Curved vs. Straight Sword - What’s the Difference?

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Uncategorized on January-2-2008

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kuk sool straight sword vs curved sword

Kwan Jang Nim Dickson Kunz sent me an email today kindly correcting me on my Sept.7 Blog post Kuk Sool Won Weapons - Complete with Pictures with regards to what was posted about Straight Swords and Curved Swords. The email from Master Kunz was too good not to share so below is Kwan Jang Nim Kunz explaining the difference between a Straight Bladed and Curve Bladed Sword.

The reason you only see curved blades in cutting demos is because the tempering process changes the crystalline structure of the metal, causing it to ‘bend.’ Only double edged swords are straight (the curve on one side ‘cancels out’ the curve on the other). In olden times, practice swords were only made of wood due to the expense of metalworking. Nowadays, it’s still considerably cheaper to own a metal practice sword than one that is tempered for cutting, just as a wooden practice sword is far cheaper than one made of metal.

Metal practice swords are typically made of a blank bar of steel (or aluminum), merely having a sharp edge ground into one side, so the shape is still that of a ’straight’ bar of steel. Only recently have I seen practice swords made with the curved shape resembling an actual tempered blade. As a result of the extra shaping involved, these newer versions of a practice sword are more expensive than the previously available generic type. The bottom line of all this is that you will never find a single-edged quality cutting sword that is straight instead of curved.

So there you have it. Thank You Kwan Jang Nim for clearing that up for us. As with anybody who contributes to this Blog I happily pass along a little Link Love. Master Kunz currently is instructing at Kuk Sool Won of Costa Rica.

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Posting a Samurai Sword - Straight Blade on October 5th, 2012 at 9:58 am #

[…] Master Kunz currently is instructing at straight-vs-curved-sword-kuk-sool.jpg Original source:Curved vs. Straight Sword - What is the Difference? I dunno if this helps out anyone i just had to do a bit of digging for this information.I used to […]

Ken H on September 23rd, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

Another factor in the curved vs straight is that the curved is stronger due to the curve. Also, the biggest factor is how you cut. A straight sword cannot, efficiently cut down past a 45 degree angle as seen in the KSW cutting practice. A curved sword can cut to a minimum of parallel to the ground.

William Lacey on October 1st, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

The reason the curved blade is curved is due to a process called “Differential Hardening.”
When the sword is being forged, the last step before hardening the steel is to coat the spine of the sword with a clay slurry, you then heat the sword to cherry red and then quench it in water or oil. Up to this point the blade is straight. What the clay does is cause the two sides of the sword to cool at different speeds. The edge cools quickly and therefore becomes very hard, while the spine of the sword cools slower and stays softer so it can act as a shock absorber, allowing the blade to flex and not break. It is the different cooling speeds that also gives the sword it’s curve.

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