Watch Modern Day Samurai Cut Speeding Pellet in Two With Sword

Via Oddity Central:

Isao Machii is now the headmaster of a samurai school, and what a fine example he is for his students. His hand-eye coordination is so precise that it earned him a Guinness World Record. His sword skills are so accurate that he is rumored to be unmatched by any other swordsman on Earth. He recently accepted a challenge from filmmakers, because what he does is impossible to view by the naked human eye. Shot at a firing range outside the hills of LA, Machii’s feat was recorded at a speed 250 times slower than normal with one of the world’s most sophisticated cameras . The witnesses were a filmmaker and Dr. Ramani Durvasula from California State University. Both were stunned to silence the moment Machii’s blade hit the bullet.

Confidential to Jin the Ninja: A Challenger appears…


4 Comments on "Watch Modern Day Samurai Cut Speeding Pellet in Two With Sword"

  1. emperorreagan | Dec 28, 2012 at 6:27 pm |

    Iaido is a martial art of quick, precise sword draws. The dude has practiced that draw tens of thousands of times. He’s reached a high rank, so he’s been graded on his precision dozens of times.

    The role of the uke in martial arts demonstrations is to make the master look good. In a public demonstration, they’re going to often be the most highly ranked and skilled students. The person shooting the projectile in his videos is fulfilling that role – trying to make him look good.

    He’s very, very skilled. But the entire demonstration is set up to make him look good. It’s not super-human.

  2. He does it by feeling the pellet, or rather, the change in air density around its approach. A lot of martial arts is based on this.

    • Calypso_1 | Dec 30, 2012 at 11:22 am |

      The reaction is initiated before any change in air movement would reach the swordsman. If you instead are truly talking about a change in density than we could test this assumption by having him wear hearing protectors of sufficient NRR to block the sound of the report.

  3. Calypso_1 | Dec 30, 2012 at 11:00 am |

    In no way meant to disparage this exercise, for it is truly an amazing application of skill, one must nonetheless see beyond the apparent ‘impossibility’ of this feat.

    The shooter is intimately familiar with the blade draw timing and angle. Thus the factor of marksmanship is also significant. It is the standard relationship of Uke & Tori found in Budō related arts. Pay no attention to the man behind the gun.

    I strongly suspect that the demonstration would yield highly variable results if replaced with a non-partner shooter or a rig controlled apparatus.

    To make the assumption that “a normal person would have no chance of seeing the pellet” is false.
    If one shoots regularly the eyes become accustomed to picking up subsonic projectiles – you can see a large .45/.50 bullet that is travelling 3X as fast as this pellet. Shooting behind a pellet gun you can watch every pellet leave the barrel and follow it to the target.

    To make this a scientific exploration it would be fascinating to conduct the demonstration with the swordsman & the shooter wired w/ EEG and EMG. Coordinate this with high-speed photography and it could be determined what stimuli & impulses truly correspond.

    One of the greatest perils anyone training in martial arts faces is believing the skills they develop in association with willing training partners will manifest with the same dynamics in chaotic scenarios. It can be a rude awakening, if one is not training solely for feats of skill & demonstrating of stylistic arts, to see so vigorous an endeavor crumble under the less pliable nature of the adversary.

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