In our last episode, there I was, learning about swords and waiting for my final disappointment to arrive in the mail.
In the meantime, my oldest son, who also has an interest in bladed weapons, expressed an interest in a katana.
He is almost 18. He is mature and responsible. Ok, why not?
But this time, I’ll research it. I’ll read reviews. Compare prices. And buy an affordable, yet good quality katana — not an HSN disaster.
So after much research, I decided on a Musashi Wind Dragon. A very good sword for under $100.
When it arrived I was surprised by how a real sword feels. It has heft. It’s solid. It has good fit and finish. The blade is razor sharp and I’ve tried to explain to him it is not a toy. It’s a weapon. Act like its a loaded gun. Don’t just swing it around carelessly.
You probably think I’m being overly protective. “C’mon, Ed. It’s just a sword.”
Just a sword. True. But consider that swords were designed for one thing: to kill, to cut through flesh and bone with minimal effort. A properly sharpened sword is as dangerous as the butcher knife example I used before. It’ll cut through steaks like a hot knife through butter. And your leg or arm or any other part of you that gets in the way. And we’re talking about a katana, that if you believe the legends, is so mystically sharp it’ll cut you just looking at it. So allow me to present a video of what can happen if you don’t respect the sword. It’s somewhat graphic and the anticipation of waiting for her to injure herself is almost painful in itself.
See? So what did she do wrong? She didn’t respect the sword. She was waving it around like it was a harmless stick. But a sword isn’t a stick. If you aren’t careful, mishandling a sword could prove dangerous as the girl in the video found out. There was very little force behind that blow and it laid open her ankle. So consider that even just dropping a sword, you could lose a toe or, if it hits your leg just right, it could severe the femoral artery and you’ll be dead before help arrives.
So observe safety at all times. Swords are not toys. That cannot be emphasized enough. Treat them with the idea they can hurt you. You wouldn’t wave a loaded gun around in a crowded room, don’t wave a sword around.
Always have someone with you. That way, while you’re screaming and bleeding, they can calmly call 9-1-1.
Never handle a sword when tired or under the influence of alcohol.
Be aware of your surroundings. If you are going to test swing it in the yard, or do some cutting, make sure no pets, people, or anything else is in the vicinity.
Have a sure, dry grip. You don’t want the sword flying out of your hand into the neighbors yard. (I have read the advice of tying the sword to your wrist with a cord to prevent it from flying away like you would a Wii controller, but to me having a sword swinging around on the end of a rope at arm’s length seems pretty dangerous, too.)
Plan your swing. Don’t just wave it wildly about. Don’t just take a haphazard swipe at that water bottle. Plan it all out, visualize it. Take slow test swings, like you were lining up a putt in golf, from where you’ll start the swing to where you’ll end up. Hopefully, not in your leg.
Always have control of the sword. This goes with planning your swing. Make sure of where your start point and end point will be, but also be cognizant of the blade’s entire trajectory and that it’s always solidly in your control.
In other words, don’t let its momentum control you like some baseball players allow the bat’s centrifugal force determine where it ends up — often in the catchers head. A sword won’t just leave a bruise, it’ll slice you open.
Here’s a good safety video put out by Sword Buyers Guide.
So, there you have it. Safety first.
And my son has a real sword before I do. How fair is that?
But finally, after almost 2 weeks of waiting (I felt like a kid sending off boxtops to fabled Battle Creek, Michigan for some eagerly awaited toy), the final sword that I had purchased before knowing what I was doing, came.
And when it came, I was expecting another scale-model replica disappointment. When I extracted it from the box, I was pleasantly surprised to find …
… that the story is continued in the next segment.