Traditional Chinese Method of Sharpening

The traditional Chinese manner of sharpening swords was to first divide the blade into three sections; a root (close to the hilt), middle and tip section. The root is edged but not sharpened, as this part of the sword was used for defensive measures and maintaining the blade's overall strength.

The middle section was not extremely sharp, but still sharp enough to cut and retain the blade's strength.

The tip section however, was kept razor sharp as it was considered the 'business end' of the weapon. 

There is a Chinese maxim which pertains to swords and their sharpness; 'three feet long, one inch kills'

Not only would the sword would be sharpened to achieve different levels of sharpness but the points at which the sharpness changed would be done so subtely that the difference could not normally be seen.