Know your gang signs. And use them wisely…

So I was looking at a few weapons on teh intarwebs and came across this:



Now at first glance you might be like, “Hey, that’s a cool looking sword and sheath” And you might be right. However there are actually two things rather horribly wrong with this picture. Take a guess what they are. That’s ok. I’ll wait…

Ok, guess already…! Bah. Balrogs have little patience. But you probably already knew that. OK, since that little waiting farce is out of the way, let me tell you the two things that stick in my craw about the above pic.

The first is this. Interestingly enough, the site I found it on labeled this sword a Wakizashi. Now If you have watched any hollywood ninja movies, you may be familiar with this general sword design. It is usually referred to as a Ninja-to. or, more simply put, a Ninja sword. It is a Shinobi warriors primary weapon. Straight, medium length, single edged blade, occasionally slightly tapered from hilt to tip, with a sharply angled point. Sometimes (at least nowadays anyway) finished in sweet , sweet blackness.

Now let me describe a Wakizashi. A Wakizashi, which has historically been used  to refer to any “side sword”, is usually a secondary sword that is worn with, or accompanied by a larger, primary sword, usually a Katana, as a matched pair. As you can imagine, as a shorter faster version of the katana, it would be a mid sized, single edged sword, with a curved blade, and an upward sweeping point. Almost never finished in black.

Beginning to get the picture? Besides the fact that they are both mid sized swords, Ninjaken and Wakizashi have NOTHING in common. And yet I have before me a picture of a Ninjato, labeled a Wakizashi. Do you understand why I sometimes feel like ripping my horns out of my head? And not just cutting them off at the base, like that whiny little wuss, Hellboy did, I mean seriously, ripping them out of my skulll…

But I digress. I’m ok. Ignore my little outburst. On to the next point of contention. The sheath. Your standard cheapo but durable all weather sheath. Except for one thing. There is a Scimitar/cutlass emblazoned on it. Yeah, a Cutlass, ya know like a Pirate might use, emblazoned on a sheath for a Ninja-to, under the rather  presumptive Wakizashi title.

Uh huh, LOL… Whut?

A pirate weapon molded into the sheath of a ninja weapon. Seriously, do these people not have a clue? Do they not know that Pirates and Ninjas are like mortal enemies? That’s like putting Crips colors on a weapon and trying to sell it to a Blood… Or vice versa… Either way, not a smart move…

You never go to one gang wearing a rival gangs colors. It’s just not professional. Honestly. Good thing the guys that design these things don’t have to sell them in real live ninjas… They’d be dead meat… 😛

Ninja Wakizashi – [eBladeStore]


11 Responses to “Know your gang signs. And use them wisely…”

  1. August 27, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    Nice writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Moran

  2. 2 gothog
    August 28, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    very well put. I have the misfortune of owning a very similar piece, it was given to me as a gift a few years ago. Ironically the first thing i noticed about this specific “wakizashi” was in fact the cutlass on the sheath, nevermind the fact that ninja and pirates are at complete opposite ends of the warrior spectrum, why would someone put a picture of a different style weapon on one they are trying to sell? to answer such a question I have my own opinion. I believe it must be some sort of half-ass marketing technique to implant, into a viewers brain, the image of a blade that is to be desired to hopefully entice said viewer to begin searching for what is undoubtedly a much more pricey piece, all in an attempt to put a few extra bucks in the pocket of some suit… tragic how the wonderful art of blade design has fallen prey to the marketing industry.

  3. August 28, 2008 at 9:59 pm


    Ok, So your theory is subliminal marketing? Well, I suppose it’s possible. I was actually thinking it was the result of a designer woefully out of touch with modern cultural references, an insane genius designer who is, or an unfortunate manufacturing goof…

  4. 4 gothog
    August 28, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    I still like my theory, it has all of the concepts of a great scandal, and c’mon, who in this world doesn’t love a good scandal?

  5. 5 Pirate
    August 29, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Huh. My first thought was “if that part on the right is a nylon webbing loop to put that scabbard onto your belt, it looks like it might be difficult to draw the sword without hitting yourself in the left armpit.” (Assuming one is right-handed, of course.)

    I’m a bit baffled as to why this bothers you so much… well, that it STILL bothers you after all this time. Anybody presenting a ninja (or samurai) sword with a plastic (or polymer, or whatever) scabbard like that quite *obviously* isn’t paying any attention to authenticity or accuracy. You’d be lucky if they payed even the slightest attention to metallurgy, let along take the trouble to use the correct terminology.

    I’m just sayin’.

  6. August 29, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Well your theory is just as good as any other… And yes, scandals are much more fun…

    The polymer sheaths are actually not that bad. I do like that they are much tougher than the traditional fare. I’ve always been one for function over form anyway, so I don’t really mind them are all. And the nylon webbing loop does move enough to let you do a cross body draw, no it’s not a problem.

    So far as why these things irritate me, well you’re probably right, at this point I shouldn’t really care. But these things are kind of pet peeves of mine. I’m kind of the mild OCD type, so sometimes the little details kinda become glaringly annoying issues… The devil is in the details, as they say…

  7. 7 gothog
    August 29, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Mildly OCD??? Understatement of the day. Though when it comes to something that you grow up with an appreciation for, OCD is a good thing to have, if you settle for anything less than perfect when using something like that, you start to lose your appreciation for such an object. Like you said in another post, knives and swords are nothing more than tools that should be designed as such.

  8. 8 Pirate
    August 30, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Oh, I am not saying polymer sheathes are inherently bad– they’re not. I have two, I think. One I rather like, the other I don’t, and the reason I don’t like the on is simply that it’s notably lower quality than the other.

    The loop was really my main complaint, but that was based solely on a picture. If you say it has a sufficient range of movement then, hey, rock on.

    While I *do* understand how frustrating and annoying that kind of blithely ignorant. asinine “hey, let’s ‘bling’ this up a bit!” stupidity can be, you yourself said you prize function over form. So, while you still retain the right to gripe (who doesn’t?!), it does ring a tiny bit hollow that you’ll happily allow for certain changes, anachronisms, variations, and flat-out flaunting of anything resembling historical accuracy, but other’s rankle you so.

    If I didn’t live in exactly the same glass house, I’d starting throwing stones right now. P-)

  9. August 30, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Point taken.

    To be honest, I am more particular about certain things than others. My main peeve is function being subverted for form. However I would be the first one to admit that aesthetics play a big role in how much I like a weapon. As functionality goes, the cutlass on the sheath is not a big deal. I cannot argue that point.

    But that silly little cutlass on the sheath is the kind of annoying little thing that would irk me every time I looked at it… Like I said, I have OC tendencies… And it’s the little things like that, that usually trigger them.

    There is, however some method to my madness. In general, I don’t have a big issue with things that are functionally sound, and aesthetically pleasing, even if they are derivatives (read blatant and horrific rip offs) of traditional blades, so long as those selling them aren’t advertising them as something they are not. That is one of my pet peeves.

    And I do let some things slide more than others based on how much I like the characteristics of the blade I’m talking about. But I also tend to try and quantify the pros and cons of everything I post about so as to nullify some of my inherent biases. Doesn’t always balance it out 100%, but hey, Balrogs aren’t perfect either… 😛

  10. 10 kuu
    August 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I think this is where the Pirate vs Ninjas Fat Princess idea came from xD

  11. February 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    if one wishes to speak about historical accuracy, some people were in point of fact both pirates an ninjas at the same time, piracy as their secondary additional income job, ninja as their main job

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