Roman Swords

The Roman Gladius sword is a typical sword from ancient Rome, used by the Legions. It had a lenght of about 2 feet (though they could be customized) and a straight, double-edged blade.

The romans were very handy at the time of killing their enemies: sticking the tip of the Gladius in the opponents body was enough. The name of “gladiator” may come from the name of this sword.

Roman gladius, spatha swords

The roman Gladius were adapted from the short swords used by Celtiberian merecenaries (hispaniensis gladius) in the service of Hannibal, during the Punic Wars.

The purpose of using this powerful weapon, considered the best sword ever existed from the practical and strategical point of view, that caused more deaths in antiquity, was marked by the Middle Empire.

Gladius Roman Sword

The gladius falcata was improved by the change of metal, which made it lighter. The gladius was designed for fast thrusting attacks; this was convenient, because the Roman legionary carrying the swords, took shelter behind a scutum; once the enemy discharged unnecessarily the hit on the Roman shield or armor, or was about to do, the Roman threw a quick thrust wits its agile gladius sword, stabbing and killing the opponent.

Spatha roman sword

The gladius was replaced by Spatha, copied from the Germanic barbarians.

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Mythical Chinese Swords

Traditional martial arts still preserve old movements, practiced with swords and variety of weapons essential in the battlefield. Weapons are classified according to the characteristics and use were given. However, the most popular not only in China but throughout the world, in all times and within reach of peasant armies and officials, is the sword. Many times we find swords famous for the stories they tell, some real and some anchored to the fantastic world. It is known that the blacksmith OuYezi was most famous in the history of China, was active during the Spring and Autumn called.

In his workshop drew up a set of three swords commissioned by King Zhao of Chu and another set of five swords, for Goujian King of Yue. The same legend says that OuYezi lived in a mountainous area in the state of Yue, called Long Yuan and he himself chose the place for the solitude it offered and the availability of superior natural resources. It took two years to make swords, forged from iron obtained directly from Ci Shan mountain and sharpened with Keng Liang Shi stones. The first three swords were called Long Yuan (The source of the Dragon), Taia (Mountaintop) and Gongbu.

Tai Chi Sword

Another story tells that in the Qin Dynasty there was a young who liked to talk and speak in front of the people of his village. One day he found a battered steel rod and said it was a sword he got from an immortal creature in Nanshan Mountain, and named it Xiao Chi. The boy claimed that the sword was the incarnation of the Red Dragon of Heaven, who had known the Great Emperor Qin, embodied in a big white snake.

Wushu Sword

The villagers were well aware that the boy was a showoff and did not pay much attention, until one night, a dozen young people, including the boy and his sword, went to Feng Xize city. On the way they found a giant snake pure snow white. Terrified by the creature, no one dared to move, except for the kid. He told his friends that he was going to kill the snake and went into the forest to hunt. The young man did not return that night and the rest of the group decided it was time to go home, as he surely had become the snake’s dinner.

Functional Dadao Sword

The next day the dead snake appeared and the boy, instead of the steel rod, carried a shiny sword on whose blade showed Chi Xiao. The second major Chinese blacksmith was Ganjiang; he made two of the most famous swords during the Spring and Autumn era. Some say OuYezi and Ganjiang learned the art of swords with the same teacher. According to the legend, in 494 BC, Goujiang, the King of Yue was about to be captured by the armies of Wu and as an act of capitulation decided to give three of the five swords OuYezi had made for him. The King of Wu, a great collector, was so impressed with the beauty of the swords, he asked Ganjiang a similar one.

Yang Taichi Sword

To please Wu, Ganjiang sought the soul of the Five Mountains and the metal in the valleys of the Six Alliances; he learned tricks of the trade in heaven and put them into practice on Earth, the Hundred Spirits came to see his work and Chi came down from heaven. But the metal of the sword did not melt, Yin and Yang were not in harmony. Then he gathered 300 maids to keep the fire going and finally managed to make two swords for Wu. The first was called Ganjiang and the second, Moyie, as his wife.

Although one can not check the veracity of these stories or the existence of some of the swords, the purpose is to teach and teaching is regarded in China as a gift, is based on ethics, mental and emotional balance and therefore in the development of wisdom.

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Katanas to practice Iaido

The Iaido technique involves unsheathe, cut, clean the blood of the blade and sheath, from different positions; this is what we may call as fundamental movements of iai. Iai means unity of being or unity of minds in the sense of joining the spirit of the adversary without moving. Practically, all the actions take place in one balanced, accurate and clean motion.

Iaito katana

These techniques were born in the days when kendo was practiced with real, authentic fighting swords. It was created to address situations where, the person that was attacked, was sitting, liyng down or in any other position having sheated sword.

 Iaito for Iaido

The training of iaido takes place at the individual level and uses a iaito (Japanese sword) a weapon specially designed for this practice; size and weight ratios are as similar as possible to the katana, but made from cheap metals alloys and usually blunt. The iaido is practiced in the form of kata, taking into account a clean performance, control of movement, balance and smoothness.

Iaido practitioner with Iaito

In 1952, the Japan Federation of Kendo was founded and within it was created a committee with teachers from different schools of iai; the knowledge of the teachers was used in order to create a program with katas and teach the basic concepts of iaido. The intention was to promote and facilitate the dissemination of iaido, especially among practitioners of kendo.

Iaito Taira

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Katanas for combat Kendo

Kendo is a traditional Japanese martial art. It is considered elegant and refined in the world of the martial arts. The kendo, or Japanese fencing, arose from the natural evolution of the techniques of using the sword. Those practicing kendo wear combat armor (bogu) and a bamboo sword (shinai), and perform predefined ways or “kata” with a wooden sword or “boken” and rarely fight with a real sword or “katana”.

Bokken for Kendo

Kendo is a training for combat method, using bamboo slats for swords (shinai). This practice seeks to be more than a traditional martial art and more than a competitive sport. A kendo practitioner would define it as a way of life. Besides, its philosophy can face any kind of adversity.

Katana for Kendo

At first, kedo was performed with real swords and unprotected, which made it dangerous, but currently the teams have to use a helmet (consists of an iron grating mask with side skirts, tightly padded and with rigid protection for the neck). The breastplate (do), high hardness, it often has bamboo inside or outside to protect the trunk. A short padded skirt (tare) covers the belly and hips; wrists and hands are protected by padded, thick gloves (kote).

Katana for Kendo

The differences between kendo and fencing are important. In the West, the weapons (swords, foils or sabers) are held with one hand and the body is positioned sideways, to present to the opponent the smallest target possible. In kendo, the sword is held with both hands and the position of both combatants is front so the edge blows have a secondary role. This entails the fewest stroes possible and be able to kill the opponent with one swift, accurate and definitive movement.

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