One important thing about Japanese society is that they have maintained their connection to their samurai heritage. It shows, they treat most aspects of their life with some reverence toward that feudal period and the disciplines enacted through their history. So it came up while I was complaining to a few of them recently about their excessive necessity toward visual articulation on matters of importance that their tendency was rooted along with the disciplines connected directly to the life of a katana swordsman and the focus and concentration it takes to perform feats with it. I appreciate that discipline to a point. I spent several years studying the seemingly simple, yet philosophically detailed Japanese book on strategy called The Book of Five Rings. However, I’m an American and I have determined that the American gunfighter is much more poised as a national philosophy to release the wonders of capitalism than the sacrificial tendencies of the samurai. About that point in a recent conversation the video shown below was brought to my attention. In the video, a katana sword master cuts a baseball out of the air at 100 MPH. It looks pretty impressive but after watching it, I’m pretty sure I could do the same thing with just a little practice. I wasn’t that impressed, not as much as I am compared to the shooters in my Cowboy Fast Draw Association. Have a look for yourself.
As I pointed out to the propionates of samurai culture versus cowboy arts is that in Japan they wear flip-flop shoes and these little paper-thin robes and focus on applying everything through the sword. George Lucas has been so impressed with samurai cultures that he largely modeled the Jedi Knights after their role within Japan, including knocking away laser bolts from powerful guns. The assumption was that the samurai warriors were functioning so fast that their perception skills were superhuman. But not so much. Actually, the samurai warrior in that video stood next to the pitching machine and timed carefully the rate that the baseball was feeding through the projection unit and was able to measure the point in space and time that the target would move. So essentially the sword master only had to anticipate when the ball would travel through the space that his sword would be. Once the samurai drew his sword and placed it in the path of the ball. The momentum of the projectile carried it across the sharp blade making it appear as if the warrior cut it in half. In fact the momentum of the ball did all the work. It’s the same basic trick in the below video where a samurai warrior chops a BB out of the air. Once the sword master had the trajectory of the projectile memorized from practice and could anticipate the muzzle velocity, it’s not so difficult. I have a katana sword and I could do these tricks with a little practice right now.
That’s all fine for the Japanese. It’s nice that they have something in their culture that they value and connects their modern society with their heritage. But I’m not a big fan of all the paper walls, the thin robes, and the sandals. I prefer the heavy leather of the gunfighter, the large brimmed hats, the heavy jackets, durable pants, and the leather boots. In a fight between the gunfighter and the samurai, the gunfighter wins—100% of the time. It’s not even a contest. Those examples were given to me knowing I’m into the single action quick draw, but they really aren’t comparable. However, it did leave me thinking more about a topic that has bothered me quite a lot lately—how important guns are to American culture and why people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to take them away by watering down the Second Amendment.
You don’t hear much from the world in attacking the Japanese for their love of the samurai sword. Obama when traveling around Asia even wears the little paper outfits to show respect of those foreign cultures—which shouldn’t be surprising I suppose because he was raised in one of them. So he has no problem respecting the traditions of those cultures. Obama would not preach to their Emperor Akihito or the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the samurai sword is a weapon of death and that it should be eradicated from their folklore. However, which is kind of the frustration that originated the conversation; the Japanese heavily regulate the ownership of samurai swords. If you buy them, they need to be genuine Nihonto, made in Japan as knock-offs are greatly discouraged. The swords were banned during the Meiji period as the samurai were abolished. After World War II laws were written in a way to disarm the Japanese people as a conquered nation. So they Americanized themselves, but looked fondly back toward their samurai days—for which Obama wouldn’t even consider preaching against. What Obama and Clinton want to do in America is essentially take the United States on the same path. The progressives have attacked the American cowboy in the way that the Meiji period was ushered in to destroy the samurai with the fall of the Tokugawa ruler Edo in 1868.
Japan once they allowed the samurai to fall and collectively united the nation under one ruler disarming their common citizens then became an evil empire that was defeated by the United States. Then to eliminate the potential threat of restructuring back into a hostile state, the public was forced to have strict weapons confiscation and laws preventing their use. With American help, they thrived as a culture for a number of decades succeeding well in electronics and automobile manufacturing. They embraced capitalism for the most part and took a tiny island and turned it into a respectable economy at just over $4 trillion GDP. But they have their limits. Currently they are in a deep recession. At the conclusion of the third quarter of 2015 the Japanese economy shrank .8 percent. It’s not because Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered quantitative easing to jolt the economic back from the brink that is the cause, it’s likely because Japan’s unemployment is so low and there is no room to accommodate new growth to cover the debts of the past. That leaves the Japanese people looking back toward their most prosperous and structured days, before the Constitution of 1890 to their successful samurai days for pride which they apply to much of the work they perform. Only for them it has become a kind of Don Quixote story, and it shows. At least to me—cutting a baseball in half isn’t that impressive. It’s a trick, not a feat of great skill.
That is the primary reason I am moving more each day toward fighting the gun grabbers of our modern time. Obama, Hillary and their progressive infusion of maniacal anti-gun diatribes want to write a new constitution in America—one that reflects the global trend toward centralization of authority and disarming the public. Likely the goal behind the current Syrian immigration is that within those young people will be insurgents who will invoke violence within the decade that will mandate gun control in the future. Those three-year olds that Obama is talking about today will likely be like he was as a boy which is why he’s sympathetic to them. Orphans who lost their fathers to ISIS, or because they joined ISIS and were killed in an American air raid, or some other activity will be at risk of seeking revenge through jihad at some unfortunate date—then with each act of violence will be progressive activists seeking stricter gun control laws until finally the Second Amendment is abolished and progressives can get a constitution more like what Japan currently has.
That would be a mistake. They are nice people, but they are obviously disconnected from their heritage and can only touch it through daily tasks. The swords that grandparents used to keep on the walls passed from family to family are now gone and collected by a mass confiscation program started first by the Japanese government then by American occupying forces. In many ways I feel sorry for them that they think cutting a baseball in half with a samurai sword is a big deal. It’s not. America would be wise to avoid the fate of the samurai. They need to stand by their guns in the face of the gun grabbers to avoid the stalemate that Japan finds itself in, largely due to their government centralization of their micromanaged society. America really is the last place on earth that is still free, and weapons are a large reason why. When the samurai were banned, the government took control and World War II happened. And the country never really has recovered since. They have enough pride to keep trying, but they have a limit on their abilities because of their micromanaged society.
Thankfully, because of my hobbies and personal experience I can see through the haze of fascination. The sword cutting trick appeases the people of that country for their heritage by also making it look so difficult that nobody could possible achieve such a thing except for a “specialist.” But in the United States I know about two dozen people who could practice with me in an afternoon and do exactly the same thing. And that’s because we play with weapons all the time, and collect them as well. And when it comes time to solve real problems in real-time, we know how to fix things without falling for the simple tricks. We know better largely because we are an armed society and under those conditions, we are still free to think. Which is the key to all things in life—it is the Second Amendment that sits at the roots of American exceptionalism—and we better start protecting it a whole lot better than we are now. We are currently $19 trillion dollars in debt on an economy that only produces slightly over $17 trillion. The gun grabbers who have mismanaged the situation don’t want you to have guns when you realize that the only way they’ve staved off complete financial breakdowns in the United States is through quantitative easing. History tells us where all this leads and when it happens, you’ll want your guns on the wall and in your closet, because you’re going to need them. We don’t want to lose our gunfighters the way that Japan lost their samurai. Because you may never get it back again. They certainly didn’t.
Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman