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  1. BlazeLeeDragon is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/28/2012 12:01am


     

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    Changdao vs Katana

    Is this where this thread would go? I hope so...

    I am curious on the thoughts and research others have.

    So to my understanding to sum it up.

    Mongols had sabers, the people now know as Chinese mimicked this weapon in there Zhangmada, Japan saw these weapons and came up with the Tachi and Nodachi. In turn China came up with the Changdao and then Japan the Katana.

    Of course there are many Chinese sabers such as the Liuyedao which was very popular during the Qing Dynasty...

    So what do you know of the evolution and back and fourth of these sabers? Which do you prefer and why?
  2. TEA is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/28/2012 10:59am

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    AFAIK, the northern tribes in Japan had curved sabers long before the Chinese or Japanese had contact with the Mongols. That said, IIRC, these curved sabers with ring pommels were continental in origin and influenced Japanese sword design as the Yamato state expanded into the Kanto. Prior to this expansion, the Yamato Japanese had adopted a straight bladed sword from the Chinese. The single edged curving two handed sword distinctive of the warrior class in Japan evolved as a combination of these two styles of swords during the long conflict between the northern tribesmen and the Yamato state. The Japanese beefed the blades up on these swords after their conflict with the Mongols as they found the lighter blades of the swords that they had at the time were prone to breaking if they got stuck in the Mongols' armor. My books on the subject are at my office right now, so I'd have to get back to you tomorrow or later this week if you are interested in dates and citations.
    Last edited by TEA; 10/28/2012 11:05am at .
    Mushi mo atsui hodo
    Mushiatsui

    Originally Posted by chuey
    ...Well **** if that isn't the most anti-Mr. Miyagi **** I have heard in ages.

    Two wrongs don't make a right, but
    Three rights make a left.
  3. BlazeLeeDragon is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/28/2012 4:12pm


     

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    Quote Originally Posted by TEA View Post
    AFAIK, the northern tribes in Japan had curved sabers long before the Chinese or Japanese had contact with the Mongols. That said, IIRC, these curved sabers with ring pommels were continental in origin and influenced Japanese sword design as the Yamato state expanded into the Kanto. Prior to this expansion, the Yamato Japanese had adopted a straight bladed sword from the Chinese. The single edged curving two handed sword distinctive of the warrior class in Japan evolved as a combination of these two styles of swords during the long conflict between the northern tribesmen and the Yamato state. The Japanese beefed the blades up on these swords after their conflict with the Mongols as they found the lighter blades of the swords that they had at the time were prone to breaking if they got stuck in the Mongols' armor. My books on the subject are at my office right now, so I'd have to get back to you tomorrow or later this week if you are interested in dates and citations.
    Yes please I'd be eager to learn and read more. From what I can tell, and there seems to be much debate the Zhanma Dao came out about 1072 CE.

    There is references to it possibly inspiring the Zanbato.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhanmadao
    http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/ind...B%26-20992%3B/

    Of course this data is hard to verify and everyone seems to say something different...

    obviously they are both fine weapons, I prefer the Miao Dao just because I've had offical training from a master with it. I also light the longer straighter blade on it. I also like the back beat blocks.

    now the Katana though is ingenious. the folded steel and the way they forge the two metals together to give it a hard metal cutting edge with a soft strong metal spine is ingeniousI saw one forged and it blew me away.
  4. Permalost is online now
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    Posted On:
    10/29/2012 12:29pm

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    I think saying the Mogolian saber led to the Japanese katana which led to the Chinese broadsword is kinda doing what a lot of people do with the martial arts, when they go Bodhidharma > Shaolin Kung fu > karate etc. And I think both are wrong.

    Both situations assume that everything evolved from an earlier version of itself, and in the martial arts and weapons that's not always true. Martial arts and simple weapons often come about organically without having to mutate from something else. A curved sword is a logical extension of the straight sword, when your goal is a sword for cutting.

    The Changdao in particular probably took its design from Japanese swords, but its not as if there weren't already single edge two handed curved swords in China already. There are swords on the other side of the world that certainly had no Asian influence, that still managed to think up a very similar blade type. Here's a grosse messer next to a similar katana:


    there's also the unrelated SE Asian dha sword:


    So, I speculate that there was independent evolution of the curved 2 handed sword in many places, so maybe the Chinese and Japanese ones are not based on each other per se, but maybe just variations on a theme, or taking some parts of a foreign design they liked (for example, the Japanese style wrapping on a changdao).
  5. goodlun is online now
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    Posted On:
    10/29/2012 3:22pm

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    How does the scimitar play into all of this as well?
  6. BlazeLeeDragon is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/29/2012 3:34pm


     

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    Quote Originally Posted by goodlun View Post
    How does the scimitar play into all of this as well?
    I think the reference is the scimitar is also a curved blade as is the dao and katana.
  7. BlazeLeeDragon is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/29/2012 3:36pm


     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Permalost View Post
    I think saying the Mogolian saber led to the Japanese katana which led to the Chinese broadsword is kinda doing what a lot of people do with the martial arts, when they go Bodhidharma > Shaolin Kung fu > karate etc. And I think both are wrong.

    Both situations assume that everything evolved from an earlier version of itself, and in the martial arts and weapons that's not always true. Martial arts and simple weapons often come about organically without having to mutate from something else. A curved sword is a logical extension of the straight sword, when your goal is a sword for cutting.

    The Changdao in particular probably took its design from Japanese swords, but its not as if there weren't already single edge two handed curved swords in China already. There are swords on the other side of the world that certainly had no Asian influence, that still managed to think up a very similar blade type. Here's a grosse messer next to a similar katana:


    there's also the unrelated SE Asian dha sword:


    So, I speculate that there was independent evolution of the curved 2 handed sword in many places, so maybe the Chinese and Japanese ones are not based on each other per se, but maybe just variations on a theme, or taking some parts of a foreign design they liked (for example, the Japanese style wrapping on a changdao).

    Interesting theory and I see where your coming from with this. I was just trying to verify reading I've done online and in books about them influencing each other. There is also an article about how the Chinese bought Katana from Japan and did pirating. So I'm not sure.

    Katana appears to be much more popular and you find them everywhere. Miao Dao/Changdao on the other hand seems to be hard to find material on or "battle" ready reproductions.
  8. TEA is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/29/2012 3:58pm

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    I thought the source I wanted to cite was Bottomley and Hopson's Arms and Armor of the Samurai: The History of Weaponry in Ancient Japan but after perusing this book I see that it does not discuss the early evolution of Japanese swords and the influence of the curved swords of the Emishi. I think that must be in William Wayne Farris's work Heavenly Warriors, which I thought I had in my office but must be somewhere back at home. Bottomley and Hopson discuss the early evolution of Japanese armor in much more detail than they do swords. They mostly focus on the evolution of the tachi into the katana, which occurred in the Kamakura period.

    Here is a graphic I found on the Web of the evolution of Japanese swords mostly from the Heian Period and after.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	japanese-swords-evolution.jpg 
Views:	644 
Size:	15.4 KB 
ID:	13944

    Note that this illustration does not include many of the common straight blade sword designs prior to and including the Heian Period. (edited to add: dang, I can't get a full size image of this to load. The reduce version is impossible to see the dates of the swords underneath. The earliest is on the left - a straight bladed tachi of the Heian Period patterned after Chinese swords. The first set of curved swords are tachi following the wars with the Emishi. According to Bottomley and Hopson, these are the first Japanese swords to use folded steel. The fourth and fifth swords from the left, inluding the longest of this group, are late Kamakura Era katana.)

    Here is a pic I just took from Early Samurai: AD 200 - 1500 by Anthony J. Bryant that shows some of the earlier straight bladed Japanese sword designs.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	318764_10151202266054590_49424696_n.jpg 
Views:	111 
Size:	19.9 KB 
ID:	13945
    Last edited by TEA; 10/29/2012 4:11pm at .
    Mushi mo atsui hodo
    Mushiatsui

    Originally Posted by chuey
    ...Well **** if that isn't the most anti-Mr. Miyagi **** I have heard in ages.

    Two wrongs don't make a right, but
    Three rights make a left.
  9. BlazeLeeDragon is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/29/2012 4:39pm


     

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    Quote Originally Posted by TEA View Post
    I thought the source I wanted to cite was Bottomley and Hopson's Arms and Armor of the Samurai: The History of Weaponry in Ancient Japan but after perusing this book I see that it does not discuss the early evolution of Japanese swords and the influence of the curved swords of the Emishi. I think that must be in William Wayne Farris's work Heavenly Warriors, which I thought I had in my office but must be somewhere back at home. Bottomley and Hopson discuss the early evolution of Japanese armor in much more detail than they do swords. They mostly focus on the evolution of the tachi into the katana, which occurred in the Kamakura period.

    Here is a graphic I found on the Web of the evolution of Japanese swords mostly from the Heian Period and after.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	japanese-swords-evolution.jpg 
Views:	644 
Size:	15.4 KB 
ID:	13944

    Note that this illustration does not include many of the common straight blade sword designs prior to and including the Heian Period. (edited to add: dang, I can't get a full size image of this to load. The reduce version is impossible to see the dates of the swords underneath. The earliest is on the left - a straight bladed tachi of the Heian Period patterned after Chinese swords. The first set of curved swords are tachi following the wars with the Emishi. According to Bottomley and Hopson, these are the first Japanese swords to use folded steel. The fourth and fifth swords from the left, inluding the longest of this group, are late Kamakura Era katana.)

    Here is a pic I just took from Early Samurai: AD 200 - 1500 by Anthony J. Bryant that shows some of the earlier straight bladed Japanese sword designs.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	318764_10151202266054590_49424696_n.jpg 
Views:	111 
Size:	19.9 KB 
ID:	13945
    Very cool :D thanks for sharing. I hear there has been alot of back and fourth from China and Japan over this. So I dont' know if I'll be able to get an accurate account. I was once told by an instructor that the Miao Dao which is a modern version of the Changdao was made to combat the samurai. It's longer and straighter blade was made to get in but still be out of the samurai's reach.
  10. Permalost is online now
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    Posted On:
    10/29/2012 5:27pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazeLeeDragon View Post
    Interesting theory and I see where your coming from with this. I was just trying to verify reading I've done online and in books about them influencing each other. There is also an article about how the Chinese bought Katana from Japan and did pirating. So I'm not sure.
    I'm not necessarily saying that the influence isn't there, just that its not necessarily so based on appearance and coincidence alone.

    Katana appears to be much more popular and you find them everywhere. Miao Dao/Changdao on the other hand seems to be hard to find material on or "battle" ready reproductions.
    Which is kinda funny, considering samurai swords are illegal in Japan, while China sells boatloads of wall hangers.
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