Edge Cases

I came across this video earlier today—ironically, not while doing research for the Legend of the Five Rings game I’ve just started. There’s a pleasing combination of athleticism and humour from both combatants. However, one thing did seem very wrong; wrong enough for what appeared otherwise to be a great short film that I spent some time researching to make sure I hadn’t been fooled by a common misconception.

And, in this instance, I was right.

Katana do have a very brittle edge, so traditional Japanese sword styles don’t include the hard blocking that both combatants use throughout.

However, I did discover that there is some evidence of a style that used the back edge of the katana to block in specific rare circumstances. Sadly (or not depending on how one balances knowledge vs. productivity), I am neither a fluent speaker of Japanese nor a member of a suitable academic faculty, so am unsure of how well the block might work or what circumstances might lead to its use.

Have you discovered any interesting nuances while checking what you thought was fairly common knowledge in a certain field? Have you ever been utterly wrong about something everyone appeared to agree upon?

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