There is no such thing as the mythic Samurai Swordsman
who never loses, the swordsman so skilled that no man would dare approach him
for fear of losing their head. Such a figure is the work of cinematic deception
found in pop culture films from American and Japanese film makers alike.
It is a good thing that I am writing this rather than
giving a public speech. I don’t think I could have said all of that with a
straight face. There is at least one swordsman whose life and skill have become
legend, and who’s name will never be forgotten. Miyamoto Musashi. Arguably, he
was the greatest swordsman in Japanese history, perhaps even in the world. He
lost one duel in his early life, and vowed never to lose again, a promise he
kept. He fought over 60 duels and never lost, though he once came to a tie.
His dueling style was unlike anything that the Samurai
of his time had seen before. Being taller than most in his day, Miyamoto
likewise required a longer sword than most. He did not fight with this sword
alone, however. A Samurai typically carried two swords worn on the waist at any
given time, a practice put into law by the Tokugawa Shogunate. The two swords
were the long sword, or katana, and the short sword, or wakazashi. Miyamoto
fought with both swords, one in each hand, simultaneously. To be able to do
this adequately takes a great deal of skill, let alone doing it with the
proficiency that has earned Musashi’s place in the annals of history.
Musashi himself actually fought against Tokugawa and
his army at the Battle of Sekigahara, choosing instead to side with the army of
Ishida Mitsunari. Though Musashi’s personal achievements during this battle
were great, the Ishida Army lost, resulting in the establishment of the
Years later, Miyamoto Musashi defeated another
legendary swordsman of the era named Sasaki Kojiro. What’s more, Miyamoto used
only one sword in this duel; a sword he carved out of a boat oar while on his
way to the island where the duel was to be held. The fight lasted mere moments and
resulted in Kojiro’s death.
It is said that Musashi became somewhat disgusted with
killing men in duels, and would do whatever it took to avoid being challenged
in the first place. It is rumored that he actually stopped bathing and wore the
same dirty clothes for weeks or months at a time, resulting in a
stomach-churning stench that would keep would-be challengers from even wanting
to approach him, let alone fight him.
Musashi’s book, the Book of Five Rings, gives
instructions to young swordsmen seeking to hone their skills both in battle and
in individual dueling. The book has been adapted to business practices by
companies around the world, and is seen as a corporate success tool. Whether
Miyamoto would approve or not, who can say for sure.
What I can say is that Musashi Swords is a company
which produces swords from their forge in China, and their swords often feature
the two-ring iron tsuba design which was actually on Miyamoto’s personal
blades. For the company to name themselves after such a legendary swordsman is
a bold claim, but one which is not all talk. Musashi Swords offers many blades
at economical prices, allowing people in our day and age who are suffering
side-effects from the global economy to still collect swords without spending
too much. In fact, their basic katana is offered for a mere $50.
However, for the collector who wants a Musashi Sword
that is truly worthy of holding the name of a mythic swordsman, the Musashi
Elite Samurai Sword is a higher end blade that commands respect. The two-ring
tsuba is done in an oxidized copper, giving it that aged and legendary
appearance. The blade is hand forged from carbon steel and clay tempered,
resulting in a hamon, or temper line,
which is natural and beautiful. To clarify, the hamon is a part of the blade which must be examined with
discrimination by the die-hard collector, since many low end swords feature a hamon which is wire-brushed. Musashi
Swords offers low end swords with such a temper line, but the elite hamon is genuine and prominent.
The Musashi Elite Samurai Sword is simply beautiful.
I’ll admit, my personal preference is toward a blade that doesn’t have a lot of
artwork or gold-clad furnishings. That means that while many would claim this
sword to be beautiful simply to try and make a sales pitch, I truly believe it
to be a worthy addition to any collection. It is fully functional. After all,
Miyamoto would have it no other way if he were around to give his two cents
Every sword should tell a story. This one tells a
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