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Todd Salazar





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PostPosted: Wed 20 Feb, 2008 10:35 pm    Post subject: Lack of understanding and compassion for historical weapons         Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

As some of you might know, I own a historical Scottish basket hilted sword and a few Scottish dirks from the mid 17th to the mid 18th century that were each probably involved in several battles. I love handling all of them, however, only one member of my immediate family (my mom) will handle all of them. I've been told the reason why is the possibility of each weapon being used as an instrument to inflict injury or death on others during their years of service. Also, let me explain that I never let children handle them as I understand that they don't fully understand the potential of such weapons. I always attempt to educate everyone of when and how they were used and the historical and artistic significance of each when they ask. However, it is often difficult for me to understand my immediate family's lack of compassion and understanding for them. Worried Has anyone one else dealt with and resolved this issue in their own immediate family?

Thanks,
Todd
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Todd Salazar





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PostPosted: Wed 20 Feb, 2008 10:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Perhaps, I should also mention that my mom was the daughter of a small town mortician and perhaps that is why she is not afraid of them. Thanks again for your thoughts on this topic. Happy
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R. F. Smith




Location: Colorado, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb, 2008 12:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Todd,
A thought provoking subject. I'm envious of your Scottish blades; I lived in Scotland a couple of years back in the mid 70s and am still kicking myself for not taking advantage of it blade-wise.
Big blades, and small ones for that matter creep a lot of people out. I guess they're just gentle souls who don't want to be reminded how violent life can be. My own collection consists mostly of European edged weapons that were blockade-run into the Confederacy during the Second American Revolution. I get odd reactions for all sorts of reasons.
Firstly, my real swords are locked down in their own room. There are a few repros on my office wall, and only if a guest expresses interest will I allow them to view the real stuff. Handling them is off limits mostly, though I will make exceptions for experienced collectors and friends. These old warriors are fragile and easily damaged, and my guests know better than to take speculative swings and pokes with them. As for my family, there's only my wife there now and she could care less. I leave her blown glass stuff and netsukis alone too. Should a child express interest, I'm afraid (after their parent's OK) that I outfit them with a repro blade and take them outside and let them chop on something. I see no problems in planting seeds of future interest. Frankly, this situation rarely arises.
Finally, I'd imagine your Mom is doing what Moms have done since the beginning of time: indulging her Son. I know mine did.
Best...R.F.

Love many, trust few.
Always paddle your own canoe.
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Thomas Watt




Location: Metrowest Boston
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb, 2008 1:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've observed a similar reaction, although your observations are more well-thought than mine.
When friends see one of my swords, they respond fearfully, as if the sword had a mind of its own and would begin to attack them of its own volition.
A few of my relatives (nephews, etc.) faces light up when they view my latest addition, and want to hold it. I'm still trying to break them of fingering the edge for sharpness though.

Have 11 swords, 2 dirks, half a dozen tomahawks and 2 Jeeps - seem to be a magnet for more of all.
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb, 2008 2:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fear is usually a result of lack of knowledge. If you can persuade people to overcome their fear of bladed weapons, then by all means do so. But some people aren't open to it, so I'd say respect their feelings, and act accordingly. It can help to state that these are weapons of the past, and are all decommisioned. I've got a mix of antiques and reproductions. The antiques may have been used in the past, but are long retired. Any reproductions I've made are retired directly when they're made. They only exist to show what the original weapons were like, but are not meant to be ever used as weapons (if someone should ever decide to break into my house, I'd pick a stick to defend myself Happy ). So ensuring people that you have no intention to ever use a bladed weapon as a weapon may help. Also you can show how to feel the sharpness of a blade without harming yourself can help. Some people are just afraid of sharp things, because they don't know how to handle them without bringing themselves in danger. Admittedly I used not to want any knives or swords that are too sharp myself, as I was afraid of them. Now that I've got a lot more experience with them, I know I don't put myself at risk if I don't want to (a blade only cuts when you cut with it Happy ).
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Bennison N




Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb, 2008 3:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you want to know a weapon that people just don't like, it's a Nepalese Khukri. That seems to give everyone the willies...

My family are firmly against my hobby, which is the ceaseless attempting to further my sword-art (the nicest way to say it that I could think of...). My Dad even goes as far as to sometimes pray for me to come back from matches, even practises, safely (out loud, so I can hear it... excellent for that psychological edge... hahaha!). My sister uses the wooden jian I made for my two eldest nephews (six hours of carving and sanding EACH) as stakes for tomato plants. My uncle tells his friends that I think I'm a Samurai, or Ninja, or both, and thinks it's a great joke. My cousin always reminds me that I can't beat a gun with my "sharp stick". My little brother, the hulking over-developed wrestler, says that REAL men don't use weapons. And my girlfriend hates that I "ruin" our holidays away with going to training halls for matches, and that a room we could use for something else is full of swords and training equipment.

To be perfectly blunt, I just do it anyway. And they don't try to stop me, because they see what it does to me. The strength, speed, agility, confidence. I love it because only another swordsman will recognise that I am a swordsman, and they're the only ones I want to know. I can't walk around the city with my sword in my hand, so I have a secret skill. PLUS, I like the idea of having my Dad's Christian God protecting me while I fight. Those are some beautiful tomato stakes, and they're not damaged, just a bit stained, I've checked. I've caught my uncle spying on me practising, so I know he knows I have decent skill. I'm not planning to fence with a gunman any time soon, I can fight rather well without a weapon and I know my girlfriend likes feeling safe and is proud of me beating her countrymen in their own country. Hahaha!

I don't openly flaunt it to everyone, because everyone is so jumpy these days. I've had my Dao confiscated a couple times by the NZ equivalent of a S.W.A.T team for practising on my fully fenced back lawn. One thing I always do is make sure that the important ones know it's a part of who I am, and they can't change it. And they either accept it or don't. And those who originally don't eventually do...

"Never give a sword to a man who can't dance" - Confucius

अजयखड्गधारी
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb, 2008 8:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Different strokes for different folks, I'd say.

M.

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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb, 2008 10:12 am    Post subject: Re: Lack of understanding and compassion for historical weap         Reply with quote

Todd Salazar wrote:
Also, let me explain that I never let children handle them as I understand that they don't fully understand the potential of such weapons.


We do. Well one that is.
Our son has been stimulated to learn how to deal with potential riscs properly since he started to get mobile; we have allowed him learning experiences without getting seriously hurt.
On our farm it is impossible to keep him from potentially lethal tools. A bow, a gun, a sword is nothing different that the kitchen knives, chainsaw, axe, chisels, spitfork, sickles etcetera.
No we do not allow him to play with his friends with axes and slaughter knives but then he would not anyway: he does understand why.

Here he is shooting a scythan bow with proper target arrow at age 5: http://www.mijnalbum.nl/Foto-8VA3URS3.jpg

About family and friends touching a blade: they should not finger the blade as a rule. If they do not want to understand that sharp things cut, that is no problem as it is no issue: it is rude to touch a blade as fingerprint are corrosive. Simply tell them or do not hand the thing over Idea

It is the same with bows. It seems difficult not to dry draw and -loose a bow. I rarely show my bows but occasionally do and sometimes string a composite to demonstrate this but as a rule unstring before I let someone handle it.

A bigger problem is that strangers think nothing of approaching in a B-line to start patting the neck of my stallion. There is no explaining so I now simply warm them well in advance he will bite. He will not but he does get VERY annoyed by this unwanted intimate behaviour and has every right. It works Laughing Out Loud

People will push coloured buttons and -kick tires Idea

peter
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Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb, 2008 10:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My mother has always been a bit on the hoplophobic side, but she seems to be getting more tolerant. Happy
The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb, 2008 10:24 am    Post subject: Re: Lack of understanding and compassion for historical weap         Reply with quote

Todd Salazar wrote:
Hello everyone,

As some of you might know, I own a historical Scottish basket hilted sword and a few Scottish dirks from the mid 17th to the mid 18th century that were each probably involved in several battles. I love handling all of them, however, only one member of my immediate family (my mom) will handle all of them. I've been told the reason why is the possibility of each weapon being used as an instrument to inflict injury or death on others during their years of service. Also, let me explain that I never let children handle them as I understand that they don't fully understand the potential of such weapons. I always attempt to educate everyone of when and how they were used and the historical and artistic significance of each when they ask. However, it is often difficult for me to understand my immediate family's lack of compassion and understanding for them. Worried Has anyone one else dealt with and resolved this issue in their own immediate family?

Thanks,
Todd


If you think owning swords and dirks are a problem, consider the reaction I get to some of my surplus military rifles from time to time. Fortunately my family, except for my daughter-in-law, is OK with them and she has asked that I take her to the range for familiarization so that should be resolved soon.

There is a widespread fear of any weapon, when the actual concern should center on the user, not the inanimate object. The only suggestion I would have is to educate them and try to understand what their concerns are based on.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Peter Bosman




Location: Andalucia
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb, 2008 10:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeroen Zuiderwijk wrote:
Fear is usually a result of lack of knowledge. If you can persuade people to overcome their fear of bladed weapons, then by all means do so.


I do not wish to persuade anyone about anything. I am quite satisfied if ' they' stay off my turf and do not bother me with THEIR limitations and phobias.
In the Netherlands this was not possible. Over there it seems to be a human right to interfere, to busybody about what the neighbour does even behind closed doors because you feel they ought not.
' I object to you having a big dog because I am afraid of dogs' - "Go see a psyche and if you stay off my turf you will not upset my dog".
That is the main reason I went somewhere else Wink

peter
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb, 2008 11:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Get a copy of Culloden: The Swords and the Sorrows or Mazansky's British Basket Hilt Swords and leave it lying around the house. Some folks like to see the stamp of scholarly authority. If there's a serious book showing items like yours, your family might at least understand that this is a serious field of study. If nothing else, the confirmation that these weapons are valuable antiques might help them appreciate the collection.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Ken Speed





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PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb, 2008 4:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Todd,

I suppose you could argue that it is possible that the sword in question was used to save a life. That was quite philosophical thing with the Samurai as I understand it.

I think that this is part of a larger trend. We are trying to insulate ourselves from the realities of life and death. Women try to look young forever, we put old people in special places, children are born in hospitals (mostly), people die in hospitals (mostly). Most of us have only a rough idea what is involved in butchering the meat that we eat, some of us probably have only a vague idea of what is involved in making bread or raising vegetables. I remember reading in the not too distant past that a teacher told her class unequivocally that guns were evil.

Best regards,



Ken Speed
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb, 2008 6:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is a possibility of your family's views changing over time. It took about 3 years, but, mine fairly well reversed completely. The first sword (Albion Crecey Grete) was viewed as a dangerous object of tremendous financial waste. I was careful not to push the issue and insist on wall display, etc. Instead I was careful in handling of the sword and only brought it out for discussion with responsible and seriously interested visitors, or to drill with in safe open space. Over time, they witnessed many visitors who were fascinated and not fearful, and realized that many people are very interested in the historical periods of the sword, the craftsmanship and making of them, etc. A year after that first sword purchase my son had a sword received for Christmas hanging a short distance above the floor on a wall where we judged he would not likely knock it off or be hurt in the event it fell. 3 months ago, those two people (my father and wife) who were initially most critical of my hobby interest decided to buy me my first forge. The local in laws have already brought me some leaf spring and are putting in requests! Maybe in another decade I'll have something presentable for them.
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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B. Stark
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb, 2008 6:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is just the way of things. Many people are so caught up in "today" and all of it's cultural labryths and misconceptions that the idea of a "weapon" in general is viewed with disdain. Mind you this is a learned perception. The very idea that an antique (that was actually used to kill) should be viewed with disgust is merely a symptom of this ideology. Would these same folks hold this view towards an airplane from WWII(say a B-17 used to bomb Germany, I dare say it killed a few people)? Yes, no, maybe? Even though without that bloodshed the life they lead and enjoy (or not) would more than likely not be available to them(frankly, some of them may never have been born)? Emotive reactions can be very "vogue" and logical consideration unfathomable. I wouldn't worry. If people close to you find your interests ridiculous then they will just have to lump it.


my $0.02.

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Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb, 2008 7:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

B. Stark wrote:
This is just the way of things. Many people are so caught up in "today" and all of it's cultural labryths and misconceptions that the idea of a "weapon" in general is viewed with disdain. Mind you this is a learned perception. The very idea that an antique (that was actually used to kill) should be viewed with disgust is merely a symptom of this ideology. Would these same folks hold this view towards an airplane from WWII(say a B-17 used to bomb Germany, I dare say it killed a few people)? Yes, no, maybe? Even though without that bloodshed the life they lead and enjoy (or not) would more than likely not be available to them(frankly, some of them may never have been born)? Emotive reactions can be very "vogue" and logical consideration unfathomable. I wouldn't worry. If people close to you find your interests ridiculous then they will just have to lump it.


my $0.02.


How about a hospital bed ? Most people focus on their own situation when sick and their relatives visiting also focus on the reason the person they love is there: Nobody seems to even think of all the people who used the same bed over the years and how many people DIED in that bed ! Depending on the hospital ward that might be quite a few: So why don't hospital beds " creep people out " but swords creep some people out because they may be associated with death i.e. the sword being permanently tainted by association with death and not the hospital bed ?

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb, 2008 11:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ken Speed wrote:
I think that this is part of a larger trend. We are trying to insulate ourselves from the realities of life and death. Women try to look young forever, we put old people in special places, children are born in hospitals (mostly), people die in hospitals (mostly). Most of us have only a rough idea what is involved in butchering the meat that we eat, some of us probably have only a vague idea of what is involved in making bread or raising vegetables.


Idea

That is why we changed it.
We quit our jobs as Quality consultant and Financial Controller and are now living on and from an old farm breeding and raising etcetera the meat we eat. Gathering and chopping wood to heat the living space. Our kid is raised with the perception that you need to work the soil if you want veggies. He helps milking bcause he like yogi. He operates the little machine to ground the grains, likes to help knead and LOVES to form his own little bread.
Things do not appear in supermarkets for him Wink
He has no Nintendo but a horse per example. After a ride he gives her a kiss and says thank you for the ride; MEANING that.

In geral humanity is way more primitive than ' primitive' man. Nowadays most people have not got the foggiest about existential things and that is why you get those silly reactions to sharp things; like the meat they thoughtlessly eat was not killed and butchered. Like the boob job or face lift they had was not done by cutting.

peter
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Bill Tsafa




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 12:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think it so much a matter that you have an antique sword that may have actually been used to kill. I don't think most people minds go that far. That is only something we would consider as sword enthusiasts. Most people don't draw a distinction between antique swords, replica swords and wall hangers.

I own a nice collection of replica swords and I find that most non-sword-enthusiasts are not eager to handle them either. I think it is a matter of not understanding how they work. Non-sword- enthusiasts really have no idea. They think a sword is like a gun and they might accidentally pull the trigger. They see movies like star wars and they think swords are like lightsabers, all you have to do is touch an arm and it gets cut off. They don't understand that a sword is dangerous weapon only when speed and force is applied to it. The one thing I am cautious about is letting a women handle one of my swords in open toe shoes. Most women grip very lightly. It is entirely possible for a woman to drop a sword and have the point go through her foot.

No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 1:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Where I see an exquisite masterpiece of classical Greek sculpture, someone else sees a crude piece of pornography. It's happened before: this is actually the main reason why most ancient sculptures are missing limbs and... other parts.

It's the same basic thing. Soulless philistines ruining things for everybody. (I kid, I kid!)

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Bob Burns




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 1:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

People living in countries of freedom, would not have their freedom if it were not for battles and wars, they'd be the subjects of dictatorships with a life of few choices. I think it a hypocrisy to look upon weapons with disdain, as though it were the tool of a serial killer and as though they owed their gratitude of freedom to no one!
Antique weapons are a tangible means of real history and of great significant value in learning for the current generations of those who came hundreds of years before and fought sometimes to their own peril for the freedoms that they enjoy in the present!

Well, that's my feelings on this topic!

Bob
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