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Thread: chinese sword etiquette?

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by tetsumaru
    When setting the table it is proper to put the fork on the left side of the plate and the spoon (on the outside) and knife (on the inside) on the right side. The knife's blade should be facing to the right so if some one wanted to slit your throat from behind you with your knife they would have to spend the extra second turning the blade around.
    With a butter knife?

    Where did you find this tidbit, lol...
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

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  2. #12
    Here's a relevant video:

    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFGcZ7nbbXg[/media]
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

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  3. #13
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    Doc,

    I am back (PN later, It did not go too well...)


    Although we started out with Chinese Etiquette, I think it would be interesting for our Bunch to know parts of the Japanese Etiquette also.


    I. Etiquette for the Japanese Sword
    In feudal Japan, bumping the sword's saya while passing one another or stepping over a sword while it was placed on the floor would be cause enough to start a fight. As admirers of the Japanese sword some elements of sword etiquette should be adopted to facilitate the safe and courteous handling of these respected objects.

    1. One problem that did not exist in old Japan was the transportation of swords by automobile. If, during an accident, a fishing rod can pierce a car seat, think of what a sword blade can do! Always pack swords perpendicular to the normal line of travel.

    2. Permission to examine a sword is always requested from the owner first.

    3. Since some lacquer work is precious, the saya is held only with a gloved hand, a cloth or rice paper. Only the tsuka (hilt) is touched with the bare hand. A good habit to get into is to always carry some form of protection for saya handling whenever you may have opportunities to view swords.

    4. Upon receiving the sword, you should show your respect by bowing to it. Remember, swords are more than pieces of metal and have a religious significance attached by some people. Whether or not you subscribe to this belief, you should honor the feelings of the sword owner and the efforts of the swordmaker. After properly receiving the sword, the first items to be admired are the koshirae (sword furniture or fittings) or the calligraphy on the shira saya (plain wooden scabbards and hilts), if any is there.

    5. Permission should be asked again in order to withdraw the blade from the saya. If permission is granted, the saya should be held in the middle with the ha (cutting edge) upwards in the left hand. The blade is then slowly unsheathed by riding the mune (blade back) on the saya, taking care not to let the polished surfaces come into contact with any part of the saya. Whether drawing out a tachi or katana, one must hold the cutting edge up and grasp the saya from underneath in the left hand in a forward holding position. Then, hold the hilt from above with the right hand.

    6. When handing a sword to someone you should continually keep the ha toward yourself.

    7. When handing the sword to someone else, it is always held with the kissaki (point) upward and the ha toward the first holder with one hand close to the fuchi (front pommel) and the other supporting the kashira (rear pommel). This leaves enough room on the tsuka (hilt) for the other person to securely grasp the sword. You, the first holder, should also wiggle/jiggle the sword slightly as an indication that you, the first holder, are about to release your grasp. Upon receiving the sword, the new holder/viewer immediately turns the ha toward their body.

    8. Definite precautions should be taken to prevent breathing on the polished surfaces of the blade. The blade may be held in either hand after the saya is carefully put down. If the sword has a fuduka (sword bag) , the saya should remain in it and the top of the bag end is folded over. This will protect the lacquered saya or a nice shira saya. Since the scabbard is rather tightly fit at the koiguchi (opening) where the habaki (collar) is fit, the initial pull must be very carefully made so that only the habaki's length gets drawn out.. Giving a sudden powerful pull may not only impair the opening of the saya but also might result in an uncontrollable jerk leading to injury. Holding the blade still, pull it entirely out of the saya very slowly making certain the cutting edge never faces down or sideways.

    9. When you are examining a blade, you may support it with a piece of cloth or rice paper. Under no circumstances is the blade ever to be touched with bare hands or fingers. The acidic natural oils can cause rusting of the blade. Some people advocate the wearing of white gloves when handling a blade. This is a good practice.

    10. Courtesy dictates that derogatory comments are not to be made, and kizu (defects, if any) are not pointed out unless the owner specifically asks the viewer to discuss the kizu in the blade. When a blade is placed back in the saya (scabbard), its case must be held by the left hand and the hilt by the right hand as in the pulling-out process. The tip of the sharp edge facing up must first rest gently on the opening of the saya. Again, holding the blade still, slide the blade along the channel into the saya. When the habaki (collar) reaches the opening of the case, a firm push is necessary to completely seat the blade in the saya. As before, the cutting edge must not face down or sideways.

    11. When returning a sword from viewing , you must always keep the cutting edge toward yourself with the kissaki (point) upward. The tsuka (hilt) is presented so that it is easy for the receiver to grasp.


    Uwe

  4. #14
    This old video demonstrates some of the things that Uwe mentioned.

    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4jxZQlTVDY[/media]
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

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  5. #15
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    lol The music in that last video is hilarious.

  6. #16
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    as Spock would say, "fascinating." But with a capital "F."

    Interesting to note the feeling that the sword is more than a sword, that it is personified, and I note a corrolary to other sword infused cultures. I was once instructed in the sword etiquette or a sword ritual of Jamaica, and I have the machette still. a lot of it has to do with giving the blade "soul" or also the word "life" was used. mostly it was about how to tune the blade to the user. It's ugly, and it bears 6 notches in the pommel, each for a life. There is a way to tune the sword for it's use, a war machette or other, but the distinction was not made clear to me because when I was asked why I wanted it I said I wanted it for protection. So I was told anyway this machette had some kills, and I don't know if it is because I was told that or if it is true, but you can look at it and get a weird feeling sometimes. I've went for it a few times but god's honest truth is I don't know if I could ever really bring myself to use it on someone, because I've also used it like it's last owner did, to chop up trees. Seeing what it can do to that basically makes you realize you have to be serous as a heart attack to use it. This kind of machette is preferred because of the saying attached to it, "no bone can stop it." I guess with the lighter machettes, called cutlass, a bone might stop the blade. Looking through the testimony of the Rwandan genocide that may be superstition or just a machismo saying. But if memory serves I may have put some info up about it here, but if I can not find it in this cavernous web site, lol, and all props and respect to the Dark Lord Cod for making it cavernous, I'll try and find my notes.

    I think that one vid is slightly misleading in that Japanese sword construction wasn't exactly unique...there is a forum actually where you can view some really stunning swords and learn about their techniques and construction.

    Also, I have had a mahuatl made for me, an azteca sword, the last time I was in Mexico City I met some indians outside the major temple and asked if anyone knew how to make one. If you ever saw one, it is a section of wood with pieces of obsidian inserted to make the "blade." According to Cortez' soldiers, a good whack from one could take off the head of a horse, quite a danger to the Spanish. There is a whole methodology to make one, which I regret to not having been a part of to document it but I will when I get back. Since it seems likely that that sword culture would also contain ritualistic elements I am sure there must be corrolaries there too.
    "Arhat, I am your father..."
    -the Dark Lord Cod

  7. #17
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    Arhat,

    just a small correction here: Nahuatl is the native language of the Central Mexico.


    The Aztec weapon, which is studded with pieces of obsidian in order to create a blade is named Macahuitl.

    I am attaching some pictures.


    Uwe
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  8. #18
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    yup, that's them, they have varying constructions, lengths, and blade arrangements and I've seen several alternate spellings and heard differing pronunciations of the name in the field as it were. It took me many tries actually to track one down or someone who could still make a real one, and when I would finally draw one everyone would raise their eyebrow and say their name for it. One azteca told me it took 2 weeks, mostly for the glue to set. My guess- a rather obvious one- is Nahuatl is full of dialects from the various indian tribes cortez first allied with then subjugated into spanish mexico. There are some toys available which you can get or parade or dance versions, but to find a "real" one, we had to find aztecas and lucked out that there was a feast day and the main square was full of them.

    Here is a working description- I never got the whole book but I intend to:

    Bernal Diaz:

    While we were at grips with this great army and their dreadful broadswords, many of the most powerful among the enemy seem to have decided to capture a horse. They began with a furious attack, and laid hands on a good mare well trained both for sport and battle. Her rider, Pedro de Moron, was a fine horseman; and as he charged with three other horsemen into the enemy ranks--they had been instructed to charge together for mutual support--some of them seized his lance so he could not use it, and others slashed at him with their broadswords, wounding him severely. Then they slashed at his mare, cutting her head at the neck so that it only hung by the skin. The mare fell dead, and if his mounted comrades had not come to Moron's rescue, he would probably have been killed also...

    ...As for Moron, I do not think I saw him again. He died of his wounds two days later.
    My gong fu brother was supposed to bring it back with them but they said they couldn't even wrap it up for transport. Must have been a funny scene- heng n'ou and sifu standing there, and yi bringing out the sword, goes, "for some reason fa wants this" and every time they tried to wrap it the damn thing kept slicing through the materials. I don't know how the mexicas carried these things but I imagine they were probably constantly slicing themselves up with them, lol...

    although I refuse to give Mel money I will sneak into Apocalypto. I think, to fully come clean as a sword geek, if I see one of those things or it's mayan variant I will cream my pants.

    The other thing I got to bring back, because all the mexica were there in the square and at the temple, was hand made chocolate bricks from oaxaca and chiapas. God's food, that.
    "Arhat, I am your father..."
    -the Dark Lord Cod

  9. #19
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    I want to vacation with you, Arhat.
    Becoming what I've dreamed about.

  10. #20
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    that can be arranged, when is your spring break, lol...
    "Arhat, I am your father..."
    -the Dark Lord Cod

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