Ryuseiken Battodo

Japanese swordfighting

Myth: That "Zing!" sound when you draw

Another myth from many movies: Swords should make "Zing!" sound when you draw them from the sheath.

Perhaps for other swords, but this is generally a bad idea for Japanese swords.

First, most, perhaps all, sayas are made from wood (or wood on the inside). Some have metal or horn fittings at the koiguchi (the opening entry point for the sword), but that is mostly or entirely on the outside. So there is not really any other metal on the inside to make that metallic ringing/zing noise. What you do get often is the sound of hollow wood (the saya) being knocked. So you may hear wood-knocking noises.

Second, metal scraping on metal is a bad idea, especially when drawing a sword because it isn't something that is finely controlled. It tends to scrape rather than polish. See the earlier post on sharpening stones inside a saya.

Finally, if your sword made that noise every time, it's a bad design since it would also give away your position (when in stealth).

If you saw The Last Samurai, where people were drawing their katanas with a heavy zing noise, that's special effects, not reality. The wood knocking noise isn't as "cool" for movies to (I daresay ignorant) directors, sound guys, and special effects/props people. It doesn't happen

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Web sites & Resources

Matsuri: A Festival of Japan (2008) - Phoenix, AZ, Feb 23-28, Heritage Square

Battodo Ryuseiken in Japan. Also a partial site in english.

The Kodenkan of Tucson

The UofA Ryuseiken Battodo on the ASUA site

Tameshigiri.com - where we get goza. The ordering and shipping process are given.

Hanwei/Paul Chen swords

The Knighthawk Armoury builds some interesting realistic looking goshinken. They're expensive but they claim to be pretty durable (not yet tested by us).

Folding a Hakama the proper way

Woodall's Custom Workshop makes nice cutting stands for tameshigiri.

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