Need help finding Samurai movies
January 10, 2011 8:45 AM   Subscribe

I like the Japanese sword fighting style in which the warrior wields a Shirasaya (a katana without a hand guard) and fights with a one-handed technique. The only two movies I know with characters like that are the Zatoichi movies and Ichi (and apparently Zatoichi was her father and teacher). Technically, Sasuke from Naruto Shippuuden fights like this as well. Can any one think of others?
posted by FireStyle to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Lady Snowblood does this, or something similar.
posted by permafrost at 9:07 AM on January 10, 2011

I think the main character from Lone Wolf & Cub uses some iaidō techniques. It's not always one-handed fighting, but there are certainly some really good examples.
posted by specialagentwebb at 9:25 AM on January 10, 2011

That fighting style looks a lot like fencing technique - either epee or foil. There's a scene in Crouching Tiger (When Chow Yun Fat's character gets the Green Destiny back from Zhang Ziyi) that I admire a lot because he uses a one-handed style that is basically fencing.
posted by Dmenet at 9:57 AM on January 10, 2011

Just a note, a shirasaya is most definitely not "a katana without a hand guard".

A shirasaya is a wooden sheath meant to store a sword away. It is not meant for, it is not designed for, and indeed would completely fall apart in any kind of fighting.

It's essentially a pajama for the katana.
posted by splice at 11:05 AM on January 10, 2011

I believe FireStyle is referring to the reversed grip part of the style rather than the one-handed or iaidō techniques. The thumb pointing up, the blade pointing down with the edge facing away. There may be a few iaidō techniques that have this grip but it's not the norm. As for one-handed there's always Miyamoto Musashi and his two sword style.

You never reverse your grip in epée or foil fencing. At least not the modern competition styles. The handle is molded (with twists) to fit in your hand a certain way or even goes as far as having a mini-pistol style grip that would be near impossible to actually hold with a reversed grip.

The important part is that the style is not about the lack of a hand guard. That is common. The main deal with his style is that it's a cane-sword (shikomiue) and is straight and not curved.
posted by zengargoyle at 11:14 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

@splice: thanks for the correction. I called it that only because I bought one from a store not too long ago, and that's how they identified it. I'm sword #8 into my sword collection =)

@zengargoyle: yes, that is a way more accurate description of the technique I'm talking about. It's probably not very practical, but it's fun to watch.

@permafrost: I just found a new movie to watch, thanks!!
posted by FireStyle at 8:24 PM on January 10, 2011

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