Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sword Drills - Bottle Cutting

Left the bows at home this mild Sunday morning and opted for my katana for some bottle cutting. I do collect swords but rarely practice with them of late simply because I do not have a suitable cutting stand. That changed when I picked up a bale of hay to use as arrow stop on my archery range. Turns out it makes a good bottle rest and is very forgiving upon the blade when making a "bad" strike.

That said I had purchased a (cheaper) katana several years ago to use as my beater sword for drills and practice cutting. I had put it through some abuse in the past and does have some edge rolling, scratching and discoloration. Bought from Ryan Swords on Ebay it is forged from 1060 carbon steel and has held up fairly well.

You may wonder why cutting bottles filled with water is appropriate for developing sword handling skills? In fact it is very effective.....if your strike is clumsy or your technique lacking the bottle is simply knocked off the stand. Picture hitting the bottle with a stick. When your strike is effective you can slice through the bottle in a smooth clean cut. It ultimately comes down to good footwork, proper grip, a firm delivery with a proper follow through. Not unlike golfing or tennis in a sense.


It requires practice and concentration but when you get it down it is really cool.If you develop good form and have an properly sharpened blade you can literally slice inches off a single bottle using a series of strikes. That is the advantage of a katana for cutting practice. The geometry of the blade lends itself to razor sharpness unlike typical European medieval blades that tend to have factory applied secondary bevels. 

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