If I had a dollar for every time someone declared a katana to be the ultimate zombie weapon, I’d be rich by now.  But what actually is a katana, and how much help will it be in staying alive in an undead world?

Contrary to popular belief, the term katana in Japanese was originally applied to any kind of single-edged curved sword, of any origin. Therefore, an old U.S. Civil War battle sword was just as much a katana as anything you find in the Land of the Rising Sun. For our purposes here, we’ll use the more contemporary definition that a katana is the standard size, slightly curved Japanese sword with a blade length of greater than 60 cm.

In a recent interview, modern Samurai Master, Yoshinori Kouno, pointed out that only katanas made in the traditional Japanese way, Tamahagane, are strong enough to withstand real battle. These swords have a specific blend of high and low carbon not found in store-bought replicas, no matter what their advertised quality. However, the imposter weapons can still be sharpened to a fine blade, making them extremely dangerous to the inexperienced user.

“It takes decades to become battle-ready with a katana. Anyone with less experience is likely to cut their own leg or foot off on a deflection or missed attack.  You’re better to hope your fake katana breaks on your first hit.  It will spare you a major self-inflicted injury.”

Kouno closed the interview by stating that there are only a handful of people on the planet who could effectively use a katana in battle. For the rest of us it would be nothing more than a recipe for certain death.

Don’t get me wrong. The notion of fighting zombies with a deadly katana is as appealing to me as the next guy, but it is also equally unrealistic. In my research I’ve found that a real Japanese katana is difficult to master, nearly impossible to find and purchase at a reasonable price, and limited in its real-world application.

Good thing I’ve still got my trusty crow bar and baseball bat.

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  1. The best weapon against the slow moving zombie is the Zombie Pit. A Zombie Pit can be made for a single zombie or a group of zombies.

    For the single zombie a pit measuring two feet by two foot deep with barbed stakes pointing upwards will trap the zombie on the barb after the barb punctures any section of the body. The stake should be planted at least three feet into the ground to help keep the zombie in place as it struggles to get free.

    The pit for groups of zombies is basically the same as the single zombie pit except that the pit measures 15 feet by two feet deep and uses the same barbed stake approach.

    Once trapped in the pit the zombie can be speared through the skull or burnt by pouring flammable liquid on it.

    Setting up Zombie Pits as a natural defense around a survival camp will definitely capture zombies as the noise and smell of fresh flesh will attract any large groups of wandering zombies or zombies that are herding.

    For advanced defenses large and small zombie pits can be built out in front of the main line of Zombie Pit defenses of at least 500 to 1,000 yards away from the center of the camp and then baited with fresh meat.

  2. Decades to become battle ready? How did samurai fight in their teens, with sticks?

    The steel in old Japan was piss poor, hence the folding to purify. The clay tempering was to make a durable sharp edge while maintaining the required flexibility of the sword.

    A modern sword properly forged from modern steel and properly clay tempered will be superior to an ancient one due to metallurgy if for no other reason.

    To mock a quality katana while bragging about a inefficient crowbar or a bat really shows the intelligence for this “research”.

  3. Piss poor article. Do research then try again. This time you might wanna research the possess of how a Japanese katana is forged with two different steel’s. And why it is done that way. Katana was made way before the civil war area sabers. Flm

  4. Didn’t really live up to the claim of the heading. The katana isn’t necessarily the bad choice, it’s the unskilled person who decided to wield it. Katana might be a fine choice if you are a skilled enough badass.

  5. You were clearly never taught this little but ubiquitous piece of knowledge; “If you are going to do something, do it right.” Why you wasted mine, every other person who has viewed this, and your own time spewing this shit on the Internet.. I will never understand. This whole website is a waste of time. You and every other idiot involved need to move out of my country, or perhaps off yourself.

  6. If the katana is not made of a high carbon steel it will break fairly easy

  7. this does not help me with my presentation and this information is kind of poinless

  8. This article simply isn’t true on two levels. First of all, the notion that only tamahagene made Katana’s can withstand true battle isn’t true. The reason the Japanese used it was due to the fact of the poor quality of steel in Japan. A good Katana, full tang with a carbon steel blade can cut any man down in one blow. There are plenty of pretty cheap “battle ready” Katana’s on the market. Even when the Tsuka of the sword is made cheaply, you can simply fill it with epoxy.
    As for handling a Katana, it doesn’t take any skill to pick one up and swing it across, up and down, and side to side. Sure you can cut yourself. You can cut yourself with a knife too, but as long as you don’t do anything too stupid, that possibility is low.
    Being able to simply use a Katana and go on a killing spree actually takes little skill. It doesn’t take a master of Krav Maga to know how to cause harm with a knife. Same principle, especially when it involves zombies who stagger around like drunkards. Now when it comes to someone with training in Kendo. Yeah you’re gonna see a great level of skill involved in that art, especially when it involves footwork or taisa baki. But this skill is to use against others who also wield a sword. It wouldn’t be hard at all to slay a group of undead with a good “battle ready” Katana. I’d prefer a full length one to chop them down as they come from a distance.

  9. I formally train in battojutsu (also known as kenjutsu – combat application of the katana). I’ll test for shodan (first degree black belt) later this year. What makes the katana a difficult weapon to use is it is an exceedingly precise sword demanding near perfect kamae and technique to use; you cannot self-teach these elements. That said, this was necessary for combat with other katana wielding samurai. Zombies are not katana wielding samurai. They might as well be tamishgari mats set up for cutting practice. Only they bite and eat brains. That said, any garage-trained nerd could realistically use a katana after figuring out the basics. It’s not rocket science. It’s not a duel.
    As for the “samurai master” quoted, my bullshit detector has gone off. There is no such thing as a samurai master; samurai have been extinct for 150+ years. I’d also add that modern katanas made of high quality modern steel are vastly superior to those of feudal Japan. If the metal is differentially hardened high carbon steel with a full tang, it could very well cut an antique katana in half. Japanese steel was of notoriously poor quality with a high concentration of impurities. I’d take my springsteel dotanuki shinkin against an antique katana any day of the week. And against a zombie twice on Sundays…

    • lol at all the nerds. No sorry a katana actually is a very good weapon vs undead at least if its a real katana and not some shit made sword by some dude in china in a factory. Its very sharp so it won’t get stuck in them as easily and its not quite as heavy as a european sword. This idea that you need to be some ninja master with it to hack up slow moving and rather stupid zombies is laughable. No you dont. You just need to not be a total moron.

      Joe bob is right. Any nerd could kill zombies fine with a sword, just as long as said nerd isnt a total moron.

      • Actually, European swords being really heavy and not sharp is just a myth that probably originated from Hollywood movies.

        -Knightly sword (one-handed/double-edged): average length of 90 cm, average weight of 1.1 kg.
        -Katana (two-handed/single-edged): length between 60 cm and 73 cm, weight between 1.1 kg and 1.3 kg.

        As you can see both of these swords are similar and would be pretty good in a zombie apocalypse. Hell, not even a longsword is that heavy: 1.1 kg – 1.8 kg and a length of 100 cm -130 cm.

    • “You can not self teach these methods”, really? How do you figure the first Masters of the Katana learned? From the space Samurai or something? And where did they learn from?

      Put some thought into your comment, the logic is a tiny bit flawed.

      • Joshua Wiebelhaus

        You don’t need to learn anything really, this is misconception, sword fighting is about fight another opponent WITH A SWORD, zombies don’t have swords and you’ll be pretty much hitting at the exact height and spot slashing or stabbing at the head and neck. When fighting a zombie there is no need for fancy parries or skills you just kill the brain.

  10. Did You know that katana made in traditional way – by folding the 2 kinds of steel have MAJOR DEFECT if hit from the side ( on flat edge ) they PERMANENTLY BEND . Yes your weapon is DESTROYED. Why do you think samurai carried two swords . But you don’t hear about that do You ?
    European swords made ENTIRELY from high carbon steel FLEX . A true blade test is put it in a vise and bend it 45 degrees each way .
    As for legendary sharpness please watch European blunt sword vs katana on you tube .
    When you see blunt swords cutting tatami mats maby You change perspective on swords . Katana is heavy short scimitar with bad not functioning hand guard made from poor quality sandwiched steel .
    Vikings were making bether stronger swords braided from 2 types of alloys nearly one thousand years earlier than Japs did …

    • Jozef Xavier Jenkins

      Okay. For one, Katana do not permanantly bend. That is pretty stupid to even say. If a sword was to permanantly bend from one hit to the side then that would be useless. It also depends on the quality of the blade, meaning if you buy a $30 sword then it will bend just from you cutting with it and that is with any sword. Not just a european blade. Also, katanas are comprised of two different types of steel, softer for the spine and harder for the sides and cutting edge. This makes them flexible. And my second point. Most antique japanese swords were drop forged for ww2. So sure. You could cut straight through them. However, if your spring steel sword were to come up against a katana forged by a master blacksmith, then your katana would be equally matched.

  11. Well, it seems A LOT of people have had A LOT to say on this matter…I stoped reading by the 5th person. So, I’ll make this short. No disrespect at all to Master Kouno at all, by any means….but he is wrong, stuck in the old traditional ways, and to be quite honest a bit arrogant, to say that only a “true master with years of training can effectively and properly use a katana”. I’m 32 years old, and I’ve been a self taught martial artist since I was 17….with and without using the katana, as well as other weapons. And, I’m here to tell you…no zomibe will ever stand a chance agents me, or anyone else for that matter who trys to do me and/or mine wrong in any ways. Because, as long as you take the time to understand what your using, and you take the time to practice with it…no matter what kind of weapon it is….you can become a “master” with it.

    • How did you self teach Yourself. I just got my first katana. Unfortunately there’s no dojo around me. Please help me out.

    • You cant seem to spell, so I’ll spell this one out for you… you are not a master… martial arts or otherwise. Sure, you may be able to swing it around without hurting yourself, but that in no way gives you the skills needed to defend yourself effectively in a live combat situation. I’m glad you’ve gone 15 years without lobbing your own foot off, but that does not a master make. Sure, you might be able to take a zombie one on one, but I seriously doubt you have the skill to dispatch two or three. As for you facing an actual Kendo practitioner… I’d bet my left nut a 10 year old little girl that had trained under a good teacher would spill your guts before you’d have the chance to say “I-“… The rest of that sentence would have been “I’m an idiot”. Then that little girl would sheath her blade that she actually learned to use, clean and polish and chop off your head as the samurai code demands. because I bet you also think you are a samurai, jedi, and a fucking power ranger. I hope the zombie apocalypse comes soon so you’ll have the chance to show the world your skillz before you die from slipping on some dog shit.

      • First of all, zombie are slow. So as long, as you could walk or swing a sword fast enough, you could easily win against them since zombies are slow. Second, he didn’t say anything about being a master, nor being an expert martial artist. So, it’s just plainly dumb for you to quickly assume that just because he said he’s a martial artist, doesn’t mean he’s a grand expert that can battle 300 humans at the same time and win. Although, you’re still right about the little girl thing though I doubt if she can hit that hard.

        • Katana does not have to use much force when cutting target , strike it right (form + angle) and the blade can finish the job without any trouble, a little girl can do several continuos slash on a normal size tatami scroll . So, with skill and properly trained , a little gỉrl can send your hand , arm or even your head flying in no time.

    • Self taught my ass.

      Are zombies real?!

      • A man has no name

        Is not sure tho
        But i had watch in natgeo about disease that can make human lose his nonsense, more aggresive, it just look like a rabies on dog
        So i guess i zombie could happen
        But i would be more possible if the virus somehow evolve to be more deadly

  12. I’d take my chances with my katana and pistol and rifle combo over anything else. No need to get all lofty about nihonto here. Modern metalurgy has caught up to tomahagne and designs have been successfully copied that were once mysterious and elusive. While there is little art value in modern steel production katana’s, they can hold their own in terms of durability. All swords need resharpening (polishing), even nihonto so don’t act like some ancient secret has toppled technology and science.

  13. Clockwork aka ( the tactics dude)

    Katana is good an all ……..and even though im far from being a expert……most of the time its not the weapon that sucks …its the user. For example if a amateur that sucked at using a katana attacked a zombie and then there was a amateur that was actually proficient at it attacked a zombie, which do u think would have a easier time ? The point is that if your efficient wit a weapon and it fits u u can kill a zombie pretty quickly . Also im a zombie apocalypse is not only about weapons . While zombies can kill you …..hunger or dehydration can kill u just as easily . Also contrary to belief ..attacking zombies every now and then could help u find better and new ways at killing then faster and more efficiently ..(for those dumbass out there im not saying just to just head first into a mob)…If i was to chose a weapon(s) in a zombie apocalypse it would be a normal machete and a tatical knife , a 9 mm and a bow + arrows….To me it would be best to have at least 3 weapons of varying range that you keep in relatively good conditions. Im not going to down-play katana here but a blade with two edges would be better even though you would be at a increased risk of cutting yourself . The reason i say this is cause if you have two edges you could literally pick it up of take it from somewhere and start Swinging without worrying which edge u using. But in my opinion the best way to survive in a apocalypse is to travel light ( carry mostly water , food , and medical supplies ) and live of the land . This method will work and also i suggest not making a base and being normadic. The reason being that if your normadic you see more so in turn u have more options in case u decide you want to stay somewhere. Anyway in my opinion a machete would be a decent weapon along with a crow bar as your main tool because me here is versatile almost like a jack of all trades .. It can cut meat ( cut zombies too) , can cut wood to create spears and firewood etc. , also it carbon based it can spark to start fire . So all in all its versatile . Then u have a crowbar to get into those unacssesable place that u cant get in by kicking the door down . And before i wasted my life away on this …..a good thing to carry would be a book . I mean a book that tells u what diffrent plant are if they edible or not healing properties etc ( gotta keep health up if u want to keep killing zombies ) . Or one on building handheld items u never know what could be useful in a zombie apocalypse . ANother great item to have is Rope . Rope is often overlook cause well its rope … But if u think about it rope can snare animals ,help u escape tall buildings, act as a fuse to explosive. Well im done wasting my life on this site hope these ideas were help ful . Im just a regular guy that takes on all possibilities in life and adapts …..chaio ( my way of saying good bye) ps. If these are would war z zombies 75% of us would not survive guaranteed ….me included if the catch me bye surprise ////////////////PPs . Remember : Anything can be useful in life or a Zombie Apocalypse so nvr dismiss anything ( weather it be rumors , information , scrap metals or animals) as unimportant as it may become useful or important later on . -chaio

  14. Ok, i’ll understand no being pro with a katana can cause you danger, but if you kbow anything abouy katanas, if they are the actual black smithed thing, they can chop theough bamboo which is almost the same as cutting through the human body (the traditional way of testing a sword). If it can cut through a human body, then its more than qualified to be used during the zombie apocalypse as long as you know how to use it without cutting yourself (read about the man who fended off robbers to protect his wife. He had now clue how to use a katana, and the ones he had were for decoration, but he had no problem cutting a dudes ear off and hand in half). Top it off, there are people who cant swing a baseball bat for shit let alone weild a gun.

  15. Carbon is never added it is the oxygen and other slag that is pounded out in the folding process. Watch A history channel or a YouTube episode and learn. I will take a kitana any day don’t get me wrong a gun with a suppressor or silencer would be great but how much ammo can you carry and a sword doesn’t need to be reloaded. If any one says that a blade isn’t good beyond 12 inches. That’s bs but then give me a Chinese or Greek spear. Not roman spear because they were made to break after the first throw so it couldn’t be thrown back by the enemy. I doubt a zombie would throw it back but make sure your weapon will stand up to the test of constant use. Yes learning bushido would be great but if you just spend time practicing on your own you will get. What you need from it. Be careful not careless or you could lose a body part or seriously injure yourself. But I will take a kitana. Or a gun with suppressor or silencer because zombies go to noise. Last resort give me a box of grenades or claymore mines. Happy zombie hunting.

  16. this is obviously implying that people would rather have some blunt weapon than a weapon that actually requires skill to use. Oh, and about your definition of katana, only an actual katana with the same relative shape and contour. About katanas being all curved swords, did your dogs ass tell you that? This is obviously made to make you sound smart. Keep real ya retard.

  17. Loved the arguing back and forth about swords. Truth is, any hardened steel blade will do in combat. I would rather have a gun and my long bow. The katana is an elegant weapon meant only for those with strength to wield it. You do not just pick up a sword without practicing it’s use first. Most of the young people commenting on here would cry like big babies when actually faced with a real life threat. Have any of you ever gone hunting or shot an animal? If not, I suggest you learn to do so. It will harden your resolve to stay alive.

  18. Good luck pulling the claw on your crowbar out of a skull. And I guarantee you that your bat will bend or break. But hey, spend some time training and you may learn. There is a reason that thousands of years of warfare weren’t spent hitting eachother with clubs. Swords became the norm for a reason, they are more effective at killing, with less effort per swing, and that lets you fight longer. Pretty useful against tireless, shambling dead.

  19. “You sir are the ignorant one, and the information you’ve posted is just so wrong. I’m judging by your blabbering you just looked up “katana” on Wikipedia and now think your some kind of expert?”

    Nah I only think that calling Katana a weapon manifactured outside Japan and having an industrial blade speaks for itself and classifies you so precisely there is no need to add anything to it.
    I think ignorance might not be the only issue here, a solid core of stupidity is required to be so stuborn and narrow minded at this point.

  20. Mythical nonsense is attached to such ancient weapons, modern steel is stronger, ancients had to deal with impure metal. They did the best they could with what they had.
    Self injury is not that big a deal with a good sword, they are relatively light weight and unless you are super careless, you aren’t going to hit yourself. While tools like axes and sledge hammers and crowbars are not balanced for battle and will easily end up crushing your leg if you end up glancing off something. Swords made for battle are relatively light and easy to control that is the point of them. Only problem is that really cheap swords are attached to the handle with a welded on thin rod which will break off if actually used, these are wall hangers. But a basic sword which has a decent build will hold up as good as anything else during a fight with a zombie. Anyways you only have to nail them in the head anyways. We’re not talking sword v sword combat. There is a lot of superstitious reverence for ancient weapons esp Japanese ones which are just not based on reality.

    • Steel is not a viable material for any edged weapon after 12 inches.
      Modern Steel does not handle well in a long narrow sheet when striking.
      It is highly possible to injure yourself with any long weapon, swords LOOK easy to control, in high speed, you can easily lose yourself in a swing, if not properly trained.

      this was not posted with the intention of being a Dick, but it is kind of insulting to practitioners of an art, when people undermine both their tool, and the finesse of their practice, which they study endlessly.

      • I’m sorry…WHAT?

      • Much superstition and misinformation. look up sword steel 101 it will tell you a decent amount of info and examples on modern “made for use” swords. the rest of this is what i learned growing up with an expert on samurai. I’ve Never found any of this info anywhere in English. Thing about folded steel being obsolete or not as strong has everything to do with how it’s made. True original Katana were made from various quality’s of iron bars witch were pounded out and folded numerous times INTO the shape of the sword. Nothing was cut off or ground after the fact to shape the sword other than polishing and a stone for the edge. Mastery of just shaping the sword this way could take decades alone as each attempt takes most of time it would to make the sword. whatever the case i know i have an information here as there is somthing I’m sure that is done durring the folding process to add carbon to the iron to form steel. They were then almost all typically tempered to varying hardness from the edge to back of the blade. This really did create a blade that even today verry few people know EVERYTHING that is needed AND have the ability to replicate the quality of swords produces back then. and none of them have told white people or left Nipon. Oh and the folding is only one way they did it but apparently the best.

        In reality Screw a Katana for zombies give me a Wakizashi (the shorter one to you ignorants). But that has less range… durr it’s lighter, more acurate, less likely to hit a limb, if it is made of modern steel; less likely to break, usable in close quarters or if the mob has closed in that far you can still behead the ones in front of you instead of having your sword caught on two or three (not that you probably aren’t as good as dead at that point but go down swingin!), and best of all it’ll stay the hell out of the way when you’re try to shoot zombies, like you should be. Your blunt weapons, if effective as such, can’t do ANY of this.

        If a blunt weapon is effective in incapacitating a human body it will be heavy and cumbersome and in the way when you’re not using it. The most effective way to incapacitate a human body is to quickly and precisely remove entire parts of it or shut down the nervous system. Lets just hope they’ll be reliant on the nervous system…

        • Pattern wielding is what its called and modern alloys shit all over “folded steel” is just pattern wielded iron if you use actual steel and alloys it would shit all over traditional Katana’s anyways the Vikings were using far more advanced forms of pattern wielding 500 years before the Katana and all that said a Katana was a last resort weapon the spear and bow were the primary weapons of Samurai.

      • Exactly. When i started wudang, i hit myself many times before i got good at it. Also, good swords are actually sorta heavy when you first start out (but you used to it eventually)

      • You’re thinking of stainless steel. Stainless steel is no good beyond 12 inches. Modern “for use” swords are not made of stainless steel. They are made of a very pure, high quality carbon steel with a uniform composition that gives it pretty impressive durability and hardness, while maintaining flexibility. Also, there are many blacksmiths out there who have developed effective techniques for forging this type of steel. For that reason durable swords capable of cutting through muscle, bone, and even lesser quality steel can be found for under a thousand, though springing about four or five thousand on one obviously wouldn’t hurt. Zombies aren’t gonna be carrying swords of their own so you don’t have to carry the Honjo Masamune to cleave their neck apart.
        That being said, I agree that proper practice is required so that you don’t accidentally de-limb yourself like a moron. Though it may feel like you have perfect control of a weapon, all it takes is improper foot positioning to take out a leg.

    • Your ignorance is supreme..
      Japanese swords which are named Nihonto (Katanas are just a very specific type of these), are still forged following the ancient methods and that’s not for some stupid anachronism but because the result it’s the most effective one.
      Forging a Katana properly requires a life of hard work and studies, and it can’t cost less than 20-30.000 dollars.
      If you think some industrial piece of steel can match that.. you are indeed a fool.
      On top of that.. lighter is the weapon easier if to self-injure yourself, you clearly never handled any blade outside the kitchen in your life.

      • Sorry but u can’t just sit back and read these stupi comments claiming only ancient japanese steel is good enough for a katana. Truth be told even the best steel the japanese were making pales in comparison to modern steel in forging techniqueS. The strongest katanas the world has ever seen are made of t10 tool steel and can be bought new from master forgers for $3-5000.

        • “Sorry but u can’t just sit back and read these stupi comments claiming only ancient japanese steel is good enough for a katana. Truth be told even the best steel the japanese were making pales in comparison to modern steel in forging techniqueS. The strongest katanas the world has ever seen are made of t10 tool steel and can be bought new from master forgers for $3-5000.”

          I give up, you are too ignorant to realize how funny you are.

          • You sir are the ignorant one, and the information you’ve posted is just so wrong. I’m judging by your blabbering you just looked up “katana” on Wikipedia and now think your some kind of expert?

          • Joshua Wiebelhaus

            Actually you can buy a pretty good carbon forged katana on Amazon for less than $70 also all of you people need to chill out.

        • If you knew anything about the way steel is and how it reacts in different scenarios, you would know that you need a mix of high and low carbon steel along with a mix of iron for the back of the sword to provide flexibility. If you have a full steel sword it will be very sharp, but wont bend and will snap easily. Japanese sword masters have perfected the art of making them and that is why it costs 30,000-60,000 dollars to get a real katana.

      • The reason industrial steel took over was because it was both better and costed less. A 17th century Japanese sword could not handle the amount of abuse that a modern one would, simply because of modern techniques for making better steel.Traditional Japanese forging was simply another method of forging a sword blade, like pattern welding or Indian crucible steel. The reason Japanese steel costs more is not because of “superiority,” but because the process of turning the cheap, raw iron into good metal was labor intensive. Same thing goes for pattern welding. Nothing special here.

        • The Reason why industrial steel took over have nothing to do with sword forging…
          Industrial steel never took over custom halloy in swordforging, simply.. industrialization and gunpowder changed the way wars were fought so blades lost their importance and the way to forge them declined (DECLINED) with it.
          Today there is no NASA lab able to make a damascus blades, no industrial method to forge effective swords, not just japanese ones but even european ones.
          The Rare modern smiths who are able to replicate X-XVII weapons, not just for show but for battle use are infact artisans, and their product raw cost is in thousands (for example Raven Swords).
          Handling abuse? a sword isn’t an inox knife, it’s a deadly tool which requires costantly care to stay deedly.
          Make an inox sword and you ‘ll have nothing more than a shaped crowbar.
          During World War II japaneses mass produced industrial Katanas (Gunto), even if they were far better than any military sabre in use in any military force around the world, they couldn’t even be compared to traditional made Nihontos.
          Again you think swordmaking was just about getting steel out of iron, that was just the first step and hardly the most important of a long process where everything was polished by hundred years of experience passed by generations.
          A blade weapon is much more than a piece of steel.

          • I would put one of my $500 chinese cheness spring steel katanas up against any antique japanese blade I’ve ever used, any day of the week, in terms of durability. Nearly every antique sword I’ve come across had had major fracture repair work carried out on the blade, in many cases having to be shortened to wskizashi. Now my first ever purchased spring steel katana, aka my beater, has been going strong for over a decade, and I don’t treat it nicely either. It has gone though many cinder blocks and even the occasional rio with only minor edge damage.

          • Shocking.. Swordcollector found out that blades that have been around for centuries and have been used intensively in an enviroment were swordfighting was common MIGHT BE WORN, while his crap industrial chinese fake that never hit anything beside a few pieces of bamboo it’s in a better shape.

          • Keep it up. Keep on pretending to know more than anybody else, despite the fact that nobody here, including you and me, do. Keep on showing us how much of a pretentious katanophile you truly are. Keep on making childish assumptions. Don’t let valid facts stand in your way.

          • Keep it up. Keep on pretending to know more than anybody else, despite the fact that nobody here, including you and me, do. Keep on showing us how much of a pretentious katanophile you truly are. Keep on making childish assumptions. Don’t let valid facts stand in your way.

            Actually you are the one coming here stating you are some sort of grand sword collector, and putting in front of arguments and reasoning your (ridicolous) pedigree.

            I never claimed anything of this sort: while every post you make it’s referential ( I had over 800 swords; I’m of japanese ancestrors and so on).

          • Did you even bother to check who posted the comment? Were you really that lazy?

          • Scott Hornbuckle
            January 30, 2015 at 6:20 pm
            Did you even bother to check who posted the comment? Were you really that lazy?

            Well I clearly made a mistake, and when I make a mistake I have no problem to apologise.

            Which is what I’m doing now 😉

          • You going to apologize for spouting self-righteous rudeness towards the other people here?

          • I will do a little effort and cut the flame to write my last words on this topic:
            A Weapon is much more than it’s parts,what really matters in a sword it’s not the quality of the raw components of the blade but the way such blade it’s smithed.
            Japanese traditional blades were/are made with Tamahagane which is a type of artiginal steel with a very peculiar blend of high and low contents of carbon.
            It’s not pure, but it doesn’t have to be, because it was created with the precise purpose to smith swords not rail road tracks, or build brudges or so on.
            After Japanese culture entered in contact with the Modern Western one, higher quality steel entered their market.
            Many attempts and forging experiments using such steel were performed but the results didn’t satisfy the swordsmiths, which in the end decided that kind of steel wasn’t suited to craft Nihontos.
            I do remember some famous japanese master swordsmith (altough I can’t recall who atm, and I don’t really want to spend more time to check) claiming western steel through intense work could be made “better” and adapted to his purposes.
            Some of you might laught at this, but the truth is that better or worse it’s a very debatable concept.
            Modern westerner Steel is considered better than Tamahagane and under western parameters sure it is.
            But for that very specific purpose (making Japanese blades) it’s not.
            You call me arrogant, but the truth is that pretending to craft a japanese sword using modern industrial steel claming it’s better than the traditional ones it’s arrogant.
            And it’s very naive to think Japanese didn’t try such thing already.
            Japanese swords are still crafted in Japan using the ancient methods and the commerce of such items it’s regulamented by law and usually forbidden outside the country.
            So it’s Tamahagane.
            That steel you belittle and consider a “poor thing” in use just because better halloy weren’t avalaible cost RIGHT NOW way more than industrial top notch steel, and it’s almost impossible to acquire on the market outside of Japan.
            So who is the real arrogant? who belittles a few random users of a forum over the internet or who trashes 1200 years of swordsmith tradition of an entire civilization saying a few bucks industrial sword is better than anything they made so far?

          • “Many attempts and forging experiments using such steel were performed but the results didn’t satisfy the swordsmiths, which in the end decided that kind of steel wasn’t suited to craft Nihontos.”

            There shouldn’t be anything keeping modern steel from being “suitable” for nihonto blades. There isn’t anything in Japanese blade geometry that keeps modern steel from being a viable blade material. Sword manufacturers can do it today. What is unsuitable about modern steel?

            “You call me arrogant, but the truth is that pretending to craft a japanese sword using modern industrial steel claming it’s better than the traditional ones it’s arrogant.”

            In that case, any archeologist or metallurgist who compares 1060 to tamahagane may well be arrogant simply for writing down comparisons.

            “Japanese swords are still crafted in Japan using the ancient methods and the commerce of such items it’s regulamented by law and usually forbidden outside the country.”

            Because of tradition. Not because it’s better. Sorry it’s some “stupid anachronism.” Like I said much earlier, the Japanese (and the Franks) had to deal with very impure iron ore. They did the same thing the Japanese did, folding the blade to hammer out impurities. So did the ancient Celts (hundreds of years earlier). And you know what? Pattern-welded steel isn’t considered “better” than modern steel. Neither is Japanese steel. I don’t consider tamahagane to be a “poor thing,” I consider modern steel to be better (and I can’t emphasize this part enough) than the vast majority of ancient steels. And yes, traditional Nihonto are regulated because of tradition. The Japanese smiths do it because they have to BY LAW. Not because of any “superiority.” There’s a website called Sword Buyers Guide.com. They have an interesting article on Japanese swords if you want to check it out.

          • “The Reason why industrial steel took over have nothing to do with sword forging…”

            Oh, it did. With industrial steel, the production cost of various metal products including swords was lowered. Quality was higher. You think production cost and quality didn’t play a role in arming soldiers?

            “industrialization and gunpowder changed the way wars were fought so blades lost their importance and the way to forge them declined (DECLINED) with it.”

            Even though modern steel turned out to be superior? You know, less impurities…cheaper production…things like that? Only the best (and I do mean the best) of pre-industrial steel can match modern steel.

            “Today there is no NASA lab able to make a damascus blades, no industrial method to forge effective swords, not just japanese ones but even european ones.”

            See Albion Swords, Arms and Armor, and TEMPL. And those are just some high quality sword manufacturers.

            “Handling abuse? a sword isn’t an inox knife, it’s a deadly tool which requires costantly care to stay deedly.”

            What, you think I didn’t already know? You honestly think I meant “swords haf to bassh agntsf rok?” The statement I made was supposed to say, “x steel performs better than y steel.” They didn’t switch from bronze to steel for nothing.

            “During World War II japaneses mass produced industrial Katanas (Gunto), even if they were far better than any military sabre in use in any military force around the world, they couldn’t even be compared to traditional made Nihontos.”

            Oh, God. No, they weren’t. Have you been…watching those “documentaries?”

            “Again you think swordmaking was just about getting steel out of iron, that was just the first step and hardly the most important of a long process where everything was polished by hundred years of experience passed by generations.”

            Where did I say, “blade geometry does not matter?” I never negated any other aspects of sword forging, and I think it was clear that I didn’t.

          • Yo, mr. Sensei. You should check out HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts), you might actually learn a bit about swords and maybe they won’t be so mysterious and magical to you anymore.

            A carbon steel modern reproduction katana which is tempered and assembled properly will out-perform a traditionally made katana.

            I’ll also add that I’d probably choose spear and dagger for my anti-zombie weapons, although a sword such as a katana, longsword or saber would probably work nicely aswell. I’d just like the reach of a spear and the close-quarters control of a dagger.

          • “Yo, mr. Sensei. You should check out HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts), you might actually learn a bit about swords and maybe they won’t be so mysterious and magical to you anymore.”

            Your smartass comment couldn’t be more comical since I’m actually a member of that community, I throw it back at yourself and suggest you to hang around HEMA, you might find out swords are indeed mysterious and magical artifacts.
            Although Nihontos, Kenjutsu e Iaijutsu aren’t part of HEMA area of expertise.

            “A carbon steel modern reproduction katana which is tempered and assembled properly will out-perform a traditionally made katana.”

            This is when I would ask you what “properly” assembled and tempered Katanas look like, but I’m quite sure you have no idea what you talking about.
            Have you ever seen a “traditionally made katana” (tautological)?.
            Have you ever used a Katana industrial replica (which is what you call katana I guess) for anything that brick choping tests and similar.. good for youtube teenager bragging videos?

          • Ahh, I get it.

            You’re either a troll or a superstitious fool, it’s a waste of time to talk to you, no reason is gonna get through the head of someone who believes in magic.

            The katana is not special, it’s just the fact that you think words like wakasashi sound cool.

            You’re a wannabe asian, an oriental mysticist, you’re a fucking weaboo.

          • “The katana is not special, it’s just the fact that you think words like wakasashi sound cool.”

            I think wakasashi sounds retarded and ignorant since it’s spelled
            wakizashi, and here ends the only part of your post that makes sense (barely), Everything else you wrote it’s laughable.
            I guess you wanted to insult me but really you just gave a poor performance of yourself.

      • Lmao. Most effective one its a limited weapon u want all perpuse get a cuttluss or a long sword

        • For the record I’ve had over 600 swords. 80% of which were katana. I’ve had nearly every style and material katana ever manufactured. And if I haven’t owned it I’ve probably used it at some point.

          • “For the record I’ve had over 600 swords. 80% of which were katana. I’ve had nearly every style and material katana ever manufactured. And if I haven’t owned it I’ve probably used it at some point.”

            Oh by the way, not all curved swords with a Tsuba at the bottom of it are Katanas, Katana doesn’t mean Japanese sword, it’s a very specific kind of sword, I know it was written differentely in those Walmart like depliant you used to forge your knowledge on the topic (reading wikipedia would have been much more effective at your level), but that’s the raw truth.

          • I should add I prefer the tatchi to a katana

          • More misinformation. Katana literally translates to curved blade, it does not specify building material, tsuba, originality nor use. A French machete could be considered a katana. How do I know this? I’m of Japanese decent and have been studying swords for over 30 years, long before your internet came about. In addition I think someone with the screen name sensei trolling an Internet forum about killing zombies with a katana spouting misinformation about the mythological powers of ancient tahmi katana, is most likely no form of sensei.

          • More misinformation. Katana literally translates to curved blade, it does not specify building material, tsuba, originality nor use. A French machete could be considered a katana. How do I know this? I’m of Japanese decent and have been studying swords for over 30 years, long before your internet came about.

            No it couldn’t.. because despite it’s literal meaning as I pointed out, “not all curved blades are Katanas”:
            Katana is a blade measuring over 2 shaku (60 cm) in Nagasa (which is an inmaginary straight line from the top to the back blade notch) and it’s sheathed sharp-side up. Source : Token Kantei Dokuhon by Nakayama Kokan (go look on your grandpa rōmaji dictionary for the translation of it and come back with more translation pearls please.)
            A Machete is usually shorter, usually straigh and it doesn’t have any posture or wielding habit.
            Keeping a weapon sheathed sharp-side up it’s not just a trend.. requires a completely different aproach to swordfighting and sword drawing. but we are really going too far for your Walmart-like level of conversation standard.

            Again being Japanese (or actually.. saying to have Japanese ancestrors under an alias over the internet..) doesn’t give you a patent of expertise of any kind, same as owning swords ( especially when you call sword horrible chinese replicas).
            It’s your arguments that prove your point here, not who you pretend to be.

            “In addition I think someone with the screen name sensei trolling an Internet forum about killing zombies with a katana spouting misinformation about the mythological powers of ancient tahmi katana, is most likely no form of sensei.”

            Which is exactly what you doing under the nick “Swordcollector” ahaha
            Except that you really claim to be a swordcollector while I merely picked a nickname.

          • Ok and I can make the same claim IV bean live steal fighting with every kind of blade u can think of from axe to rapier never kept count of how many IV owned but I started at 12 years old and im 41 so if you point was exp I have lots

        • I was rally enjoying te bun fight above…These two actually believe they are the only people on here that know anything about kenjutsu. ?.
          Shikin haramitsu daikomyo

  21. if it all came down to a sword whitch i wouldnt use a sword in the first place i would use a bow and a spear but that is beside the point if my other weapons broke and all i had was my sword then i would just use my rapier cause it is rly sharp reasonably long and i am a fucking boss when i use it

  22. Any one that thinks they can just pick up a sword for $30 and use for battle sad to say they are displays not real weapons dute u can sharpen them and they will work for a bit but will sadly break twist warp and bend or even shatter. Yrst your blade by holding it big the grip at the far end take a small wooden rod roughly 4inches long and tap it mid blade if u hear a think or clank toss it in the trash u got ripped a real sword of any kind should ring. PS machete is a better weapon then a sword lighter and faster to swing.

  23. There are many more steels and alloys now that are much more tougher and durable than those in ancient Japan. You’re full of crap, but let’s just agree to disagree.

  24. I should add that training is everything if u don’t have it. Go get a hammer ur less likely to kill ur self or a friend

  25. I agree with u completely the samurai sword is a very limited weapon you’d be better of wit a battle axe or a broadsword iv bean fighting since I was 12 with midevel weapons im 40. I have many real battle weapons the katana is not one of them

  26. I have a “katana” I got for $30 at a pawn shop. I sharpened it with a knife sharpener and I’ve cut butchered pigs in half with it. Yes, a katana in the ancient japenese sense is what you would need for ARMORED BATTLE. But a zombie apocolypse….no. Not necessary. I bet my life I could lop a persons head off with this cheap blade. Your statement, and this article, are nothing more than a guy with a small dick playing devils advocate. I sword like mine would not be good for a hoard, of course, but if one could get a vantage point say 8 feet in the air on an object zombies can’t scale, like A WALL, one could desimate a hoard in a matter of hours just by swinging like at little league practice. And for 4-12 zombies a skilled swordsman would have no problem removing all of there heads in ease. This is a pointless, self-biased article that has no real world or zombie world credit. Sorry, your a sad sad sad sad sad sad sad sad author.

    • I agree. I got two $30 katanas just to practice sharpening them. One of them I tried sharpening with traditional methods. The other I used a metal grinder. The one I sharpened by hand took HOURS to get it slightly sharp. The metal grinder did it in 5 min. Then i buffed it to smooth the edges. You dont want to run your finger along it.

      The point is, if its sharp, and you are experienced, you can cut shit. You dont need thousands of $$$ to go Rambo on some zomboes. Its metal. It will dull, you sharpen it again. This can go on until you are carrying what amounts to a big curved metal toothpick and still get along just fine.

      • You are an idiot.

        • Of course I am.

          • a decent replicate Katana cost in the thousands. and true any sharps edge can cut but the way a true Katana is forged it dosent get sharpened it gets honed each edge is forged when the blade is folded. juat a bit of information.

          • Enough of this nonsense…

            past tense: honed; past participle: honed
            sharpen (a blade).
            “he was carefully honing the curved blade”
            synonyms: sharpen, whet, strop, grind, file; More
            antonyms: blunt, dull
            refine or perfect (something) over a period of time.
            “she has taken numerous workshops to hone her skills over the years”

            So, now that that’s out of the way…

            Almost any blade of a reasonable tool steel can be “honed” to an edge sharp enough to slice through a person like butter.
            Keeping the edge is the problem with lower quality materials.
            But even some of the lowest quality carbon steel can hold its edge if properly heat treated, folded and tempered.

          • Glad that is settled

    • If u payed only 30 buck for it. It’s u whos prolly gonna be sad and sitting on a wall not bad plan but what are u gonna do when they start walkin up the pile at u

      • They arent my only katanas. I bought them to practice sharpening. I used to let my uncle sharpen and polish them. (still do mostly) I have quite a few swords in the collection. It would be a real tossup trying to decide which ones I would be taking with me.

        • Always good to have a few different kinds swords are like musical instruments what is right for me may not work for u and vicversa keep practicing

  27. I agree with the Master, aside from time, you need exceptional finger, hand, wrist, forearm, and overall physical fitness to become battle ready or safely wield a katana

    • Don’t forget hand eye coordination. Most gamers would probably pick up sword skills fairly quickly. As for the physical fitness, Have you ever seen those guys that are the strong kind of fat? like those fat guys who for some reason can pick up the back of a truck, or defy gravity getting some serious air or doing backflips and shit? First its knowledge, then its hand eye coordination, then its self-awareness, then its speed, then strength. The physical fitness is implied by the speed and strength.
      All are needed to safely and effectively use a sword without damaging yourself, someone else, or something else.

      But first things first. Practice. Which is implied by the knowledge. This should be done with a dull object (such as a stick, bat, metal pipe, practice sword, etc.) of various weights. I like to use something heavy for about 10 min of practice then use something light to practice speed and artistry for another 20 min. Don’t forget to stretch before and after. Then I go work out for another 30 min with weights and resistance.

      After 13 years I still have fun doing it. It serves no practical purpose in society, until of course some kind of zombie thing happens, or a max max situation goes down. Any type of post apocalyptic, end of the world type scenario. Where all I have are my blades and my wits… and a bunker, and a shit ton of food I stole from a very nice family, while stealing their dog to save in case the food ran out.

  28. ive found a shirisaya katana and its very real it could slice up anybody

  29. i use a musashi shirasaya style katana i have used this weapon for a while they are a time trusted brand built upon the legacy of one of the greatest samurai fighters in history this and other mushashi. or musha products are a full tang high qualaty sword when i entered into my bushido class i was told where and which to buy for my fighting style zrs do your research in depth please and thank you ohiogozimasu

  30. I actually wanna see Scott Hornbuckle with Axe fight with Fulano with Katana.
    and i will bet every cent that Fulano wins.

    • Scott Hornbuckle

      This is about which weapon is suited more to a ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. Not about who’s a “bestest fita!!!1!!” That statement was unwarranted. First of all, no, the katana is not at all an exceptionally light super sword that can “cUT TrOUGH a TANK!!!” It’s a sword. Second, you don’t know whether we actually know how to use each, and in that case, either of us might win. If you’re going to bet your cents on something you know little about, then that’s all good wasted money.

  31. coming from someone with kenjitsu skills and a high quality katana, i n say that unless you are trained, dont bother using one. 1- you Will get hurt
    2-They are hard to use, you cant just wildly swing it hoping for a hit.
    3-This may sound stupid, but the more inexperienced people with good swords, the less experienced people without them.
    My advice: just use a good machete, they’re cheap,they’re easy to use and find. But, an experienced person with a good katana stands a better chance compared with a good axe.

    • I guess in some way your right. But katanas are not that prevalent now a day good ones that is. I’ve studied Musujikiden Eshin Ryu for over 14 years and to a point I agree. If n when zombies do come it will be a all out panic and every man for himself. Under duress a person acts very different. Fight or flight response kicks in so you will not know how you’d react unless you’ve been training under duress or have been in a war time situation. I’ve seen seasoned vets crumble in a mortar attack so for someone to pick up a katana and start wacking away…….. Talk is cheap I say lol. And under duress without the moves in your muscles doomed to fail and ruin your weapon or weapons. So yea I’ll go with what you say but avoidance and use of good Ole boobie traps works.

    • I’ve trained with different swords and a katana would be a good zombie weapon as long as the wielded knows what he is doing and the blade is well forged. It doesn’t have to be a 3000 dollar blade because a 200-300 dollar could do the job. Then again any sharp sword would be just as effective as long as it can penetrate the skull (which could be partly rotted) and still retain sharpness

  32. No sword is cooler to me than the Chinese great sword. Two handed long sweeping cutting edge and a ring on the pommel. It helped fend off the japs. awesome cutting weapon.

    • If you think its so cool, at least learn the name of it. I believe it’s called a daodao or something . anyway, all these swords are eastern, but i think a good 15th-century hand and a half sword would be better, because of its longer reach and double edge . The double edge allows for more cut lines, and if one side dulls too much, or chips or something, you can always use the other edge. And, you could effectively use it with one hand or two hands, unlike the katana, which requires two hands to generate the torque for a good slice.

      • look both sides are valid bit the point We all should focus on is that swords can be good for slashing and cutting but we forget were going through bone this isn’t some anime were clean slices always happen we should focus on swords like the ones in the days of knights swords were thick non blades for breaking bones shattering skull all u need is to destroy the brain sever the spinal cord slashes meen nothing it it still moves focus pleasee

        • Knightly swords were never used as bashing tools. They were thin, highly sharp weapons (like pretty much any sword) and could not be used for such a task. The historic fencing manuals as well as archeological finds indicate the use of thin, sharp blades.

  33. A real katana is an amazing weapon, in the right hands. Get one. Get a quality machete (not that easy to find, but not impossible). Get a well made sword. If axes are your thing, consider a bush axe. Regardless, once you get it, learn to use it effectively. If you don’t want formal training, consider your local group of SCA geeks.

    • And then be ready to be a very dedicated LARPer for the rest of your life.

    • Im sorry but A U.S. Civil War battle sword, can NOT be compared with a real Katana forged in Japan out of tamahagane steel. This is very disrespectful, and you are and total retard to think that any other sword could be compared with a Katana

      • Tamahagane is not magic. L6 tool steel will outperform a traditionally made tamahagane blade in both strength and flexibility, provided it was heat treated correctly. You don’t have to have a $10,000 katana for it to be battle ready.

        The selection of steel is not half as important as the treatment of the blade before, during, and after it is made. Heat treatment is by far the most important part of blademaking, with steel quality being a close second.

        I’m just sick of you tamahagane fanboys that believe this metal has some kind of supernatural power. Btw, you are more disrespectful for calling someone a retard. That is just a real dick move when it wasn’t even called for.

        Grow a brain, learn to read, do some research, and maybe you will come to the same conclusion.

        If not, move to japan, sit under a sakura tree, and perform Seppuku with your magic sword.

      • Watashi wa anatatowatashi no yūjin ni dōi shi,-gatana no chigai o shitte iruto ken – Kurei Ton rustemeyer purau wa arimasen, koko de hokanohito o kinishinaide kudasai.

        • sorry dude, I dont care to try to translate that. I’m sure it has all the bullshit though, im a dumbass, full of shit. blah blah…

      • Lolololololololololololololololollol. Uv never held a spanish made long sword then my friend. And I’m talkin a real 14th century one.

  34. To Scott
    Good luck swing your axe
    After about 1-2-3 hundred times you swing your axe your muscles are going to be so fatigued the you won’t even be able to lift your arms then your going to be a zombie snack
    Ps I feel sorry for you if you choose any mace type weapon

    • Scott Hornbuckle

      In a zombie apocalypse, I’m likely never going to be swinging “1-2-3 hundred times.” You’d ideally want to STAY AWAY from big crowds and try NOT to swing that much. Unless you want to be “TEH BADASS ZOMBWIE SWAYA” and end up getting bitten. About mace weapons? I’d be just as fine fighting with a wooden baseball bat as I would with a pole axe; in fact, I wouldn’t have to worry too much about getting sprayed with blood and coming in contact with pathogens.

    • For those of us with real training swinging a sword 1-2-3-hundered times is practice and I feel I should point out that those of us with real training will not be out looking for mobs to hack down but moving with stealth and speed only fighting the ones we must

  35. The idea of the katana for zombie defense is to defend yourself with quick decapitations this only requires any extremely sharp and expertly weighted blade –
    My recommendation is the ka-bar swabbie

  36. Hello. I just wanted to ask, have any of you anti-katana responders given any thought to the fact that a katana, or even other types of swords with similar blade lengths, create a good distance between you and the (I can’t believe that I’m going to say this) zombie that you would be attacking? If you’re using an axe (with the exception of throwing it) you’re going to be in closer proximity to the enemy as opposed to a sword which gives you a safer distance. Personally, when it comes to using swords, I would use a katana over any other for multiple reasons (the katana being my favorite type of sword notwithstanding). One of those reasons being that katana were mostly made for slashing even though you can also stab with them. I do realize that there are other sabre-types of swords out there but, from what I’ve seen, most of them are one-handed. Katana are two-handed giving you more control and slashing power.

  37. I respectfully disagree with the master!! I have found that strengthening your fingers, wrist, firearm, also your shoulders, lastly you need exceptional cardiovascular conditioning just to name a few in order to effectively wield a katana or broad sword without hurting yourself! 1. Wrist curls in multiple angles such as an asterisk, using 4lbs or more, swinging a sledgehammer of 5 lbs or more, practice basic kenjutsu with a 4lbs to 8lbs inch and a half diameter by 2 feet length, also swing a barker bar or masons bar.
    Indoor rock climbing for grip power, pull ups with fingers only and whole hand, exercise rigorously then do the routine I mentioned earlier. With bar bells do lateral and forward raises, do military presses, the is to unlock a technique that will enable you to grip and swing a katana with power and confidence.

    You can also swing a PR-24 rigorously for at least 2 min, build up from there, you’ll see that grip power is needed before swing power!!

    Be creative and improve upon my technique unless you are lucky enough to be trained by an actual Samurai whom I’m sure can do better than my suggestion.

    Good luck to you all.

  38. Look at it this way, swordsmen develope a special “bond” with their sword it’s the only good way to describe it, people who like their axes are better off using their axes, people who like their swords are better off using their swords, you can’t have it any other way, if one is better than the other, it will be found out by getting experience with both weapons so if anyone is correct than the others will eventually come to their senses

  39. All this talk about katanas is very interesting, but with all the confusion and mythology (ancient marketing propaganda) surrounding ancient weaponry I would worry less about what is “true” or “real” and look for a sword or machete that can do what it’s builder claims it’s capable of.

    If it’s good metal, properly chosen, hardened and tempered appropriately for it’s intended use, that’s what I want. I do see the value in practice and developing skills, but I feel that the notion that it takes years to use a weapon also sounds like old world mysticism.

    • Scott Hornbuckle

      I totally agree. In fact, I wouldn’t even choose a sword; I’d use something more akin to an axe (not a woodcutting axe, one designed for combat) or a blunt trauma weapon. Swords probably wouldn’t even be good for fighting zombies (really Hollywood? ZOMBIES? AGAIN?). When actually fighting a zombie, it’s best to disable it or kill it; killing a zombie means disabling the brain or decapitating the zombie. Most people think “OH!!!1! SvORDZ!! KATNA AR KOOL!!!1!2!!1!” In reality, an axe head has more mass, making the whole weapon a more efficient chopping weapon. Blunt trauma weapons like maces deliver, well, blunt trauma; such weapons would be better for actually damaging zombie skulls. In terms of zombie-slaying techniques…well…swords really wouldn’t be efficient. (I’m looking at you, katana worshipers)

      • This comment can only come from someone who has never actually used a sword to cut something.

        I encourage you to get on YouTube and watch videos of people cutting pigs in half with swords of various kinds.

        You have no idea what you’re talking about if you imagine that a sword (pretty much any decent sword) can’t effectively decapitate someone with relatively little effort.

        • Scott Hornbuckle

          What I’m saying is that it is easier to decapitate a person with an axe; axes have more mass behind the blade and thus greater chopping power. I’m not trying to downplay the sword’s ability to cut through flesh and bone. What I’m saying is that the sword wouldn’t be the most effective weapon for this situation. Just because they look flashy doesn’t mean they’re good zombie weapons. And yes, I have seen videos of carcasses being cut in half.

          • Scott Hornbuckle

            In fact, all I really said was that axes were better at chopping (which they are).

          • My Katana's bigger than yours

            not even once. any katana in the mid price bracket upwards, that has been made well, if not using traditional methods (which the ancient Japanese never would have used themselves if they had access to modern steels and metallurgy techniques) is capable of effortlessly slicing a human head off and you wouldn’t even feel the resistance of the neck against your blade while you swung.

            the guy quoted in this article was talking about being battle-ready, that is fighting against a skilled samurai with a katana. that’s a little different than slicing heads off of zombies with your $300 sword imho. the only real problem the katana poses when dealing with zombies is how close you need to get to use it.

          • Scott Hornbuckle

            My argument was that axes and blunt trauma-inducing weapons would be better in the situation of a zombie apocalypse. Axes have more mass behind the blade, thus granting the user more chopping power. This means that chopping through skulls is easier, as is performing decapitations. I’m fully aware that a trained person can cut through a neck with considerable ease using a sword, but an untrained, inexperienced person can do the same with a well-aimed axe blow. Weapons that inflict blunt trauma are also effective. Firstly, they usually require simpler construction. Secondly, they can be found virtually anywhere. Thirdly, they don’t even need to be sharpened; damage can still be done with or without a sharp edge.

            For some reason, you thought that bringing up katanas was a good idea despite the fact that I wasn’t directly mentioning them. You also describe the sword’s cutting ability as if only a Japanese katana could do that; most, if not all, swords can easily cut flesh. And no, your “katana” is not bigger than mine.

          • There’s a really simple way to know that axes have never been better than swords for chopping up people: As ancient cultures got better and better at metallurgy, they devoted much more time and effort to refining swords for combat, not axes.

            Yes, there certainly were axes used in battle. I’m not saying there weren’t. But they tended to fall into certain categories:

            1) Common tools pressed into service as weapons out of necessity, not preference. In other words, someone had to go out and fight and he owned no weapons, so he picked up his axe which he normally used for cutting wood.

            2) Inexpensive alternatives to swords. Axes were cheaper and easier to make than swords, and required less skill and know-how to produce. They were also cheaper and easier to maintain.

            3) Weapons for breaking sheilds. With the weight distributed toward the distal part of the weapon, axes were particularly good at breaking shields and damaging armor.

            4) Pole arms for mounted soldiers. Axe heads could be put on the end of long poles and wielded by soldiers on horseback, giving them great reach.

            5) Throwing weapons. Small axes (the size of hatchets or tomahawks) were used by many different cultures as throwing weapons.

            However, while these were all effective in battle, they were never particularly good at cutting. They broke shields, broke bones, split helmets (and skulls), made deep wounds, etc. So, were they good for battle? Absolutely.

            But they were never the preferred weapon in cultures with advanced metallurgy and advanced knowledge of sword-making. Certain classes of warrior simply preferred swords. Why?

            1) Swords have tremendously better balance, which means they can be swung faster, more accurately, at different angles, at different speeds, etc. All other things being equal, in a duel with a swordsman someone with an axe is at a severe disadvantage. (Don’t think so? Then why didn’t anyone come up with a dueling axe for defeating swordsmen in duels?)

            2) The entire length of the blade is sharp. If someone wielding an axe winds up to swing, and his opponent steps in closer than the radius of the axe head, the axe is nowhere near as dangerous, especially if the opponent reaches out and grabs the handle. Now it’s two guys wrestling for control of the axe. Rushing in and grabbing the blade of a sword… nowhere near as good an idea.

            What’s more, an axe does serious damage when you land a blow with the head of the axe. A sword is most effective if you strike with the distal 1/3 of the blade, but it still does damage if you land a blow with the middle of the blade. And if your opponent steps in close and you only land the blow with the proximal 1/3 of the blade, you can still press downward and step back and slice your opponent.

            3) Swords can be used in more ways. They can stab, chop, and slice, among other things. It may be true that some axes are better than some swords at chopping. But chopping is only one of several ways you can use a sword effectively.

            Axes are certainly good weapons. No doubt. And some of the battle axes from ancient times were quite effective. In a zombie apocalypse, I wouldn’t turn down a good battle axe if I had one. However, a sword would still be more effective. Lots of the blunt trauma to the torso or limbs that would incapacitate a person would be less effective against a zombie. Lots of the deep wounds to the torso that would incapacitate a person would be less effective against a zombie. And all the things that make swords more effective than axes in duels (balance, long sharp cutting edge, more versatility) would make them more useful against zombies. Decapitating a zombie would be tremendously easier with a good sword than with almost any axe. And those azes that would be really good for decapitating would be a lot heavier and poorly balanced than virtually any good sword. And I’m not just talking katanas, here. There were all kinds of good European swords that would be better than virtually any axe.

          • Scott Hornbuckle

            Many swords are good thrusting weapons, but how is thrusting useful for fighting zombies? The head is not an easy target to thrust at. Just so you know, sword blades can also be grabbed (while wearing gloves, at least). Unless friction is applied, the hands cannot be cut. Don’t believe me? In longsword fencing, a technique known as “half-swording,” or grabbing the blade by the middle, was used for more effective thrusting. Grabbing blades was a technique that was also sometimes used in longsword fencing. No, axes that were meant for splitting skulls and decapitating opponents were NOT extraordinarily heavy. That’s almost like assuming that axes designed for warfare were the same as woodcutting axes. In reality, the cross sections were much different, being thinner (at least in Western Europe). The cross sections could be diamond shaped. Even the larger “Dane axes” only weighed 2-4 lbs. Why weren’t “dueling axes” invented? There was no need to. Axemen facing swordsmen had advantages as well; most axes could be used for hooking. The “horns” of the axes could also be used as impromptu thrusting weapons. What is physically keeping axes from being good cutters? They have more mass behind their blades and require less skill to use. Axes are potentially better at chopping limbs and splitting skulls. Yes, axes are easier to find easier to make. No, axes are not heavy and unwieldy, as is depicted in movies and on televised shows. Yes, most swords have advantages that axes do not have, but most axes also have some advantages that swords do not have. When it comes to surviving an unexpected zombie apocalypse, some axes would be easier to use and easier to find.

          • The length of the sword also plays an important role in its overall cutting power. Along with the strength of the user and their ability to exercise not only competence, but caution with the blade and respect its deadly nature.
            A sword is only as good as the wielder. But anyone with strength enough to use a long sword, such as a katana, can swing with enough force to cleave a head from its pedestal.
            After all, the neck is a relatively weak skeletal structure.

            All the weapons described are levers. The speed at which the end of the blade, axe, etc, is determined by the force applied by the user and moves with far greater speed than that of the middle section or the grip.

            Effectively tripling or even quadrupling the force applied by the user.

            My point is this… An axe, sword, etc, are ALL good for cleaving a head in two or separating it from the neck. A sword, however, also has the ability to pierce. The same can not be said about a bat or axe, unless a large nail is driven through said bat, or the axes backside is equipped with a pickaxe.

            The sword is already equipped with everything you need to quickly kill that undead fleshmuncher with little effort.

            The real thing you need is practice with an edge-less or wooden sword to make damn certain you don’t hurt yourself.

            The same can be said of all weapons including the axe.

            If not, you will soon find yourself either wounded at your own hand, or unable to defend yourself when the hordes of undead are coming from every angle.

            ( One circular sweep of a sword can easily kill all zombies in this event. The same doesn’t seem as plausible with an axe or blunt trauma weapon.)

            I’m sword all the way.

          • Scott Hornbuckle

            I’m sorry, but the odds of a person cleaving through multiple targets all at once is very low. Video game physics don’t apply to real life physics. A lethal cut requires the sword wielder to put energy into the cut to make the sword move and gain velocity. When the blade reaches the intended person, the target absorbs the blunt of the energy. This means that the object (the sword) looses energy and thus its velocity decreases. So even if you cut through the first zombie, will you be able to cut through the second, or rather, the third? Fourth?

            Also, many axe heads had points called “horns.” They were typically sharpened along with the rest of the blade. While not as effective as sword thrusts, stabs with axe horns can still be done…wait. What sword are you even referring to?

          • With a finely honed sword of any type the friction caused by the flesh and bone of a “deteriorating” skeletal and muscular structure would be far less than that of a tensed healthy one. Some people tend to forget that these bodies are wasting away no matter how much flesh they consume. They are dead and are decaying. As far as the axe with horns is concerned, I was talking about your average axe used to chop wood. One easily found at almost any residence. Not an actual weaponized version.

            Also, thanks for patronizing me. I know video gave physics have no bearing in real life. Which is why I stated above, the obvious. THEY ARE DECAYING.

            And if you were thinking of giving me some spiel about rigor mortis I can put that one to bed quickly.

            It reaches its max tension 12 hours after death and quickly begins to go flaccid after that.

            If you are facing a fresh zombie, yes, you will want to take that into account. If not, it would be like cutting through a giant chocolate rabbit with a pretzel spine.

            I am still of the mind that you can easily decapitate 3 or more decomposing zombies with one fell swoop.

            I’m not saying it would be easy. You would need to aim perfectly. This is completely hypothetical so I can easily say all the zombies have to be the same height and are wearing party hats.

            The one thing that stands is that they are deteriorating and are much easier to cut through than a live human.

          • Scott Hornbuckle

            I see now. Thanks for reminding me about the tissue and skeletal structure decaying; I forgot about that. Thank you for specifying ordinary woodcutting axes as well. After all, what are the odds of someone keeping a sparth axe locked up in his/her shed?

          • A lot of people forget about that.

            I have been rewatching the walking dead and noticed they were able to stomp most of the heads with hardly any effort. Michonne slashes through two at once at an odd angle.

            That got me wondering. “what about aged steak?” The decomposition increases flavor (not important in this instance) and tenderness of the steak. But what if you left to rot.

            I spent a few hours researching taphonomy (the study of decomposition) and found the show to be pretty spot on in terms of how easy it would be to jam a crowbar through an eye socket right out the back of the skull, or to literally cut their faces off.

            One of the zombies even pulled his hand, but not his flesh, out of a pair of handcuffs and scratched big tiny on the back.

            The Flesh wants to fall away from the bone, and the bones want to break down.

            And with all of them exposed to the elements, (rain, oxygen, etc.) It only speeds up the process.

            I know, I must be really fun at parties…

      • I choose a flamethrower…no a tank…no wait, a burning tank. Yes a burning tank robot that fires flaming katana from its eyes

  40. Lol you start your argument by saying that the traditional “katana” is not what you’re talking about? So what the fuck ARE you talking about? (not literally. I realize you’re talking about something else. Just not katanas)

  41. This post has my heart reeling. I’m going to make a few points but the first and most important is that the katana is an EXCELLENT weapon for killing the undead. Fast, silent, reusable, and easy to use sum up the katana. After studying countless ways of armed combat, I still think of myself as self trained in the way of the katana ( and all you naysayers that say one specific art is better than the other, please reffer yourself to the Sword Saint, Miyamoto Musashi, as he was self trained as well ). The katana is not a magical piece of equipment that allows you to cleave a Cadillac in half, but it is rather effective at cleaving a human ( or zombie ) in twain. Swordsmiths of old would have their blades tested on either corpses or condemned criminals, many times multiple bodies thick. The end result would then be recorded onto the tang of the sword, giving it a one body, two body, three body, etc. record. Now if the smiths of old we’re able to have their katanas cut through 2 or 4 bodies with their inferior steel ( by today’s standards ), what makes you think that a modern katana with superior steel wouldn’t do a magnificent job of cutting down a walking, decaying corpse? Now from the weapon to the skill of using said weapon. You don’t need to have 30 years of training to kill a zombie or even another swordsman for that matter. The only skills required are those that were taught to me in the Infantry; speed, accuracy, surprise, and violence of action. Violence of action essentially means going full force, no hesitation, speed and accuracy come into play especially when dealing with multiple targets, and surprise protects your survival in a combat role. Now we will all agree there is only one way to kill a zombie and that’s through brain trauma. There are a few ways to do this with the katana. First is a lateral strike to the head. This will split the skull ( or entire head ) resulting in severe brain injury. Second is a lateral strike using the spine of the blade resulting in a cracked skull with moderate brain damage. Third is a stab. This May or may not kill them though as there have been instances of people surviving such an injury with only minimal long term damage. You can also cut off the head. While it really wouldn’t “kill” them, it would make them into nothing more than a gnashing skull. So, as stated before, the katana is an EXCELLENT weapon regardless of the adversary, you don’t need to be a “Samurai master” in order to wield this awesome weapon effectively.

    • I like your post! Got my first real zombie cutter today and am relieved to be properly prepared for the apocalypse. Its the “Cheness kurome.” Not the most expensive, but it will get the job done. Their 9260 spring steal, IMHO, is as close to tamahagane as it gets.

      • Scott Hornbuckle

        And I suppose tamahage is…wait…let me look for the proper words in weabo speech…”Da b3St3st steel ever invEnted DAt culd Onry be fouNd in JAPAN!!1!!2!1?

      • Actually 9260 is nothing like tamahagane. Tamahagane is plain carbon steel with no alloying, and it has a carbon content of .7-.8%. The closest modern steel to that would be 1075.

        9260 has a bit lower carbon content, some manganese, and significant amounts of silicon.

        But so what? There’s nothing special about tamahagane. It is VERY primitive steel. In pretty much any test you can devise a well-made modern 9260 katana would significantly out-perform a “real” one made from tamahagane.

        It is only katana cultists who believe that there’s something magical about tamahagane.

        “Real katanas can only be made from tamahagane, smelted from iron-laden sand in the mountains of Japan, in clay smelters, and hand-forged by…”

        Crap like this is only true if that’s how you choose to define a “real” katana. But then you’ve also defined “real” katanas as demonstrably INFERIOR to swords made from modern steels, because many many grades of modern steel are SUPERIOR to tamahagane in every conceivable way.

        Katanas are good swords. For the specific task of slicing through a person, it could be argued that they are the best sword. But they aren’t magical, and there is nothing about the ancient traditional method of making them that is better than what can be achieved with modern technology.

        • Andin the above post where I say “for the specific task of slicing through a person” there are several caveats.

          — Slicing is a specific way of cutting. Other swords and axes are probably better for cutting through people in other ways.
          — When I say “person” I’m not talking about armor.
          — I’m not talking about dueling with someone with some other type of sword that exploits a weakness of a katana.
          — Etc.

          I’m just talking about the mechanics of cutting a person efficiently. For that the geometry of the convex blade, the longitudinal curvature, and other features, make the katana very efficient.

          Are they definitely better than other swords? Nope. Various European long swords compare favorably. A slender European long sword of approximately the same length, width, and weight would not be terribly different.

          The katana slices a bit more efficiently due to its longitudinal curvature, but the European long sword has much better balance due to the weight of the pommel.

          Katnas are cool. I’m happy to argue that they’re slightly better for killing zombies than most other things. But they’re not what most people think.

          • Scott Hornbuckle

            Well, it depends. The katana (as well as its predecessor, the tachi), is better optimized for the “draw cut.” While this particular cut deals a more serious wound, the movement doesn’t cover as much distance. This technique basically sacrifices reach for more damage. However, straight-edged blades are different. While the particular cut associated with straight blade geometry may deal a wee bit less devastating wound, the reach of the cut is longer. So, opposite of the draw cut. About slicing through a person, well, katanas really aren’t the only sword that can do that. Most people that see katanas cutting through tatami mats think, “Ooh, look what it does!” but fail to realize that a longsword can do that, as well as a machete, and so on. So, no, katanas aren’t terribly special in terms of zombie survival.

        • Scott Hornbuckle

          “It is only katana cultists who believe that there’s something magical about tamahage.”

          I agree. Assuming that centuries-old smithing techniques can create superior steel blades is pure stupidity. Assuming that modern industrial mono steel is similar to differentially-hardened tamahage falls even deeper into the endless abyss of stupidity. See why I have little faith in humanity?

          • “About slicing through a person, well, katanas really aren’t the only sword that can do that.”

            Of course. There’s no doubt whatsoever. If anyone needs evidence for this, Cold Steel (the same company that I reference earlier) has videos for all of their swords, and they cut pigs in half with all or most of them — from replicas of European long swords to replicas of US cavalry swords.

            So, lots of swords would cut a zombie in half, or cut off its head, or whatever.

            Still, katanas have features that probably make them a very small degree more efficient for this than many other swords (less force required to achieve the same outcome). The combination of longitudinal curvature and convex cutting edge gives them slightly more penetration per unit force.

            Plenty of other words have longitudinal curvature (the American cavalry sword, the scimitar, etc.), and some other swords have convex cutting edge. But not very many of them combine both these features. Europe long swords have neither.

            This doesn’t make those swords dramatically less efficient than katanas, but it means that you have to exert a little bit more force to get the same degree of blade penetration when slicing. Not much, but a little.

            “Most people that see katanas cutting through tatami mats think, “Ooh, look what it does!” but fail to realize that a longsword can do that, as well as a machete, and so on. So, no, katanas aren’t terribly special in terms of zombie survival.”

            Agreed. There’s nothing at all special about cutting through a tatame. A dull machete will cut through a tatami.

            With regard to cutting pigs in half, various other swords perform at approximately the same level as a katana. Look up the YouTube video of the Italian Long Sword test by Cold Steel. It performs just as well as a katana.

            But this doesn’t mean that the katana isn’t special. It just means that certain other swords are special, too. Saying that there’s “nothing terribly special” about the katana implies that it’s no different from pretty much anything else you might choose to use. And that’s not true.

            It is still vastly better than the majority of other melee weapons, and more efficient (less force required to achieve the same outcome) than most other swords. It’s true that some other swords are reasonably comparable, but as I said this doesn’t mean that katanas aren’t special. It just means that certain other swords are also special.

            “Assuming that centuries-old smithing techniques can create superior steel blades is pure stupidity.”

            Very true. Traditional Japanese bladesmithing “secrets” are baloney. They include nonsense like “you can only quench the blade when the moon is the color of the underside of a hawk’s wing” and similar crap. There are no “secrets” to be learned by looking backward several centries.

            Modern metallurgy over medieval superstition any day.

            “Assuming that modern industrial mono steel is similar to differentially-hardened tamahage…”

            A minor correction here. You can differentially harden modern monosteel. And, in fact, differential hardening is something that gives katanas a small advantage over other swords.

            A differentially hardened katana has a tempered martensite cutting edge, and a tempered (or spring tempered) pearlite spine. It keeps the sword flexible and shock resistant while giving it a cutting edge that holds its sharp edge better.

            Other swords aren’t bimetallic. In other words, if they’re tempered martensite, then the whole blade is tempered martensite. This makes them very hard and able to hold a good cutting edge, but less flexible and shock resistant. Or if they’re spring-tempered pearlite, then the whole blade is spring tempered pearlite. This makes them durable and shock-resistant, but they have to be sharpened a bit more frequently.

            A properly hardened katana is comprised of both martensite and pearlite in the same blade.

            But this feature is not conferred by the tamahagane. It is conferred by a clay-hardening process which can be done with any water-hardened steel (all of the 10xx series steels) and some of the other less-complex steels, such as some of the oil-hardened ones.

            And there is no doubt whatsoever, that whether you’re differentially hardening your blades or not, modern monosteel is much higher quality than tamahagane.

          • *centuries

          • Just some random thoughts on why Japanese have a reputation for being amazing.

            1) In pre-modern times, Japanese swords were better than most of the swords made elsewhere. For example, Chinese scholars wrote that certain battles between Chinese and Japanese were lost because the Japanese had superior swords.

            Chinese armies had soldiers who carried “sword breakers” (heavy iron rods) designed to break enemy blades. After the Japanese began differentially hardening their blades (and forge welding them with resilient mild steel cores) the Chinese tactic of sword breaking didn’t really work against the Japanese.

            An example from much more recent times is when British sailors visited Japan, they compared their swords (some of which were carried by officers of the Royal Navy and were the best that England was capable of producing) with katanas, and declared that katanas were superior in every way.

            So, there are legitimate historical accounts of Japanese swords being superior to other swords, and these accounts have been around for a LONG time.

            But, there are two important things to remember here:

            a) These accounts come from before the industrial revolution, when all swords were made from hand-smelted, hand-forged steel. And, yes, the Japanese poured a LOT more labor into their swords than most other cultures, which resulted in substantially higher-quality blades.

            But just because Japanese swords were higher quality than most pre-industrial-revolution swords, this doesn’t mean they’re better than swords made from high grade modern steel.

            b) While Japanese swords were higher quality than most pre-modern swords, they were NOT better than all of them. For example, some cultures in India and the Middle East made crucible steel, which was very pure and quite comparable to post-industrial-revolution simple high-carbon steel. What’s amazing is that they discovered this method for making steel as early as 250 BC. Absolutely astounding. It was used for making swords of incredible quality, and this steel found its way all over the Old World. For a short period it could be found as far away as Scandanavia.

            So, while I respect the craftsmanship of Japanese swordsmiths, because they found a way of turning poor-quality tamahagane into a really great sword, I have no particular respect for Japanese steel smelting

            Tamahagane is the simplest type of steel possible, full of slag and impurities. It is just garden variety bloomery steel of the same sort made by the least advanced cultures in the Old World during the same time period. And in the 1300 years that Japanese swordsmiths poured vast amounts of effort into learning to turn that garbage steel into some really superior swords, the craftsmen responsible for steel smelting never learned how to improve the process, even though other cultures in Asia and the Middle East had a vastly superior process in the form of crucible steel.

            So, I think Japanese swordsmiths were extremely intelligent and creative and did an amazing job. But Japanese steel smelters didn’t do anything special in producing tamahagane, which is just garden variety bloomery steel.

            2) After WWII the US imposed certain laws on Japan in an effort to convert their militaristic society into a pacifist one. For example, we disbanded their military and outlawed the possession and manufacture of weapons. These laws originally applied to swords as well as firearms, and all Japanese swords were confiscated.

            About 5 years after the end of the war, a group of Japanese citizens petitioned the government for certain exceptions to be made in the law regarding swords. They recognized that Japan’s single highest art form*, as well as its most prominent cultural symbol, was the sword and they didn’t want to lose it.

            *It was common for Edo-period swords to require the input of 15 people and take 4 months or more to make. It is difficult for most of us to image putting that much labor into a single simple object that size. And it is easy to see why British sailors found them to be superior to the swords made for the Royal Navy.

            Ultimately, the law was changed with regard to swords. Old swords (pre 1900, more or less) were declared to be historical artifacts and national treasures rather than weapons, and they were returned to Japan to be put in museums. And modern swords were declared to be works of art, as long as they were made under very tightly controlled guidelines.

            For example, they can only be made from tamahagane, no modern steel. The people who make the tamahagane have to be licensed to make it, and they can only sell it to licensed swordsmiths. Swordsmiths have to pass a 5-year apprenticeship to become licensed. Swordsmiths can only make swords following traditional methods (although they’re allowed to use certain modern tools such as power hammers and belt sanders), and they can only make two blades a month. Swordsmiths can’t polish their own blades. They have to pass them along to licensed sword polishers who have to pass a 10 year apprenticeship before they become licensed. The fittings, handle, and scabbard must all be made by other craftsmen… etc.

            These rules are purposefully designed to prevent the commercial production of katanas in Japan by keeping the process as time-consuming and labor intensive as it was during the Edo period.

            One outcome of these laws is the emergence of a kind of self-justifying mythology.

            Q: Why are “real” Japanese katanas still made from tamahagane?
            A: Well… uh… it’s the bestest steel ever.
            Q: Why does it take 10 years to become a licensed sword polisher?
            A: Um… because sharpening a katana is so difficult that it takes 10 years to learn how to do.


            The fact is that any reasonably coordinated person can learn to forge a katana. And any one of a dozen or more commercial grades of steel are better than tamahagane.

            It is a fact that a traditionally made Japanese katana is a brilliant work of art and a magnificent sword. By order of law they require a couple hundred man hours and several months to make. And they really are superior in construction to most any other sword you’ll ever see. There’s a reason they cost in the neighborhood of $9,000 for a simple one and $19,000 for a base-level fancy one. They’re incredible works of art and brilliant precision cutting tools.

            But none of this makes them magical. And modern commercial and industrial processes can produce steel of even higher quality, which could be made into a sword that is even better for the simple practical purpose of cutting things into pieces.

          • Scott Hornbuckle

            Ok. I don’t know why my comments won’t post, or if you somehow blocked me, or if typing in links is prohibited, but I’m starting to get frustrated at typing in the same reply over and over again only to not have it show up. There is a YouTube channel called “Protherium.” On the channel is a series of sword myth debunking videos. Don’t worry, in the vids the sources are all there and cited. @Fulano

          • Thanks for the referral to Protherium, Scott. I’ll check it out.

            Just so you know where I’m coming from, I have a serious professional background in materials science, and I have studied steel metallurgy in detail. What’s more, I am a hobbyist bladesmith.

            I don’t just read sources and choose to believe those that I find credible. I actually make swords with my own hands using methods that reasonably approximate traditional methods.

            I am far more familiar with the process for making Japanese blades, but I am still plenty familiar with the metallurgy of European blades and how they compare with Japanese blades.

          • Scott Hornbuckle

            Thanks for the info. It’s much better to know who you’re talking to on threads and blogs. I take my free time to study European longsword fencing (my favorite book on this subject is The Swordsman’s Companion by Guy Windsor, he does a good job on explaining the Italian style) and, to some extent, smithing. I’m more familiar with Nordic culture and history during the Viking Age, and often spend my time reading reference books on viking-age archaeology, reading the Icelandic sagas (Grettir Asmundsson’s Saga is my favorite), and reading about living history societies. The Vikings had a warrior society that was based around honor and justice that was somewhat similar to that of the ancient Mycenaean Greeks. I look at multiple historians’ views and try to be careful not to misinterpret facts where they conflict with different views. Even so, it can be hard not to form opinions.

          • It’s been cool kicking around ideas with you, Scott. It’s nice to find someone smart on the interwebz.

            With regard to katanas, there are usually two camps.

            1) Katana cultists who believe all the bullshit myths. They possess no real knowledge and simply believe anything positive anyone says about katanas.

            2) Katana denialists who refuse to believe anything positive about them. They’re also possess no real knowledge. They think they’re being “realistic” about katanas, but since they don’t really know any true historical facts about the development of steel and the making of swords (in Japan or the rest of the world), they’re ultimately just throwing around guesses which heavily influenced by their skepticism and general dislike of katana cultists.

            I am in neither of these camps, and I can tell that you aren’t either. We both seem to be pretty realistic. The big difference between us is that you are more familiar with European blades and i am more familiar with Japanese blades.

          • Scott Hornbuckle

            Yeah, the katana is indeed a very impressive sword. It’s interesting how the Japanese creatively used a complex process of smithing in order to create relatively poor iron into a masterpiece.

    • Scott Hornbuckle

      True, but I still remain skeptical as to whether or not a sword would be able to cut through armor AND the person in general. An 11th century viking reenactment group, Hurstwic, did a series of test cuts using viking-age weaponry on a pig carcass. When they struck a blow with a two handed great-axe, the blow split the pig down to the shoulders, easily cleaving the skull in half. However, when they struck a similar blow, this time to the neck of the carcass, they put riveted mail over the skin. The blow didn’t enter through the neck, but were that a soldier, the energy delivered from the axe would have caused blunt trauma and a terrible bruise.

      • Scott Hornbuckle

        Sorry, I was replying to Fulano.

      • “True, but I still remain skeptical as to whether or not a sword would be able to cut through armor AND the person in general.”

        Oh, of course. I agree with you 100% on this. There are MANY myths about katanas that simply aren’t true.

        You have to be very skeptical about these sorts of things and accept the evidence only for what it is. On this question the evidence is pretty good for one thing:

        A katana will definitely cut clean through a pig — something that is more-or-less like a person — without too much difficulty. So, we can take it as valid that a katana would cut through a zombie.

        Will katanas cut through much more than that? Not really. We saw them cutting through the rib cage of a cow, and it looked like it went through three ribs at a time. It took several strong whacks to go all the way through. Would a katana cut through armor? I really seriously doubt it, and nothing in those videos supports such a claim.

        So, that’s it. One fairly modest claim is supported, but most of the claims about katanas are not supported and are still just myths.

    • Scott Hornbuckle

      Now, here’s my actual reply. You see, the katana does not actually perform that well. If you want to bring up History Channel or National Geographic documentaries, then fine. Just know that they hire payed “experts” who know little to nothing about their subjects and compare the Katana to modern wall hangers (also known to professional collectors as SOL’s, or “sword like objects”). Although I sigh at how modern Hollywood overuses zombies, for zombie-slaying I would use an Early Medieval great-axe, also known as the “Daneaxe.” Why? Because it’s better at doing what you need to do to kill a zombie: cleaving skulls. You can cleave through a skull with less force than you would need with any sword, hook it around a zombie’s legs, and thrust using the horn of the axe. Oh, and it’s also light. The axe would usually weigh between 2 and 4 pounds. About swords…well…it’s really a matter of personal preference. The more you research, the more you find out that there is no “SuP3rior!!1!” sword; they are all very good at what they do. Kinda like looking into a toolbox. No, wait, it IS looking into a toolbox. A saber is good for making circular cuts from horseback, a European arming sword works well in conjunction with a shield or buckler, and a rapier is good for making quick, accurate thrusts. The katana is good for use as a two-handed weapon used to make cuts and thrusts.

      • Scott Hornbuckle

        For the directly above comment, I was replying to Jakethesnake.

        • Scott Hornbuckle

          Oh, and if you really think that skulls are that weak, try running head first into a stoplight and see what happens. @jakethesnake

          • Ok seeing as how skulls can fracture ( deeply I might add ) from the weight of a 3 pound hammer swung at full force, what makes you think that something slightly heavier, with more momentum, and an acute angle wouldn’t fair better? Bones have a “grain” to them from growing, much like a piece of wood does. The skull grows up and out, thus the “grain” is also vertical. A vertical strike to the skull will produce the same effects, in essence, albeit with much more resiliency, as striking a vertical stick. Do the stick test and you will see that the stick fractures in front of the blade because you are following the grain. I don’t see the point in being hateful in your posts, telling someone to run head first into a lamp pole. That only shows you have no other corner to back into because of your lack of understanding of how human physiology or weapons mechanics work.

          • Scott Hornbuckle

            I’m sorry about being harsh, it’s just that I’m getting very frustrated at how often people act close-minded and say, “The katana is the best weapon ever created!” Hammers work because they focus most of the mass on a single spot. That’s why you can get so much force with that type of tool.

            “The weight of a three- pound hammer”

            Oh, but cloaks that were worn in the medieval and early modern eras were also three pounds. So, why can’t you initiate blunt trauma with one of those? The mass is distributed differently. With cloaks and other garments, the mass is more evenly distributed. When it comes to delivering blunt trauma, it all depends on mass distribution. @jakethesnake

          • A curved weapon also focuses energy on a single point, that’s why they work

    • How do you KNOW this shit?

  42. If they say use a Blunt weapon and dont use a sword becuz it will dull then why don’t u use a sword till it fills then it will be blunt so use it sharp while u can and it will still be a little bit sharper than a blunt weapon so it will make life easier to kill them

  43. Ok if we are going through the topic of zombie weapons no one has said yet that they have more then 1 weapon ofcourse you can’t have a hundred but you simply have it down to power speed distance and durability

    Katana would be my primary weapon since the power and swing are unbeatable with 2 knuckle buster knives as my secondary so in tight spaces the knuckles can still destroy a head while the knife can do aswell and a compound bow for easy shots without the risk of danger

  44. Ok, setting aside for a minute that we’re discussing zombie-killing as if it were serious, and focusing only on Japanese swords and martial arts, this article is complete and utter nonsense. There’s way too much baloney here to cover in detail without putting everyone to sleep, but let’s touch on some of the most glaring points.

    1) “Good thing I’ve still got my trusty crow bar and baseball bat.”

    Can you swing a crow bar or baseball bat without hurting yourself? Why couldn’t you swing a sword without hurting yourself, then? If you wouldn’t hit your own foot with a baseball bat, why would you cut your own foot off with a sword?

    Literally millions of people around the world use machetes for various practical purposes. In some places they’re as commonly owned as shovels and are an ordinary item in people’s tool sheds. Does anyone here doubt that he could trim small tree limbs using a machete without injuring himself? A katana would be a terrible sword if it were HARDER to handle than a common machete.

    The point: If you can handle a crow bar, baseball bat, or machete without hurting yourself, you can handle a katana.

    2) “In a recent interview, modern Samurai Master, Yoshinori Kouno, pointed out that only katanas made in the traditional Japanese way, Tamahagane, are strong enough to withstand real battle.”

    Simple observation tells us that this is false. Cultures all over the world have made and used steel swords for just as long as the Japanese have, and all of their swords withstood battle just as well as Japanese swords. Japanese martial arts are undeservedly worshiped in the western world (think about how poorly karate has performed in modern MMA), and it is in the self interest people like “Master” Yoshinori Kouno to encourage people to believe the myths.

    The simple fact about raw tamahagane (no capital ‘T’ needed) is that it is extremely poor quality steel (full of slag and impurities and with wildly varying carbon content) and requires a great deal of forging to become useful. I completely agree that katanas are amazing swords, but this is IN SPITE OF being made from tamahagane, NOT BECAUSE OF it.

    Modern industrial steel is VASTLY superior to tamahagane. Think about this: We have grades of steel that are made into things like circular saw blades for saws that cut concrete. Does anyone seriously believe that hand-forged Japanese sword metal (with visible lamination and inclusions) is superior to steel used in a saw blade for cutting concrete?

    You literally know NOTHING about metallurgy, forging, or modern steel production if you swallow that.

    All other things being equal, a katana made from a modern tool-grade high carbon steel such as W2 would be superior in every way to a katana hand forged from tamahagane.

    3) “These swords have a specific blend of high and low carbon not found in store-bought replicas, no matter what their advertised quality.”

    First, this simply isn’t true. There are plenty of manufacturers of katanas for martial arts dojos that combine high and low carbon steel following the old traditions. The only difference is that they use modern industrial steel rather than tamahagane.

    Second, it is actually unnecessary to combine high and low carbon steel. There are methods of heat treating the blade after the quench to give a high-carbon steel EVEN GREATER TOUGHNESS than traditional katanas. A sword made from uniform tool-grade steel (such as W2) can be AMAZINGLY tough. What is more, a katana made from uniform tool-grade steel has less internal stress than a traditional folded and forge-welded katana and is less likely to develop a lateral curve or bend.

    There is no combination of low- and high-carbon steel on earth that is tougher than a properly heat treated tool-grade industrial steel.

    Once again, it is in the best interest of Japanese martial arts “masters” to promote myths about Japanese martial arts and swords. You don’t live in the real world if you believe them.

    4) “You’re better to hope your fake katana breaks on your first hit.”

    There are actually lots of really, really crappy fake katanas out there sold as souvenirs. They are pure junk and are sold to tourists for under $100. The tang of these swords is actually just spot welded on, and the blade would probably break off and go flying through the air if you ever tried to use it for anything.

    But this is very different from swords made for use by martial artists. Although these katanas aren’t hand crafted in the traditional manner, they aren’t “fake” and it is insulting to say that they are. Any katana made by a respectable company for use by a martial artists is going to stand up under ordinary use. Martial artists who train with swords know which companies make good ones.

    5) “Kouno closed the interview by stating that there are only a handful of people on the planet who could effectively use a katana…”

    Why? Once again, if katanas are HARDER to use than a crowbar, baseball bat, or machete then they are pretty crappy swords. If they’re really as amazing as martial arts mythology says they are, shouldn’t they be EASIER to use?

    And, in fact, they are easy to use. YouTube is full of videos of ordinary kids with no training at all cutting things to pieces with $250 mass-produced modern-steel katanas. If a weak overweight 14-year-old with no training at all can spend and afternoon video-recording himself cutting all kinds of objects to pieces with his katana, then there are two things we know for sure:

    a) His “fake” katana works just fine.
    b) Katanas aren’t hard to learn to use.

    6) “… in battle.”

    This might be true if you’re talking about using a katana in battle against other people who are also using katanas. In that case, yes, there are a limited number of people who know how to have a legitimate katana duel.

    But that’s not what we’re talking about, is it? We’re talking about using one to fight off zombies.

    7) “In my research…”

    You didn’t research very carefully.

    8) “…I’ve found that a real Japanese katana is difficult to master…”

    The art of Japanese sword fighting is difficult to master.

    Using a Japanese sword to hack things up is actually really, really easy.

    9) “…nearly impossible to find and purchase at a reasonable price…”

    Decent functional dojo-quality katanas can be found for $150. They’re not very fancy, but they’re perfectly practical. All of the fittings and mountings are pretty cheap, and the blades are basic and featureless. But since they’re made from modern tool-grade steel, they’re not going to break unless you pound on them with a sledge hammer or something, and they hold a sharp edge really well.

    Of course, there are much nicer modern katanas (modern, not “fake”) available for prices from $250 and upwards. I’ve seen katanas in this price range that would stand up to any traditionally made katana as far as strength and sharpness. Granted, they’re still not as ornate or pretty. But how pretty your sword is doesn’t matter much when what you want it for is killing zombies.

    Summary: There is a crapload of mythology surrounding Japanese martial arts. Don’t believe it. There is no such thing as magic and mysticism. Japanese swords really are amazing swords, but the features that make them so amazing are well understood and can be copied effectively using modern steel.

    • You’re #2 point was my first thought, but you’re right on all counts. This article is nonsense.

    • I agree I’m 15 and I can weld a katana, it really isn’t that hard. It is the same difficulty as welding any medium to long bladed weapon. And price for effectiveness, it’s not that bad. A katana that can cut through a spinal cord and rib cage like butter is only about $800 – $1,000. This article contains little to no actual fact.

      • Wield* (my ‘i’ button sticks a lot.)

      • Please explain to me how anime physics apply to real physics. Cutting someone in half with a chainsaw? Check…but you’ll likely be drenched in blood. Cutting someone in half with a sword, except with much less effort? Impossible. Not even with the finest sword, sharpened and perfectly balanced, can a spine and rib cage be so easily cut.

        • *you’re*

        • Depends on how you define “easily”. Look up ‘Cold Steel Katanas” on YouTube, and you’ll find videos of people torture testing katanas. One of the things they do is cut a pig in two with a single stroke. The pig is about as big as a person, and they cut the head off in one stroke, then they move up and cut it in half somewhere in the middle of the body, then again somewhere in the middle of the body. One stroke for each cut, and each stroke cuts the pig clean in two. (Incidentally, with their Great Sword, a version of a large European sword, they cut two pigs hung side-by-side in two with a single stroke.)

          In several of their torture tests (including the one for their o-katana) they cut most of the way through the skull of an adult cow with a single stroke.

          Also, you can look up an episode of the show Time Warp, where they use a katana to cut a pig leg in half, including the bone (the humerus or femur). It doesn’t look like it takes much effort at all.

          Historically, Japanese katanas were tested on condemned prisoners and human corpses, and records were kept of how many bodies could be cut in half with a single stroke. So, it has been known for centuries that a good katana can cut more than one person in half with a single stroke.

          Moreover, there are archeological digs in Japan where bodies have been recovered of people who died in battle centuries ago, and some of them demonstrate katana wounds. I’m not aware of any demonstrating a torso cut in half during battle, but in some cases arms or legs were cut off with what looks like a single stroke, and in some cases the top of the head was cut off. What I mean by that is that a slice was made through the skull, removing the top 1/3 or 1/4 of the head.

          So, a good sharp sword (and not just a katana, but other swords like the European long sword, the English broad sword, etc.) would definitely cut a limb off, cut a head off, and under the right circumstances even cut someone in half.

          Many of us have the idea that swords aren’t as effective in cutting as they really are. I think some of this misconception comes from the fact that most people have never handled a real sword and have never used one for cutting something that reasonably replicates a human body (for obvious reasons). Most of us get our “education” about swords by watching movies where one actor swings his sword and the other actor goes “aaaahhh” and falls down.

          But that’s not what would happen. In reality a good sharp sword has the ability to cut through all your internal organs, or all the meat of your thigh almost effortlessly. And it has the ability to cut through most of your bones without too much difficulty either.

          They way Michonne’s cutting is portrayed on the show Walking Dead is actually pretty accurate. A katana would definitely make most or all the cuts she is portrayed as making on a half-rotted corpse. The only caveat is that she is sometimes portrayed as making perfect cuts in closed spaces where she might not be able to really wind up and swing very hard. But in an open space, you could definitely cut zombies clean in half with a good sword.

          So, on the one hand much of the mythology surrounding Japanese swords is baloney.

          1. Tamahagane is not very good steel at first. It requires around a hundred man hours to work it into something useful.

          2. Really REALLY good swords can be made from any one of a dozen grades of modern steel.

          3. Wielding a sword is actually pretty easy. You don’t have to be a Japanese “master” to do it.

          4. Many types of swords are just as effective as a good katana. The Italian long sword is virtually identical in performance.

          On the other hand, some of what they say about good swords is actually true, and we underestimate their effectiveness.

          1. Good swords are SHARP, and I’m not talking kitchen-knife sharp. I’m talking so sharp that gently grazing the blade gives you a little paper cut.

          2. Good swords hare sorta heavy. Katanas aren’t super heavy, but if you ever handle one you’ll be surprised at how they feel. Their weight gives them momentum, which translates into the ability to penetrate deeply when they cut.

          3. And several lines of evidence (not the least of which is video proof of swords cutting through pigs) tells us that good sharp swords have no problem cutting a body in half.

          • Scott Hornbuckle

            Actually, if you look closely at the cold steel demonstration videos, you’ll see that their pigs’ main bones have been extracted (although the limbs obviously still have bones). Cutting through limbs is indeed possible (leg armor was very popular in the Middle Ages) .

          • No, the pigs in the cold steel videos have not had the bones removed. They’ve been skinned and gutted, but their vertebrae and ribs are still there.

            What’s more, in several of their videos, they hack into a cow’s skull.

          • Actually, I just watched the cold steel videos again. They weren’t skinned, just gutted. And the bones are all definitely still there. You can see the cross section of the ribs in some of the shots.

    • Well said and true. If you have some direction or coordination and remember that the blade is sharp it is easy to learn how to cut with. It is harder but not impossible to be skilled with it and with dedication and practice to master.

    • So if you had to survive in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, and you came up to a jammed door that you need to get through to get away from a horde of zombie chasing you, you can have fun trying to open the door with a samurai katana or fight the zombies off with it.

      I’ll take a crowbar. At least I have a much higher probability of getting that door open quickly and getting away with it than with a sword.

      I don’t doubt a Japanese Katana is an amazing weapon (I love them) But the key to survival is being versatile. A crowbar is much more versatile than a samurai sword.

    • I would even say modern carbon steel or tool steel katana might be even better than katana made from traditional material

      • Yes. This is definitely true.

        Modern tool steels are far superior to traditional Japanese steel. Even plain high-carbon steel of the same carbon content as a typical katana (1075 steel, for example) is superior.

    • I was stationed near Tokyo Japan while serving in the Air Force. The comments of the master are just self obsessed.The master is simply trying to preserve the mystique of the samurai. If you have ever watched a japanese master demonstrating any martial art they are very stringent about technique down to the minutest of detail. Also, thousands of people study the art of kendo which is basically Katana fighting. If you recall Japanese officers carried katanas in WWII and used them quite effectively to behead prisoners, which in effect is exactly what you would be doing to zombies. Also, if you were to buy a katana I would assume you would research how to use it, having done this and using the two handed grip shown in nearly all techniques it would be very difficult to strike yourself even if you completely missed your target. As you stated, youtube is full of non-masters hacking stuff up with cheap imitations. The subject is wether a katana is an effective weapon for killing zombies. I agree with you completely on every point. Anyone able to swing a katana made of modern tool quality sharpened steel with enough force to sever a limb or head, could utilize it effectively to defend themselves against zombies. Especially as the stereotypical zombie is slow moving, practically mindless, and unarmed.

      • In my veiw u r right. And wrong right if they are slow it won’t matter if u use a rock but if there fast just being familure with ur weapon whatever it may be will not be enough say for the sake of this debait if it is that they are fast skill is all we would have on them since they feel no pain they will prolly be stonger than expected and if u just go hacking away hoping to hit two things will happen U will breack ur sword no matter what kind it is. And u will be lunch a sword is NOT a mechete

        • Don’t ever speak again… “YOU ARE” polluting the world.

          In case it wasn’t clear. What in your head went wrong, to make you think all those wavy red lines under everything you said was just there because it was there? ITS CALLED SPELLCHECK. Its there for morons like you who cant seem to grasp even one native language. familure? Debait?

          Come on dude.

          • Lololololololololololololololololololo
            Go fk ur mother

          • Im speaking again. After all that’s what this is for right. So if u don’t like it. Don’t read it here’s an idea. How bout if u don’t speak again since ur way off topic.

    • 1) “Good thing I’ve still got my trusty crow bar and baseball bat.”

      “Can you swing a crow bar or baseball bat without hurting yourself? Why couldn’t you swing a sword without hurting yourself, then? If you wouldn’t hit your own foot with a baseball bat, why would you cut your own foot off with a sword?”

      Because you if you touch yourself with a crow bar or a baseball hat in the worse case scenario you will bruise yourself, in the most common scenario not even that, if you scratch yourself with a razor blade you CUT yourself.
      It’s very simple to figure out, takes really nothing to lose a toe swinging a katana or open on your legs a 3-4 inches wound, and it does happen.
      Everyone with little combat training experience with knifes, which are way less dangerous than longer blades will understand what I’m talking about.
      You play with blades cuts will happen.
      Also a blade is way faster than a large baton, and it’s balanced to swing in a certain way, faster movements means more chances to make mistakes or lose control.

      “Literally millions of people around the world use machetes for various practical purposes. In some places they’re as commonly owned as shovels and are an ordinary item in people’s tool sheds. Does anyone here doubt that he could trim small tree limbs using a machete without injuring himself? A katana would be a terrible sword if it were HARDER to handle than a common machete.”

      Again people who handle machetes for combat purpose DO INJURE THEMSELF as much as anyone playing with knifes and blades in general.
      A Katana is sharper and swings faster than a machete, so yes it’s way easier to make mistakes.

      “The point: If you can handle a crow bar, baseball bat, or machete without hurting yourself, you can handle a katana.”

      Your point is completely invalid, just read above.
      Plus every one of these tools have different speed and different balance: there is some universal rules that might help the user of any tool as weapon. Which is why it’s strongly reccomanded to people involved in historical fencing to pratice with their weapon of choice, not just the type, the weapon they actually purchased. This is why people praticing with no sharpen training weapon will tell you when they finally get to handle the real thing .. well it feels completely different.

      2) “In a recent interview, modern Samurai Master, Yoshinori Kouno, pointed out that only katanas made in the traditional Japanese way, Tamahagane, are strong enough to withstand real battle.”

      “Simple observation tells us that this is false. Cultures all over the world have made and used steel swords for just as long as the Japanese have, and all of their swords withstood battle just as well as Japanese swords.”

      Infact he said katanas not swords in general.

      “Japanese martial arts are undeservedly worshiped in the western world (think about how poorly karate has performed in modern MMA), and it is in the self interest people like “Master” Yoshinori Kouno to encourage people to believe the myths.”

      Karate is a sport discipline, which was born (in the way it’s praticed now) in modern ages, so are kendo or aikido.
      They not done for combat they are done for sport competitions.
      Kenjutsu isn’t Kendo.

      “The simple fact about raw tamahagane (no capital ‘T’ needed) is that it is extremely poor quality steel (full of slag and impurities and with wildly varying carbon content) and requires a great deal of forging to become useful. I completely agree that katanas are amazing swords, but this is IN SPITE OF being made from tamahagane, NOT BECAUSE OF it.”

      You missing the point completely.. there is no such thing as a nihonto ( and katanas are nihonto) without tamahagane or tamahagane like steel.

      “Modern industrial steel is VASTLY superior to tamahagane. Think about this: We have grades of steel that are made into things like circular saw blades for saws that cut concrete. Does anyone seriously believe that hand-forged Japanese sword metal (with visible lamination and inclusions) is superior to steel used in a saw blade for cutting concrete?”

      Tamahagane was developped and refined to forge swords, not to build circular saws, you can name all the conditions were modern alloy steels is superior to tamahagane and you will be probably right, except for the very use tamahagane is superior.. making nihontos.

      “You literally know NOTHING about metallurgy, forging, or modern steel production if you swallow that.

      All other things being equal, a katana made from a modern tool-grade high carbon steel such as W2 would be superior in every way to a katana hand forged from tamahagane.”

      Again there is no such thing as katana without tamahagane, I sure don’t know enough about forging to claim that, This is why I rely on the word and opinion of generations of swordsmiths which state so.

      3) “These swords have a specific blend of high and low carbon not found in store-bought replicas, no matter what their advertised quality.”

      “First, this simply isn’t true. There are plenty of manufacturers of katanas for martial arts dojos that combine high and low carbon steel following the old traditions. The only difference is that they use modern industrial steel rather than tamahagane.”

      No sense.. using tamahagane is part of the old traditions, using industrial steel means breaking these traditions already.
      Old traditions aren’t even advertised, it’s not something you can learn from books, there is secrets that are owned by schools of swordsmiths and are part of the training process.
      Everyone claiming to follow the old traditions without having a japanese certified swordsmith as master it’s a wannabe to start with.

      “Second, it is actually unnecessary to combine high and low carbon steel. There are methods of heat treating the blade after the quench to give a high-carbon steel EVEN GREATER TOUGHNESS than traditional katanas. A sword made from uniform tool-grade steel (such as W2) can be AMAZINGLY tough. What is more, a katana made from uniform tool-grade steel has less internal stress than a traditional folded and forge-welded katana and is less likely to develop a lateral curve or bend.”

      Again you seem to claim that toughness is everything, when clearly it’s not.
      You state is unecessary while japanese swordsmiths (even the modern ones) say it is, I guess you have more experience and competence than them.
      That’s why people pay 30.000 $ dollars for contemporary made katanas instead to spend a few hundred for a fabric sword.. because they are morons.
      Yes I m not talking about antiquary weapons which have historical value (some very good pieces can be bought with 3-4000 $ dollars ) I’m talking about brand new items crafted with the ancient methods by modern swordsmiths.

      “There is no combination of low- and high-carbon steel on earth that is tougher than a properly heat treated tool-grade industrial steel.”

      Good to know. that would be great.. to make shields I guess:)
      being tough is only one factor . A good sword depends on dozen of them.

      “Once again, it is in the best interest of Japanese martial arts “masters” to promote myths about Japanese martial arts and swords. You don’t live in the real world if you believe them.”
      There is no need really.. there is a waiting list of months or years to get a brand new katana, and the government is hostile about selling katanas (old or news ) outside japan.. even raw tahmagane can’t be found on the market outside japan.

      4) “You’re better to hope your fake katana breaks on your first hit.”

      There are actually lots of really, really crappy fake katanas out there sold as souvenirs. They are pure junk and are sold to tourists for under $100. The tang of these swords is actually just spot welded on, and the blade would probably break off and go flying through the air if you ever tried to use it for anything.

      But this is very different from swords made for use by martial artists. Although these katanas aren’t hand crafted in the traditional manner, they aren’t “fake” and it is insulting to say that they are. Any katana made by a respectable company for use by a martial artists is going to stand up under ordinary use. Martial artists who train with swords know which companies make good ones.”

      You sound like koreans claiming their cornmade pizza is the real thing.
      So Pathetic there is no reason to reply.

      You claim that industrial katanas aren’t just ornated and pretty like the real ones like that is a factor, if you had any knowledge of the nihonto market you would know that ornaments have really little or no impact in the price of such item, it’s the condition and the quality of the raw blade that makes the value of a nihonto.
      Which is very peculiar of the japanese sword market: a sword crafted by Masamune (legendary smith even a narrow donkey like you might heard about) which blade lost it’s edge it’s valued really little on the market.

      This might be true if you’re talking about using a katana in battle against other people who are also using katanas. In that case, yes, there are a limited number of people who know how to have a legitimate katana duel.

      But that’s not what we’re talking about, is it? We’re talking about using one to fight off zombies.

      7) “In my research…”

      Decent functional dojo-quality katanas can be found for $150. They’re not very fancy, but they’re perfectly practical. All of the fittings and mountings are pretty cheap, and the blades are basic and featureless. But since they’re made from modern tool-grade steel, they’re not going to break unless you pound on them with a sledge hammer or something, and they hold a sharp edge really well.

      “Summary: There is a crapload of mythology surrounding Japanese martial arts. Don’t believe it. There is no such thing as magic and mysticism. Japanese swords really are amazing swords, but the features that make them so amazing are well understood and can be copied effectively using modern steel.”

      This is the manifesto of ignorance: you sound like Diderot writing in the first edition of his 1700’s Encyclopedia that the ancient worshipped stuff like the thunder because they ignored how it worked, now that modern science found out exactly how such thing works there is nothing to worship anymore.
      Except that 265 years after no phisicist would claim science know exactly how certain phisical phenomenas work, including the thunder:)

      During the Edo era japanese swordsmiths revolutioned the pratice of forging claiming it was derailed from the origins and tried to make swords the were made during the ancient times, some swordsmiths will tell you they were never able to completely succeed.
      Bet Katanas are the older ones:) (they weren’t even called katana but let’s not go to deep into this).

      On top of that, attempts to craft Katanas with modern steel were made, and the japanese swordsmiths weren’t happy with the results and decided to drop it.

      To end this.. what’s clear about your post is that:

      1) You have no experience of weapon combat practice (hitting your buddies with a plastic He-Man sword doesn’t count:P )
      2) You never had your hands on a real Nihonto
      3) You are quite ignorant generally speaking.
      4)You are very arrogant (which usually goes with being Ignorant over a certain degree)

      One piece of advice.. spend less time on youtube and read more. Preferably books, internet fora do not count.

  45. some research… kendo duh

  46. You’ve probably heard this already.
    Also, i’m not reading the possible idiocy you’ve posted, I’m just going to make this short and sweet.
    A katana is a highly dangerous weapon against any being.
    Its power and sharpness is beyond most cutting blade weapons. A katana can easily pierce or slice a skull in a single swing.
    A katana is durable.
    Also, as long as you have a good quality or even ancient katana, it will always be reliable if you take good care of it.
    By the way, if your katana cost less then 1.5k, or says “stainless steel” or “made in china” then you most likely have a cheap katana and it will break.
    One more thing. If you just purely suck at using a blade, then you arnt going to get very far.
    that is all.

    • Um…more dangerous than any other sword? Really? Oh, and by the way, you can take any piece of metal and make it unbelievably sharp. You don’t need “kAtaNa majjik!!!1!!” in order to make a blade sharp.

    • I bought two $100 katanas for half price online and sharpened them myself. (just in case I fucked the first one up.) Both are incredibly sharp and have cut through deer necks, branches, various melons, a door mat, and several magazines and phone books.

      I’m not the biggest guy, nor the strongest, but with this carbon steel “Piece of shit” I could do plenty of damage and my sword would come out just fine.

      And with enough practice you can wield two at the same time. Spartacus style, but even more awesome.

  47. i don’t think katana isn’t a bad weapon against zombie its good weapon only the user its bad if they said that. “its not the weapon that’s bad only the one who wield it”.

  48. I believe that my battle ready katana will have no issues with just about anything… the story here is a joke and the author is just about as smart as I would expect anyone who would doubt.

  49. a foil or sword like that would be better than a katana as its lighter and smaller and all u need is to go through the eye socket to the brain game over

  50. seriously guys katana in theory would be good considering training required might be more trouble thsn its worth. since theoreticaly zombies die from brain tramam a real foil or cutless would work better escpecialy if trained in fencing as the eye socket leads to the brain and a simple poke would be more than easy.

    • While your point of a Foil being lighter and easier to carry, it’s not like a zombie is gonna be just standing still and give you a perfect shot at this eyes. He be moving towards you, so his head be going side to side and you might have to deal with swinging arms, knocking the foil to the side easily.

      Honestly, a sword of any kind, much less a katana, would be the LAST melee weapon i want with me. Just for fun, if you found yourself in the middle of a city like in resident evil and you got a bunch of zombies coming at you, do you think your really going to stand your ground and swing away? If any of you say yes, than I want you as my buddy in a zombie outbreak, you will be my meat shield that draws the zombies to him while i get away.

      Although a samurai sword is light, it does still take stamina to swing it again and again. After some use, the blade will wear down and not be as sharp, requiring more energy to swing it if you want to cut deep into a zombie. I honestly doubt the zombies are going to line up single-file for you to deal with one at a time. So even before you can exhaust yourself swinging wildly away, you might get bitten from behind or something.

      I agree that a crowbar would be better here. Not just as a weapon, but also because a crowbar would be much more versatile, and also easier to carry. There’s really no way to hold a sword other than by the handle, and i can’t imagine having to travel long distances while holding a sharp blade the whole time, plus in tight quarters (indoors, hallways etc),, it be hard to use correctly. So that means you have to have a scabbard to hold it in, where you going to wear the scabbard? on your waist? Than there’s that problem with moving around freely in tight spaces again. On your back with the other gear you need to survive during a zombie outbreak? Than you have to waste time taking off your pack before you pull your sword to fight, as i can imagine you want to fight with a sword while wearing weight on your back that throws you off balance. Also, if you happen on people holding guns, like the military soldiers, there might be a slight off chance that could cause misunderstanding. You probably be tired, dirty, and your reflexes shot. So you might whip out the blade out of reflex with no thought. Rule for all cops and soldiers is anyone within 21 feet holding a knife is considered a immediate threat, so they might misunderstand your intention and fire away.

      A crowbar is much easier to hold, as you won’t have to worry about cutting yourself as much as with a katana. It’s much more versatile, I can open boxes, stuck doors, man-hole covers, trunks of cars that might have been dented in a car crash. It’s also more able to be use indoors, where i won’t have enough to swing anyway, I can just out of reflex use it to push a zombie back and hopefully, off-balance, and run the hell away before it recovers. Plus, a crowbar, while it can be regarded as a weapon, isn’t as initially threatening as a sword, so i probably won’t get shot on sight if i happen to stumble upon a group of soldiers while im holding it.

  51. All I can say is WOW… I was browsing the net in search of a new Competition Katana and this is what I came across… Yeah I read the article… I can’t believe how many of you believe this crap. Zombies? Really? As for being able to defend yourself with a sword: Swords bend, chip, break and they get worn out. Thats why I’m looking for another one! BUT any jackass can hack away an unarmed brain dead zombie. And as for all of you so called life long martial artist out there: I have NEVER EVER seen ANYONE bring a “battle ready” folded steel katana to a competition….EVER! We use good ol’ mono-steel blades and yes they’re differentially hardened (clay tempered). Occasionally I see some newbie bring what he thinks is a traditionally made blade to class that he spent 5 grand on. He usually ends up quitting that day because we all make fun of him. We do not tolerate Cosplayers. If you guys are serious about learning how to use a sword join a Iaito class.

    • I’m pretty sure none of us believe in zombies. It’s just good fun to think about stuff like this.
      And as many western people confuse a katana with being a lightsaber, this article is very helpful in dispelling myths about them.

      • Well I agree with Che in a way, saying that a person can’t use a sword in combat against and unarmed brainless zombie is ridiculous. Any sword would be dangerous for an inexperienced user in real weapon to weapon combat, because that’s when a deflection would occur. And there’s no way any user no matter how inexperience would cut a leg off because it simply isn’t possible to swing a bat, sword, or any 60cm+ length object behind your leg with that much force while you have both hands on it. And if the user was inexperienced the blade although a lighter type would seem heavy, thus they would hold it with both hands like it should be held.

        • The only possible way I see a user cutting their leg is if they literally have not muscle or control of their arms, which I highly doubt they would use a weapon such as a sword to begin with simply because of the weight.

          • Well any heavy sword for that manner could kill a zombie wheather a european bastard sword a japanese katana a scottish clamour what ever would be good against zombie since those are design to be more fluid than a crow bar and wont stress you much and o dont think you need much training slashing a sword against a shumbling corpse

          • Well another experiment get a crow bar strike as many pig carcas as possible and record how many before you get tires then get a sword(a Dao a bastard sword a katana a longsword a saber a falchion a kriss etc. ) and slash as many pig carcass as you can i bet you can slash more pig carcass fataly than the crowbar before you get tired and more often faster , in a real zombie epedimic it translate to better chances of survival , if on such i will carry both a sword (what ever type) and a crowbar both have thier uses

          • Athough Crowbar might be more effective if the zombie is wearing a helmet armor or simply a steele bucket on his head in that case I will start planing pea shooter tallnuts and wintermelons

  52. Well for this articall I say it’s crap . Your right about it being hard to find . But any low life can use a katana . Plus regular blunt weapons are not effective against zombies … AKA baseball bat.. Sledge hammer.. 2×4 .. Stuff like that don’t help because they will only crack or damage the skull .. And they are hard to carry anyways . And if the people that think there will be a zombie outbreak will go for knifes swoards . Not movie loved weapons . Not wierd weapons I am sorry to burst the wana be ( I like zombie people ) but yah…

  53. ya all in all ill go with my budk tactical spear and my bearded ax the spear blade was still good after i left it in the rain for a week and is made to be near indestructable. and my ax can split a 6 in wide and 1 foot long plug of mesquite ans still have the force to stik into the stump under it

  54. Ok, I have to call BS on many of the replies here. First off lets start with the lethality of a katana against the undead. Since severe brain trauma is the only way to effectively kill a zombie, you have about 4 options with any edged weapon. First, cut off the head. While this may not really “kill” it, it will rather effectively take it out of the fight. Cutting completely through the neck is not entirely difficult to achieve either. To test this, buy a ham (bone in) and try cutting through that while its suspended by a rope. If you can do this then you can also cut off a head, in fact it will actually be easier to decapitate a zombie. Think about it, the ham is suspended in air without any anchoring to the ground. This will cause swaying in the target when struck making it actually harder to cut through than something (zombie head) that is anchored by about 200 pounds, thus making a stiffer target that will not so readily sway. Second method is actually cutting into the skull. Again mechanics with sway and what not come into play here. Take your hand and do a light knife chop on the side of your head. What happened? Your head moved to the side. Cutting into a skull from the side would be difficult indeed due to the fact that the skull will move to the side only resulting in a “glancing” blow really. Now do a knife chop on the top of your head. Didn’t move nearly as much now did it? Coming down on top of a zombies head would be effective because, once again, you’re hitting a stiffer target. Also there is no real need to worry about getting your blade stuck unless you use enough force to enter into the collarbone / chest plate area where it could possibly get lodged, because ahead of your blade, the skull fractures, essentially paving the way, and if you get past the jaw the head opens kinda like a “V” because it now lacks structural support. The third method involves the same strike, but with the spine of the blade. With a raised ridgeline on your katana, skull cracking becomes VERY easy. The fourth and final method is a stab. This should only really be reserved for sneak attacks where you can enter the brain stem (that soft spot at the base of the skull), because the front of the skull is extremely thick and hard to puncture and cutting the brain stem just makes more sense, because once that is damaged severely enough, the target drops like the sack of meat they now are. Of course going through the temple, eyes, or in through the bottom of the chin are all feasible, but very hard to accomplish on a moving target. Despite what all these so called sword masters on here say, killing something with a 3′ razor really isn’t that difficult, especially when the receiving party is unarmed. Minimal training on edge orientation (getting that “whistle” when swung through the air), strike accuracy, and strike recovery are really the only things you need to be a successful zombie slayer with a katana. Also on a similar point, zombie flesh is rather decayed and broken down, making penetration easier than say a fellow survivor or predator. The Katana also makes for an excellent self defense weapon for the aforementioned predator. Not only is it extremely deadly almost anywhere you hit, there’s also the intimidation factor. I for one sure as hell wouldn’t want to square up against someone with a wild look in their eye while they are holding a 3′ razor. In summation, I honestly believe that wielding a sword with fatal intentions in mind is much less an art than it is a science. You don’t need the most expensive or flamboyant weapon either. I have one of those black ronin (or whatever) swords that you can get out of a BudK catalogue for like 20 bucks. I’ve used it to dig holes, fell saplings, split wood, drive stakes, and gain entry past a deadbolt, all without fail, and I have the utmost confidence that my $20 beater sword will take down some walking, rotting corpse.

    • I’m not meaning to be an ass or anything, but if that predator was wielding a 12-gauge, or anything of that nature, I don’t think a katana would faze him much. The smartest thing for him to do is to, kill you, take the sword, use it for zombies and unarmed survivors, and save ammunition.

      • Not to mention of how loud a 12 gauge make? If you’re fast and stealthy, take the sword if not, spray them bullets.

        • All I would need in my survival kit would be a good modern spring steel katana $3-500 and a simple long bow with a hundred or so aluminum arrows. Silent, lethal and recyclable. Guns would be near useless, ammo runs out fast and they are too loud. Arrows are silent and trouble free. I own several katanas abs they are the ultimate, close quarters combat weapon.

          • Carbon shafts are superior to aluminum. They are lighter, which translates to faster shots of greater distance with less drop, and they will not bend like aluminum shafts will.

        • There is only one thing though, one more person spared is one more person to not worry about. You also need to keep in mind that the person with the gun will help keep the zombie population down, which is better for the human survival than going crazy and killing everybody who could actually be a good help

          • I agree whole-heartedly. Any human who would intentionally kill survivors is worse, more soul-less, and even more brain-dead than the zombies themselves. If you’re going to kill innocent, non-zombified humans, unnecessarily, or just to steal their supplies, do the world a favor and use your katana to chop your own head off, or better yet, strap a bunch of explosives onto yourself, lure a bunch of brain-hungry walking corpses to yourself, and blow ’em all to Hell.

  55. I, like many, will call bullsh!t on this article. The amount of training and conditioning for a Bushido master may take years, but that includes drawing, cutting, blocking (another sword or weapon), stances, Kendo/ Sparring and tradional customs, etc… The result is a warrior who is capable of killing another swordsman. A skilled swords man can take a zombie in one or two cuts.

    A survialist needs only a portion of that training. His greatest concern would be cutting himself or his buddies by accident. An untrained survialist will probably take 2 or 3 or more cuts to kill a zombie.

    I trained in bushido for a year, it doesn’t take too long to become capable. However it takes years of training to fight and win against a skilled swordsman. Unless you are fighting an undead samurai who recalls his training, you have nothing to fear.

    My only gripe against the katana is that it doesn’t have as much knockback capability as a baseball bat or sledge hammer.

    • You do realize bushido (translated: the way of tgw warrior) is essentially a religion and/or lifestyle nothing to do with swordsman ship, right? Bushido is about honor through living a life of service.

      Kendo/kenjustu/iaido/iaidjutsu are degrees of swordsmanship.

  56. Even a fairly inexpensive katana can handle cutting through immeasurable amounts of flesh and bone. You can’t flail them around like an idiot or yes you will hurt yourself. The sword is designed to cut through bodies efficiently and end a life in one move.

    You don’t need $20000 katanas to be able to cut clean through pig carcasses bone and all. I’ve seen one for about $150 do this in the hands of an amateur. There are plenty of videos of this and even greater feats. You can readily pull of videos of katanas cutting through steel. Please don’t say ignorant things like any blade is a katana. I’d like to see any sword with the same extremely light weight of the katana with anywhere near the cutting ability. Cutting a human is nothing if you can cut through a steel pipe. Yes of course if you swing wildly and you’ve never used such a weapon before it will easily maim your own body as well.

    If you want to talk about quality of steel and stuff like that…any blade made of a cheaper material will not be as durable overall. The style of blade is irrelevant. Yes the katanas of legend are very expensive pieces, but you can get a quality steel for a decent price today.

    Overall I find your piece to be completely wrong as I am sure others before me have told you already.

  57. lol we’d all be fucked if the zombies were like resident evil

    • I think that we should be more worried if they were the zombies from the more recent ‘World War Z’.
      I would definitely pick the katana as my weapon of choice. Adding the Samurai armour also for added protection from their nasty bite. 🙂

      Good luck to all when the day comes.

  58. This article is absurd. Recently a teenager in the states killed a home invader with a stainless steel mall katana…. I’ve cut through steel with a real katana and modern spring steel katana’s can take a huge beating and keep cutting, a zombie wouldn’t stand a snowflakes chance in hell against a real katana (or any half decent modern katana) with a middle level artist.

    ALSO to call and sword with a single edge a katana, eg a us military sword is ridiculous, seriously where did you think this garbage up? That’s like calling a car a motorcycle just because it has wheels,

    • this article is not saying that a katana is a bad weapon itself. it is saying that the katana can only be used properly if the wielder knows how to use it and need to be a master at using it. so for us it is useless as it said on this article as we would hurt ourselves because of our inexperience with it. unless you are a samurai master then you could use this weapon effectively.

      • “In a recent interview, modern Samurai Master, Yoshinori Kouno, pointed out that only katanas made in the traditional Japanese way, Tamahagane, are strong enough to withstand real battle.”

        Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… thank god reading skills won’t be a high priority for the Zombie Apocalypse. This is what the article is implying. Go get some Japanese “master,” then cut and paste some pat reply that adds up to only Tamahagane steel katana wielded by master swordsman blah blah blah… You don’t have to be Musashi to beat back mobs of the undead. Refer to Jolly’s 10 Aug. reply. I think Jolly covered all the bases. Good post Jolly.

  59. Youre right. To a certain point. But stupid enough to realize any weapon, be it a butcher knife is as effective a zombie weapon as any. As long as its sharp. Dont be naive dumbass.

  60. Arahabaki the Chaos

    the 100% traditional tamahagne katanas are not as strong or tough as people make them out to be, as history began to enter the modern age (especially around the industrial revolution) methods for refining ore into iron and iron into steel have become increasingly superior since samurai were still japan’s strongest military force, many steels we use in our daily lives are sometimes harder or stronger than any traditional katana and since we have much purer steel in this day and age it makes good steel for swords easier to make, what im trying to say is, since our steel is much purer and our knowledge of how metals work is much greater we can easily produce swords now that are vastly superior than anything in feudal japan

  61. i think people hear sword and think sword fighting. We aren’t talking about 2 people squaring off in combat, with 2 swords banging against each other and cutting each other. We are talking about one guy with a sword pummeling someone without one. Who needs expert training for years to do that? That would be like saying you need to be a combat veteran to be able to shoot rabbits. Apples and oranges.

  62. This article is so wrong it’s painful.

    First of all. Tamahagane isn’t a process or “way”, as the author put it, of forging a katana. Tamahagane is a special powered steel that traditional swordsmiths used to make a katana.

    Second, while a katana or any sword for that matter, is dangerous to wield, it’s not nearly as hard as the author tries to make it out to be. You don’t have to be a master at using a katana to hack off someone’s (zombies) heads. Just a little coordination, awareness of yourself and your surroundings and common sense is all it takes.

    As much as I respect traditional swordsmiths in japan today, their bias on saying that only using tamahagane steel and traditional forging methods are the only way to make a katana strong enough for battle are completely false.

    If you think about it, how can a forging method that was discovered several hundred years ago be better than the technology we have today? The fact is….it’s not. It’s just that these people have spent their entire lives learning to create swords in the method that was passed down for centures. So they are just plain biased or uninformed of modern heat treatment and technology.

    • Thanks badness. Good write-up. Hey, if we were all so awesome at personal survival, there wouldn’t be nearly as many zombies around. It’s pretty obvious where the author of the original write-up is headed. Research my a$$.

    • Well im sure a tool steel katana would be stronger than the normal katana well any sword made from modern metal would be truly superior to a sword made during the medival period like a modern katana made of modern material would be superior than a medival longsword as well as a modern longsword made from modern material will also be superior to a medival katana

      • and modern version of sword will definately cheaper and wont cost more than $500 if you know where to look for it

  63. i was brought up using the katana sence i could hold a stick and while i do agree tamahagani katanas are expensive there are a few reasonable alternatives such as the 1095 clay tempered carbon or a higher rc hardened 5160 or the 9210 offered by cheness cutlery. the only thing i disagree with you sir is that the original katana is not made from 2 different metals but from a metal produced by smelting volcanic sand this is tamahagoni. the smelting displaces the cardon in the steel so its the same steel but 2 mildly different variations making one hard for the edge and one soft for the spine of the katana to remove and disperse impact to prevent the blade from facturing or breaking.i forged my own katana it is clay tempered with a hard 5160 edge and slightly softer and mildly springy 1075 backing. ive personally been able to cleave a cow skull in half as if it didnt exist and has been able to eat most other swords such as cold steel with nothing more than minor edge damage thats easyly polished out.

  64. zombieslayer200

    personally I wouldn’t go near any zombies, I would have a silent weapon and sneak around so nothing would notice I’m there.

    • it’s funny because your name says zombieslayer and the comment says that you would hide from zombies

      • The warrior who kills stealthily and lives to fight another day will slay more zombies, or any type of adversary, than the one who wades into the thick of battle and attracts the weight of the horde to his position. Think before you speak (or type).

  65. Despite the authors opinions and his so called samurai masters input, I believe a katana or any blades weapon would serve well.
    Sure, I would def want a firearm, but eventually ammo is going to become very hard to find. Also, guns are loud and would attract unwanted attention. Not just from other zombies, but other people as well. People who may consider taking my supplies and equipment to better ensure their continued survival, or those who haven’t eaten for days and have thoughts of cannibalism in mind.
    I would prefer to evade when possible, kill silently when I must kill and when I encounter other survivors be able to observe their actions, the way they speak and decide if they’re the kind of people I’d be willing to approach before making myself known. I don’t believe firing off a bunch of shots and announcing to anyone or anything within earshot that I’m around, therefore a sword or other blade would do nicely.

    • .22 short shell. deadly enough to kill with a headshot and sounds like a stone throw. ammo capacity 7-100 on the gun and a brick of ammo weight substantially less than anything else. that is what I would carry as a firearm at first.

      • The point of the Katana is ammo preservation, tactical flexibility, durability. You can sit on an armory… at some point the ammo runs out. Your Katana will still be there. A firearm or sidearm will always be the weapon of choice, but at some point you will hit a wall with a mechanical failure or run out of ammo. End of story.

        I’m glad there are so many imminently better qualified people rebutting the “researcher’s” initial article.

  66. Whatever. Sword makers and guys who play with swords make these comments to make themselves and their swords sound special. Modern metal smiths can make that sword that used to take a month in an afternoon and it’ll work just as well. May not have your magical “chi” or whatever but it’ll function the same. And we’re not talking about fighting another guy who has a sword, just chopping limbs and decapitating walking corpses. Some people get so wrapped up in whatever they’re into, they get offended whenever someone makes light of it. I think training for sword fighting is as silly as training to fight zombies. Yeah, i think it’s the ultimate zombie weapon. Yeah, i think i could figure out how to kill walking dead with it without killing myself. And yeah, if i run into another guy with a sword, i won’t sword fight him. I’ll shoot him and take his sword.

    • Dear less intelligent ( no offense ) person a quality Japanese katana takes year to make my dad waited 8 years to get one made by a 25 generation swordsmith

      • that’s retarded. I’m really sure you’re DAD did that. some people will say anything on the internet. No, they don’t spend a year hammering away on a sword all day. Who in the world told you that? You’ve been watching too much kill bill. If you look at any description of the forging of a traditional sword, the sword maker took days, MAYBE a couple of weeks to make it, and then sharpen and polish it. Not a year. That’s ridiculous.

        • Hear, hear.

          Nihonto (that’s the term for “real” katana made in Japan) takes at most a month to make. The sword maker (Kaji) would only work at most two to three weeks. The polisher (Togi) will work for about the same time. This is for producing a high-end katana that will sell for about 10K or so. An award-winning katana was selling recently for about 25k.

          How much would have a Katana cost if it took a year to make?

          Also, modern steel is superior to tamahagane. Get over it.

          (Real katanas surely are prettier; the folding process gives a beautiful “grain” in the steel, called “hada” which does not exists in modern steel.)

  67. A Viking axe would be an excellent choice for chopping smashing etc.!

  68. An idiot with a katana is much better off than an idiot with nothing. However, I think that unless you know what your doing, just get a nice machete and use it as a last resort.

  69. I’m a kendoka as well. A katana surely could be an effective weapon for slicing and dicing zombies. There are reasonably priced katanas that will hold up to the task. It takes decades to master the katana, but hitting a slowly moving target that doesn’t defend itself? Most people can manage to get to that point fairly quickly.

    The big issues with a katana for a weapon is 1) Most ones you’ll run across are the crap unusable variety. So unless you have your own its a no-go. 2) Its a short range weapon. Risk of being scratched or bitten is too high in a single combat let alone large groups. 3) It does require a bit of training as hitting with the right mechanics needs to be learned.

    So it wouldn’t be my first choice vs zombies. Something like a glaive or naginata would be idea for melee work. Ranged weapons would be the far superior choice.

  70. Seriously how could anyone deny the katana? Lol jk everyone has an opinion so here’s mine. Yes a sword for zombies is mostly effective for decap, or dismemberment it can still cut into the skull damaging the brain. So any blade is just as good as your dumb fuck blunt objects. No offends but if you grab a sledge hammer before the clever in your kitchen ur a tool who should be eaten by an undead horde cause you’ll be no use to the rest of us. In all honesty though it zombies ever show up I’m not playin by the rules.
    Making my own weapons
    Making my own shelter suspended off the ground
    Making traps and escape routes
    Making myself a freaking one man battalion of human intellect and battl tested nerves.

    So there’s my $0.02

  71. Just go with a katana stabbing zombies in the head maybe in the eyes or mouth that is the fastest way to kill if you dont know how to swing it, otherwise you could end up loosing your ear or some fingers XD anyways thats what i would do if my life depended on a sword

  72. SubjectivelyNeutral

    On one hand, I can understand the author’s attempts to dissuade the average couch potato from delusions of grandeur. You can’t just pick up a weapon that requires training and instantaneously becoming a killing machine. It just doesn’t work that way – in a fictitious scenario or otherwise. On the other hand, defending yourself is both harder and easier than you think. I’ve trained in various martial arts (including with different types of Japanese swords) off an on for about a quarter of a century now. In addition to martial arts training, I’ve also attended RMCAT, which is adrenal stress combat training, and unless you’re been trained by certain military or government organizations, it’s essentially the closest your’e ever going to get to a real fight without actually being in one.

    The thing that you need to keep yourself alive first and foremost is a fighting spirit. I’ve seen a 115-lb mom without any combat training or experience go berserk and gouge the eyes out of her assailant’s head with her fingernails when her children were threatened. Don’t think she didn’t come out of that unscathed, but I can guarantee that she came out of it in a lot better shape than her assailant did.

    I’ve also got some bad news for those of you who out there who are “budo-bunnies” and have never actually had the pleasure of pissing yourself in a real life-or-death situation. Most of the those subtle details that you learn from all those years of wonderful martial arts training go completely out the window when your reptile brain takes over in a fight. For those of you who have actually been in those kinds of situations, you know what I’m talking about. You train for long hard hours in the hope that some semblance of that knowledge will stick around in your brain to increase your chances of making it out alive when you’re up to your neck in sh**, not so that you can flit about the battlefield like some psychotic nightingale lopping off the heads of your enemies.

    People can wax philosophical and pontificate until they’re blue in the face about true mastery of the Japanese sword, and on some level it’s true, but you also have to understand that’s the Japanese mindset.. For that matter, it’s a good way to approach anything you do in life – constantly seek perfection and don’t waste any time on things that don’t contribute to that goal. However, for someone who does not dedicate their lives to being a professional solder or killer, which happens to be the vast majority of the population, there’s a point at which whatever combat assets you have become good enough that you stand a better chance making it out alive, even if you’re not a martial arts master. No one in their right mind would ever deliberately put themselves in a do-or-die situation like that, but when you absolutely have to, the real goal, whether your assets are a katana a chainsaw, or a boom-stick, or a machete, or your fingernails, or even a nice heavy rock – is to give yourself a fighting chance to live another day.

    Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me specifically address a katana as an instrument for defending yourself against fictitious hoards of shambling mindless enemies. I’ve been training with a sword for years and I’m not even close to mastering it, but even if you were leaps and bounds ahead of me in terms of sword mastery, you’d still be an idiot for charging into them with a katana because you’ve failed to correctly assess your enemy’s strengths and weakness. Your first choice beyond avoiding the situation in the first place, should be a firearm because that’s your best chance of getting them without them getting you – the goal is survival, remember? It’s not hard to train and maintain some nominal marksmanship skills if you’re consistent about it. Second choice should be anything that doesn’t run out of bullets that gives you reach. I don’t know too many people who keep medieval pole arms in their house, but who am I to judge – I’ve got a sword and a bunch of sticks. For those who don’t have a polearm handy, you’d be better off securing a butcher knife to the end of a long broom handle because it would give you a better chance of getting them without them getting you. j

    My $0.02 – take it or leave it.

    • Pretty good. I really do agree with this. When it comes to survival I would think that having different kinds of weapons that you’re proficient with would be best. While I am a fan of the katana, and am striving to learn to use it (I admit, I’m a beginner, with no real experience, as I’ve spent the past three years studying empty-handed combat), I wouldn’t charge a zombie horde with one. I think that it would be best to have both firearms and bladed weapons – because you will inevitably run out of ammunition, and a bladed weapon, whether it be a katana, a knife, or a European broadsword…something to fall back on in a pinch is always a good thing to have.

      And while I would definitely prefer a traditionally-made Tahagane differentially hardened katana, I think metallurgy has advanced to the point where companies can forge a sword that still holds its own in battle, even if it’s not completely authentic and true to the Japanese way of forging. Certainly there are ones of modern make that are not folded steel, but rather carbon steel, that could serve as a good defense – after all, it need not be Japanese for it to be useful. 😉

  73. i’m a martial artist, and sword collector. If you do some research on buying a legitimate sword, you will find that at around 300$ they become immensly durable and good looking to boot. i have a ronin dojo pro model that would stand thousands of cuts on fleshy targets. even better swords can be purchased for 600 to 1000$ if you’re serious about collection or practition. maybe a sword isnt the best option for the inexperienced, but if the dead rise, i’m putting on my gi and, paul chen bainite hunter katana and having a field day.

    • Thank you! Modern swords for the price you stated would be fine. I’m pretty sure Sammy Sosa could fuck some shit up with a sword he’s never picked up.

    • SubjectivelyNeutral

      I’ve come to own several katana over the years. In the past five or six years, decent quality swords have become more readily available. Case in point, I recently purchased a T-10 differentially hardened katana that I use frequently in iaido class. I also use it extensively for cutting practice without any issues. It’s beautifully crafted and balanced. I only paid $270 for it, and it’s a great blade, even if it were twice that price, and it’s become my new favorite for training. Ronin katana are typically designed in a dotanuki style, which means they’re a little thicker and heavier than the average katana. I don’t own one, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about them. After a certain point, your sword transitions from being a practical blade to being functional art. I have a honsanmai blade that’s a beautiful piece of art in addition to being very functional. Even the 1065 carbon steel beater swords for $60 bucks with a decent on them are nominally serviceable – just test it out safely before you really need to use it to make sure it’s not going to fail on you. Just stay way from the stainless steel wall hangers and anything that does not have a full tang (i.e., the metal of the blade is one solid piece and extends all the way through the bottom of the handle.

      One more note on being a what’s considered a swordsman by Japanese standards versus killing zombies: As someone said in this thread, learning to be a real swordsman is hard and is a lifelong dedication. Learning to do damage to a mindless shambler without hurting yourself – considerably easier. Why? Because swordsmen are trained to fight other people who are trained like them. Learning the mechanics of cutting well enough against a hypothetical zombie while not hurting yourself or destroying your sword is an entirely different matter. Becoming a professional swordsman versus developing some basic combat survival skills are related but different. In either case, you need to learn some proper technique and drill with it until you don’t have to think about it any more, especially in a stressful situation.

  74. Personally, I’d want a Naginata. I can keep foes away from me and I would be able to reach my target with little chance of infection.

  75. Actually you would do fairly well with a cheap knock off… they don’t snap & break they bend LOL, and we are talking slow moving zombies here.. 10 or less you would be fine in the open but then again you would be with a hammer or a baseball bat.. or just walk away swiftly even.. but a decent sized Machete would do as well as a Knock off Katana.. or a real one for that matter..

  76. im sorry but no. No katana and I mean No katana can hold up in a fight with a swarm of zombies unless the user is skilled. Katanas are made as a sword ment too kill its target in one hit. It is impossible too say what zombies will be like if they do somehow apear though so we may be wrong maybe your baseball bat wont work.

  77. Alexandre Phoenix


    I have read a lot of the comments below this topic and i regret to inform you that the majority of you or idiots that seem to be so self satisfied with their own opinions that you would post it as ‘fact’.

    I agree with the poster with a certain element. To the average Joe, a katana may seem like an incredible weapon to use and I have seen so many people in and out of dojo’s swinging it around totally convinced that they know what they are doing.
    They don’t.
    You don’t either. …probably.

    Yoshinori Kouno has a lot to say about the modern katana and he is definatley right about amature sword weilders and knock of shelf-filler ‘Katana’s.

    I have advise for people thinking about holding a sword, Zombie apocolypse or not, if they are not trained with one, if they don’t know the mechanics of one, if they don’t understand how it is made, if they don’t understand how to take apart or re-assemble the sword….don’t kid yourself. DON’T USE ONE. Your a danger to yourself and everyone around you.

    I train in a tactics/war based sword style, and I can tell you It’s a life commitment. You can’t take a couple of classes, get a certificate and a sticker saying ‘well-done’ and expect to be proficiant with a sword. I’ve seen so many people walk into classes with ridiculous ignorance thinking that it was going to be easy and wondering ‘how much is there really to learn about swinging a sword around’. If you ARE one of those people with that mentality, then you may as well walk into the garden and fall on your ceap knockoff piece of shaved metal and rid the world of your stupidity.

    To be prepared for battle and weild a Shinken, Naganata, Wakizashi, Tanto…anything remotley similar from Japan; a single person would be learning these ways from a very young age. The Samurai are not a classification of soldier type, it was a way of life (and no, before anyone tries to be clever I am NOT paraphrasing from ‘the last samurai’!). The Japanese grew up with an entirely different view on life to us, they lived everyday like it could be their last. They learnt what their bodies could do and understood them. Someone on this forum posted that people would be drilled into the army and trained in a matter of weeks, and someone else said in that respect, ‘how hard could it be’? (Ignorance is bliss? Trust me, in your precious ‘Zombie apocolypse’, you would be the first to go)
    These people are mixing feudal japanese soldiers with soldiers that were drilled into the army around WW2 and close previous wars. As soldiers tend to back then, they get dragged into the army and trained quickly. How to stuff their rifle, how to fire it and get taught the basic Battojutsu. A series of cuts and formations to give the soldiers an bacic guide to using a sword if they need to. This was not enough. Soldiers cut of their knees in the heat of the moment or even in basic practice. I’m not saying that it was a dum practice, i’m saying the people that didn’t understand the sword hurt themselves. Sad to say even the people that did know what they were doing with the sword (those left over from a much more traditional samurai background) didn’t come home anyway because they had been blown up or shot.

    It’s funny actually. If guns didn’t make the sword obsolete in the warmongers eyes then we wouldn’t be having this conversation now, people most people would know better and that there is more to weilding the Japanese sword than meets the overinventive eye.

    I train in the arts and I can tell you, it’s hard. I do many kinds of battojutsu in my learning and as important an element it is, it’s still just the icing on the cake. It’s a deep, difficult skill to understand and practice, the sword arts and i’m still trying to study and cram it in my head. Nobody is a master at the sword. There is either Good, or shite. And if i were to measure my skill on that scale, with all the practice and time i haave had, i’d still say i was closer to the ‘shite’ mark. But my ‘Shite’ could be considered ‘incredible’ compared to the amature that thinks that there is nothing to it.

    In terms of The Shinken being a good ‘Zombie-killing weapon’ – Let’s assume that you are proficiant with the blade and skills, that you have experience cutting through tough tatami targets close enough to simulate cutting limbs or capable of decapitation, understand how to maintain the sword, have all the cleaning gear required to look after it and that the sword is genuine, strong carbon Steel and tradionally made, with no fractures and is in good condition, that as a user you are dressed to move freely, and have a method of sharpening your sword without comprimising it’s integrety, that you are fit and healthy and could keep your focus in the rage and blood that is war/zombie apocolypse, that you do not tire or lose breath after a couple of cut targets, that you know how to handle swords in open/closed spaces or have alternative similar weapons to suit your surroundings (Ie. Wakazashi of indoors, Tanto for cramped indoors)…
    … Then I’d say that not only is the shinken a great zombie killing weapon but I’d like to meet you and that you are incredibley prepared for what you are doing.

    If ever the sword failed me in such a scenario, such as meeting the unfortunate incident as breaking the sword (There are common weak points on a Shinken), then you should be able to use all the skills that got you there without it. If you are trained with a sword or are a tough bastrd at any martial art then you stand much more chance at surviving than videogame/movie/internet daydreamers. They’re your Zombie fodder.

    • Don’t take life too seriously sir, you will never get out alive.

      In the case of a real apocalypse I’d prefer to be the video gaming buffoon with a quality weapon then the unreasonably over-critical pragmatist without one.

      • Being a video gamer myself, while not a buffoon per se, I wouldn’t trust myself with a quality weapon. I always cut myself with my hobby knife just trying to pop off plastic Warhammer 40,000 characters off their sprues. Me swinging a sword around against a swarm of zombies? I’d goddamn decapitate myself. And I can imagine the average gamer, even ones who play lots of sports and exercise frequently, they would not be able to just pick it up the instant a few zombies started stumbling into their yard and go around slaughtering them like some legendary swordsman. You’d at least have to practice with it enough to understand the proper motions and the weapon’s limits before you’d be skilled enough to use it.

        In terms of gaming, its like an RPG where you have to spend your accumulated experience points/levels to unlock and upgrade proficiencies in different weapon types. You can’t just pick it up without training yourself on how to wield it.

    • even if you never heard of a katana before im pretty sure that you would figure out how to use a giant knife to kill people.

  78. Regardless of what’s said about the katana in this thread when I run out of ammo that’s my go to piece I disagree on what’s said about not being able to wield it. One practiceses on fire arm combat scenarios why not take your sword outside and practice with it also. I’m not saying go cut mats or pigs but get use to the feel and weight of it not being corny or anything “become one with it” know your limitations of reach and force. And no matter what some people say about swinging an ax or a crowbar obviously haven’t swung many times with one. I’ve felled trees with chainsaws and a few with an ax and believe me it’s very tiring to keep swinging at a tree now just imagine your life in danger with hordes of zombies coming at you my katana is a lot sharper and lighter than my ax and it has a further reach. Get profiant with your rifle shotgun katana in that order. Like I said rifle keeps um away shotty keeps um at bay but katana will keep you ALIVE.

    • Actually the shotgun probably isn’t such a good idea. I mean think about the noise, everytime you fire it how many zombies are you going to attract? You probably’ll want a silencer on that rifle too.

    • ya i agre the person who rote all this has no idea what he is talking a bought at all if u can swing a bat or a crow bar u can use a katana as an afective weapon it dont take rocket science to know how to use a blade its not like we r back in the samurai era and actuly have to use a tenick to fight your aponent the fucking zombies realy

      • lol the guy says baseball bat or a hammer I mean wow it’s not even comparable how much more efficient the katana is for this purpose.

        The form of a katana was perfected as a killing instrument over centuries and even modern examples of the sword retain much of this wisdom.

        With things like a hammer, bat, crowbar each attack would be less lethal and consume more energy. Even a machete would be much less efficient. Compared to virtually any melee weapon it has more advantages than not.

  79. A Katana doesn’t refer to any sword. That’s just ignorance on the writer’s part. A simple search on the interwebz would have cleared that up.

    Also, it doesn’t take years to become combat ready to use a katana. It would only take a few weeks. There were hundreds of thousands of samurai fighting in constant battles throughout Feudal Japan.

    If it required such long training, no samurai would be worth fielding, as it would cost too much rice payments to afford even 1 samurai, let alone thousands. They would have to be sheltered, fed, trained constantly for decades. Whereas a conscript was a farmer who required little training and cost very little to field.

    Also, a Katana is not just a cutting weapon for anyone who is trained in Aikido or Kendo or Kenjutsu or Jiu-jitsu.
    Btw, Aikido and Jiujitsu experts train in both the Katana and the Wakizashi and Tanto at the higher levels fyi.
    A Katana is a very good piercing weapon as well. That’s why the Sword Masters created a chisel point that could pierce leather and wood. Samurai needed a versatile weapon because they had to fight against armored opponents as well as unarmored ones, on horses, off horses, enemies on horseback, enemies on foot. No telling what would be the killing stroke.

    • I would emphasize the stupidity of your mistake by I’m very tired so I’ll just say this training with a Japanese sword takes years it is not just something you learn like wipping your as s it is a lifestyle your never finished learning no matter how long you have been doing it.

      • It’s not stupid- it’s fact- look it up, it’s the computer age. I don’t know any of the 35 or so traditional sword makers left (and neither do you). It’s a dying, and unnecessary art. Read up on it, or watch one of hundreds of videos on it. The special process of making the steel is not needed anymore. We can make higher quality steel nowadays. I’m as aware as you are, I’m sure of the techniques they used from piecing together different chunks of iron, forming and folding the steel 10- 15 times, claying and laminating, shaping and sharpening and polishing it. The sword makers say themselves (that means in their own words, by the way) that they take from a week to a month for most swords, and 3 months if it becomes a presentation piece with jewels and gold and such. Don’t get butthurt. It’s not like you make them or something. Modern swordmakers can make something as high quality in a day for 1000 bucks. FACT

  80. Cutting or slashing swords would not be good weapons against the undead. Consider what one can do with melee weapons – one can cut, pierce or bludgeon a target. Cutting is good for making a victim bleed, and perhaps for removing body parts, but neither of these would likely do more than incapacitate a zombie. Bludgeoning could be used to breach a zombie cranium, and piercing weapons might easily penetrate through gaps in the front of the skull, so these are the best sorts of weapons. Of the two, bludgeoning would take the most effort and create teh most fatigue, so the best sort would be piercing weapons. For a two-handed weapon, that might be simple spear or a more complex polearm (such as a voulge). Even better would be a shield combined with a rapier.

  81. A katana ISN’T any single blade weapon! There r MANY different types of swords. Tachi tanto wakizashi odachi nodachi r a few! Not all katanas need to be made of tamahagane but that it definitely the most durable and least dull. The material is also better than any other other swords are made of. Also Chris C ur n idiot. Samurai did maintain their katanas. All the weapons u listed r no match 4 the katana. The ax is way to short and is hard to swing in many quick deadly motions. The katana ISN’T straight dumbass! U obviously have no idea wat ur talking about. I’ve used a katana many times. I may not b great with it but I can swing and hit with it quite easily. Personally is only resort to a katana or anything close range as a last resort. BK127 zombies would b horrible u fucking dipshit.

    • What about a yari or naginata? If maintaining distance is your aim, that would be the best sort of melee weapon for managing it. Your only really effective katana attacks would be face thrusts or decapitation strikes, where you would have to get much closer to have a chance of success. With a yari or naginata one can thrust at the face of the zombie from a much more comfortable distance (through a window for example) . Neither would require nearly as much skill as a katana to use effectively.

  82. The katana is a ‘movie weapon’, in that it has no ‘real’ use these days outside of a scripted encounter on a screen (or in a book). The statement about the strength of tamahagane is inaccurate, though. Swords have been used in ‘real battles’ for centuries, without being made using a specialized Japanese process. But, there is no sin in being prideful of tradition.

    The cold hard fact, though, is that a true katana is essentially a thick straight razor in function. It is designed to cut, and cut well. It is also designed in such a way, like the straight razor, that it requires care and skill to keep the edge properly sharpened. The samurai who used such a weapon probably didn’t have the abilities needed to maintain the edge. That is why even today, you have swordsmiths, and about a dozen other special types of artists, each making an accessory, or part of the katana, or serving some other function. No one person does it all.

    If you used a katana against a zombie, the result would be a dead(undead?) swordsman. Better to use an axe, a machete, or even just a really heavy club. Personally, I’d go with the axe. Massive bludgeoning tools make the most sense. Edged weapons should also have considerable heft to them.

    Hanwei makes a “Banshee” cutting sword. That’d absolutely do the trick. But so would your average crowbar.

  83. On the premise that one would need to be properly trained to use a katana to fight zombies, you would be right. However, if that premise were applied to guns, the same thing could be said but you wouldn’t want to be without one if avoidable. I’m sure that’s already been said somewhere in these 125+ comments…

    Having absolutely no experience with the sword other than holding one, I wouldn’t be worried about technique and finesse. If I came upon one I definitely wouldn’t pass it up. This is how I would use it… Severing the head would stop the zombie but not extinguish it, the head is still animated. Raising the katana over your head coming down to split the zombies head in half vertically would be most effective.

    Having studied the closest thing to a zombie there is on earth, rabid animals, Sean of the Dead is right, aim for the head. That’s what’s cut off and analyzed in cases of rabies. One difference however, (besides that rabies does not immediately stop the heart or decay the flesh) is that when you cut off a rabid being’s head, it’s dead. One of the first signs of the apocalypse will be when the rabid heads don’t die when severed.

    • I don’t mean to be rude, but do you have any idea what kind of force it would take to split a skull in half vertically? Besides, even if you managed to do such a thing without getting the sword stuck in the zombie (which is quite probably considering the force you’d have to swing with), that would be the slowest method especially if there were more than one. Severing the head in one swing (ALSO incredibly difficult) would be swifter even if the head remained animated because there’s less mass to cut through.

  84. I haven’t had any training on katana use however i would definitely have one with me when going out into the world of zombies as well as the wakizashi or some other short sword. Yes i would even carry one of those cheap store bought ones if necessary.

    It really depends on the scenario or situation you’re in. If i’m trying to escape from a hord of zombies, I’d use a baseball bat and start knocking them over or pushing them back vs. trying to kill them. They are slow moving so after they are knocked down, it would take a few seconds for them to roll over or attempt to get back on their feet and go after you. Those are some good seconds needed to help in the escape. yes they could grab your legs and trip you but i’d hope you wouldn’t push them over in the direction you’re going or be really nimble. In situations like this, a good baseball bat, morning star or a spiked flail would be perfect.. Heck even a pair of nunchucks would work as a last resort.

    In my opinion, during a zombie attack, Runaway to fight another day is the first, best option.

    Now, the reason for still carrying a Katana is that these are zombies, slow moving undead. It’s not like you’re going to be fighting them like in the movies. And if you end up surrounded by them for whatever reason I’d hope you wouldn’t be cornered to the point where you’d need to chop your way out of the group. Better off to gut yourself with the sword like the samari did than try and fight it out. After all you should have taken that escape route you planned in advance long before you were cornered.

    The swords would and should only be used as a defensive weapon in most cases and in small groups of Zombies at best. It should really be used fo clearing out rooms and buildings so as to keep the noise level down and not attract other unwanted zombies. Any type of pole weapon or spear would work easily well.

    From reading alot of posts and listening to discussions, it seems that most people want to kill them and while I agree with that when it comes to clearning out buildings and such and for normal defense. but when it comes to everyday use when out scrounging for supplies, having a katana, even a store bought one isn’t a bad idea.

    Please remember that as you are swinging the sword, you do leave yourself vunerable and open to attack.

  85. I would wield two katanas. At once. Maybe hold one in my mouth or tape one to the top of my head. At the same time. I also mastered Hay-dong Cumdoo and am a triple black belt. I’m a former member of Spetsnaz. And Seal Team 6. And the S.A.S. so I’m pretty well off…

    • First off..ROFLMAO!!

      But I completely agree with your sarcasm. A freaking ninja/samurai sword is just plain idiotic to even consider. Most people, and by that I mean almost every man, woman and child on this planet, don’t know how to use a “katana” let alone hold one properly. To even pretend you would be efficient with one in your hands is pure fantasy at it’s worse. I mean seriously, why stop at a “katana” when you can just gather up spare gladius swords and shields and start a spartan phalanx? Why not just hotwire a tank and mow the zombie horde down? Why not summon a dragon and ride it into battle?

      If I were in a survivor group with my daughter and some jerk-face, playing at ninja, was swinging a sword around, I would make sure one bullet from my Glock 19 was for him/her after they accidently kill someone in our group. A fireman’s axe is a far superior option because you can smash heads with the blunt side and hack open a door frame with the bladed edge. You can cut fire wood or sharpen wood to make thrusting weapons or deadfall traps.

      • How to use a sword for a hoard.

        If in a situation of finding a hoard of zombies and they are between you and your goal. The proper response to fighting them would be to get there attention and wait for them to come to you and kill the closest one to you run a little bit and turn and kill the next one and so on. While doing this guide the hoard to an open area continue to kill one at a time. This is a technique that was used in the past for fighting more than one opponent. Remember only do this if you think you are capable of the stamina and its better to be using a light weapon capable of citing off limbs as you run and turn swip a long blade at the zombies. The goal is to imobalize them then go around and stab the zombies in the head. Zombies are slower than you and they each have there own speed as well. Now the turn and swip will be aimed at the legs and a katana or any other extremely sharp hunk of metal can cut a leg at the knee and if time befor the next one reaches you stab the head. Circle and continue. No amo was wasted. Then go to where ever you droped you pack or belongings and head to your destination.
        As you can see its not rocket science to kill a hoard with a sword you just have to be smart and have endurance. But if you don’t have endurance just go around hope you can sneak past the zombies.

      • A fireaxe has a spike on one side and a curved axeblade on the other. The spike is actually better for breaking through doors or almost any object, much like a pickaxe.

    • So let me get this straight you went from the Russian special forces to the American special forces to finally the British special forces LMAO!!!! Can’t you make a more convincing lie up buddy?

    • You are full of shit. How did you pass the nationality requirements for all of those? And how the hell did you get through any vetting for any of them with you psychological issues?
      Then again this is all made up shit anyway so knock yourself out…

  86. Yes I agree the “katana” would be very dangerous to wield in a combat situation by any one not carful. But the same can be said with any weapon. I knew a guy that knocked himslf out with a baseball bat! How do you do that?. Simple no follow thru and not taking into the account of the “bounce” effect. Any blunt object will have this effect if used against an inmovilbe target or dense target. A sword will do the same if it does no cut in. The ideal cut from a “katana” in the hands of a trained operator is meant to cut you in half. It’s not a chopper or a spear. It is a very large blade similar to a steak Knive or cooking knive. To use it correctly the cutting starts at the handle and follows thru to the tip. The cut was ideally made at the top of the body between the neck and the shoulder, and followed thru to the hip at a angle. (right shoulder to left hip). thus cutting the person in half. A very hard skill to master indeed. Must Samari wouldn’t get that far into the body(maybe half way) and have to pull out. Hence the design allows for the blade to slice as you pull. To acheive a beheading with a “katana” one must get a sufficent power swing with contact at the apex of the curve or lower and then carried thru pulling thru the swing.The point is you have to get close. Arms length or closer, with perfect timing. It can be done and has been in the past. Some Samari would keep the dead from war to prop them up and practice the needed techniqes. If your going to use a “kantana” pratice and control and techniqe.is the name of the game. You will cut yourselve, bad! Thank you.

  87. my preferred set up would be my katana and wakazashi, 9 inch m-tech hip knife, s.o.g. naginata style bladed machete. two .22 cal. handguns with extended clips, 5in barrels. and s.o.g military spade, the reason for this set up is simple, when the ammo runs dry all you can rely on is your own power behind a nice blade. also, most manufactured ammo around here is .22 caliber, no one hardly ever gets it. not to mention for those who hoard ammo its the cheapest to buy in bulk.

  88. And to everyone who says you need to have extensive martial arts training to use a katana in this scenario…LOL.


    Again, you aren’t dueling a damn samurai here. You’re fighting a slow moving, brain dead corpse composed of rotting flesh.

    And as for the “blood spatter” argument, the last time I checked guns cause blood platter too. And they make a shitload of noise. They can also jam, lock up, missfire, etc.

    Not to mention that if you run out of ammo, you basically have nothing more than a hammer in your hand.

    My preferred setup would be a katana, a basic 9mm pistol (the most common caliber pistol with the most common ammo) and my Cold Steel Ti-Lite pocket knife.

    • Why don’t you procure a silencer for your 9mm pisok while you’re at it. That way you can be as sneaky as possible no matter what weapon you use

  89. I tend to agree with this idea. The other problem is that this weapon is hard to get, and some people do not know how to even use it. I would a say a machete would be a better weapon. That is due to it being better to use and every easier to find.

  90. This article is silly as hell.

    We’re talking about zombies right? As in, slow moving brain dead corpses who are half rotted away?

    We aren’t talking about battling it out with a competent swordsman here.

    Even a basic $200 katana should cleave through one of those fuckers like butter.

    I’d definitely say that a well made katana would be pretty much ideal in a zombie apocalypse. A lightweight, extremely sharp, extremely durable weapon that takes forever to dull and makes no noise to boot? Yeah, I’ll take that.

  91. The whole “Ancient Japanese Swords Technique” nonsense is stuff sold in movies like Kill Bill and said to white people who don’t know any better. The “ancient mystical/magical/indestructible” Katana myth is simply that… A myth. When their swords were used in battle and went sword to sword, it just bent, dented, and chipped, just like high-quality made replicas today. Now they’re ARE some sub $300 swords that are made today that I wouldn’t take into battle. But I have seen several thousand dollar swords, folded, high/low carbon, that simply bend when they hit something hard. I have seen museum Japanese swords, full of cuts, dents, chips and bends.

    There is no sword, in history, Japanese or not, that is going to cut through another sword, like Kill Bill. It doesn’t exist. There are also a couple manufactures like Cheness and Ronin who’s katanas I would take into a battle.

    As for “it takes several decades to be battle ready with a katana!” Tom Cruise did it in like 3 months. Owned.

  92. I don’t know where you got the idea that a battle ready sword is hard to acquire. They do come a little pricey but finding a good carbon blade isn’t to hard. I own two that are very good quality as well as some decorative ones that I wouldn’t use but could defend in a pinch. My two swords((a Katana and a Shirasaya)) are both hand forged using traditional methods and clay tempering. No machining was done to them. Each was hand forged useing old style tools or close to them. I’m not bragging about owning them… Just saying that your statement about them being impossible to find tells me not to trust you as a source of knowledge.

    Next is the fact that “only a handful of people on the planet who could effectively use a katana in battle. For the rest of us it would be nothing more than a recipe for certain death” I hate to break it to you but it isn’t hard to find a class that teaches kendo… While Kendo is not the best style as it is mostly designed for competition, you can also find kenjutsu classes. Kenjutsu is the actual art used by the samuria. Plus a katana being deadly if you don’t know how to use it is as ridiculous as saying your “trusty crowbar” requires a class on how to use. A katana is a very basic straight forward weapon. With training it can become a master of hand to hand weapons but don’t be a fool. You can pick it up with no knowledge and defend your self just fine.

    Last of all Kono Yoshinori is not a “modern Samurai Master” I don’t know if you were useing this term to sound cool but it makes you sound like you don’t know what your talking about… And my guess is you don’t. There are no more samuria and he does not even specialize in the same styles as them. Instead of Kenjutsu he trains in Bujutsu. He is a fine martial artist, but hardly an authority on swords. It sounds like your quotes are badly paraphrased. To believe he said that only a few people could use a sword without hurting themselves is laughable. None of the martial arts instructors I’ve known and trained under ever would say such a thing. The sword is one of the more easy weapons to use.

    For a article stating a katana is not a good zombie weapon you didn’t even give any reason as to why besides the fact that… What? Blades are a really hard concept to grasp? Oh yeah… Also if it cost more then $25 at walmart then it’s a hard item to get -_-. Maybe this columnist needs to go back to writing on wikipedia.

  93. baseball bat is a bad idea dude. wood will break eventually and alum will bend on your 3rd or 4th zombie….then break. i stay with the crowbar. its def the most useful tool/ weapon

  94. This is absolutely ridiculous. Even a complete novice could use a katana effectively, to chop heads in two and sever necks. If one was attempting to fence, then yeah, I can see how a huge amount of skill would be necessary. But for the purposes of killing zombies, a katana is basically just a longer, sharper, more durable machete- a weapon this author surely would not argue would be a great anti zombie weapon. Grand masters of any art love to say that they and others like the, are the only ones who can do what they do. But that’s just not true.

  95. This story is contradicting itself… First, you stated that a Samurai Katana is seen as a not so favorable weapon for fighting zombies. When in fact the real problem here is with it falling into the hands of an inexperienced user.

    I have several years (11 years) of martial arts training & experience under my belt and have weilded several “Katana Clones” in my day. Mind you, I was never formally trained in using them. However, I have even cut through rolled up Tatami mats to demonstrate their effectiveness of cutting through human flesh. As I’m sure we all know, a zombie’s bones are obviously very brittle and easy to cut through because of the human body and tissue being dead. Therefore, you could easily cut through bone, and decapitate a zombie with no problem. During a zombie apocalypse it’s not like they’ll be coming at you at full speed, reminiscent of samurai-vs-samurai in battle. If they’re coming at you at the same pace as “Walkers”, then one would have no problem in taking one out. I do agree that some training would be necessary in order to become familiar with “cutting strokes”, and the proper etiquette needed to weild a Katana properly. But fighting zombies is no way even close to fighting another (trained) samurai in a real world battle.

  96. ok so ive read all this chaos and katanas and what you all think about them. but heres the thing. Katana , refering to the traditional samurai sword, is a great weapon in any ones hands. the problem comes from after the fight if you know how to properly clean and sharpen the blade. not to mention all blades no matter how awesome they are loose their temper over time. so yeh say you runnin through a mall and u happen to find a store that sells katanas and knives and weapons of the sort, id definatly grab some, but i wouldnt rely on them for long periods of time. the better quality weapons would last longer but are still not perminent, unless u know the proper steps in maintaining the weapon. personally, i love katanas, i have training in several different hand to hand combat styles and knives can be and are just as effective. one of the major things ive noticed in all of the comments above was every one was talking about decapitation. quick, yes , effective, definatly, practical in a fight against multiple opponents, absolutley not. but keep in mind that to kill a zombie you dont have to decapitate. only damage the brain synapsis to the rest of the body, wich is just as easily obtained by a quick thrust of a blade to the eye, or temple, or upward strike through the lower jaw if the blade is long enough. i dont like the idea of up close and personal with zeds along with alot of others who posted but there are steps to take to keep your self alot more safe then just running and gunning and hoping for the best. what happens when targe is stabbed, decapped, beaten repeatedly, and so on. bloodspatter. simple thing to deal with. cover sensitive spots via goggles glasses even something as simple as a bandana over your mouth would help prevent blood from getting into trasferable places. and as for biting problems, thick clothing and extra padding around wrists shoulders and neck, long leather boots for legs, even kevlar vests would be worth scavenging for. i think with those steps a katana or bladed weapon would be awesome when ammo was low.

  97. I watched a video where they used ballistic head and necks. The had a big buff dude swing a bat and it took about 20 swings before they deemed he killed the zombie, I personally think the zombie would have survived. Then they had a girl who obviously didn’t know how to use a katana. She severed the spine on the first blow. She was also trying to slice completely through the skull! Blunt force would work eventually for one zombie but obviously isn’t ideal! I’ve ordered my katana!

  98. Hmm…Katana not a good zombie weapon? I beg to differ. Katana is one of the most formidable weapons in the world when mastered properly, so it cannot be a bad weapon.

    This is how this article should be titled: “KATANA NOT A GOOD ZOMBIE WEAPON IN WRONG HANDS”

    In right hands, commanded by hardened and practiced mind, it is absolutely amazing weapon with centuries of battle-proven reputation.

    It all comes down to the situation, circumstances and other variables. Above all, whether a weapon is good or bad is resolved by observing how it acts in both untrained and trained hands:
    A bottle of Coca-cola is a bad zombie weapon, or weapon in general, because no matter whether you train with it or not, it will keep failing to serve the purpose of disabling an enemy. It’s purpose as a weapon does not get fulfilled.
    Depending how you strike, even an untrained person can kill with a katana. This is a fact. In trained hands, you can kill everyone around you in melee combat situation if the circumstances are right. Ergo, katana serves it’s purpose in excellent manner.

    Anyone agree?

  99. I think a sword is a good weapon, if you know how how to use it. that said i dont think is takes 20 years to learn to use it. zombies aren’t going to have swords to fight back with not that it’s going to be easy to ocut one down but if i found one, Id hang on to it.

  100. The problem and risk of close combat weapons in zombie warfare is the spray of blood, if it was to get in your blood stream via your eyes mouth or a non-zombie cut covered with a plaster you would become infected ass if you were bitten. These, such as swords, baseball bats, and (stupid enough people would use these) knuckle dusters are to be used only if a gun cannot be obtained, and ONLY if you have protective head gear like a motor bike helmet, 3x buff (all on at the same time) and ski goggles and gloves (leather preferred) then knuckledusters. After a zombie beat down dump all the con tense in bleach and leave for 1 hour or buy/steal new items.

    glad to be of help.

  101. I have to say I disagree with this article, unless you are fighting sword slinging zombies that know how to fight with a sword

  102. In a zombie apocalypse, you have almost no time to do the maintenance for the sword and fix it if anything happens, also while fighting you can’t afford to take risk of it getting stuck into something. I say that you should use one of those steel baseball bat’s since they need almost no maintenance, they are easy to handle and powerful. You are not trying to disable someone who has pain receptors, it will just come attacking even if you take his arms.

  103. Well, the swordmaster’s comment is true for a fight against another armes opponent. A zombie is most unlikely to attack you with a blade or parry your attack…

  104. I disagree with your theory. You state at the end that you’ve got your baseball bat or crowbar.
    But when push comes to shove i would much rather a sharp weapon designed for killing over a blunt sporting good or blunt equipment for opening containers…

    You also have to take into consideration that if the zombie blood is contagious you would get larger amounts of blood splatter over yourself from a blunt then a serrated which would potentially risk infection.
    If you were to have a katana sharp enough to cut through cleanly it would eliminate some of the splat back over your mouth or nostrils.
    As for hurting yourself with the katana, that’s a null point. Don’t attempt moves your unfamiliar with.
    make sure the blade is never pointing yourself and for god sake don’t do things that are “flashy”
    They’re a recipe for hurting yourself. If your sensible while wielding the blade and you always sheath it. It becomes more useful in a zombie attack then a crowbar or bat.

    Don’t get me wrong, a crowbar is defiantly useful for opening containers or doors in a survival situation but if we’re talking about it as a weapon, No way. The katana is a weapon with over tens of thousands of kills under its belt and it has been literally engineered over thousands of years to carry out a specific task.
    and lastly, i would defiantly not choose a bat. that’s a recipe for disaster

  105. I say if you’re not stupid and have a real traditional katana then it is a viable weapon. High quality katanas will not dull or break easily if you just use it in the proper way -swinging in a cutting fashion rather than a cleaving butcher knife like fashion.
    In fact, if there were a zombie apocalypse, a person who uses a katana might get as good as the ‘grandmasters’ of today because of all the experience actually using a katana on flesh and bone targets(given that you don’t die first..).
    Of course, a katana shouldn’t be regarded as a preferred weapon, just viable for sharp minded people.
    It’s usually bit too long for urban areas
    A bit cumbersome to carry for someone not used to it, carry it on your side isn’t what it seems -walking through door ways and making turns can easily cause noise from the extra length jutting out form your hip
    Requires skill and precision
    Requires stamina+strength
    Requires speed+agility as well..
    Hard to find in the midst of a Z apocalypse
    Only good for taking out targets 1 or perhaps 2 at a time
    Being trained in using a katana hones your other skills as well, like precision, stamina, etc
    Rather silent killing if you know how to use it, blunt objects tend to make quite a racket and mess
    Stabbing is quite effective and sneaky
    Not much maintenance necessary(for high quality katanas with a sheath), just the occasionally wiping off of blood and some sharpening
    Kills also tend to affect you less since all you need is a clean slash to end it, rather than bludgeoning things open & creating a gory scene -a sound mind as always important
    Pretty lightweight to carry, i believe it’s around 5 lbs or less with the sheathe.

    Overall, it’s a very skilled and delicate z killing weapon. It’s not recommended but it shouldn’t be frowned upon to pick one up if you find it. At the very least, you may find an actual trained katana user and trade it for something or even team up.

    If you’re looking for an appropriate bladed weapon though, I would recommend something with a shorter blade and that is easier to use.
    A lot of people would probably aim for getting machetes and what not. But I think it’s range is too small and it’s a bit ineffective because it is one handed.
    A naginata would work, but it’s handle is still too long, I believe something close to 1:1 ratio between the sword and handle is good because you can generate a good amount of torque in each swing using two hands. You’re probably not gonna be hard to find generic swords with a ratio like that, so shortening the handle of a naginata is plausible.
    To get to the point though, it is the chinese sword Dadao that is the best for any amateur looking for a good bladed weapon.
    It’s probably not a very common weapon at all, but is the most effective. If I find it, I’d take it..

    • A Japanese Wakizashi size/style would , in my opinion, be a perfect all around back-up close encounter stealth weapon. I have a 420mm length cutting edge sword that I am very comfortable with.

  106. i think who ever posted this just doesnt like the katana and would be one of the first to turn into a zombie. Sticc to your blacc ops homeboy.

  107. I’m sorry, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion if Max didn’t take this stand as part of his lecture tour. Respectfully- A person who’d cut off their own arm or leg with a katana would be just as likely to self mutilate with an axe, machete or whatever. Having myself studied under a legitimate master – and months, not for years- I can confidently state that I would fare quiet well, even with a reasonable quality warehouse full of mediocre museum replica caliber ones. Lets be honest, legitimate Nippon forged weapons would be far and few between once the rotten balloon went up. Seriously, who’s going to heist the collection at their nearby big city museum? Waste of time…when a fairly effective Paul Chen / Hanwei blade can probably be obtained in the very mall you’ve decided to hole up in. True, odds are You’ll probably break and discard said blade after doing something dumb ‘training’ with it on welcome mats rolled around a shovel handle. But in a pinch, if you can master even a reasonable drawing cut, it would accomplish removal of forearms, hands… even a workmanlike decapitation. Personally, I’d stay on the Savini side of things and just use a cavalry saber, which is meant to do just that. Yes, I know the junk replica risk, and breakability of even legit military issue sabers is a factor. Lest I be accused of going off topic, I refer you to the M1899 Japanese cavalry officers sword. Good strength of blade, hand protection, cutting and thrusting ability. Lop, chop, or thrust into the brain pan. It worked fine in 3 different 20th century wars. Oh and..steel scabbard. this is huge. the ability to have a non edged bludgeon or pushing/prying implement to use against a zombie who may catch you at close quarters. (yeah, even you, Mr. Musashi I see you shaking your head while you read this.)

    • Max Brooks says a Katana is a horrible zombie weapon. He’s said it in interviews many times, and was quoted in the book Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies saying that Katanas should not be used by anyone short of a master.

      • To be fair. Max only ever uses a non sharpened, non balanced, mediocre quality katana as a visual prop in his lectures, and to my knowledge he has yet to put down anyone, (living or animated dead, ) with any weapon of any kind. But he makes compelling arguments on so many fronts for so many things, he gets a pass when he’s out of line. But for the record, we’d still be having this very same discussion had Max come out with the opinion : “Samurai Swords are BOSS! If you want to survive the zombie hordes, go get one NOW!”
        Same debate would erupt. same points, arguments, you name it.
        I’m just sayin….

  108. I love how everyone that posted is apparently a martial arts master with a battle ready katana… I’m willing to bet that everyone that is a “trained” user is more than likely gonna be the dead guy with an anime shirt ramune in one hand a naruto head band and a dull katana in the other hand. And thats assuming you don’t get shot off by some looters.

    inb4 one of you idiots says a katana can reflect a bullet and a trained master can hit bullets back.

  109. Actually a battle-ready katana is not that hard to find nor expensive. However, you DO have to be aware of what constitutes a good quality sword. The martial artist in question in this article unfortunately lives in a rather small world and is not aware of the many schools of combat swordsmanship out there in the world outside of Japan, a great many of which focus on the Japanese style sword. That being said, it is not a weapon just anyone can pick up and use effectively, he is correct there. Training takes years, not decades (unless learning to fight other katana-wielding swordsmen).

  110. Veteran Blacksmith

    As someone who’s been blacksmithing for years I felt the need to chime in on the katana vs zombie debate. Chances are if you own a “katana” there are already a couple of issues with it. One, any katana that you buy in a store is not going to be battle ready. As soon as you hit something with the sword, it’s either going to shatter, break at the hilt, or bend to point of no return. Two, even if you have a katana that is battle ready, it’s only really suitable for fighting living opponents who are also fighting with katanas. If you are fighting zombies with a katana, don’t expect to be cutting heads off with reckless abandon. As a general rule, you’ll need at least 50 to 75 newtons of force to sever the spine. That may not sound like much, but if you’re going up against a horde with nothing but a katana, you should probably just run. Also, chances are you’ll just get the blade stuck in it’s spine, then you’re dead. Three is the fighting style itself, which if you ask anyone who knows actual sword-fighting, as opposed to the crap they pass off as kendo, they’ll tell you that the styles that use a katana are only good for fighting a single armed opponent, who probably also has a katana. Most katana sword styles leave you wide open after a strike. You may look like a crouching tiger hidden dragon, but to the rest of use real swordsmen, you look like a jackass who just got stabbed in the chest. To all those guys who are saying, “well maybe you couldn’t cut a zombie’s head off, but i sure could becauz I knows teh martal artz” you should probably learn something else. Sabre fencing would be a good choice, as a cavalry sabre would be heavier, but easier to use. Ideally, a horsechopper or an equivalent weapon would be the best option, mainly because with a spear-like chopping weapon you can really use both hands to create a fulcrum that will triple or quadruple the amount of force needed to get that decap. Also the range you can get on a weapon like that keeps you out of biting distance, which in my opinion is what you really want.

    On a side note, we had some kendo and batoh (not sure if that’s spelled right) people come to our fencing school for some cross training. One of our sabre instructors, a crazy 65 year old bald russian guy, named, no shit, Yuri, proceeded to beat every single one of them. When the Kendo instructor asked him how he was able to beat guys who were three decades younger than him, he said in a thick russian accent “because you fight like retards”.

  111. I suggest you look into this further. Looking around at various sources, it seems pretty clear that katana has a more definite meaning than you say it has. It is not interchangeable with US Cavalry sword, etc.

    It also seems quite possible to purchase quality katana at reasonable prices, according to people who use them to study kendo, iaido, etc made with modern methods and materials. Japanese made swords using traditional methods are wonderful, but you can get something just as sturdy if you shop around properly.

  112. I’d use a katana. Not that I have any experience with it. Firing a gun is likely to draw more zombies to you, the only exception being if you are already surrounded by them, then it wouldn’t matter, now would it?

    Because I’m rather short 5’4″, and don’t have much in the way of upper body strength, I’d have to get a good spin going for momentum.

    I’m guessing I’d probably cut it in half first due to blade height during the spin. I thought about going back and taking it’s head but decided against it. Let it drag it’s half body around as best it can, making all the noise it can and draw other zombies out and to it.

  113. Let me get the rules right: a) Shattering the skull, b) cutting the spinal cord or c) burning to cinders are the actual ways to stop the zombie? Another rule being ‘fluids landing on or near you make no difference’? Then blunt force seems to be the thing. A crowbar is light but the tip isn’t heavy or especially built to damage. Baseball bat’s a great blunt object, but since they are already ‘dead’, plain brain damage isn’t enough, right? A blade either cuts or separates. And to separate the head at the neck, as others have said, takes a lot of skill, tool and strength.And even then it’s iffy.

    So a combination seems to be in order. A long spiked mace 3.5′ to 4′ sounds like the weapon to me .. even if the spikes dull, they still create pressure points for the force. 4′ to give some reach but keep weight down. Skull hits with spikes/nubs and blunt force will raise the rate of massive breakage of the skull, yet years of training aren’t needed. It’s not near as close in as a knife, doesn’t need the finesse and training of a sword and is easy to care for. And it’s not likely to get stuck with a medium strength swing, it’ll turn a skull to jelly.

    I agree ‘If you don’t have a weapon any weapon’s better than none’ but for us bow hunters and other non-martial arts blade wielders, if I have to pick – heavy spikes on a long stick = my melee weapon of choice. Of course I’d rather shoot from a distance (bow or bullet.) In zombie world the most effective and most deadly are two different things. For the ‘average’ person, effective is totally the thing to go after.

  114. i have to absolutely disagree with this. perhaps you’d hurt yourself fighting another living sole, however, it is nowhere near the same as fighting a zombie. All it would take is good accuracy and enough power to swing and stop the bade as necessary, and as one who self-trains in all forms of martial arts, i find this rather easy to do.

  115. a katana is a good weapon if its in the right hands it takes a few months to master it in my hands it took one month and im fully prepared for an apocolyptic pandemic of zombies

  116. and also lets face it you`re not going to last long against horde of zombies with any type of melee weapon but against one or two roamers baseball bat, crowbar, sword (cheap or authentic) or even a knife will work just fine what ever works for you.

  117. If you are going to use baseball bat or crowbar to deal blunt trauma to someones skull, (zombie or living person) keep in mind that hitting dull weapon in to hard target will cause the weapon to shock and vibrate so you better make some kind of shock absorbing handle, otherwise you might drop that bat after your first blow and need I even say you dont want that if your fighting many zombies close quarters

  118. Virucidal Maniac

    I disagree with this, Its not as if you have machete battle training courses, or learn how to kill a zombie in a day lessons, so any blade has the potential to harm the beholder in a zombie apocalypse because the stereotypical zombie killing weapons weren’t designed for such things. And hardly anyone will have battle training with any weapon. But a katana was design for human killing witch is a plus and it has the sharpest of all blades edges so just because its extremely sharp don’t assume that it will cut the leg of of the person using it because like I said there are no training courses in killing zombies for any other weapon that maybe picked up after the outbreak so any sharp blade might be dangerous if not careful, but I am careful and I would still choose the Katana over any other blade!

  119. All respect to the martial arts trained out there, I am as well.
    Here’s the thing, I learned the katana 2 different ways. Method 1 was in a class with teachers and other students, doing katas and sparring…the whole nine yards, and in the course of 5 years I thought I was in pretty good shape. But when I began method 2, I realized I knew next to nothing about the sword other than formality and maintainance.
    Method 2 involved myself and 6 other guys with swords sparring. No flash, no ceremony, just steel on steel.
    I learned more about combat in the first 5 minutes of that than I had from the entire 5 years of training I had received up until that point.
    Experience will be a better teacher than training could ever be, and those who survive the initial onslaught will already have all the training they need to use anything against a zombie.
    And that’s what it’ll have to come down to. When the zombies show up, you won’t have time to pick and choose what you use against them, you will have to use whatever is at hand at the time, whether that be a gun, a katana, a staff, a rock or a rubber chicken if that’s all there is.
    Swords will break, guns will run out of bullets…so too will bats break and crowbars bend out of shape…then what?
    You must be prepared to pick up and use the first thing that comes to hand, and you also must be prepared to lose that and be ready to pick up and use the very next thing that comes to hand.

    If you are really serious about combat training for the arrival of zombies, there are only 2 things you need to focus on.
    1) Get in shape. You’ll be fighting for your survival (probably for others survival as well), so you need to be able to move fast and for long periods of time.
    2) Learn to improvise. All the planning in the world will count for nothing if you are away from your “ideal” weapons or your stash of food, or your zombie proofed house. If you can’t think on the fly, if you can’t look at every random bit of junk you come across and instantly know how to use it to defend yourself, then you are screwed. Period.

    Here’s what I do. Go for a jog. Have someone (not me) set alarms on my phone for random intervals. When those alarms go off, stop jogging and look around, the first five things I see will be my weapons if I were attacked right now. on a piece of paper, QUICKLY write down those items and how I would use any or all of them, then start jogging again (it is important not to dwell on this too much, the first items I see, no matter how ridiculous, and the first use that pops into my head. speed is of the essence). At the end of the jog (usually half an hour to an hour depending on my schedule), have the person that set the alarms evaluate my “weapons use”. *Note-this evaluation is NOT a critique as different people would do different things, rather it is what they would have done if presented with the same items. Listen to them and gain a new perspective that may help you be more creative.

  120. I have a question. The guy in the article said that you need to be trained for years or you’re more likely to cut your foot or leg off deflecting an attack. Would you really need to be a sword master since zombies cant fight with swords that you have to deflect? Im not trying to be sarcastic, its a real question.

  121. The baseball bat is a vastly superior weapon to either a katana or a machete for a host of reasons.
    1) They’re available all over the States, in almost every home in every town.
    2) Everyone knows how to use one, unlike the machete and especially katana which most have only ever seen in movies and never personally handled
    3) Baseball bats do not bend or twist on bone, or worse, get stuck in bone.
    4) Bats never grow dull, nor do they require sharpening. Machetes can be sharpened with a whetstone but only if you know how to do it (few people do outside of survivalists and hobbyists). Katanas would be exceedingly difficult to resharpen and contrary to internet legend they do become dull after even moderate use.
    5) Edged weapons deal slicing blows which primarily cause lacerations and deep tissue damage, largely useless against zombies unless you decapitate them or manage to beat the odds and cleave through their skull without getting your weapon stuck. Bats deal blunt force trauma, which is proven effectively to cause just right kind of damage to destroy massive amounts of brain tissue without the need to penetrate the skull.
    6) Bats are not illegal to own or even carry around, provided the user exercises even a modest amount of judgment. Machetes are not usually illegal, but you can face restrictions on carrying one openly or concealed. Katanas can be either restricted or outright illegal in some areas or circumstances and even when allowed will draw lots of attention.

    • With all due respect, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, do you actually believe that police would be trying to enforce concealed blade laws? At least in the state in which I reside, it is legal to carry a machete or any single-edged sword, as long as it is not concealed, but all laws would go out the window as soon as a mass outbreak of zombieism became apparent. I believe you are wrong about a baseball bat being superior to a katana, or even a machete, regardless of the wielder’s training, or lack thereof. However, if you would feel more confident swinging a bat than you would wielding a sword, that faith in your own ability and the effectiveness of your weapon could prove to make your argument true, at least in regard to yourself and others of like-mind.

  122. John "Juggernaut" Larsen

    Well, keeping in mind that its hard to master the katana, I think one thing is forgotten in this article: A katana, is even to the untrained, better than no weapon at all! Punching, biting and headbutting your way through a zombie is not a viable option, you need a weapon with reach, as even the smallest or the slightest of wounds in combat with zombies is fatal!

    • Totally agree with your point, but a common baseball bat, or even a big stick, is better than a katana in an untrained hand.

  123. I think that this article is invalid

    i mean just read the comments

    everyone here is a katana wielding master of bladed death to the brain

  124. I’m going to have to disagree with half of what was said there. Especially the whole dramatic ‘you’ll shoot your eye out, kid” stuff. It’s a katana, sure, but but it’s still basically a big knife. The replicas suck and will warp or break on a good strike, sure, that much we agree on, but I think when it comes to whacking Zack, I’m not sure you’d need to be a master to swing a Katana. If anything, people around you would be in more trouble than yourself.

    Certain death is way over the top.

    Anyway, I like my kukri machete. Still have all my fingers and toes, too. :p

  125. Stephen Jack Cullen

    Actually, you’re better off not using any form of cutting weapon.
    The human neck is far tougher than tv and cinema would have you believe. Even executioners who operated under what we can term as ideal decapitation circumstances would often take several tries to chop off a head.
    And let’s not forget that it’s CHOPPING off a head, not slicing, it’s an important distinction.
    For slicing sharpness is more important, and a katana is ideal. For chopping, weight is more important and really you’re better off using an axe.
    As I said, executioners worked under ideal decapitation circumstances. The victim was restrained, kneeling, with hid head in a specially shaped block, the exeuctioner would use a very heavy (sometimes extremely sharp) axe and finally would have more than enough time and space in which to swing. These are the best possible circumstances and it would STILL take multiple tries. Now compare that with a full on battle situation, your target is moving, they’re not prone, you may not have as much room to swing and you’re using a weapon designed for slicing and cutting, not chopping.
    Also, have you ever tried smashing a coconut? It’s actually pretty easy, isn’t it?
    It’s not that far from smashing a human skull. It’s much, MUCH easier to smash the skull than it is to sever the neck.
    Blunt instruments are the way to go.

  126. Please by all means, use swords and bats. You will be dead in seconds if attacked by more than 2 zombies. You will also be trapped and surrounded in seconds. You will also be useless to others if they need help and are more than 6 feet away. There is a reason guns have replaced ancient weapons people. But please, use them. More ammo for me.

    • why i will agree that weapons such as swords and bats are no use against large groups of zombies, however using fire-arms offers its own risks such as noise whitch will atract more zombies; surviving is about planing and being prepared not having some gouche kit i’m gonna stick to the two weapons that i have been using since i was a child the long sword and the long bow.

  127. Well, i’d say any weapon that is silent and can destroy a brain with as close to one hit as possible is a good zombie weapon. Yes, i agree that just anyone using a katana in a crowd of zombies is a bad idea, but then again, if you end up in a crowd of zombies, you’ve already done something wrong. I think it’s alright if one can use an authentic Japanese katana on like one or two zombies is alright.

    Understand what i’m saying?

  128. there seems to be much conflict over utilizing bladed meelee weapons against zombies, however seeing things in movies has led many people to believe that it is easy to sever limbs and kill with swords and knives etc. however it takes much training to actually be able to cut through simple things… one must develope a propper stance and must have stong enough muscles in areas of he body that allow a strong slicing motion. also propper movement is required, if the motion is not fluid, then one will most likely end up A: dropping the sword, B:cut himself, or C:pull his/her wrist or elbow

    • Ok, the best $10,000.00 sword in the world won’t beat my $250.00 Mossberg 12 gauge. And if quiet is what you are going for, a crossbow or “silenced” weapon is much better, espeically when accompanied with a quick retreat and some strategy. Use the gray matter people!

  129. This Article is going to get someone killed during the zombie apocolypse. A carbon steel katana may not be as sturdy as a tamahagane katana, however, Most katanas not made of tamahagane are still hand forged and usually folded giving them incredible strength. Not only that, what zombie is going to be so resistant to metal. The way the katana is made also keeps it very light, especially compared to a crowbar.

    • Haha! Get somebody killed… Like there are katanas on every street corner, and people will now pass them up because they read that you need special training…

    • yet, you do not want a katana unless theres no crowbar or aluminum bat around. it’s easier to inflict blunt for to shatter the skull than try to cut through the spinal chord in the neck. hell, guillotines in the 17th century didnt always work! a crowbar is the best weapon because you can also pry open locked door or boxes to get at what’s inside.

      • how often do u see wooden boxes that need a good prying open lol?

        • Lol… hilarious.
          In the games, man! There are always crates of supplies that need to be opened with a crowbar or somethin’ like that. What are you gonna’ do if your health is getting low and you happen upon a medpack in a wooden box, but you don’t have a crowbar? You’re gonna end up lookin’ pretty silly, and feelin’ even more like a jackass with your badass katana. Ha!

  130. Although i disagree with you one this point i must say i have skill with my,sharpened and made in a forge by me and my instructor, katana. I live by the honor rules and the power attacks. But, you are right not many people can say they master it, God knows i’m not as good as my instructor and he not as skilled as a late Samurai, and would be useless if store bought. if you want to know more about my style/weapon you can just ask. “Through the fire and flames the swordsman went on to his destiny…” — Ron Makuzu
    my instructor

  131. I definitely have to disagree with the OP. Even though a genuine nihonto or shinken is expensive, there are many excellent reproduction katanas made by Hanwei, Cheness, and Dynasty forge that are under $300 yet are still sharp and durable enough to decapitate. For instance, the Ronin Dojo Pro katanas are about $260, yet they are forged in the dotanuki (torso-cleaver) method, meaning they were made thick and durable for cutting heavy targets. Apparently a tatami mat wrapped around a green bamboo core represents the same thickness and density as a human arm or neck, and many good quality reproduction katanas can easily take care of such targets. As for training, that is important, but not absolutely vital. I have never had any actual training, but by common sense and watching youtube videos of people cutting targets, I can easily take care of targets with my reproduction katana. Edge alignment is key, and as long as you don’t swing it like a freaking baseball bat, a strong diagonal cut to a zombie’s neck should be more than enough to decapitate it. Besides, the zombie’s flesh will be decomposed, the muscles will be weakened by decomposition and lack of food and water, and the sole bone that connects the head and neck (the spinal cord) will be suffering from calcium deficiency. Thus, a decent reproduction katana can be an excellent zombie weapon as long as one has some minimal experience cutting with a katana.

    • yes exactly, i have 150$ reproduction katana and the thing has been through hell and back…seriously it was my first katana and so i went on a cutting rampage. i was cutting through thick tree limbs…and then to some metal objects i have sharpened it and resharpened it and that thing still cuts tree limbs pretty well…the only reason i have problems cutting is because of the nicks in it (which makes cuts less smooth) but zombies vs my katana are like bottles…and in a life and death situation even a guy just picking up a katana wont be cutting off his own limbs, just zombie limbs

  132. I disagree with that Samurai master. No way would it take decades to learn before they were sent into battle. That makes no sense.. It’s a historical fact they started training young, but by their late teens , and 20’s, they were samurai and fully capable of going into battle. (I’m assuming). If not capable, they were simply willing. Bravery & Honor were just as important quality. Anyway, fighting a zombie ? lol, well if the blade were good quality , of course it could slice the body in half = end of zombie. So yeah it is useful, even more so than a gun would be against a zombie.

    • @bobo It would take decades to train someone today (seeing as they wouldn’t be training everyday). Its true that samurai were often young; but they had been practicsing nearly everyday (just like how longbowmen would practise nearly everyday). Also the there is a difference between a battle ready samurai as it were and experianced samurai. The latter can only be attained through actual combat experiance.

      The problem with bladed weapons it that they can easily get stuck,break and become blunted. Do you know how much maintance is needed just to stop the sweat from your hands rusting the blade, let alone the wear constant use could cause. Ontop of that if its a replica store job your gonna have even more problems.
      Blunt trauma is a quicker of destroying the brain than attempting the sever the spinal cord.

      Oh and the people saying crowbars are good; they are highly damaging, just don’t expect to be able to swing them as fast as Gordon Freeman.

  133. I strongly disagree with that, Ive been trained in Martial Arts and I have been trained how to wield a Katana. Ive seen some of the swords that are sold online and in Shops, Some a just for decoration but a few I have seen are good enough to be used a zombie weapon. The Half decent swords ive seen have a good blade but no balance to them, If the blade of the sword is sharp enough and is well maintaned It can be a good Weapon should the Zombies decide to rise.

  134. Specops Samurai

    True katanas are not hard to find there are several true swordsmiths in japan. The problem is the price for a true katana. And of course the training, to become a true master it takes years of practice. To this I say find a master or get up the art of the sword. Personally I am lucky to be from the Imagawa house of samurai. And have been training since I was 8, however I still do not claim to be a master, and have let my training slip in the last few( cough, 5 cough) years. If you want the feel of using a katana to kill zombies get a bokken it is a wooden sword made of japanese ash. they are extremely strong and as effective as a baseball bat. And if you do use a bat dont be stupid and put nails in it that is a quick way to get yourself killed. Those nails will catch on anything, and i mean anything.

  135. i believe that in truth any blade will do you fine personally i trust my machetes but a long sword would be nice also small arms are more convenient ex.9mm, m9, glock, desert eagle. also if you think about it not everyone knows where to get weapons and plus ive been designing impromtu weapons for friends who dont have the resources for these things.

  136. Jap swords are to fragile and require too much maintenance to be practical.
    Try something more like a Grosse Messer or Falchion.
    Want to get Ugly use a Butcher blade. Nothing fancy no looking cool just down and dirty weapons.

  137. guns are the best option but when u run out of ammo katana or even a scotish claymore is the prefered option as long as u can do enough damage to the skull or back of the neck to sever the spinal cord you are good whether it be sharp or dull strength and speed will get the job done if you dont have one handy baseball bat or and ax will do just fine. pole weapons are not an option for gathering supplies or close quarter combat and getting in and out of cars with other survivors in and enclosed areas a sword you can at least swing up and down in a hallway

    • on your pole comment… there are several uses a properly used pole can have especially in urban environments… a boar spear for example could be used to hold a single attacker at distance or be used to stop up a hallway so a group could effect a fighting retreat without being forced into hand to hand range. and while they would be impractical for scavenging from a car if you are in a pickup or rv type vehicle they would actually be preferential for use out of the bed or windows to keep small groups at bay or creating an opening to grab some useful salvage or allow a groupmate extra time in retreat

  138. I don’t know about this article. While someone with no experience has no business using a Katana to fight a Human attacker, I don’t see why it would be exeptionally difficult to use one against a zombie. They aren’t going to parry your attack or anything after all.

  139. Lose the your current baseball bat and buy one from cold steel. they are indestructable and easy to use.

    however i thank you for this new view.

  140. Lots of opinions. I guess I’ll throw mine in.
    As a fan of Chambara and most martial arts cinema I feel as qualified as anyone here to talk about the realm of fantasy since that’s what a Zombie Apocalypse is after all. When speaking of a Katana, spirituality is everything. The Katana is, in essence, an extension of the soul of the Samurai who wields it. So it doesn’t matter how sharp the blade is if the person who wields it isn’t a master of his own soul. So that goes directly to issue of training and “dead”-ication. Its what you do before Zombie Apocalypse, the End of the Shogunate, etc, that makes you the Samurai you need to be when the sh@t goes down.

    Speaking along those lines, if you have a straight up, bad to the bone Zen Master Samurai wielding a Katana crafted by an equally gifted artisan, then you have a formidable Zombie decapitating MF’er.
    But above all, of course, the greatest skill this any true Katana Master would possess would be the art of not getting into a tight situation in the first place. Only suckers get trapped in impossible scenarios. Attack, create a window of escape, and then get the hell outta Dodge.
    That’s the best survival tactic throughout history. Hit and RUN!!! 🙂

  141. The real drawback, I see, with any bladed weapon, is that if you don’t cut clean through whatever you hit you run the risk of getting it stuck. I don’t think real training would be a really huge issue because the zombies aren’t packing swords and fighting back. You wouldn’t have to parry their blades to get in for the kill. I still don’t think I’d use one though, too messy. Zombie blood on the face can’t be a good idea. Once again….baseball bat…….

    • AND NONE OF YOU PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TRAINED TO KILL OTHER PEOPLE WITH A SWORD. The only way to train for that is to kill someone.

      • Hardly. That’s like saying the only way to improve your boxing skills is to fight boxing matches. There’s a reason boxers have preparation training that don’t involve actually fighting.

        Also, normal baseball bats aren’t made for skull crushing. They’ll warp/bend/be destroyed unless if you’re packing a combat bat (e.g. Cold Steel Brooklyn Smasher)

    • You may not have to parry their swords but if you don’t have the speed or strength to cut clean through bone it can deflect and come back on you. and you wouldn’t have to worry about blood squirting on you, as long as its not just that vein that’s been cut you’re good because a whole limb or the neck would immediately remove pressure and it would just kinda pour out. and i agree with mc, there are people who train with wooden katana’s to learn the art of sword play, in a high adrenaline situation after years of practice instinct takes over and gives you the skill and ability to kill.

      • Erect me if I’m dong, but according to most zombieology, a zombie’s heart would no longer be pumping blood. This is the major reason for the decay of the flesh. Thus, severing an artery should not cause the spray of blood which would potentially be the result if the same wound was inflicted upon a living human. Regardless, as stated elsewhere in these comments, it would be wise to cover one’s mouth, nose and eyes, as well as armoring limbs, especially the forearms, hands, neck, and pretty much the entire body before going out to scavenge or forage for supplies.

  142. A high quality store-bought katana won’t be as good as your Japanese Master swordsmith katanas e.g. masamune, but you won’t be crying about depreciation everytime you chop a zombie in half.

    And katanas are dangerous… maybe to yourself, but I’d bet anyone here they’d rather face me barefisted rather than with a katana.

    Point is, katanas are sharp, sharp things make it easily to kill stuff

    • Ultimately, bladed weapons get dull, break if made cheaply, and get stuck in things. For the most part they also only have 1 dangerous side, meaning that if you hit someone with the back of a blade it does nothing. Their use is extremely limited if not in the hands of an expert.

  143. If i can swing a baseball bat at a ball moving 60 to 80 mph and hit it even 1/3 of the time, i am fairly confident I can swing a sword at a larger target moving 4-12 mph with considerable accuracy. Trained or not. I would just feel sorry for any poor fool standing near me as i started swinging.

  144. A cricket bat. Nuff said

  145. I think I’ll stick with a semi auto 12 gauge shotgun with a double load of buckshot and a barrel clip

  146. some katana training

    True, a halberd or a naginata have more range but they also weigh alot more which means you will get tired alot sooner. With an efficient form and good maiai, suburi etc, you could go about cutting down zombies for a long time before getting exhausted. Check out senbongiri. I believe the world record is 1,181 mats cut. and that ended because they messed up setting up one of the mats. Thats potentially over 1000 zombies down before they get you.

  147. I would still weild a katana either way because i was trained to wield one and im also used to using staffs so i wouldn’t mind having a spear or the katana but i would prefer my m14 over anything else

  148. As a hardened horror film buff, zombie fangirl, and national champion fencer for several years running in Australia, I would like to officially call bullshit on the duration of time it takes to train with any bladed weapon.

    Asian martial arts seem to be more religion than martial art; turn to Israel for self defence if you want something practical that can be ‘mastered’ immediately unless you’re a complete halfwit, and any bladed weapon works just as effectively depending on balance and agility of the weilder, but it wouldn’t take more than a few weeks messing around with an opponent to get into the groove of anything.

    Any claims you hear from wankers about NINE THOUSAND GORZIWWA YEERZ to master X, or Y, is pure bullshit.

    That being said, 99% of Asian bladed martial arts is what’s termed flourishes, ie: lots of movement, no real purpose other than to try and look badass, and that’s not something you want to pull off with zombies everywhere. Sadly they don’t dig mad tricks.

    • look up escrima/arnis/kali

    • Hmmmm. Declarations of something without actual knowledge often ends in a foolish belief. While I have no doubt that you are well trained in fencing, and might even be as claimed, I find it the height of folly to make declarations based on something you have no knowledge of. No offense to fencing, but is it not true that to score you must hit your opponent with the tip of the foil? You “poke” your opponent. I am just not sure being trained at “poking” something is going to be a very useful skill in a Zombie Apocalypse. There is a vast difference between fencing and the Asian Bladed Martial Arts. Is it not also all one handed? Short handled? Is it not that fencing only moves forward and backward. You do not attack in 360 degrees, correct?

      Let us take the hypothetical villian in this case and examine what is going to be useful skills. Ask yourself first, which would be more useful? A foil or a katana? And are you trained in using a katana? If we are left with the katana, is it not going to be the ability to move from one cut directly into another? Cutting in sequence? Stepping sideways? Attacking immediately forwards and then backwards? And cutting through bone? Do you know how to hold a katana? Do you know how to cut in such a way where the blade will not be stuck in bone? Do you think this does not take practice? Do you think that someone trained in Karate can pick-up a foil and win a fencing match against someone trained?

      We have had fencers such as yourself appear at our Dojang and quickly learn how limited their skills are in comparison. Our sparring is completely different. The way we move. And it is more useful in a real world setting where your attackers are going to come from all directions. I am trained to use my katana one handed, and two handed and move between the two for the benefit of speed for moving into my next cut. I am also taught, despite what you think, to minimize my movement, it is not a flourish. I am trained to strike my attacker and not injure my “brothers in arms” at the same time. Or myself. Or end up with my blade in a position that does not allow me to make my next block or cut or thrust.

      With all that said, I would not want to step into a fencing match where I am sure I would feel a terrible disadvantage of movement. Only being able to move forward and back, would be very limiting for me. I would probably lose very quickly. However, the real world does not act in a two dimensional manner. And neither would Zombies. I mean no disrespect to your sport. Though I think your over-confidence could be devasting to you in the future. I respect all martial arts. There is not one that is better than any other. It all matters on what you get out of it.

      • As an arbiter on both sides, miss australia’s fencing does spawn from the use of the french rapier and the sabre type swords so all of the movements in fencing do come from actual sword usage. That being said you are also right, i have studied many different martial arts, jack of all trades if you will, and that include using the katana. your basic forms and movements are used for fighting but there are techniques higher up in the chain that are essentially flourishes, but combat applicable flourishes against another opponent to startle or confuse him. This one is for both of ya’ll it does take half a lifetime to truly master a weapon but only a few years to make yourself combat ready with it if you only focus on the necessities.

  149. Mudpit-The Badass Zombie Killer

    I think the key is training. Most Zombie Survivalists spend more time debating weaponry than in the gym, at the gun range or in the martial arts Dojo. If you think a katana is a useful weapon, spend 4 hours a day practicing, that’s what I do. If you think the Halbert is more useful, spend 6 hours a day practicing with a Halbert. If you think melee weapons are stupid, make sure you have mastered your firearm to the point that you can hit anything, and you can field-strip and put it back together blindfolded. Stop wasting your time, because when the Zombie Apocalypse comes, you will be better off healthy and trained in whatever weapon you possess.
    Guns and swords don’t kill zombies, training and practice does.

  150. See another point though that you brought up Katana Trained,
    Unless you’ve already purchased a tried and true Katana prior to what’s inevitable, normal people wont be able to procure an effective Katana. Not to mention, of my three swords, I constantly have to care for my Japanese style katana as opposed to my more Euro/Middle Eastern inspired one. I’d also like to discuss how quickly one could make a Japanese style katana without expert training. I’ve made hundreds of swords and in all honest, with the amount of time it takes to make a real, effective katana is just outrageous during a time where time is something you don’t have. Y’all can take your katana, but I’m sticking with my other two blades.
    A more realistic option for mainstream Earth, of course, would be your simple crowbar or baseball bat; and always remember, training is what will save you, not the weapon. Even if you can’t afford to spend the time (and money) on proper training with a sword, at least play baseball or go to a batting cage, trust me on this one people, sword training is great, but in a pinch, someone who can effectively swing a bat, will be your best bet.
    This isn’t going to be an offensive kill-count city, we need to focus on more defensive options.

  151. In all honesty, the traditional conception of a Japanese Katana is quick but in a fight it’s limited even more so than a longsword although it does offer more durability as far as style of attack goes but for basic attacks the Katana being a single edged weapon offers 8 directions of attack whereas the longsword being a double-edged weapon offers 16. Also, although the Katana is usually portrayed as a light quick weapon it as a weight similar to that of the longsword although the fundamental purpose changes from that of speed to that of power and distance. With the Katana you may as well just chop your own leg off but with a long-sword or even a Claymore if your strong enough to wield it effectively, you could almost just spin in circles and watch the heads fly of course either way it would be preferential to use explosives which are quite easy to make (W()()T for the Anarchist Cookbook) or if that’s not possible (which it always is if you’re like me) then something almost as good is a big truck with lots of big guns lots of ammo, lots of food and some “GD Twinkies”.

    • What are these 16 directions?

    • Is it really that hard for people who know how to use a katana to twist their wrist and swing again? I’m also wondering like Joe what are the 16 directions?

    • He’s thinking of doubling the longsword just because it has a double edge but tell me this man, if you were to swing across your body and then go back the same way across it what is to stop a katana from doing the exact same thing? Also, in the millisecond to flip the katana’s blade over, the user puts himself or herself in a position of greater strength and leverage than you who decided to pull your double edge weapon back across instead of changing position and pushing.

  152. i guess this is right really. since a real katanas full potential is in the last five inches of the blade (thats where it is sharpest) if i’m not mistaken. i would just take a couple leaf blade machetes because it acts like an axe and a sword.

  153. I agree with Katanatrained, this person has got sense!
    while your choice of weapon will make a diference, the bigger difference will always be how well prepared you are and if you’ve trained and disciplined your body aswell as your mind.

  154. I think Most people are a bit confused about the usability of a katana as according to the blade’s length. For beginners, or just for personal preference, there are katanas that exist with a considerably shorter blade than commonly purchased. If you are a rather short, limber person, like myself, the just-longer-than-a-machete variety might not be too bad a choice, so ling as you have some experience to back it up with the due strength. It’s not as easy as it might seem to cleave through a good bit of bone with a blade. And, a low quality blade would need proper long-term care, (regular honing and oiling of the blade) to keep it in tip-top shape. Alas, even the coolest of weapons have their drawbacks.
    So, I guess I’m kinda with Matt Mogk on this one, the katana is not a weapon for everyone.

    • The shorter sword you’re referring to is most likely a completely different sword than the katana, called a wakizashi. Samurai normally carried three blades on them at all times: the long-bladed katana, the shorter wakizashi, and a tanto, which is a 6-12 inch dagger.

    • My favorite blade set consists of a tanto with an 11-inch, folded steel blade (razor edge and needle-sharp point), and a sword that has a wakizashi-length blade (21″), but a nearly full katana-length (9-1/2″), full tang grip. Short and light enough for one-handed use in tight quarters, but able to be used 2-handed for a more powerful strike. Also, the longer grip gives it very nice balance and handling characteristics.

  155. After evaluating the different options out there, I’m pretty confident in recommending an Espada Ancha as a “consumer-grade” weapon. Relatively inexpensive to produce, functional as both a machete and a battlefield armament, and with a comfortable range of motion for most, it is a nearly ideal blend of function and simplicity.

    While it lacks the effective range of say, a rapier or longsword, one must consider the types of situations in which they will be required to wield a melee weapon in defense (and I say in defense, because it’s really less than optimal for offense). Primarily, I envision close-quarters combat with little maneuverability (otherwise you’d prefer a ranged weapon such as a firearm) . This means your goals become to quickly disable your opponent (for zombies, this means targeting the limbs) so that you can either gain range or time in order to strike a more effective blow (preferably from a firearm). As such, you want a very maneuverable weapon.

    • Oh, and I almost forgot. As with human opponents, a combatant will gain a vast advantage by having defensive armament in his or her off-hand. Lightweight shields made of wood or sheet metal are sufficient for most foreseeable zombie-involved situations, since you are merely seeking to prevent direct physical contact. Failing that, having a thick padding wrap and a dull-but-durable knife (such as a bayonet tip, a weapon intended for piercing and pinning) in the off-hand can greatly increase survivability.

  156. Dr.Robert(self given Dr)

    dont get me wrong i dislike the katana but i took legal issues and to say that a katana master is a good sorce of combat info is wrong hes thinking sword on sword thats where your gana cut your own leg off not when fiting a zombie and true you du need an actual katana not a fake one and they are sharp and dageres but if you dont know how to cut with it then theres no way in using it

  157. I just realised a crow bar would be an ideal weapon, the weight could easily incapacitate a zombie or just go through the skull, it is small enough to work in tight spaces which would be the most dangerous spot, easily carried around/fit into any bag/vehicle, it wouldn’t be damaged over time like a wooden weapon and primarily if your going around an abandoned waste land a crow bar would be an essential tool for its intended use.

  158. So did Yoshinori specifically say against zombies? Against a zombie and against another sword weilding human takes two different levels of skill. Having trained a little bit with a katana, I know well this difference. And while I won’t be an actual swordsman, I have enough skill to cut down a zombie, though I’d rather not get that close to. Being a blackbelt in moo duk kwan, I am not without some skill. Lol

    katana generally refers to the example being used here. Tachi, odachi, wakazashi, tanto, etc…are all different sizes.

    But like katana trained said, all weapons need to be trained with or there is a possibility of harming yourself. By this article’s logic, nobody should pick up any weapon because they might harm themselves with it.

    Personally, I trust my katana more than I trust a gun. But That’s only because I don’t handle guns. When the crap hit the fan, my inexperience with guns would not stop me from picking one up and using it. And even keeping this inexperience in mind, I would not shoot myself.

  159. I would assume then that this article is suggesting that a machete or similar bladed tool is also equally ineffective, unless of course you are one of the “small handful” of people on the planet who are trained in its use? Or does this “recipe for certain death” only apply to a traditional Japanese katana…?

    This is as ludicrous as suggesting that a baseball bat is only effective when in the hands of a professional home-run hitter, or a rifle only in the hands of a marksman. We are presumably talking about the neutralization of an uncoordinated, unarmed and slow-moving opponent, right? I would say that any improvised weapon, if the wielder has any general coordination and a bit of strength, is a valid candidate for zombie-defense. It certainly beats the alternative – which of course is having no weapon at all.

    • PS: A crowbar is more difficult to wield than a katana, or any other weapon of comparable length for that matter. I suggest sticking with what feels the most comfortable in the hands and can deliver the goods with as little margin for error as possible.

      The katana’s major setback would likely be that it is not a particularly good bludgeon, requires careful honing and skill to apply an amputating blow (like any other edged weapon), and will be difficult to extract if it gets stuck inside the zombie’s body… unlike a heavy blunt object.

    • Exactly. It however does take coordination to be able to stop the sword after you attack and following your body through with the sword to be able to 1 make an effective attack and 2 so the sword doesn’t cut you. But this guy that wrote this is completely biased because he only talked to “experts”. It does not take a genius to know to stop the sword after chopping a limb off a zombie, and I doubt that there would be that big of a (unarmed) zombie population that a lot of small groups of untrained (yet armed) people couldn’t handle.

  160. Sticks, baseball bats, improvised clubs, shovels, hell anything that fits comfortably in your hand. As long as it has Reach and Heft it makes a good weapon against zombies. I think the biggest lesson in this and the previous post, however, is that for the average untrained person any form of combat is going to be on the zombies’ terms. Best to avoid engagement whenever possible and only contact the enemy if absolutely necessary or if the deck is stacked significantly in your favor.

    As for the entire concept of melee weapons, I shudder at the thought of getting within grasping range of an enemy that can kill or neutralize me by biting me once or even just bleeding into an open wound or my eyes.

    • Well said. Distance would always be key to survival. Maybe a polearm? lol

      • The issue of pole arms is a difficult one. They are heavy to carry and so not suitable as a weapon for use on the move. Also, effecting an accurate, killing blow against a zombie is difficult with a pole arm because maintaining control over it is tricky.
        One must also consider what should be on the end of a polearm. An axe head is certainl not the right choice because the space required to swing a powerful enough strike round is an unreasonable requirement in a zombie battlefield scenario.
        I would suggest the best situation for use of a polearm is off the side of a vehicle, where it may be used primarily for clearing zombies away more than killing them. A straight spear head should be chosen, so that if can be used to drive through the top of the skull (one of the weaker points) and into the brain.
        Alternatively, you could use a polearm as part of a squad, e.g. One striker and one defender, the polearm carrier using his longer weapon to keep the zombies distanced from the their partner, preferably carrying a bladed or bludgeoning weapon.

        There is, however, one pole arm that has merit beyond almost all other close quarters weapons: the Shaolin Spade. A weapon trained with by the Shaolin Monks, it has curved blades at either end, one concave and one convex, which can execute a decapitation with relative ease through one swift forward thrust to the neck or even the lower part of the head.
        Furthermore, while the standard 6ft version becomes unwieldy in confined spaces, modern version can be purchased that separate in the middle to make two shorter weapons.

  161. What silent weapons would you suggest? What would you use?

    • A good hatchet would work great. One downward swing to the head would split the skull with ease. Much simpler than trying to decapitate a zombie while it’s reaching for you. Also, you can get a good hatchet at Lowes for $15. Any katana less than $400 is just for show and only good for spreading butter.

      • That last part is not true at all. You can get a passably good katana for around 250-300. Just because it isn’t tamahagane, doesn’t mean it is any less practical. Metallurgy has come a long way; we now have steel alloys that will hold their own against tamahagane, and even surpass it. There is plenty of research and studies that have been done on the subject. However, I have to agree with many of you in that a katana is not an ideal zombie weapon. One would be much better off with something more adaptable, that doesn’t require mastery to use effectively or better yet, one could choose NOT to engage zombies whenever possible.

  162. Toei Ryu Iai-Batto Iaido

    I agree with Katana Trained entirely. I have dedicated years to training in Toei Ryu Iai-Batto Iaido as well as Doce Pares Escrima and three other martial arts irrelevant to this topic, and training is necessary, but there are several who train, although only a handful who have achieved Grandmaster (Saiko Shihan and greater) status. Also, there are those who still make “katanas” the traditional way for a number of different martial arts disciplines, not the least of which are the Iaido and Kendo arts, with all their various branches. This is just a question of money, but those who train seriously (who are also those capable of using such a blade effectively) would already have one for training purposes, such as Tameshigiri. This remains a viable weapon, but (as it always has been, despite video games and movies) only a weapon for those who train seriously and have for years.

    • Agreed – the point of the article is that for the average person with no martial arts weapons training a katana is not a viable weapon.

      • I’m not sure if I agree, to be honest.
        Its true that a cutting with a katana is a difficult skill to master, given the nature of the weapon and the requirement that the strike is made at an exactly perpendicular angle. However, these weapons are extremely durable, due to the soft-STEEL (not carbon) / hard-steel combination.
        I could go into detail about the methodology, but suffice to say they’re extremely strong, always light weight and durable, and so particularly apt for sustained conflict.
        Furthermore, the shorter sword (wakizashi) is exceptionally effective as well, and may be used with relative ease to stab upwardly through the jaw and into the brain.
        So, I would conclude that while a full-tang katana is a difficult implement to use, it should never be ruled out, and its brothers the wakizashi and the tanto (dagger) offer less difficult but equally effective options.

        The superiority of the Japanese design lies in the fact that a minimum of strength is required, because the expert design allows the curvature of the blade to do most of the work.

        • however the sword was designed to slice through flesh, not chop through bone. Slicing through the meat of a human is very effective and no sword does it better than the katana. However chopping through the thick vertebrae is NOT what the sword was designed for (regardless of the action movies) and though a razor-sharp sword is capable, it’s hardly ideal.

          Take the light, agile blade and try to chop through a section of bone. Now try it while that section of bone is lunging toward you, flailing its arms and gnashing its teeth. Now do it while there are a dozen others… see the problem?

          • The katana was made to cut through bone. At the time the katana was created decapitation was the standard. Soldiers would bring back severed heads to there leaders, if two samurai battled the winner would usually take the head,and if he was dishonored he would loose his head. Other swords couldn’t hold up. The katana is perfect in every way and doesn’t need to be top dollar unless you intend on going blade to blade. There’s a big differance between metal and bone.

          • actually the katana was specifically designed to slice through human bones.

  163. A real “katana” is not that hard to get your hands on (as long as you have the money); however, as I am a black belt in a sword based martial art (haedong kumdo that trains in the use of one handed, two handed, and double sworded techniques), I would absolutely encourage training with any edged weapon a zombie survivalist decides to use. The article is correct that training is necessary, as is a quality weapon, but would this not apply to any and all weapons? Do you not need training in the use of firearms? Especially when under threat of bodily harm. However, I will add that even if I am not armed with a traditional “katana,” that I can out perform any person without training in defending myself with a crowbar, or a baseball bat, or any hand held impromptu weapon. My body is trained. It matters not what I hold in my hand.

    • “It matters not what I hold in my hand.”

      That’s what she said. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

    • Except that different weapons handle differently. In particular, the techniques one would use for a single-edged sword like a katana are completely different for a double-edged sword like a European longsword. Then there are two handed weapons that require a different hold and thus different stance, and again, whether the are single or double edged effects the way you’d wield them. A claymore is handled differently than an nodachi, for example.

      Now, on to the topic of the katana’s effectiveness against zombies… I’d have to say that a simple European longsword is probably your best bet in term of swords. Double-edged means more cutting area, it’s easier to handle than bigger, more appealing swords, like the claymore or a bastard sword, and it’s just plain simple and efficient. Though I have often wondered on the zombie-combating potential of the rapier. A quick, swift jab through the eye socket, and down goes the zombie? Of course, that would require MAJOR skill.

      It’s all irrelevent though, because when you’re fighting the undead, if you need to use a melee weapon, go with a cutting pole-arm, like a halberd or a naginata. You can jab them away if they get too close, and a quick slash can take the heads right off from a distance. Of course, like always, proper training is always advised if possible.

    • Toei is absolutely correct. I own 2 such weapons, (actually, one is a traditional “Katana,” the other is a Wakizashi) and am trained in their usage. They are superb weapons, capable of cleaving through wood, flesh, and bone, and of decapitating multiple zombies with ease in one swing. For a trained warrior, the “Katana” is the ideal zombie weapon in close quarters. I obtained mine in Japan, where I was born, but if one is desperate, one can find them in the U.S.

      • Have you ever ACTUALLY sliced through multiple cadaver necks easily with one swing? Go get a dead pig and easily decapitate it and send me a video. I’d love to see your make-believe universe on camera.

        • I have seen a katana cut through 3pig carcasses with a single slash…the amount of bodies a katana can cut thru gives its rank…i.e. 1 body blade, 2 body blade, 3 body blade…….the katana , to me, is a supherb zombie fighting weapon…the damage a blade may sustain will be minimal considering the fact it will be only sword to bidy combat not sword on sword

        • I myself have two 3 body blades. Tested on pigs. 31.5″ o-katanas with 14″ tsukas. Then I have several other tamahagane katanas in various sizes. Benefits of being half Japanese and raised in the art of Bushido.

      • You sir are a lunatic.

        On the off chance that you may not be could you point me at the nearest dojo that teaches ‘defence from zombie attack using daisho’
        What Ryu is tat taught in? I train in togakure, kukishinden, shinden fudo and a few others but have never come across it…

    • i agree with you i have been trained in kendo for 10 years and know how to use a katana iven if its not the traditional it not only depends on the condition but on the use XD i really want zombies

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