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on 23 March 2017
It's quite good on the manufacturing process of the sword .... but a bit lengthy in the documentary type detail that goes along with it.
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on 12 July 2011
This release is rare in that it literally does take you from iron sand smelting to the scabbard and hilt maker and shows all the stages in between. I found the dramatised storyline a little superfluous and the exclusion of this padding would take nothing away from this film. I found the comparison of the Japanese sword with the European broadsword quite compelling. It showed that the broadsword cut just as well as the Japanese sword (Nihonto)in exactly the same conditions but the broadsword required much less training in its use compared with the Japanese sword.

Many hold the Nihonto as the epitome of cutting instruments but empirically it isn't. It is, on the other hand, a piece of art and perhaps that's what makes the Japanese sword so compelling
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on 7 February 2010
The DVD presents a nice over view of how; first the tamahagani/iron for the samurai sword is made and follows a sword till end, thru the hands of the blacksmith to the polisher. The DVD also features a test between the Broadsword and the Katana, cutting test, which I find unneeded. A nice bonus is the adding of samurai training, by one of Japans samurai teachers. If you are interested in expanding your knowledge of the Katana, then I will recommend this DVD.
Personally I could not care less for the sword test and anything which has to do with other swords than the Katana, and this to me is the only bad thing about this DVD. I can therefor not give it five stars, so in my heart, even though it is a good documentary, I can only give it three stars.
Still I find it worth owning, unless you have read many books on the Katana, mainly because you get to see a process which is not easy to come by in Japan today.
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on 5 August 2013
In terms of doing it 'what it says on the tin' this documentary delivers in superb detail the making of a 'samurai sword' blade. I won't get bogged down with the arguement over whether it is a katana, a japanese sword or a nihonto - I do understand these terms but I'll just stick with the title of the DVD for simplicity's sake!
It does focus mainly on the blade itself, from the smelting to the initial forging and onto the final polishing. It's a fascinating process and ones that also demonstrates the immense dedication and reverence that goes into making these swords. I would think that the sword featured in much of the film is one that would be highly sought after and very expensive. I'm sure that not every samurai would have possessed such a fine weapon and of course, many made these days are simple immitations made for aesthetic appeal.
The science behind the forging process is fascinating, as is the artistry and workmanship demonstrated - it almost easy to forget that the item being made is indeed a highly dangerous weapon!

The film also discusses the deep relationship between the sword and the samurai, which is also a feature that seems to be found only in samurai culture - more than simply a tool of the trade, this weapon was an extension of the warriors soul.

We are also treated to a number of demonstrations of training and also use of the sword in cutting practise. The comparison between the 'samurai sword' and a european broadsword was only ever going to have one outcome - else I doubt it would have been included in the film - however whilst some may argue that no superior cutting performance was demonstrated for the japanese sword, I must disagree. Whilst both blades were able to perfectly slice through the bamboo - the wielder of the samurai sword was able to do so with greater speed as less brute force was required. The heavier broadsword required a larger swing and greater force to make the cut - this also meant that the wielder took longer to recover from one cut before moving onto the next - surely this would be a disadvantage in combat. Therefore, in my opinion, in this respect alone, the demonstration did prove the samurai sword to be the superior wepaon.

The ridiculous excesses of Hollywood have done much to damage the heritage of the martial arts and so it was wonderfully refreshing to see a very dignified documentary that is both informative and entertaining whilst remaining respectful of the history and traditions of japanese sword making. Indeed, that influence is probably what make many of us so interested in the sword whilst forgetting perhaps that the samurai were also formidable archers.
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on 11 February 2013
My only criticism of this documentary is that it only looks at how the blade is made. I would have liked to have seen how the handle, guard and sheath were made and fitted to the sword. Maybe a bit more in-depth knowledge overall but this documentary was really good other than that. I like the comparison between the broad sword and I thought the whole thing was nicely put together as an introduction on how the blade is crafted.
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on 25 April 2013
Problem with a video like this is getting the depth of coverage right.
This touched on every stage pretty well although I would have liked even more 'how to' detail.
And even more detail on various types.
............... But then, I'm an enthusiast.
Still said, at under 10 quid if you're interested in the area its worth the price.

Some interesting general material and comparison tests from Leeds Armoury too.
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on 3 October 2012
Really good dvd, well made & of a very itneresting subject. We loved the test between the 2 types of swords - for us, this validates the high quality of the Japanese sword.
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on 23 July 2013
great DVD and good insight in to the Samurai Very Very GOOD the best got others as well well worth money
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on 4 December 2014
An excellent DVD which shows the traditional method of making the finest sword ever.
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on 4 December 2015
this is a very good and clear dvd ...
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