on the ragged edge dude… Please, allow me to introduce you to the unnecessarily weakest part of this sword! Blood Groove City!!

I wish those slots would all fall off the edge and die… So I can go and spit on their graves. Ptooey!

But wait, there’s more! Here’s another from the trio/coven of atrocities:

Double Chaos Blades

Double Chaos Blades

These are the “Double Chaos Blades”. Appropriately named, because the design is doubly jacked up. Again, a fairly simple base design, a set of simple, almost straight swords, tipped with a strong spear point tip, with straight edges running down into a mild flare in the blade, just above the cord wrapped grip with the cool pointy pommel.  Comes in both black and polished steel. And if they would have stopped there, I might actually see myself buying one.

But Noooooo, that would have been too bland, too simple. They HAD to add some “flair”. AKA slots. But that’s not all. These swords come with added DIVOTS!! Yes, ladies and germs, these swords are *double* the dysfunctional fun!! First they started with the slots. Then somebody looked at it and said: “Hey… I got a brilliant idea!!” Lets cut small semicircles out of both sides of the blade!!! It’ll be AWESOME!!!”

Yeah… Awesomely bad. I mean the sword looks like it has been conveniently designed to snap apart into two sections at those spots where the semicircular divots and the grooves coincide. Now don’t get me wrong. Perforations are very useful. They are a boon for things like paper towels, bubble wrap, and.. erm…toilet roll… <cough>. I just don’t like to see it them in my swords… Call me crazy. Oh, wait. I am, in fact, crazy. OK, whatever. Lets just move on.

Now this last sword set, this is really what I went looking for…

Twin Fusion Ronin Swords

Twin Fusion Ronin Ninja Swords

The “Twin Fusion Ronin Ninja” sword. *Deep Sigh* I must admit that that at this particular moment, I’m finding it incredibly difficult to hold my tongue about the blasphemy that is a “Ronin Ninja” anything. But in the interest of not subjecting you all to a 20 page post, I will find an orc to chew on for the remainder of my tirade. Never let it be said that I don’t care about my readers. 😀

I’ll be honest. I just love the contours of this sword. Again, another simple, cord wrapped hilt with an angled pommel with lanyard slot. A short simple guard with a small but deeply curved ricasso. And then there’s the tip. A sweeping widening blade with a false spine edge, that looks almost broad scimitar like, before pulling a “Psyche” and abruptly turning into a slightly concave blade. Absolutely evil, wicked, sinister, beautiful and awesome.

And then… Sacrilege. An near perfect sword design… Defiled by heathenous, slot wielding, serration abusing wretches masquerading as sword designers. Turns my stomach I tell you… There are a lot of things serrations are good for. I personally do not think swords are one of them. On the spine, maybe. But not on the blade. And out of decency, I will not subject you to the stream of expletives that went through my head when I saw the slots in these blades. Holes are for swiss cheese. Not swords.

I could even live with the fake scallops on the spine. In fact, if they were to move the serrations from the blade to the spine, where the scallops currently are, and got rid of the slots… mmm… I could see myself picking out… well not drapes, but maybe a good whip, to hang on my mantle, with this sword…

But that’s just me. Is that wrong? 😀

Double Chaos Blades – [Global Gear]

Black Ninja Warrior Sword – [Global Gear]

Twin Fusion Ronin Ninja Swords – [Global Gear]

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