Tuesday 21 October 2014 at 03:02 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

I've been meaning to do this for quite a while but of course finding cardboard tubes like this is difficult. For this reason, when the opportunity arose, I leapt at it, like some kind of cardboard hungry leopard. The whole article is at http://www.thesamuraiworkshop.com/university/content/8/262/en/cardboard-tubes-as-an-alternative-target.html but I've posted the video here for convenience.

Do check out the whole article as it raises a few extra points that you may find interesting.

I've wanted one of these for quite a while but you know what money is like? hehe. Well A friend ended up sending me one because he's just that awesome and I said that I would do a video on how to tie it properly.

Everyone who doesnt already know will hopefully find this useful of course but I have gone the extra mile and tried my best to break this down as best I could so as to make it understandable by as many people as possible. I've used two camera angles so you can decide which one is best for you.

Friday 29 August 2014 at 02:28 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Ok, so my stuff tends to be all related to the Japanese sword, its use and maintenance but every now and then something else comes along that I feel deserves a look see. I've recently replaced my EDC or Every Day Carry knife with something newer and far superior.

I chose the CRKT Heiho. Made by Columbia River Knife and Tool its a solid spring assisted lock knife designed by James Williams. This guy is ex forces and quite something else. Google for him if you're interested but the result of his design work ended up with a handful of blades of different lengths and styles being produced, the Heiho being one of them.

I wrote about the upwards diagonal open cut a while back in an article I did for the Samurai University. That article has since reached 20,000+ views and so I decided to follow it up with a "video response" style article. Click on through, check it out and let me know what you think.

Thursday 31 July 2014 at 03:17 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

I recently wrote on a subject called nukitsuke, or in laymans terms, drawing and cutting with the sword in one smooth motion. It's difficult to get down properly and the only... THE only way to do it is to repeatedly draw, cut, resheath and repeat until you are utterly bored ;) But as soon as you get the idea it gets a lot easier and a lot more fun. Click the image and head on over to the Samurai University for the article and video.

at 03:10 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

As part of my mini series on training dual wielding, here is a short video on two important subjects. The oft-misunderstood Suburi and of course the absolutely mandatory Te-no-uchi. Skip over to the Samurai University for the full article with more video.

at 03:07 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Since I started writing for the Samurai Workshop I feel I have been neglecting this blog which is a pity but the sort of things that I would be posting on here are ending up of TSW site instead. TSW has given me the motivation to write a lot more and also to involve a lot more video as well which has always been something that I haven't been entirely comfortable with. It seems that now I have a reason and also I have the trust of the people that I'm producing these articles for, I have almost overcome this.

 But without boring you for too much longer, this means that this page will probably only contain my personal updates for things like my cutting videos and my customisation/tsukamaki and so on. I'll do my best to provide snippets of the samurai workshop stuff as well along with the links to the full article. We'll see how it goes. Just know that I havent forgotten my page, I'm simply working a lot on other things.

Friday 27 June 2014 at 05:30 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

I've been looking at the new X curriculum with a mixture of wonder, fear and dread :p But since actually giving it a go i've found it's not actually that impossible. I'm not saying that it's not difficult, I mean the reversed angles are all kinds of strange to me and the combinations of movements are definitely different from what I've been used to.

 If you give it a go though, you'll improve in pretty much the same way you did with the FSC curriculum. It just takes time and practice.

Something that I thought might help however, was diagrams of the cuts for X1, X2 and X3. I've knocked them up in simple graphics with the first and second bottles to cut numbered and the angle and direction of the cuts illustrated as clearly as I could. To avoid ambiguity I will point out that they are all drawn as if they are actually the targets in front of you.

Finally, as a note to the group: If you see anything that I've messed up in the diagrams, just let me know and I'll fix it ;)

Tuesday 17 June 2014 at 15:01 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Yes, This is my entry for the first part of the X-Tameshigiri curriculum. I've made all the cutting patterns required and as usual I've endeavoured to make them happen multiple times in order to show that I'm not just fluking the cuts.

This was not my best cutting session to be fair and I found these cuts quite difficult due to the extreme changes in the mix of angles. The original bottle curriculum tended to use the same plane on the cuts regardless of whether or not they were returning or normal double cuts, whereas these ones require the sword to be whipped around the target as it drops and realigned on an almost opposite angle. Tricky tricky tricky.

but doable..

Saturday 14 June 2014 at 15:04 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

I have recently been asked to join another group called X-Tameshigiri. It's similar to the Freestyle Cutters and has members from that group but it's a lot more active. unfortunately, FSC seems to have taken a nose dive. I believe that this was because its leadership was centralised and because those people then ducked out of the group to pursue other things in their life, that left a big black hole in the centre of the groups organisation. For whatever reasons, I'm still a member of the FSC but I've completed the curriculum cuts there and now there's nothing more to do. X-Tameshigiri is a different group with a different angle on things and much more challenging cuts. I don't know if I'm going to be able to make these grades or not, but it should be fun to try.

At first glance, the cuts here don't look very much different to the sort of cuts that turned up on the FSC grades 2 and 3 as they're all double cuts from an unsheathed position on two stacked bottles but if you take a closer look, these cuts require the cutter to shift the sword around the bottles after the first cut as well as reangle the blade for the second. The movements feel weird at the moment but then, so did the others, especially the returning cuts of FSC Grade 3. I suppose these ones will get easier.

Saturday 10 May 2014 at 06:44 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Now I'm not suggesting we all go "Abbot-style" and refine our cuts so that they are the barest minimum, containing the smallest movement possible and removing all fun from our odd little activity, BUT, being able to stop the sword when and where you want it stopped is deceptively tough and needs practice. I mean what you essentially have is about 2 lbs of metal, pivoting on your right hand and controlled a few inches down by your left. Trying to get the weight around that fulcrum to stop where you tell it requires practice.

So every now and then I go out and I train _just_ my stopping distances with single cuts, nothing flash, in order to keep it focused. In a perfect world, with a full swing behind the cut, I would like to be able to stop the blade about 3 inches after it's passed through the target. I haven't reached that point yet, not with any reliability anyway.

Armchair sword enthusiasts will probably bang on about how it's not that tough. I refer them to Eric's video on aquariums. (no seriously https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAfZAup1Xto)
Having said that, heres a session training just stopping distance.

Sunday 4 May 2014 at 08:54 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

I said I'd redo these cuts but all in one session. It shows that I didn't just fluke them the last time and it's practice. I am by no means confident with these cuts the same way i am with the earlier parts of the curriculum but I can do them so here they are.

Friday 2 May 2014 at 05:52 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

After I finished the bottle curriculum, as much as I wanted to do another video that showed all the cuts being done one after the other, I admit I did want to try something new. That last set of cuts was tricky so something fresh was needed. I decided to try multiple cuts on the same bottle. The way this is done is to place one bottle on top of another, cut the top bottle into two pieces, select a piece that you like the look of and then cut it again before it hits the ground. Sounds hard because it is, but I thought I'd give it a go.

Short story, heres the video ;)

Tuesday 29 April 2014 at 05:48 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Yeh, well I didn't expect this to happen, but a) a friend of mine bought me a load more bottles to cut which helps no end so thank you, Simon. and b) I tried a few cuts and found that I'd managed to build the sort of control required to be able to pull off the last part of the curriculum.
This realisation was a fairly hefty deal for me and it has really helped my confidence with the cuts so hell with it I thought. I'm doing this!

My favourite cut so far was also the one most people have problems with and the one I found the easiest.

Now I've done all the cuts required however I'm going to do new cuts in one session and put them into one big video at some point. For now you'll have to do with these two mini sessions :)

The first half of my attempts.. 

The second half once I'd realised I was able to actually succeed! 

So yeah.. I'm well happy. It's taken me over a year to confidently manage all of the curriculum but I've gotten there eventually. Time to clean up those cuts and do a rerun of this last bit.

Wednesday 16 April 2014 at 09:03 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

Well bloody hell, I went and did it. It took a long while to be able to exhibit the sort of control over the blade that I needed in order to complete this but I managed it. The quick looping movements but with straight sanpping slices that you need for returning cuts are anything but instinctive but with practice, anything is possible.

This was all done with my newest sword, the review for which you can find here as well as the samurai workshop site. It's an amazingly responsive sword, far superior to my other blades and it seriously helped with this part of the curriculum. It's supposed to be a fairly heavy sword but I've found it a lot more manageable than even my hanwei practical katana and definitely on a par with my old lightning fast unokubi zukuri.

I've learned a lot with this particular section of training, such as the amount of force that you really need in order to cut a bottle isn't that much, it's the speed of the blade as it hits the target that matters. Once you've pierced the flesh of the bottle, the rest should slice easily enough as long as your edge alignment is spot on, but hey, enough natter, heres the video.


Saturday 12 April 2014 at 13:20 Posted by Shadley Hax 3 Comments

Please note that although I've posted this review to my blog, it was written by me originally, specifically for the newly opened Samurai University website. I'm writing for them regularly now so as much as I'd love to keep you on my page, pop along now and see what all the fuss is about. It's pretty awesome.
For anyone interested in buying a sword from The Samurai Workshop and indeed anyone who was curious at all, here is my review of their Batto range. This is their entry level series for martial artists and backyard tameshigiri/freestyle cutters alike.
I'm based in the UK and sometimes, customs can be a little tetchy and getting a sword into the country can be more problematic than any of us would like. Fortunately, Jeffrey works closely with the couriers and made absolutely sure it got from his hands and into mine not only in a short space of time but without so much as a squeak from customs.

Batto 1

Wednesday 2 April 2014 at 09:30 Posted by Shadley Hax 1 Comment

My new sword turned up a while back. I posted to youtube but forget to link it on my blog. Everything else aside, This is the unboxing, for what its worth. There is a review, but it's going to be published to the new SW site, the "Samurai University", so when that happens I'll link you in but for now.....

Like I said, review has been done but it'll be a while before it's up. I'm working on a cutting video atm too so expect that soon.

Saturday 22 March 2014 at 12:12 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

The blog I was talking about a while ago has actually started to happen. I now write regular articles for it on the subjects of sword customisation, backyard tameshigiri/freestyle cutting or whatever the hell you wanna call it and everything in between. I've been officially welcomed into the team by an energetic young man called Jeffrey and his wife Bonnie and I feel right at home.

The page isn't actually live yet as we've been working hard to fill it full of quality material before it's properly opened to the public, but watch this space or indeed my facebook page for news on when that's going to happen. It's going to be soon and it's evolving at quite a fantastic rate so it's an exciting time.

Finally! It's been a long project because finances have been rubbish but I eventually got there. This is the finished project, a Hanwei Raptor in Shobu Zukuri taken from rusty and with poor fittings to completely refitted with a freshly carved tsuka, full same wrap and handachi style koshirae with leather ito.

These are what I'm going to be using for the menuki on the raptor. Here they are elastic banded into place so I could see how they would look.

Sunday 5 January 2014 at 10:00 Posted by Shadley Hax 0 Comments

It's been a while since my last update on the tsuka for my Hanwei raptor and the reason is that I've just had so much on I've had no real chance to think much about it. However, now that Christmas is done I decided to take a look at the next step in creating an elegant style tsuka for a sword that has been described as having a handle like a baseball bat.

I actually ended up painting the rayskin because I wanted it to look more unusual than what I'm usually accustomed to seeing. This may mean that it ends up looking a little bizarre. It wont be the first time I've made this sort of slip up and it more than likely wont be the last but there you go. This whole thing is a learning process for me and this is the first time I've gone from making and preparing a wooden core with a full rayskin wrap to actually doing the tsukamaki. apart from the fittings this is all me so hopefully it'll come out ok.

Being as I've only got _this_ to compete with, if it turns out worse then I may just cry.

(photo of a raptor tsuka taken randomly from the web)