Paul Chen Naginata: A Masterpiece of T10 High-Carbon Steel


Introduction Naginata

In the world of martial arts and traditional weaponry, the naginata holds a special place. Originating from Japan, this pole weapon combines the cutting power of a sword with the reach of a spear. One of the most esteemed modern reproductions of this ancient weapon is the Paul Chen Naginata, crafted from T10 high-carbon steel. This article delves into the exceptional features, historical significance, and craftsmanship behind the Paul Chen Naginata, offering a comprehensive review for collectors and martial artists alike.

The Legacy of the Naginata

The naginata has a storied history in Japanese martial arts. Initially used by samurai on the battlefield, it evolved into a weapon associated with the onna-bugeisha, female warriors of the samurai class. Its versatility in both offense and defense made it a formidable weapon. The Paul Chen Naginata honors this rich tradition by meticulously replicating the design and function of its historical counterparts.

Craftsmanship and Materials

T10 High-Carbon Steel

Naginata van Paul Chen - SH1020
Naginata van Paul Chen – SH1020

At the heart of the Paul Chen Naginata is the T10 high-carbon steel blade. Known for its exceptional hardness and durability, T10 steel is a preferred material for high-quality swords and pole weapons. The high carbon content allows for a sharp, resilient edge, while proper tempering ensures the blade can withstand significant stress without chipping or breaking.

Blade Design

The blade of the Paul Chen Naginata is characterized by its distinctive curvature and length. Measuring approximately 20 inches, the blade features a pronounced hamon (temper line), a hallmark of expert differential hardening. This process involves heating the blade to different temperatures along its length, resulting in a hard edge and a more flexible spine. The hamon not only enhances the blade’s aesthetic appeal but also improves its functional performance.

Pole and Mountings

The pole, or shaft, of the Paul Chen Naginata is constructed from high-quality hardwood, providing a sturdy yet flexible base for the blade. It is wrapped in ray skin and cord for improved grip and durability. The fittings, including the tsuba (guard) and saya (scabbard), are crafted with precision, ensuring a seamless integration of blade and pole. These components are often adorned with traditional motifs, reflecting the weapon’s cultural heritage.

Functional Excellence

Balance and Handling

One of the defining features of the Paul Chen Naginata is its impeccable balance. The weapon’s weight distribution allows for fluid movements and precise strikes, essential qualities for martial artists practicing naginatajutsu. Whether used in kata (forms) or sparring, the Paul Chen Naginata offers a realistic and effective training experience.

Cutting Performance

The sharpness and durability of the T10 steel blade translate into exceptional cutting performance. Capable of slicing through bamboo, tatami mats, and other targets with ease, the Paul Chen Naginata demonstrates the cutting power that made this weapon feared on the battlefield. The blade’s curvature enhances its slicing ability, allowing for clean, efficient cuts.

Historical and Cultural Significance

The Paul Chen Naginata is more than just a weapon; it is a piece of history. Each aspect of its design pays homage to the traditional naginata, from the blade’s shape to the decorative fittings. Collectors and enthusiasts can appreciate the meticulous attention to detail that goes into every Paul Chen Naginata, making it a valuable addition to any collection.

Cleaning and Oiling

Maintaining the Paul Chen Naginata involves regular cleaning and oiling of the blade to prevent rust and corrosion. The high-carbon steel, while exceptionally durable, is susceptible to oxidation if not properly cared for. Using a light coat of mineral oil and a soft cloth, owners can keep the blade in pristine condition.


Proper storage is also crucial to preserving the naginata’s integrity. Keeping the weapon in a dry environment and using a quality scabbard helps protect the blade from moisture and damage. Displaying the naginata on a rack not only showcases its beauty but also ensures it remains safe and accessible.

The Paul Chen Naginata is a remarkable fusion of traditional design and modern craftsmanship. Forged from T10 high-carbon steel, it offers unparalleled performance, durability, and aesthetic appeal. Whether you are a martial artist seeking a reliable training weapon or a collector looking for a historically significant piece, the Paul Chen Naginata stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Japanese weaponry. Its meticulous construction and attention to detail make it a true masterpiece, worthy of admiration and respect.

By choosing the Paul Chen Naginata, you are not only acquiring a functional weapon but also embracing a rich cultural heritage that spans centuries. This naginata is a perfect blend of form and function, embodying the spirit of the samurai and the craftsmanship of master swordsmiths. Whether displayed as a work of art or wielded in martial practice, the Paul Chen Naginata is a testament to the timeless appeal and enduring quality of traditional Japanese arms.


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