Friday, August 31, 2007
Chop and Slash
Got an email from a writer I know, not a martial artist, who said, "Yeah, okay, I can understand how you might want to know some hand to hand fighting. Maybe even how to use a pocketknife. But why would you want to spend any kind of time learning to fight with swords, as you mentioned? "
How often, he went on, is it likely you'll get into a sword duel with anybody?
Probably less often than I'll be struck by lightning. Or win the lottery. Dodge a falling meteorite ...
It is true. Not a lot of folks pack swords around these days. I do have one leaning by the door of my office. Were somebody to kick in the front door right now ... nah, probably I'd just use the gun.
And there's a big ole machete out in the garage I use to clear blackberry bushes by the back fence. Though I'd have to wonder at the sanity of anybody who'd attack me while I'm clearing brush with that two-foot-long machete in hand.
This why-do-it? question comes from somebody whose primary hobby is golf. And while I have nothing against folks who want to hammer a defenseless little white ball hither and yon over a well-trimmed, giant lawn, attempting to land the sucker in a series of holes, that's not me.
Chances are I won't ever need a sword to defend myself. But if that once-in-a-lifetime event should occur, better to have the skill than not. And in the meantime, it's fun to play, and, more importantly, it helps in the understanding of the root movements. Waving a sword around, cutting, stabbing, or blocking, comes from the same actions that you use if you don't have a sword. To do the bladework right, you have to have the basic moves right.
The ability to pick up something longer than it is wide and use it for self-defense -- book-fu, anyone? -- is just another skill notch on the old smoke-wagon's grips ...