Saber/dao cloths

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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby Graculus on Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:52 pm

But only in the movies – in real life they generally used paper to wipe them clean, or whatever cloth was on hand (you sometimes see that in the movies as well). Most kata retain the movements you mentioned, but they are more a reminder of what should be done than a functional movement.

Thanks to Subitai for the video clips – it's true that Maarten had mentioned this before, but it was nice to see it.

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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby Trick on Sun Jun 02, 2019 2:30 am

The paper and powdering pampering was after work maintenance done while sitting on the comfortable tatami covered floor back at the house ?. I cant believe paper(napkins?) or handkerchiefs where brought along to the battle field in case the blade got bloody ? The Japanese sword katas show exactly how things should be done, no wasted moves there 8-)
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby Finny on Sun Jun 02, 2019 4:00 am

Trick wrote:The Japanese samurais just did an quick powerful little swing with their sword and off the enemies blood went, or a sharp little knock on the sword handle with the other hand also had the same effect. No cleaners napkins where in need 8-)


Neither actually work - they are symbolic. The 'sharp little knock' actually follows a full spin of the sword along its axis.. and that also doesn't work to actually remove blood.

Trick wrote:The paper and powdering pampering was after work maintenance done while sitting on the comfortable tatami covered floor back at the house ?. I cant believe paper(napkins?) or handkerchiefs where brought along to the battle field in case the blade got bloody ? The Japanese sword katas show exactly how things should be done, no wasted moves there 8-)


Swords weren't typically used on the 'battlefield'.

Also, chinugui (wiping blood from the blade) features in a number of Japanese sword arts:

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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby Trick on Sun Jun 02, 2019 5:05 am

Thanks, always learning something new. Yes of course those specific moves are kind of symbolic since there’s no blood on the blade when Kata practiced, but how do we know they are of no function ? They seem to be based on function of removing blood and eventual other bodily fragments readying the sword for another quite immediate “kill” cut...... When wash ones hands one do some quick shakes of them before doing the finer toweling, if there’s no towel, shake some more.
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby Finny on Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:24 am

Trick wrote:
...of course those specific moves are kind of symbolic since there’s no blood on the blade when Kata practiced, but how do we know they are of no function?


By trying them. Folks have tried all the different chiburi, from Eishin ryu's (Omori? I can never keep track..) O-chiburi, Katori Shinto ryu's kaiten chiburi etc, and found that they don't actually remove blood from a blade. One would need to use a cloth/paper.. as in chinugui.

I've been taught that the chiburi that we see in most all koryu bugei are symbolic, in that one is cleansing/discarding more than just 'blood on the blade' - ie it's a symbolic psychological/spiritual 'cleansing/ending' to having just killed someone.
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby Steve James on Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:36 am

Wipe the blood off on the opponent. :) But, seriously, wouldn't a scabbard remove most of the blood? And, if not, wouldn't a lot of time be spent wiping off blood before sheathing? Wouldn't all this take place after a battle, when there was time to actually clean the weapon?

Also, just curious, but how much blood actually stayed on a blade anyway? Any experimenters?
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby Bill on Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:57 am

I think a sword would be glued into its scabbard if sheathed while bloody.
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby Steve James on Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:34 am

I agree Bill. I think a sword would need to be cleaned before sheathed, and I think it'd be hard to clean until after a battle (use). This also implies that either swords were rarely sheathed or that they didn't get bloody.

At any rate, it is an interesting practical problem.
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby marvin8 on Sun Jun 02, 2019 1:45 pm

marvin8 wrote:
windwalker wrote:Shouldn't the question be what are ones uses or anyone's uses for the tassel or colth on the end of a weapon. . . .

Anyone here work in a butcher shop, or watch butchers doing their work cutting the meat. Most that I've seen all have some type of cloth, apron, for wiping their hands or blade during, or after their work.

Excerpt from "The Sword Structure:"
Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming on July 20, 2015 wrote:The Tassel (Jian Sui, 劍繐).. . .The reasons for not using a tassel are as follows: first, the tassel changes the balance of the sword, making it harder to handle; second, it can become entangled in the sword arm, distracting the sword fighter; third, the opponent can grab the tassel and gain control of the sword.

Correction: I replied to windwalker's post with Yang, Jwing-Ming's writing on "the tassel" not the "dao cloth" (Yang makes a distinction). Here he shares windwalker's comment on attaching the dao cloth to the saber handle. Excerpt from "Ancient Short Weapons:"
Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming on October 18, 2010 wrote:Saber or Wide Blade Sword (Dao)

The character for saber was also commonly translated as “Wide Blade Sword.” The blade was more than 1.5 inches wide, and the handle was often sandwiched between two pieces of wood, and then wrapped with cloth to absorb sweat. A circular or semicircular metal guard pro tected the hand from an enemy’s weapon sliding down the blade. Often, a handkerchief as long as the blade hung from the handle to distract the enemy and to wipe blood off the blade.


Excerpts from Adam Hsu articles mentioning the dao cloth.

"White Blade and Red Cloth:"
Adam Hsu wrote:Image
Blood Duster

Quite often, practitioners tie a red cloth to the end of the handle.

Not only that, some even use a red and green bi-color cloth. . . .
But we may ask: Why attach a piece of cloth at all, whether blue-white-red, or red-green or the most commonly used red?

"Just to look nice?" . . .

This piece of red cloth has a special name: "Blood Duster!"

Ok, from the name, its function should be obvious.

Isn't the saber a killing weapon? After killing, wouldn't it be stained with blood?

Then the red cloth is used to wipe and mop the saber. Hence it is called Blood Duster.

Here's an analogy. At the bottom of the stock of an M1 rifle used by infantry, there is a small compartment for accessories (oil, cleaning rag, small brush, etc.) used to clean and care for the gun, just for convenience.

Same reason. Blood Duster is the saber's cleaning accessory.

Therefore, Blood Duster is usually tied at the tail of the handle. Its formal function is wiping blood off the saber!

Consequently, the installation of the Blood Duster has to be flexible. It should be easily be removed for use. Otherwise, it would be just a decorative ornament.

ImageImageImage

. . . But, but, but: "I still don't understand. During a performance, should it be there?"

The so-called performance merely simulates real combat so others can see the practitioner's technique.

Then, let's talk about combat before turning back to performance.

During combat, the Blood Duster HAS to be dismantled.

Or it could be tucked in a pocket or somewhere handy to wipe the enemy's blood later.

Or it could be thrown away and simply get lost!

"Why can't I still keep it on the saber and just fight like that?"

'Cause it might be distracting; remember fighting is a life and death business!


Now, need I say more about whether to attach a Blood Duster for a performance?


"The Willow-Leaf Saber:"
Daniel Farber wrote:In ancient times, a piece of cloth, usually red, was attached to the end of the saber handle and used to clean the weapon after an encounter. During a fight, the cloth was easily removed to avoid the possibility of the cloth impairing vision. In modern times, the cloth piece, or "tassel," has a decorative function, featuring a variety of colors and styles. This type of non-detachable, ornamental design is useless in martial arts practice; however, in long weapons such as the spear, the tassel is used to confuse the opponent's vision and keep the shaft clean during combat.
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby Finny on Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:24 pm

Steve James wrote:Wipe the blood off on the opponent. :) But, seriously, wouldn't a scabbard remove most of the blood? And, if not, wouldn't a lot of time be spent wiping off blood before sheathing? Wouldn't all this take place after a battle, when there was time to actually clean the weapon?

Also, just curious, but how much blood actually stayed on a blade anyway? Any experimenters?



Yeah I agree - wipe it off on opponent. Honestly I've never spent much time thinking on it. Swords were clearly used so infrequently on 'da battlefield' that it doesn't seem like a worthwhile consideration. If you gotta use one, hack them up, wander off and check/clean your blade.. pretty simple.

How much stays on depends largely on how much there was initially - there are always enough spots left to rust a blade (to be fair, given it's nature, any blood will rust a blade..) and gunk up a scabbard.
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby Trick on Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:17 am

I can understand that a sword need more metal to make and that might be to much steel to give the foot soldiers. So what where used when spear formations had been broken, clubs/maces, axes ?.....Anyway it would seem that a strap/cloth/lace where only in use with single grip battle swords but not the two handed grip swords ?
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby Finny on Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:08 pm

Trick wrote:I can understand that a sword need more metal to make and that might be to much steel to give the foot soldiers. So what where used when spear formations had been broken, clubs/maces, axes ?


Rocks, most commonly.
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby Trick on Tue Jun 04, 2019 12:02 am

Yes for sure, that’s what is mostly found when archeologists dig around at ancient battlegrounds 8-)
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby Bao on Tue Jun 04, 2019 12:48 am

Obviously you never want to put a bloody filthy sword into its scabbard. Good luck next time you need to pull up the sword quickly but find it stuck...

Trick wrote:I can understand that a sword need more metal to make and that might be to much steel to give the foot soldiers. So what where used when spear formations had been broken, clubs/maces, axes ?


Don't really understand what you mean. If you go to battle, you must first make sure that you have all the weapons that are necessary. Otherwise, stay out of war.

Image

Here you find several different troop formations of larger and smaller groups:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jixiao_Xinshu
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby Steve James on Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:42 am

Bao wrote:Obviously you never want to put a bloody filthy sword into its scabbard. Good luck next time you need to pull up the sword quickly but find it stuck...

Image

Here you find several different troop formations of larger and smaller groups:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jixiao_Xinshu


Did you notice that the guys have "swords" --daos-- that look too big to use a scabbard or sheath. Maybe the reason would be that one would just get in the way.

I think it's already been suggested that it would be impractical to put a sword away while the battle was in progress. It also makes those sayings such as "when the sword is unsheathed, it should taste blood" make sense. After it gets blooded, though, it wouldn't make sense to immediately sheath it.

That brings up the issue of cleaning. I don't think it's easy to wipe blood off. I think a rag would help, but 1) I think it'd be hard to get all the blood off without using some other liquid, and even then, blades that seem to be totally clean can get stuck. But, 2) how does one get the blood off the rag? I.e., the cloths we typically see are red. In practice, they probably didn't start out that color. :) Blood is sticky stuff that is hard to wash off. I'm not sure wiping with a cloth would be enough.
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