"Mugen Dachi Company" Tatami
Weapons used and sequences of
In an attempt to be fair and comprehensive, several edged
weapons were used during the cutting session:
* Chen "Kotetsu II" katana. Tsuka-ito resin impregnated
(sokui), two mekugi, gyakute menuki.
* Paul Champagne katana. Unaltered.
* Kobayashi Yasuhiro nihonto wakizashi. Two mekugi, gyakute
* Chen "Plum Blossom" hirazukuri tanto. Tsuka-ito
resin impregnated (sokui), mekugi replaced, koshirae tightened.
The tanto was used successfully to cut left kesa giri on
a half-mat target several times. Then, the Kotetsu was
cut kaeshi (tsubamegaeshi) in both directions (down/up and
up/down), and Darumagiri (alternating side cuts) on a full-mat
target, all in rapid succession. Four half-mats were suspended
from a "cutting tree", the first two of which were
cut with the Kotetsu using sayu kesagiri and yokogiri. The
last two half-mats were cut using the wakizashi, which included
a left kiriage, and sayu kesagiri.
Both the Paul Champagne and Kotetsu were then used to attempt
full cuts on the "O-makiwara", to which both attempts
made it just through the bamboo core (past half way through)
before stopping. Two of the mats were then unrolled (leaving
a bamboo core target with four full mats rolled around it),
and the makiwara was retied, remounted and again cut. This
results were exactly the same, verifying that the inner layers
of mat had not been properly soaked, along with various other
contributing factors (I intend to try again in the near future,
having gained valuable insight from the first failed attempt!).
Sayu kesa giri was performed with no complaints on a double
full-mat roll re-tied and re-used from the O-makiwara. Finally,
the last test consisted of two attempts at Dotangiri (center
cuts on horizontal stacked targets) using the Paul Champagne
blade to successfully cut through more or less four full-mat
The tanto cutting proved to require substantial speed and
power, but was effective against half-mat targets. The wakizashi
an outstanding cutting blade anyway, and cuts all mats like
they were butter. The Paul Champagne and Kotetsu cut the
various targets comparably, though the Kotetsu is slightly
and the balance is more forward than the Champagne. I've
cut several dense targets repeatedly with the Paul Champagne,
have not yet developed the same sense of metallurgical confidence
with the Kotetsu yet.
would rate the new tatami that was supplied to me from
the Mugen Dachi Company
to be quite favorable in cutting quality,
based on my experience. Compared to beach mats, they rate
*FAR* superior (there really is no comparison - beach mats
the thinnest, lowest quality "mat" on the market).
However, compared to the high grade used tatami omote our
group usually acquires they are in fact a grade or two thinner,
from the impression I got while preparing the mats and the
difficulty level of cutting. The MDC mats are full sized
(not reduced in height as was once announced), and when it
time for cutting, I found them quite comfortable - though
significantly less challenging than the higher grade used
tatami omote mentioned
previously. The MDC targets seem to be the same overall diameter
and length as that which I'm used to cutting, regardless
of the slightly thinner grade used.
Since the MDC mats are new, they are far less dirty to prepare,
cut more consistently, smell nicer, cost about the same if
not cheaper, sport a nice greenish hue after soaking, and most
importantly, are anticipated to be in stock with consistent
availability. These are pretty tempting considerations in my
book, and make the MDC mats appealing.
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