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#111205 - 02/14/04 01:19 AM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
Ozmo Offline

Registered: 12/22/03
Posts: 142
Loc: Kuopio, Finland
Thanks, that was interesting to know. I'll be sure to tell it to the next drooling katana-fanboy I come across. [IMG][/IMG]

#111206 - 03/28/04 03:34 PM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
Winduril Offline

Registered: 03/27/04
Posts: 14
As I'm sure people have already said, the curvature was so it could be drawn in one smooth quick motion and slay the opponent with ease. The dull end makes a nice touch when wanting to implement the other hand in sword techniques, not to mention with the sweeping slashes of the sword, it would be a bit more dangerous to have the back edge sharpened.

#111207 - 04/18/04 11:04 AM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
Meryine Offline

Registered: 04/17/04
Posts: 4
Loc: London, England, Uk
Blocking again. If you know how to use it then you have many a advantage.

#111208 - 04/22/04 02:38 PM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
Theone Offline

Registered: 04/22/04
Posts: 2
When unsheathing a samurai sword, the sword is curved away from you. When you try to move quickly, you may slit your side. That is assuming that you are pulling the sword from your side. Also when drawing a straight sword you must extend your arm further to get the whole sword out because it is straight. With curved swords you can draw it out diagonally, and not take so much time drawing your sword. If anyone has a different opinion do tell.

[QUOTE]Originally posted by cricket:
I suppose that this is a stupid question, but it is one to which I have not been able to find an answer or reason out on my own. Japanese swords (as far as I know) are only sharp one one side. Originally, I imagined that this was so for the strength of the blade; European broadswords, however, seem to be just as strong as any Japanese sword. I suppose that the quick answer to this question is because the sword is curved (another question I have regards the advantage of a curved sword, anyone know?). It would seem to me that while it would not be an ideal cutting surface (the concave back side of the sword) it would do in a pinch (to defend from a second attacker advancing from behind, for example). Anyways, please excuse the longwinded above. I'm sure there is a good reason, and I'm sure that one of you knows.

Thank you.

#111209 - 04/25/04 10:06 PM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
thecap Offline

Registered: 04/25/04
Posts: 2
Loc: austin, tx, u.s.
Its very simple.
Japanese Sword-sharpest, light strong
(folded steel!) meant for cutting
Euro armor-big; therefore big dull swords needed! None of this crap about who made what best and sharpest sword and that the germans made as sharp of sword etc. that simple.

#111210 - 04/26/04 01:14 AM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
javaman Offline

Registered: 07/04/03
Posts: 179
Loc: calgary, alberta, canada
Thecap, that is a ridiculous reply, Japanese swords were not ultra-light, European swords were not heavy,
European swords were not dull,
European armour is not excessivly big,
Japanese armour is just as big,
European swords were folded steel,
Japanese swords were folded steel

The reason there is so little variety in Japanese swords is because of the Japanese culture and the shinto-ist religion emphasis on honoring ancestors, and a society that generally did not encourage experimentation.

The reason that Japanese swords are curved is during the tempering process the two types of steel that are used cool at different rates, so one pulls the other, resulting in the curve of the sword.

there is no real advantage in a sword with one sharpened side, but depending on how the sword is designed to be used; i.e
a large curved sword made for fighting un-armored oponents by using draw-cuts (Katana)
only one side is necessary.

Tempering a double edged sword is more difficult that tempering a single edged sword, so it just makes sense that the Japanese swords are one sided, as making them double edged would probably have been more trouble than it would have been worth, given the sword techniques for the katana and the dificulty in tempering a double edged sword.

#111211 - 04/30/04 10:52 AM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
DelatarPeredhel Offline

Registered: 04/30/04
Posts: 2
Loc: Oxford, Kansas, USA
This is coming at the question from the other side (ha ha, but it is a valid to ask "why a sword with two edges?"
As was observed above, another edge doubles (or greater) the complexity of the construction, and you can only hit with one edge at once.

One of the reasons that the western sword has two edges it that it was not simply a tool of war, but a symbol of authority and position. The double-edged sword evolved from the Chivalric tradition that symbolized the duties of the Knight in the sword. Not just the cross made by the hilt and blade, but the two edges themselves. One edge was might, the ability to kill, and the other was mercy, the willingness to refrain from taking life when it is not necessary. Every time a knight drew their weapon, they were reminded of their duties and responsibilities.

BTW, saber, epee, and rapier dueling all emphasize cuts with the last third of the blade and blocks with the last two thirds, as the light and flexible weapons are not effective at blocking further up the blade. Blocking low on your blade matches your strength to our opponent's weakness.

#111212 - 05/01/04 09:22 AM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?
Jamoni Offline

Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 1514
Loc: St. Louis, MO, USA
I think that double edged swords primarily get their shape from their roots as stabbing weapons. This stems from bronze-age construction, where cutting weapons bent or broke easily, so your best bet was a short, thick stabbing weapon. Look at how curved weapons are used: very little thrusting is done, most techniques are cuts. With double edged straight blades, it is a mixture of cut and thrust. Weapons like rapiers and stilettos rely almost exclusively on the point. Cause and effect.

#111213 - 05/12/04 10:01 AM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?

[QUOTE]Originally posted by TAZ:

Curved, one-sided swords such as the Japanese katana were originally designed for use on horseback.

Just to say, the katana was developed for use on foot, when the samurai were cavalrous, the sword used most was longer and had a greater curve, this was the tachi.

Practically all the other points have been well displayed and discussed in this long thread

#111214 - 05/16/04 06:37 PM Re: What are the advantages to a sword with only one sharpened side?

I agree with all of the western sword views except the idea of the viking sword making. Viking swords were among the worst ever forged. The blacksmiths used a technique called piece forging or patch forging. Basically, the smith would start where the handle would be and piece together the sword from there, building it from hilt to tip. X-rays or other such devices have shown this in almost all of the museum pieces. With this type of forging, the sword had many stess points that were relatively (it was still a sword) easy to break.

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