Cold Steel Gim Sword – The Real Chinese Sword On a Budget! 中國鯤鵬劍
The Cold Steel GIM sword is the most affordable Chinese sword (Jian) that Cold Steel produce. Nothing fancy but a nice and sturdy 1055 carbon steel blade sharpen to a true diamond edge with the sword designed to the them of “Kwan Pang” 鯤鵬 which is a fish and a type of large eagle, it’s a theme directly inspired from the famous philosopher in Chinese, Chuang Tze. Many people just call this the GIM sword, which GIM in Cantonese just means a straight sword, same as Jian in Mandarin (they are the same word). That is not the name of the sword’s design. This sword is actually called the Kwan Paang Gim in Cantonese to be correct. It’s a very nicely made functional sword that can actually cut and be used brutally without having to worry about a damascus blade being scratched. I love it! Let’s take a look at the sword together!
DEEPER MEANING OF THE CARP GIM DESIGN
Before we move on, let’s take a look at the passage from Chuang Tze which this sword’s theme is related to. After learning what it means, you will know why you need this sword in your collection more. The design is awesome!
From Chuang Tze’s first chapter:
In the dark north, there is a kind of fish, named “Kwun”. The enormous size of Kwan, is over 1000 miles long, and it later transform to a bird. The bird is named Paang. The Paang’s back, is also as large and long as 1000 miles. It fiercely flew up the sky and the wings opens up like as if it is the certain of cloud from the sky hanging down, this is a bird…
As you can see, this passage describe the feeling of what Kwun Paang looks like to Chuang Tze, and he is using this as a metaphor as to teach a philosophy of virtues. The philosophy means that even you are strong and your inside is full of knowledge, you might be not appeal to the public at first, just like the Kwan in the sea – large and powerful but hidden beneath the deep sea. Once it’s time, you change to a Paang (the eagle) and now your talent will be revealed when you spread your wings. Even with great power, your mind and capacity should be greater than your power itself, just like the wings of the Paang, it should be wide and big, enough to hold and withstand anything you may encounter, such as people’s verbal abuse, trash talking, disagreements, or anything like that should be all not harmful to you because you possess the virtue of a Kwun Paang. You can take it and that is why people are proud of you.
Owning a Kwun Paang sword is a symbol of virtue and it’s something that tells people even you can fight and have a sharp sword, you must always possess virtues like a kwan paang and not be a bully or draw your sword all the time to kill people or bully others. When there are disagreements, you should use virtues to dissolve it and not your anger to fire it up into a bloody scene.
This sword is awesome, it’s a sword of virtue!
The sword comes in a nice scabbard made with hard wood (Rosewood) that is the same as the handle. The wood is polished and oiled but still at it’s natural color state. The first feeling I got from picking up this sword is – dang, it’s much better than those photos online!
The handle is made with some grooves that runs vertically from the pommel to the guard, which add some comfort to your grip. It’s nice and classy too!
The guard is with engraved with cloud and the Paang (big eagle) and the fittings on the scabbard are mainly fishes and water waves.
One fish and water..
The second fish and water, notice that it’s not the same! Wow nice craftsmanship done!
It comes with a “sling” which is attached in a very cool way for you to adjust and you can wear it on the belt or over the should as well. For over shoulder, you basically make it longer and just loop it through one arm like wearing a t-shirt, then you basically have the sword worn on the shoulder on one side, straight and not like in the movies where people wear it diagonally at the back. Well, it’s more practical this way though, so it make sense!
The end of the scabbard is also water, wave, and fish
Here goes the pommel, lots of fishes and waves plus a nut that you can unscrew easily with a wrench. There is a hidden nut inside that secure the blade with a washer spacing the handle and the internal nut as well. But that’s not really going to be even a need to adjust this.. because…
As you can see the “dot” in the center of the grip, that is a bamboo peg running through the wooden handle and the tang inside which already secured the blade in a non-moveable position, how can things really get loosen up anyway? The sword is just so sturdy already!
The design of the guard is rounded with no corners and so it provide a easy handling for the wrist and is great for twirling the sword around.
Back of the fittings is water waves design…
The second fitting down is also waves…
Here you can see some more waves as well.
Taking the sword out of the scabbard, you will be surprised to feel the sword is not as heavy as it was promoted in the hand because the balance point is about 3.5 inch from the hilt only, very easy for handling. I would love it if the sword point of balance is further out, but too bad, Cold Steel changed it in 2006 to fit the public’s taste. Sigh!
The sword is so classy but simple. The scabbard is actually very nice and snug as well. The sword is very nicely fitted inside and won’t fall out or anything. Very secure.
See the fittings..
Here is the hilt, very secure design and the fittings are made of GOOD quality brass that is very heavy. Whereas the cheapo knockoffs are all done with cheap brass that is light and not durable.
See the thickness of the blade, it’s not like a wushu filmsy sword that flex like a noodle, nor like a dragonwell normal tai chi sword that is semi-flexible. It’s a sturdy blade that is meant for business, it won’t bend unless you clamp it down the table and bend it with a tool!
Here goes a nice sword tip, and the edge is sharpened in a true diamond shape with the edge sharper at the tip or top 1/2 and the bottom 1/2 is not as sharp. I think I will fine tune the sharpening job abit myself, but overall this is quite good.
The blade is sharpened this way because you basically want to leave the bottom half of the sword for smacking at hard objects so if it is too sharp, the edge might not hold well. But nevermind, I will fine tune it myself to adjust it for my own need. It’s still good!
Overall, I give this word a 9 out of 10 for it’s price. The only thing I don’t like is the point of balance and weight, it should be heavier with the point of balance further out like 4 to 4.5 inch form the hilt and that will make the sword better for me. But what can you expect? This is a great cutter and a real sword for all to start with. At least you don’t need to worry about scratching your damascus blade, which is nice. I can go all out with this sword and cut anything I like! I feel more confidence with this sword than the jade lion sword because it’s less delicate and it feels like more meant for fighting than a piece of art. So yeah, this is a true martial art fighting sword!
Dragon Well Cheapo Knock Off Version
Hey, the two look alike! Well, yeah, the other one is from Dragon Well Zhang;s family forge, it’s cheap and about $35 only, of course, you can’t expect anything very good.
Funny enough the cheapo is using a lion head or something like that for the pommel which doesn’t even fit the theme of the sword design. It should be fish and eagles!
Not to forget to mention the guard is also with some crazy creatures as well and the wood is not hard wood, the brass is not brass, it’s cheap copper blended alloy. Which is VERY light in weight and have no ability to withstand a single cut. If you chop down the fittings, you can see a sword can break these fittings easily!
They even put the fittings with their name of the forge! Sigh..
Here is the inside.. I wrote some FU (talisman) on it for my Taoism use. It’s a 440 stainless steel blade that can flex (semi-flexible) and it’s not sharpened as well. The blade have a very thin profile with not much of a spine at all. But then, it’s not a rat tail tang, it’s a full tang that is just skinny.
You can see the cheapo is really not even in a diamond shape much, the blade is about 1mm thick and not sharpened at the end. The other one (Cold Steel GIM) is very thick with a true diamond shape to it. It’s THICK!
VIDEO REVIEW OF COLD STEEL GIM
Here is a video review of the Cold Steel GIM Sword. Enjoy and hope you like it! Show time!
Now here is a video on the explanation of the secret behind this sword’s design!
Here is a test VS computer!