sabre / sword care

sabre, sword, spear, etc

Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:35 pm

Simon,
I did "get" the idea behind Zhuangzi's lesson to the Son of Heaven, esoterically.
In other words, I "got" it, but I don't buy it.
I'm neither a toaist, a buddhist or a christian, or an adherent of any other doctrine of religion, but I do happen to like two commonly used christian expressions enough to steal them for rebuttal to Zhuangzi's assertions.
They are:
God helps those who help themselves.
and:
Praise the Lord, but pass the ammunition.

I suppose it's a fine thing to understand that swords are not dieties to be worshipped or the answer to everything, that one needs to understand his position in life and use the metaphoric "swords" that are available to him to achieve his ends rather than always looking to the real swords for answers.
But...
While it's all well and good to put the "Perfect Man" in charge of the world, what do you do when the perfect man gets a bellyache?
By that I mean that while one should not venerate his sword for the sake of the sword, one should keep it clean, oiled, sharpened and ready for instant use. This is not for veneration of the sword itself, it is for protection of you yourself when and if it ever beomes necessary.
Because even the most perfect man will get a belly ache someday, then the rest of us are going to have to look out for ourselves.

OK, enough philosophy for this time of the A.M. It's early and I've not even had coffee.
Maybe my post would have been more coherent if I'd snuck down to the coffee counter and hoisted a few cups of bean juice first, but there you have it.

Bob

P.S.
Oh, and in terms of "what I have", I have the spring steel practice sword available from the products section of this website. I ordered mine quite a bit before the high carbon, combat grade blades were sold here.
I have been very happy with it, in terms of use and maintenance.
My confreres in class all have the high carbon blades and, while I envy them the quality of the blade, I am still quite pleased with mine and have not noticed any lack in terms of learning the forms or practicing with it.
Some day I will purchase the carbon steel blade, but until then my spring steel blade will serve me admirably.

P.P.S.
I just saw the Myth Busters episode where they "bust" they hollywood myth of slicing clean through one sword with another. While they did bust that myth quite handily, they did show, clearly, that a high carbon steel, combat rated blade will snap a spring steel blade in two with very little effort.
So I won't plan on crossing blades with any of my class mates any time soon!
Unless I use my saber, which is the high carbon blade.

OK. I'm done now. Where'd I put that cup of coffee.............?
Bob Ashmore
 
Posts: 596
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 6:01 am
Location: Frankfort, KY, USA

Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:06 pm

Greetings,

The Zhuangzi story is not really anti-sword; it is anti-violence. It does not represent a “Daoist” perspective, and was probably not written by Zhuangzi. According to A.C. Graham, the “Discoursing Swords” chapter most likely belongs with the Yangist material in the “outer chapters” of the Zhuangzi, so the perspective is one of preservation of life, and distain for wasting life as “sport.” The fellow named for Zhuangzi in the story would have been putting himself in great peril if he had not possessed the skills he boasted having. Ultimately, however, the outcome was decided by his skills of persuasion. What caught my eye in the story years ago when I first read it in Chinese was a line that closely resembles a formula in the Sunzi about “setting out later, arriving sooner.” The wording is very close to Zhuangzi’s remark that “The wielder of the sword makes a display of emptiness, draws one out with hopes of advantage, is behind-time in setting out, but beforehand in arriving.” (Watson) In Graham’s translation, he sets this off as a verse/quotation:

‘Lays himself wide open,
Tempts you to take advantage,
Is behind in making his move,
Is ahead in striking home.’

I think it is very likely that the Zhuangzi and Sunzi formulae shared a common source. In turn, one or the other likely inspired the Taiji classic line in the Elucidation of the Thirteen Shi: “If the other does not move, I do not move. If the other moves slightly, I move first.”

Take care,
Louis
Louis Swaim
 
Posts: 1336
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2001 7:01 am
Location: Oakland, CA

Postby Simon Batten » Tue Feb 13, 2007 10:37 pm

Bob, thanks for your reply. I'm sorry to sound ignorant, but I'm completely unfamiliar with these carbon steel blades that you mention - it's the first time I've even heard of them. As well as being very hard, obviously, do they have other advantages? For instance, do they require less maintenance than a sprung steel one? Don't get me wrong - I'm not advocating just letting swords rust to pieces, but I don't mind if mine gets the odd patch here and there - it usually comes off later with the toothbrush method. I've watched a few episodes of Myth Busters, but not the one you mention about swords. I saw the one where they put a couple of dead pigs in a sealed car to see what would happen - whether they could clean up the car after the pigs had decomposed for a few months. The damage the corpses did was really shocking. It was very funny - but in a very sick sort of way! Kind regards, Simon.
Simon Batten
 
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 6:01 am
Location: Brighton, East Sussex, England

Postby Simon Batten » Tue Feb 13, 2007 10:44 pm

Louis: thanks for these observations. Certainly, from what you say, it does seem as if there was a common source, and I agree of course that the passage is anti-violence rather than anti-sword as such. Fortunately, all the postings here demonstrate a sensible concern for maintenance within varying degrees of latitude (with possibly myself at the laxest extreme). However, if one starts to get 'fetishistic' about weapons, of course, then that becomes a state of mind that requires therapy and would possibly be encompassed by the Chuang Tzu passage! Kind regards, Simon.
Simon Batten
 
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 6:01 am
Location: Brighton, East Sussex, England

Postby Bob Ashmore » Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:05 pm

Simon,
The high carbon blades are more commonly referred to as "combat ready".
The steel has a higher carbon content, which makes it stronger, more able to withstand the rigors of actual combat.
The Mythbusters episode was to test the film legend of "cutting through" one sword with another during a fight.
They used Japanese katanas and also a variety of European style blades. They tested some martial artists with katanas, for speed and force of the blades as they chopped into things. Then they built a machine to simulate that same speed and force and used it to test all the blades against each other.
They did also try the test by swinging the blades at each other themselves, but they are not swordsmen and it quickly became apparent they could not get the requisite speed or power to make the tests.
Using their machine, they tested a combat steel blade katana against a spring steel katana. The combat blade either sliced or broke through the spring steel blade. There seemed to be some debate as to whether it actually cut the other blade or just broke it, or a combination of both. Either way, the blade was in two pieces when they were done.
Then they tested a combat katana against a combat katana. The one that was stationary bent, but did not break.
No blades were actually "cut" by another, with the possible and debatable exception of the spring steel blade.
They tested a variety of blades against one another, with varying results.
As I recall, the Viking sword proved to be the one with the most "strength" in that it barely even bent, and immediately went back to straight, when struck with a two handed claymore.

I don't think they're any more or less difficult to take care of. I have the combat grade saber and I spend about the same amount of time with it doing maintenance as I do my spring steel jian.
As for "advantages", they are slightly heavier, more durable blades.
If pressed, one could more readily defend himself with these blades against someone with a blade. I'd say that's a pretty big advantage.

Bob
Bob Ashmore
 
Posts: 596
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 6:01 am
Location: Frankfort, KY, USA

Postby Simon Batten » Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:44 pm

Bob, thanks for all this information. It sounds like carbon steel could be really useful. I'm also fascinated that the Viking sword proved to be the strongest. I wonder if the Vikings had martial arts skills to match? Or did they just rely on 'going berserk'? Kind regards, Simon.
Simon Batten
 
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 6:01 am
Location: Brighton, East Sussex, England

Postby Bob Ashmore » Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:54 pm

I should mention that I did not see a Chinese Gim nor a saber tested during the show.
I recall katanas, rapiers, claymores and viking swords.
Since the Vikings were known throughout Europe and even further afield in their time as raiders and reavers to be feared by all...
I'd say they had something going on.

Bob
Bob Ashmore
 
Posts: 596
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 6:01 am
Location: Frankfort, KY, USA

Postby Simon Batten » Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:10 pm

Bob: thanks for this note. Though whether the Vikings were feared for their martial skills or just for their extreme, murderous savagery, I don't know. They certainly employed terror tactics in their invasions of Britain, such as the 'blood eagle' which involved cutting the hapless victim's chest and pulling his lungs out, and then nailing him by them to a church door. The Saxon churches of the time (a few survive) all had fortified towers rather than steeples, so that the villagers could retreate to a safe place when the Norsemen raided. Ironically, of course, the Saxons and the Vikings were of the same Teutonic stock and the Saxons themselves had invaded these shores and subjugated the country 500 years before, coming over in longboats in the same manner. At the Battle of Stamford Bridge, in which the Saxon king Harold defeated a Viking army, the languages of the two sides were still in the 11th century so alike that they could both understand each other. Though of course, not much later, Harold was defeated by the Normans at the Battle of Hastings, and the Normans were after all, descendants of the Vikings, so perhaps they did develop, in the end, superior military tactics. Kind regards, T.
Simon Batten
 
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 6:01 am
Location: Brighton, East Sussex, England

Re:

Postby edzz » Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:00 am

Bob Ashmore wrote:Simon,
I did "get" the idea behind Zhuangzi's lesson to the Son of Heaven, esoterically.
In other words, I "got" it, but I don't buy it.
I'm neither a toaist, a buddhist or a christian, or an adherent of any other doctrine of religion, but I do happen to like two commonly used christian expressions enough to steal them for rebuttal to Zhuangzi's assertions.
They are:
God helps those who help themselves.
and:
Praise the Lord, but pass the ammunition.

I suppose it's a fine thing to understand that swords are not dieties to be worshipped or the answer to everything, that one needs to understand his position in life and use the metaphoric "swords" that are available to him to achieve his ends rather than always looking to the real swords for answers.
But...
While it's all well and good to put the "Perfect Man" in charge of the world, what do you do when the perfect man gets a bellyache?
By that I mean that while one should not venerate his sword for the sake of the sword, one should keep it clean, oiled, sharpened and ready for instant use. This is not for veneration of the sword itself, it is for protection of you yourself when and if it ever beomes necessary.
Because even the most perfect man will get a belly ache someday, then the rest of us are going to have to look out for ourselves.

OK, enough philosophy for this time of the A.M. It's early and I've not even had coffee.
Maybe my post would have been more coherent if I'd snuck down to the coffee counter and hoisted a few cups of bean juice first, but there you have it.

Bob

P.S.
Oh, and in terms of "what I have", I have the spring steel practice sword available from the products section of this website. I ordered mine quite a bit before the high carbon, combat grade blades were sold here.
I have been very happy with it, in terms of use and maintenance.
My confreres in class all have the high carbon blades and, while I envy them the quality of the blade, I am still quite pleased with mine and have not noticed any lack in terms of learning the forms or practicing with it.
Some day I will purchase the carbon steel blade, but until then my spring steel blade will serve me admirably.

P.P.S.
I just saw the Myth Busters episode where they "bust" they hollywood myth of slicing clean through one sword with another. While they did bust that myth quite handily, they did show, clearly, that a high carbon steel, combat rated blade will snap a spring steel blade in two with very little effort.
So I won't plan on crossing blades with any of my class mates any time soon!
Unless I use my saber, which is the high carbon blade.

OK. I'm done now. Where'd I put that cup of coffee.............?


We must see to it that our sword is clean for our safety in case we used it in our practice.
edzz
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:45 am

Re: sabre / sword care

Postby Bob Ashmore » Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:51 pm

Edzz,
I'm not really sure what you're trying to say.
Bob Ashmore
 
Posts: 596
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 6:01 am
Location: Frankfort, KY, USA

Re: sabre / sword care

Postby jhoonday » Mon May 17, 2010 5:09 pm

Properly caring for your cutlery, whether swords or other medieval weapons and armor is important. This could be very dangerous and be very careful and use common sense when handling your sword. If it is done properly, you will avoid cuts and bruises too.
Last edited by jhoonday on Fri May 28, 2010 3:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
jhoonday
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 8:11 pm

Re: sabre / sword care

Postby Bob Ashmore » Tue May 18, 2010 5:48 pm

Jhoonday,
Good advice. I find it particularly important to take care when sharpening my swords as opposed to my sabers. Since the swords have two sharp sides it is easy to forget about the side you are not sharpening and catch your fingers on it.
I find it best to set my swords on a sword stand when I'm sharpening them, so that only one sharp side is presented to me at a time.
It's funny you mention "medieval" weapons, as the sword I sharpen most often is a medieval style sword. It's a reproduction, but it is made of good, strong carbon steel and it has an edge on it that I could shave with if I were so inclined. It is my "in case of a real emergency, use this really sharp combat steel sword" blade so I only have to take it out for cleaning and oiling every once in a while, as opposed to my practice blades which I do not sharpen and use all the time.
I do not sharpen my practice jian or saber, because I practice with them. I want them to be duller than a butterknife when I practice so I don't carve off bits of myself when I screw up.
Hey, they don't call it "practice" for nothing!
Bob Ashmore
 
Posts: 596
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 6:01 am
Location: Frankfort, KY, USA

Previous

Return to Weapons

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest