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  • lethal bokken?

    I've heard that samurai would actually sometimes fight with bokken rather than swords, and succeed in killing their opponent. But at the same time, it seems that due to the relatively light weight of most bokken, you couldn't give a fatal blow unless you way overpowered it with terrible form. Is it true that you could weild a bokken like you would a sword and still have very damaging strikes, or would you have to modify it and add much more power, or could it never really happen at all? Sorry to ask, but my curiosity was killing me. Thank you for any clarification you can give me.

  • #2
    Originally posted by neko kenshi
    I've heard that samurai would actually sometimes fight with bokken rather than swords, and succeed in killing their opponent. But at the same time, it seems that due to the relatively light weight of most bokken, you couldn't give a fatal blow unless you way overpowered it with terrible form. Is it true that you could weild a bokken like you would a sword and still have very damaging strikes, or would you have to modify it and add much more power, or could it never really happen at all? Sorry to ask, but my curiosity was killing me. Thank you for any clarification you can give me.
    Hi Neko-san,

    Please don't apologise for asking. It's a perfectly good question.

    Yes. A bokuto is made of hard wood, unlke a shinai. Try doing a men cut on someone without a men, and you can really injure them and even kill them or maim them permanently depending on the force of the cut and how you cut. A blow to the temple is deadly. Even if they have a men on, you can really injure someone with a bokuto. You can also break bones with a bokuto too. You do a kote cut on a person with no kote, you might break their wrist, hand, or even the arm, depending on where and how strong you cut.

    The do cut? A bokuto can break ribs or do worse, depending on the force of the cut.

    Tsuki? That would probably kill you.

    Musashi killed many using only a bokuto.

    When I practice kata with a partner, it makes me very aware of what I am doing. One mistake in maai, and I could really hurt my partner. Scary thought! (As much as I love the kata! )

    Hope that helps.

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    • #3
      Well, if a swordsman that was in a 'death duel' decided to use horrible form by over powering his strike, then he would be the one killed, not the other way around.

      Just like in Kendo today, it is possible to deliver a devestatingly powerful strike without using muscle to force it. Ki-ken-tai-ichi is how those strikes are acheived, and is what the swordsman you heard about more than likely used in order to make those deadly strikes. Miyamoto Musashi surely did.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by neko kenshi
        I've heard that samurai would actually sometimes fight with bokken rather than swords, and succeed in killing their opponent. But at the same time, it seems that due to the relatively light weight of most bokken, you couldn't give a fatal blow unless you way overpowered it with terrible form. Is it true that you could weild a bokken like you would a sword and still have very damaging strikes, or would you have to modify it and add much more power, or could it never really happen at all? Sorry to ask, but my curiosity was killing me. Thank you for any clarification you can give me.
        I think you are asking if hitting someone on the head or on the body with a big wooden rod is going to injure or kill them. The answer is going to be "yes". Large objects made of a dense or thick material will damage a skull if you hit one with it. If you saw the movie "Kung Pow", for example, a pair of gopher chucks will not necessarily create great bodily damage. This is because gophers tend to be soft furry little animals.

        Thanks for asking and keep them questions coming.

        Cheers

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        • #5
          yes a bokken strike can kill people, i dont imagine it would be very hard either, a couple whacks till their unconcious and some dedicated bashing should do the trick


          but then if you think about it, so would a hockey stick, or a rolling pin, yep very possible, even a bread board in the right hands could wreak some havoc

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          • #6
            More people than I care to think of have been killed with baseball bats, batons, rifle butts etc. A bokken is just as effective, if not more, as it has a slight 'edge' concentrating the force on a smaller area.

            One of the things in 'The Last Samurai' that I thought least likely when I saw it was how Algren survived that bokken 'duel' with apparently only a slight limp. Most of those blows would have killed or at least left him permantly disabeled if delivered with that kind of speed and force.
            Humans are actually quite fragile, and are easily damaged by hard objects striking them at high speeds.

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            • #7
              I've managed to have my bokken broken clean in two in training. White oak is a lot harder to break than bones.

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              • #8
                Actually, bludgeoning someone to death would take a while and a lot of perseverance. I've seen cases where people have been hit in the head with baseball bats, hammers, and even an iron, and it doesn't even knock them down. You would have to be fairly lucky in where you strike to put someone down, and even then it would likely take repeated blows to kill him. Remember, all the stories of killing with a bokuto are anecdotal. The human body is quite resilient--look at all the car crashes people walk away from.

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                • #9
                  also old kenjutsu bokkens are extreamly thick and heavy which makes it alot easier to kill some one

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by samuraiman
                    also old kenjutsu bokkens are extreamly thick and heavy which makes it alot easier to kill some one
                    That is true only for some ryu. Many schools used bokken similar to what is generally used today.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mushinman
                      Actually, bludgeoning someone to death would take a while and a lot of perseverance. I've seen cases where people have been hit in the head with baseball bats, hammers, and even an iron, and it doesn't even knock them down. You would have to be fairly lucky in where you strike to put someone down, and even then it would likely take repeated blows to kill him. Remember, all the stories of killing with a bokuto are anecdotal. The human body is quite resilient--look at all the car crashes people walk away from.
                      Jeez, you've seen some seriously tough people then. The amount of force transferred from an object like a baseball bat into the human head is pretty significant. It doesn't take that severe of a blow to knock someone out; the brain can only take so much jarring.

                      I have to ask, are these cases things you've seen in a movie? Or were the people swinging just not doing so very forcefully?

                      People walk away from car crashes, yes, but often times in a state of shock. That kind of blow to your head is not trivial, the brain is a fragile thing.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Pan-Chan
                        That is true only for some ryu. Many schools used bokken similar to what is generally used today.
                        I know that Tennen Rishinn Ryu uses a 3x as thick bokken with less sori (curveature) I think.. it's the style of the Shinsen Gumi that uses it.

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                        • #13
                          Musashi is known for killing many men with only a bokken, noteably his arch rival, Sasaki Kojiro. Also, Yagyu Jubei, the grandson of a famous swordsman, had his eye poked out by a bokken during practice. So, I believe the answer would be yes.

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                          • #14
                            I'm not sure if any one has done any real tests on bludgeoning weapons but the human body is far from frigile.
                            I saw a program about a man who fell from a large railway bridge and lived with no more than a broken arm!!

                            If you watch the film http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P...2.LZZZZZZZ.jpg he thought many people with a bokuto which crippled they lived through.

                            Even shooting some one takes some times a full magazine or hand weapon rounds. I would expect using a bokuto on a criminal would take afew blowes to stop him if he was intent on killing you..

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                            • #15
                              I think a lot of it depends on where you hit someone... there are parts of the head that can absorb a blow far better than others. You're right about the human body not being exactly fragile. But well . . . they typically only show you the pictures and videos where the person DID live. There are a lot more where they didn't do as well. I guess it probably does take quite a bit of force to hit someone hard enough to kill them . . . Definitely glad I don't know that for sure.

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