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Which Tanto?

Aug 21, 1999

Some martial arts disciplines include knives as weapons worthy of instruction. Whether such instruction is practical or not is not for this forum. In my aikido training we use the 12 inch tanto as the knife weapon. My current tanto is made of hickory. I have been thinking of buying a real 12 inch tanto. What would be my best buy at any size between 8" and 16"?

Please remember that this is not the martial arts thread so please no comments about aikido, arnis, or other FMAs or Silat or Ninjutsu or . . .well you get the tanto point.
For handmades, the Kwaiken, by R.J. Martin or Phil Hartsfield are the finest using martial ats blades made.

For production, ColdSteel tantos are classics.
Try Newt Livesay, He makes something called the Bushi which may be up your alley. THe Wicked Knife Company makes some very nice knives.

For top drawer, premium blades, Mad Dog also makes a tanto.

It depends on what you want to use the blade for and how much money you want to spend, but those are the 2 I would go with.

In the maritime environment, the Mirage X tanto (EOD) would be hard to beat.

Hey, I am open to the entire universe of opinion. I know I can check out CS on a whim, so I guess I am looking for suggestions off of that beaten path. I like the traditional style and the modern interpretations of the tanto equally well at this point. I'd rather not spend over $400.00.

What I am looking for is something far more efficient than hickory should my tanto have to be used in reality. It would be nice if the blade would not fail either at its hamon (such as it is) or at the tsuba. It would be nice to have a lacquered wood sheath, but it is not critical. What kind of grind would be the best if one only realistically was going to get in one or two slash-type attacks (I'll spare you the Japanese), before stabbing was the way to go? What are the pros and cons of the asymmetrical split grind? Someone on this forum has to know more about these things (tantos) than I do, remember mine is hardwood!

[This message has been edited by lawdog (edited 11 September 1999).]
You should check out my Spec Ops Tanto. It won Best Tactical Knife at the Denver PKA show. If you are law enforcement or military, you qualify for a discount. E-mail me direct for more information.


Lynn Griffith-Tactical Knifemaker
Winner of "Best Tactical Knife" at 1999 PKA show
My website
See my award winning "Spec Ops Tanto" in Gallery 3 of my website