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Thread: Ronin Dojo Pro Ko-Katana : Bring on the Zombies!!

  1. #1

    Ronin Dojo Pro Ko-Katana : Bring on the Zombies!!


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    Ronin Dojo Pro Ko-Katana
    Bring on the Zombies


    Marc Kaden Ridgeway
    Atlanta , GA
    3 Dec 2012







    I used to believe that size mattered.

    Seriously, laugh if you want , but years ago I was really hung up on size. Being a somewhat tall guy , I really thought that the length should match. Sword length that is.

    About 6 or 7 years ago, I was just discovering the blossoming world of production katana , thanks to finally coming out of the dark ages and getting online. While exploring this world I began chatting with a now defunct sword vendor who offered to sell me some 1050 through hardened seconds he had for an incredible price, as long as I bought 5. So I did.

    When the shipment came , going through the boxes I came across one sword that was quite different. There was a sword in there that was in a full size saya ... but quite short despite the normal tsuka. So when I messaged wanting compensation for the mistake, i was informed that the mistake was in my favor, as the sword was a 1070 differentially hardened ko-katana (first quality).

    Nice huh? Not to me ... remember , size matters. Not interested in such a girly little sword , I sold it (for way less that I should) without even trying it out.

    A year or two later I had gotten into writing reviews, and got another kokatana from the same manufacturer to review. That meant I had to cut with it ... and when doing so , I was amazed at how much fun these ko-katana were.. light, fast , agile , precise. After the review I sold that one, thinking I could buy another later... wrong. They flew off the shelves . Couldn't keep them in stock. Then the vendor folded... and so went the possibility of ever getting another decent kokatana... as these things are hard to come by...

    Fast forward to 2012. Ronin Katana , famous for their line of tough well built Dojo Pro cutters, introduces a new Dojo Pro ko-katana. Once again these things fly off the shelves. Ronin can't keep them in stock... and now I know why.

    Size doesn't matter.

    Let's do the disclaimer please. Yes.. I do have a business relationship with Ronin Katana. I have a website and I have been selling these as a hobby for the last few months. After so much extensive testing and reviews of Ronin Katana models I couldn't help but want to sell them. They are that impressive. But I can say that this is the first Ronin review I've written sice becoming a rep. It was my reviews which convinced me to do so. Seriously... I mean have you seen the destructive tests I did for Ronin Katana? If not, why don't you head on over to their YouTube page and check it out? They can also be found on my Youtube channel for Torion Sword

    In addition to this, I am also a senior staffer at SBG , where Paul sells Ronin Katana in the SBG Store.

    I also am the author of over 50 sword reviews and have donated my time on several community websites. I think that I have earned a reputation of fairness and integrity and impartiality with most of you . If I haven't then perhaps you shouldn't read any further, but for those of you that know me , read on and I'll tell you about the Ronin Dojo Pro Ko-Katana.







    Specifications


    Nagasa : 23.25 in
    Tsuka : 11 1/8 in with fittings
    Weight : 2lbs 4 oz
    POB : 3.75 in.
    Motohaba : 1.3 in
    Sakihaba : 7/8 in
    Motokasane : 7.5mm
    Sakikasane : 5mm
    Sori : .5 in.







    Aesthetics ; Fit & Finish


    The sugata is shinogi zukuri with chu kissaki. The yokote is accomplished with counterpolishing. The kissaki itself swells geometrically to a reinforced diamond shaped tip.

    The 23 inch blade is through hardened 1060 spring steel , polshed to an even satin all over. The blade has gentle sori of about .5 of an inch and a nicely pronounced fumbari.








    The 11.25 inch tsuka is panelled with black samegawa and wrapped with 10 inches of black silk ito, "to appeal to the ninja in all of us" as Chris told me. The fuchigashira are blackened iron and the kashira sports matching black shitodome. The menuki are golden dragons.

    The tsuba is also blackened iron (read mild steel) and in an inazuma (lightning) sukashi theme. The tsuba has a "distressed " or hammered finish which is a fairly good representation of tekkotsu on antique tsuba.













    The sword is mounted with nice key fret brass seppa , and a brass habaki. The habaki has a dual finish , filed and polished, with dual separating grooves. It is fit nicely and properly shaped . Ronin is one of a very few companies that build a habaki this properly, and that is even scarcer at this price range.









    The saya is piano lacqured black, and sports buffalo horn kurigata , koiguchi and kogiri. The horn has patterns which make for a beautiful accent to the saya. The black sageo is a nice upgrade over even many more expensive swords, and it threads through the kurigata through blackened shitodome.

    The saya is perfectly fit, without a trace of rattle.









    Handling Characteristics

    Handling is what a ko-katana like this is really all about. With a POB of less than four inches and a 11 inch tsuka on a 23 inch blade you know it is going to be fast... and fast it is.

    Handling is super, one or two handed... but is absolutely fun two-handed.

    The tsuka is nicely shaped , with a ergonomic taper that just feels terrific in the hand.

    If you are into quick, precise handling swords, the Ronin Dojo Pro Ko-katana will not disappoint.










    Cutting


    Now we get to the part of the review that really matters in a Ronin review. Afterall what Ronin is best known for is tough no-nonsense cutters.

    The kokatana lives up to this legacy.

    Don't get me wrong... with a POB of less than 4 inches it doesn't have the blade presence to power through huge bamboo in one swing every swing like its bigger dojo pro brothers... but it does cut bamboo fine. Better than fine.

    The day that I filmed the bamboo cutting in this vid I had 3 swords to test. I took them all out to the grove , but neglected to take a machete. Here I am with 3 swords to test ... and no machete...great!. So I used the Ronin Ko-Kat for a machete. I sliced some down... hacked at some ... but all in all I cut down every piece of bamboo that I used that day with the Ronin. Then i sized all those pieces by cutting them into shorter lengths than the Ronin. Then I trimmed all those pieces with the Ronin.

    To be accurate, the Ronin cut more bamboo and bigger bamboo (because it cut the bases) than the other 2 swords tested that day. In fact it cut every piece of bamboo that the others cut and then some.

    Despite this being Georgia ( and 70 degrees and sunny today ) we have had some cold weather already and the bamboo is getting hard. Hard enough to be too hard to be cutting.

    Of the three swords tested that day one sustained some very superficial damage, one took significant edge damage ... only the Ronin Ko-Kat escaped unscathed . Not a scratch.

    A week later I cut some bottles too... including a zero distance cut for my first cut.

    What a joy this fun little kat is to cut with... for very hard OR very soft targets.

    Please excuse the camera work at the bamboo... my son was filming and missed a lot of footage.

    On part of the video you can hear my better half spitting gangsta rap to our mastiff , Goliath aka G-Dog. I shoulda edited it out , but just couldn't bring myself to do it.

    Enjoy!!






    The Good. The Bad & The Ugly


    Got a little bit of all to cover on this one today. I mean, this is a sub $300 sword, to say that there is nothing to be critical of would be disengenuous... its just that there is so much more right than wrong.

    On this sword , the wrap isn't as tight as it has been on virually every other Ronin I've ever touched. Still servicable... just a tad loose. Also the kissaki shaping and yokote placement is a tad off ... hard to get fukura just right on such a short katana I guess. Finally, on this one there is a bit of a rough job cleaning up the flash (from casting) on the kashira. Again remember this is a sub $300 sword.






    Ok ... now that is out of the way ... let's talk about the good. Again... remember , this sword retails for just $265.

    Here is a list , inclusive but not comprehensive of the things that Ronin is doing right.

    • Fumbari
    • Silk tsukaito
    • Tapered, well shaped tsuka
    • shitodome on kashira & kurigata
    • well made well fit, functioning habaki
    • sharp , tough blades that perform well on many targets
    • iron/steel fittings and tsuba
    • upgraded sageo(not shoelace)
    • well fit saya
    • buffalo horn elements on saya
    • real samegawa
    • nice filed seppa


















    Conclusion

    The space in the market occupied by these swords is a scarcely occupied place. That applies to all the Ronin Dojo & Dojo Pro offerings. With this quality, at this pricerange , Ronin really onlt has a couple of serious competitors. Then, if you study and compare the list above, it narrows even further, perhaps completely. Truth is, no other competitor ticks so many boxes as Ronin when it comes to attention to detail at an affordable price.

    Noone.

    Ronin offers more quality , with more attention to getting things right than anyone anywhere near the Dojo or Dojo
    Pro price range.

    Further, Ronin offers this same value and detail and quality for the range of its offerings. For over a decade 2 major manufacturers have dominated the production katana world for choice and quality . Through its forges's skill and Chris's commitment to QC and value , Ronin Katana has emerged as the only serious competitor to these two long established dynasties.

    From the 1045 Dojo line , to the spring steel Dojo Pro and the incredibly shaped complex laminates of the Dojo Elites , Ronin is offering the best in katana at most pricepoints in the market... and with the collaboration with SBG on Project X they are prepared to take it to the next level.

    As for the ko-katana itself?

    Seldom does one get to use a sword so light yet tough. Such a quick handler and a great cutter. Useful as a tool and weapon. And fun.

    The Ronin Ko-kat is quick, deadly, precise, sharp and tough. It performs well on a variety of tasks , from bamboo to bottles , and even woodcraft , and use as a machete.

    I am not a prepper ... or a ZA enthusiast .. or any of the above. However in case of a zombie apocolypse , or really any other SHTF situation , I can't think of a sword I'd rather strap to my jam bag and bug out with. Its compact, light easy to carry , easy to use and tough... bring on the zombies!!!

    It's also pretty good for training or backyard cutting too

    Thanks for reading.












  2. #2
    I ordered the satori model last year, I was hopeful because of the inspect before shipping
    but mine arrived with a chipped edge, and a dented kashira. I sent it back and received
    a refund, that really soured me on Ronin katanas.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by sigsaur View Post
    I ordered the satori model last year, I was hopeful because of the inspect before shipping
    but mine arrived with a chipped edge, and a dented kashira. I sent it back and received
    a refund, that really soured me on Ronin katanas.
    That's too bad, and I completely get why you got a bad taste in your mouth. All I can say is that was an anomoly. Very rarely does anything like that get past Chris's QC.

    Sorry you got a bad one

  4. #4
    I read your Dynasty Forge bushi shobu review, now I'm looking at the their musha line
    that Paul has. Have you tested their improved line yet?

  5. #5
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    Good review....I don't have any background on you....got a Reader's Digest version of your cv handy?

    Best Regards,

    STeven Garsson
    Victory comes with the sword still in the scabbard
    The Way of the warrior is a dying art

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Kohai999 View Post
    Good review....I don't have any background on you....got a Reader's Digest version of your cv handy?

    Best Regards,

    STeven Garsson

    Hi STeven , thanks for the reply . I am quite honestly a nobody. I guess I am best described as an erst-while martial artist ( many years gone,no affiliation or skill left to speak of) , sword collector and internet personality...lol. I was into swords many years ago , back when it was aluminum , z/a , stainless or an antique. At that time i had a mumei shinshinto. Life happened , and I got away from swords... until 2005 or so when I got online. Discovered the new sword "invasion: and dove in. I am not any kind of expert , but I have tested and reviewed swords for Hanwei, Ronin Katana , Kensei, Angus Trim , John Lundemo and others. I have also written quite a few other reviews on everything from very low end swords to high dollar customs. I am a senior staffer at Sword Buyer's Guide Forum... and the review was written in that context.. thats why the assumption people know me. I repost here as well as a courtesy.



    @ SigSaur I haven't tested the upgraded musha class yet only the new Bushi, though I expect good things from the Musha.

  7. #7
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    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...ger-flame-away!!!

    Marc has done a great many reviews and have always been welcomed across the net.

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    Quote Originally Posted by horseclover View Post


    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...ger-flame-away!!!

    Marc has done a great many reviews and have always been welcomed across the net.
    And he is not unwelcome here, by me anyway, Glen. I am always curious as to WHO is writing what.

    Welcome to Swords of BladeForums, Marc!

    Best Regards,

    STeven Garsson
    Victory comes with the sword still in the scabbard
    The Way of the warrior is a dying art

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kohai999 View Post
    And he is not unwelcome here, by me anyway, Glen. I am always curious as to WHO is writing what.

    Welcome to Swords of BladeForums, Marc!

    Best Regards,

    STeven Garsson

    Thank you Steven ,

    Glen was nice enough to link to my first post ever on SFI ... before I knew how to interact on the internet . I have since learned alot , not the least of which is how to overlook Glen.


    Glen , Merry Christmas. I hope the holiday season is a good one for you and your health continues to improve.

  10. #10
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    extra and happy holidays to you
    Last edited by horseclover; 12-04-2012 at 09:33 AM.

  11. #11
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    not the least of which is how to overlook Glen.
    Yes, I am sure you have overlooked all my thoughts, including my copying all your reviews from other sections of SFI (all but one) to the review section at SFI.

    You probably also overlooked your reply at myArmoury recently regarding 19th century swords and two people you specifically look for to read.
    ="Marc Ridgeway"
    Very nice Glen!

    When I saw this topic first thing I did was look for posts by yourself or Dave Kelly!!
    While never listing myself as an authority re 19th century swords, I guess I should be flattered by your admiration

    Life goes on. The books of both of our net participation is there for any to read, or overlook. Your entry to SFI was notable, hence not hard to recall. An amiable end to that thread, iirc.

    Cheers

    GC
    Last edited by horseclover; 12-04-2012 at 09:33 AM.

  12. #12
    Oh Glen, I never overlook your contributions ... you have an encyclopedic body of knowledge in that noggin of yours that never fails to impress me . When you choose to contribute you are quite often quite helpful.This is why I usually try to be unfailingly polite to you whenever possible. I appreciate your contributions.

    It is the , shall we say, snarkier quirks of your personality which I have learned to overlook.

    I remain otherwise endebted to you for your selfless sharing of knowledge, whether you choose to be flattered by it or not.


    I really do hope you have a Merry Christmas Glen , as I have wished you often in the past... You have made it clear , I am a lout. I do not dispute this , so there is no need to reply and clutter the thread with squabbles.

    Do have a good holiday season.

    BTW .. I enjoyed your thread just down the page , though most of the photo links appear to be broken... wish I had seen it before that happened.

    Cheers


    Edit... ah photos seem to be back ...nice
    Last edited by Marc Kaden Ridgeway; 12-04-2012 at 10:31 AM.

  13. #13
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    Nice review. I am one of those who is into fast swords. I will give this one a look. Cheers!
    Beckerhead #149
    HTM/DDR Crew Member

    Tax Season Sale! Khukuri, Camp knife, Large and Small Persians, all in the Exchange.

  14. #14
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    Marc,

    If you would be so kind, please e-mail me at dethrdr@hotmail.com.

    Best Regards,

    STeven Garsson
    Victory comes with the sword still in the scabbard
    The Way of the warrior is a dying art

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