Handmade Japanese swords for martial arts or collectible
I propose two kinds of steel for the realization of your blade : A modern steel, fine carbon steel and a tamahagane steel produced in an artisanal way according to the Japanese tradition.
I am often asked what is the difference between these two steels, and I am often very annoyed to answer; because it all depends on the point of view. If I place myself from the practitioner's point of view, I would tell you that for a traditional use as a weapon, the two are equals.
I am well aware by expressing myself thus, of going against many points of view which consider the old Japanese steel like the best powerfull ultra steel. But unfortunately I fear that these views are more of a magical thought than an opinion informed by the facts and by practice.
I am asked, since I know how to make swords according to the traditional Japanese methods in force, why I produce sabers in modern steels which is contrary to the use in Japan. My answer is very simple: Because there is a demand. Indeed, traditional methods are complex and time-consuming to implement; a blade produced by using these ways will be much more expensive than a modern steel blade.
However, a practitioner, to progress in his personal path of martial art, will need:
- For his body, a blade tuned to his measurements, well balanced with a weight that will suit him.
- For his mind, this blade will have all the characteristics of a high-performance weapon with a sharp edge, good cutting performance and great elasticity.
Now modern steel fulfills all these conditions.
The ancestral method makes it possible to produce aesthetically incomparable blades, but which only a very elaborate polishing can enhance. A sword produced with this steel will be the fruit of a long process, a delicate journey which will call upon all the physical and mental resources of the blacksmith. At the end of this process it is a complex work that will see the light of day; a culmination, the fruit of a long tradition.
However, from a strictly mechanical point of view, such a blade will not be superior to a sword with a modern steel blade.
It is strange to have to clarify this simple fact. We entrust our lives every day to our metallurgical engineers by driving our cars, borrowing, trains and planes. Modern steels are incredibly qualitative while being inexpensive. But perhaps this is the crime of these steels : too vulgar, or too obvious to harbor our exotic fantasies.
I am a son of my time. Loving and seeking out old knowledge does not blind me to the achievements of my time. In addition, I have endured enough time with a hammer in hand, today I can get rid of the excessive ''Japanese style '' of some of my compatriots. I am definitely a Westerner. I am loving Japanese culture and tradition but I never illusionate myself about being a Japanese.
I will never allow myself to judge the relationship that the Japanese have with they own tradition. However, it is clear that, practicing a millenary profession, thinking about the relationship between tradition and modernity is at the heart of my personal and professional development. The craftsman that I have become is the result of this tought, still in progress, by the way.
As a self-taught person, my approach was originally doomed to marginality and I made up my mind to do so.
After all, the margin is still part of the page and you could find in, sometimes, some very interesting annotations ...