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Josh Hibbs

Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Joined: 23 Jan 2005

Posts: 23

PostPosted: Mon 10 Oct, 2005 10:04 am    Post subject: Pilgrimage         Reply with quote

I am a university student with my major being in Classics. This, if anything should tell you that I am a history finatic considering that their is only 14 classics majors in my entire university (i like to think we are the elite of the history students, since a lot of the history students {ther is 210 of them in teh school} in my classics classes can't actually understand the ancient greek literatures Happy ).
Well what I'm trying to get at is that when i finish my underrgraduate i plan on taking a year or so off and going on a type of "warrior pilgrimage" as some cultures call it. I wanted to try and backpack (maybe not always on foot) from itally to Japan. stoping in countries with a reach history in historical arms (such as the italians, the greeks, chinese, Japanese, etc.).
You see the thing is i have always tries to learn to use a sword myself. now i know some people can hate teh "self trained people" but in my life it was the only option i had since i was always moving and never stayed in one spot long enough to join a school.
Doing this trip i thought would give me a chance to learn from actual instructers as well as see the world and experience the cultures that i have only seen through the pages of a book. (sorry i know i keep getting away from my question).
What i am truly woundering, is if this would be a good idea and if it is possible and if anyone has attempted to do it before? Would there be places i could stay along my way? would it be really expensive?
Just woundering if someone could answer any questions. Thank You

"We men are retched things"
~ Achilles
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Peter Johnsson
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Location: Storvreta, Sweden
Joined: 27 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Mon 10 Oct, 2005 1:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Part of your pilgrimage, and Id say the most taxing and challenging part, will be for you to actually find any traces at all of sword culture in the areas where the sword used to have a significant role.
Today there is sadly very little left. Usually nothing at all.
In Toledo for example, where one might think there should be a rich heritage, there is only cheap tourist c**p being sold at give away prices. No real swords anywhere, no knowledge, no skill, no sectrets being passed on, no acomplishments, no craft. No traces apart from what you might be able to see in some museum exhibit and that will only be a faint ghost of what once was.
In Solingen, the proud and dynamic centre of blade making, there is hardly any blades at all made today. Very few quality makers and no quality swordmakers what so ever. No one knows swords in Solingen today.
In some centres of manufacure where traditionally swords were produced we sometimes find some steel and blade manufacture, but usually the modern remains is a factory making table cutlery or some kind of pocket knives.
The knowledge and craft of swordmaking today is not a passed on tradition, but a recreated, reconstructed art, studied by individuals on an individual basis.
The same is true for swordsmaship (perhaps to an even greater degree).

The Grail quest of sword scholars today is to find the sources where study can be rewarding. There is so much nonsense and rubbish everywhere. There is such a low awareness of what the sword really was and what swordmaking and swordsmaship meant for the identity and self esteem of our ancestors.
It is not like there are old wise masters surviving in the far hills beyond who have traditional knowldege passed down from the anicent giants of the art.
The giants are all dead and gone. Period.
Only the rusty remains survives, and that only to some small extent.

You must decide what part of the history of sword culture you are questing for. It will take determination and focus to find the track. Most tracks lead to dead ends. You will have to be very selective and aware of the nature of the remains. There is nowhere an intact sword culture. What little you might find has all been transformed to fit our modern society.
If you can find some aspect that is rewarding in your studies, something that will bring one small detail to life: that will be an accomplishment.
Sadly, it is still through the pages of books or by the rusty remains slowly transforming to dust in museum store rooms we can try to learn wat it was all about. Read the classics, know their voices, know their battles and ideals. That is necessary background to interpret the remains in a meaningful way.
A trip to the places where it all happened can still be rewarding, but it will be like sifting for gold in a creek: youll have to go through a lot of mud to find the occasional nugget.

On a pilgrimage through Eurasia questing for the history of the sword you will likely find anything but the remains of swords. You can still drink the wine that was enjoyed by Julius Ceasar (Barolo), you can walk the streets of Pompei entering the arena where the gladiators spilled their blood, you can take a stroll among the trees at the site of theTeutoburger battle: but wat you will see is mostly anything but the sword or the swordsmanship.

Its all great fun and exiting though!
Good luck!
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Russ Ellis
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Joined: 20 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Mon 10 Oct, 2005 7:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter... I believe that you have the soul of a poet!. Happy
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Adam Welch

Location: Jackson, TN
Joined: 11 Jul 2005
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Posts: 22

PostPosted: Tue 11 Oct, 2005 6:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Man, Peter. Can I get that on a really big bumper sticker???? You made a great point of how the old ways are all but gone. I always hate to admit how dwindled the sword world is. I mean I know that there are lots of quality makers out there like yourself, and I also know that its nothing short of a miracle that the knowledge we have today has survived. I wonder if the Renaissance of sword related arts we have had in the last century will continue to grow or if the revival is just the last hurra(or huzzah Razz ) for us.
Factus est Dominus Protector Meus!
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