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Blade miracles
December 1, 2011 9:54 PM   Subscribe

Can a master swordsman cut a bullet in flight? Isao Machii can.
posted by Chocolate Pickle (47 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's amazing. The video could use some editing for western audiences. Japanese gameshows, in Japanese, always manage to appear to be mocking their own culture, to my eyes and non-Japanese-speaking ears. But I'd be happy to carry that swordsman's shield.
posted by Goofyy at 10:09 PM on December 1, 2011


I'll be even more impressed when he follows up by cutting the guy shooting bullets at him in half.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:10 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Coming soon to a movie near you.
posted by unSane at 10:11 PM on December 1, 2011


The thing w/ the pea pod end-to-end, I can't even do that in my own kitchen.
posted by Lukenlogs at 10:11 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, with just Isao, the shooter, and the camera operators, they had any number of tries to do this.
posted by longsleeves at 10:12 PM on December 1, 2011


I love this simile they use to describe cutting an iron pipe: "It smoothly cuts it like cutting the thing that isn't iron."
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:14 PM on December 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


"The operation of this to which the sword has returned without cuttiing a wooden stand is terrible."
posted by longsleeves at 10:16 PM on December 1, 2011


I'm hiring that guy for my birthday party.
posted by red clover at 10:17 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Such beautiful coordination. I take it he's from a long line of swordsman?

and:

MetaFilter: The moment of the impact that was able to be called a miracle was reflected in it.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:22 PM on December 1, 2011


I'm hiring that guy for my birthday party.

Great way to open birthday presents!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:23 PM on December 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


You know, with just Isao, the shooter, and the camera operators, they had any number of tries to do this.

If I had 20 years to try, I still couldn't do it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:45 PM on December 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


The video could use some editing for western audiences.

Don't you dare. Japanese TV is *awesome*, regardless of whether you speak the language.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 10:49 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The peapod was impressive, and maybe the bb pellet. Everything else was because of a 5 figure piece of equipment and practice.

But dude...that peapod. That was awesome even if it took like 6 hours of takes.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:03 PM on December 1, 2011


It would probably be easier to cut a sword in half with a bullet.

Cutting a steel plate in half (clip starts at 1:23, cut at 2:22). Not as awe inspiring as the pea pod, but the slow motion is outstanding. The steel ripples as his sword passes through and it looks just like the wake of a boat.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:51 PM on December 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


This guy is my number one recruit for my future zombie apocalypse party. I really want to see Mythbusters build a gelatin head/neck for him to chop up.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:26 AM on December 2, 2011


I'm hiring that guy for my birthday party.

Great way to open birthday presents!


Or clowns, I hate clowns *shudder*
posted by arcticseal at 1:05 AM on December 2, 2011


You know, with just Isao, the shooter, and the camera operators, they had any number of tries to do this

He also had a backing behind him and it looked awfully clean to me.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:36 AM on December 2, 2011


Cut the pod in the state without a few gaps either.

That is all.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:24 AM on December 2, 2011


He also had a backing behind him and it looked awfully clean to me.

It was a 6mm round plastic "bullet"; I think you could shoot them at that backing all day without marking anything.
posted by Forktine at 2:40 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not to say the bullet thing is totally bogus, but that does not seem to be a bullet. It's spherical, and they said it's .24 caliber. There are .24 caliber firearms, but that also happens to be the size of airsoft pellets and you can buy airsoft guns that look just like almost any real weapon. Muzzle velocity of airsoft pellets ranges from 200 to about 750 fps, depending on the gun. That's far less than say, a .22 pistol. (On preview, as Forktine says.)

Also, the "iron pipe" he cut looks like thin-wall electrical conduit, which is mild steel,
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:48 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


A different show featuring Isao Machii cutting a similar bullet in half

Machii vs Baseballs
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:59 AM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Viewing that guy cut through vertical rolled up tatama mats fills me with distaste.
Partially because the tatama mats have been chosen to mimick a human neck as much as possible.
Partially because Japanese officers were issued with katana swords and beheading was a favourite way of killing prisoners of war and citizens of occupied countries. Witness this graphic Wikipedia image of an australian POW about to be decapitated. To me this feels too much like people cherishing Meine Ehre heißt Treue daggers.
Partially because I associate an obsession with katanas with frustrated individuals with violent fantasies. One can read quite regularly in the paper about somebody threatening or maiming others with a katana. In the UK for instance they were recently classified as offensive weapons because of the frequency of incidents involving katanas.
posted by joost de vries at 2:59 AM on December 2, 2011


Kirth Gerson: the video explicitly states that it's an airsoft weapon, they don't pretend otherwise.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 3:08 AM on December 2, 2011


Yeah, the Youtube controls bar must have been covering the subtitles when they said that. The point stands - it isn't a bullet, it's a pellet. Still pretty amazing, but not out-of-this-world amazing.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:27 AM on December 2, 2011


Partially because I associate an obsession with katanas with frustrated individuals with violent fantasies.

The guy is Japanese. He's performing a martial art, which is a high cultural art in his part of the world. (Here in the US, it's Ia Do, the art of drawing and cutting with the sword. It's not even a comat art - it's about speed, co-ordination and precision of technique. Useless for going Kill-Bill in a barroom brawl.) The techniques and skills involved are part of a tradition that goes back more than a thousand years.

Partially because Japanese officers were issued with katana swords and beheading was a favourite way of killing prisoners of war and citizens of occupied countries.

Nazis used rifles and pistols to kill people during the 2nd world war, yet marksmanship and biathalons are still part of the Olympics. American Cavalry officers used their sabers during massacres of Native Americans - are fencers studying the saber fetishizing genocide?
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:26 AM on December 2, 2011 [14 favorites]


Another impressive display.
posted by Wet Spot at 4:35 AM on December 2, 2011


It was a 6mm round plastic "bullet";

That's the key here. 6mm is about 1/4" and a ball has terrible aerodynamics. How fast is that thing traveling, especially after going the length of the warehouse they are in? Not very, which is why he even has time to get his sword out, let alone cut anything. Doing the trick claimed, cutting an actual bullet in half, is impossible (per the Mythbusters as well as any back-of-the-envelope calculation).
posted by DU at 4:46 AM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but how's his forehand?
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 5:22 AM on December 2, 2011


He's certainly got the samurai glare down too. I wouldn't mess with him, with or without the sword.
posted by CaseyB at 5:24 AM on December 2, 2011


Joist, I think you are missing a significant point here: the art of using a katana correctly has nothing to do with WWII. Moreover, it has little to do with killing, in modern practice. Tatami (not "tatama") are primarily used for demonstrations because they are inexpensive, being rolled grass.

The Japanese sword is idealized because the act of its use was historically associated with a code of use based on Zen philosophy. That includes the destruction of the ego, which is pretty esoteric, but categorically different from Nazi ideology. In my years of iaido practice, I have never encountered anyone who was interested in perpetuating violence with their skills.
posted by ellF at 5:25 AM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll bet this guy's apartment is full of chopped up stuff.
posted by orme at 5:28 AM on December 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Isao Machii has a really interesting face. Almost like it's filled with unspoken pain. I wonder if he's thinking, 'In another time, I could have been king.' Or perhaps samurais are just supposed to glare like that.
posted by jabah at 7:28 AM on December 2, 2011


Jeez, "bullet" is obviously a translation error, but the dude still has a mighty fast slash. Pedants.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:52 AM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love that Japan is apparently filled with warehouses full of random crates, just like in video games. I can't think of a better place to state a guns-versus-swords contest.
posted by whir at 8:49 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


cutting an actual bullet in half, is impossible

You can cut a fired bullet in half with a butter knife.
posted by banshee at 9:26 AM on December 2, 2011


cutting an actual bullet in half, is impossible

You can cut a fired bullet in half with a butter knife.


I don't think the reason this is an amazing trick is due to unexpected properties of materials science. It's because of human reaction times and perception abilities. Your video only tests the former, not the latter.
posted by DU at 9:42 AM on December 2, 2011


Doing the trick claimed, cutting an actual bullet in half, is impossible (per the Mythbusters as well as any back-of-the-envelope calculation).

Not sure whether or not this is true, but watching the whole thing in slow motion is pretty striking for how slowly the projectile is moving (not much faster than the sword at all). And if he actually split a real bullet, he should be real concerned about where those fragments are going to go (not to mention the possible sword fragments).
posted by Edgewise at 9:45 AM on December 2, 2011


I think that unless you've held an actual katana it's hard to imagine how tricky this is. Those things are damn heavy!
posted by gomichild at 9:49 AM on December 2, 2011


I'll bet this guy's apartment is full of chopped up stuff.

And his children have excellent haircuts.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:00 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


He could bring a knife to a gun fight, and probably win.
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:03 AM on December 2, 2011


It's so hard to choose what is the most awesome thing in this video, but I think it might be the scarf that saxophone player is rocking.
posted by straight at 10:27 AM on December 2, 2011


Your video only tests the former, not the latter.

Did it cut the bullet in half or not?
posted by banshee at 11:08 AM on December 2, 2011


The bullet cut itself in half on the butter knife. Obviously a suicide.
posted by Splunge at 12:56 PM on December 2, 2011


You know, they do say (and write) I'm the video that he cuts a BB pellet -- and it sure looks like one on the video. I'm not sure what the controversy is here...
posted by armage at 4:07 PM on December 2, 2011


That was awesome.
posted by Vindaloo at 6:27 PM on December 2, 2011


To me this feels too much like people cherishing Meine Ehre heißt Treue daggers.

My grandfather and five of his brothers all left the farm to fight in WWII, sending their pay home to support the family. One of them was a sniper who killed an SS and brought back one of those daggers. They then returned (all survived) to the hills and my great-uncles lived out their lives farming and trapping and bootlegging. The dagger became less of a trophy and more of a tool for slaughtering hogs. Dad gave it to me last year because he said my "heart is true," which was how he mistranslated the inscription ("my honor is loyalty"), but I guess it's close enough - and then he promptly died. You're damn right I cherish that dagger.

That swordsman is amazing, though I really expected "bullet" to mean "bullet." :)
posted by rahnefan at 10:08 PM on December 2, 2011


This guy is my number one recruit for my future zombie apocalypse party. I really want to see Mythbusters build a gelatin head/neck for him to chop up.

If the Mythbusters are going to get involved, let's see if Machii can cut a cannonball in flight.
posted by homunculus at 6:07 PM on December 6, 2011


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