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Jeni L.





Joined: 03 Oct 2006

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PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2006 7:54 pm    Post subject: Why no modern looking swords?         Reply with quote

Hello. This is my first post after lots of informative lurking. I have a question about sword aesthetics. Basically, when buying a new (non-antique) sword, why be limited by the design choices of a bygone age? Why no new sword designs for a modern era?

I’m not asking about blade geometry, handling characteristics, or any of the other “performance” aspects of a sword. Our predecessors had to bet their lives on these things, and it seems unlikely to we moderns have much to offer in these areas.

What I’m asking about is more the aesthetic aspects of the sword components (guard, grip, pommel). While they may have to have certain features (weight springs to mind) to maintain handling characteristics, they can basically look like whatever the modern sword maker can imagine.

The only “modern” designs I really see are the bad crystal-dragon-vampire swords familiar to pretty much everyone. Of course some high end custom makers are doing beautiful and original work, but the tendency seems to be towards recreating every last detail of the period originals.

If you are practicing kung-fu, is it an essential part of the experience that your jian look as much like an old one as possible? What about all the WMA guys (and gals) out there? Does the look of the sword matter? I know most everyone here is into the historical stuff, but wouldn’t it be cool to have a modern looking sword for the modern practitioner?

Thanks to all and I look forward to your thoughts.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2006 8:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The answers to this question going to be complex and varied.

For me, there are a number of answers that drive me to having a desire to recreate history. Some of what fuels that is exactly that: the notion of recreating, and thus learning from, history. It's a fascinating thing rediscovering this stuff. Often, I've found myself curious about a sword I see published in a book or museum and want to be able to hold it. I often am curious how it might appear as if new. This drives me to want to create it.

There are other reasons for me, as well, but I think it boils down to one single reason: there are literally thousands upon thousands of extant swords from history. Of these, most of them were workable designs that functioned and survived time because of it. Why not create from this library? Why reinvent the wheel? I've got plenty of things of interest to me that I want to have created, that I want to hold, that I want to learn about. This alone will take me many years of discovery. I don't have time for the other stuff. Happy

History is often more diverse than most people think it to be. The historical record of swords, alone, is varied and full of whacky designs. Check out one topic I put forth to demonstrate this: Ornamentation: Fantasy vs. History.

Welcome to the site, Jeni.

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Sean Belair
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PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2006 8:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

it's a personal thing, you can get any sort of sword that fits your stile. my preference is for historically based swords.
if you like swords with a different look, go for it. there is no one telling you you can't have a 38 inch blade with a fuller running right to the tip with a two handed machete grip.

basically the "historical" sword on the marked are just combinations of cross, pommel and blade stiles. for instance albion makes stiles of swords, they take a group of similar swords and create an archetype. gus trim will mix and match anything. unless it is a reproduction of a specific sword it is a mix and match.
the sword i'm working on now is a type XIV with a curved guard and a disk pommel. it is based on a few swords of that type i picked the parts i liked the best, and when its done no one will look at it and say fantasy sword.

you'll notice that every sword maker has their own stile, they make what they like.
i would say look through the sword makers links and find one with your stile, than let you imagination go.
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2006 8:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello. This is my first post after lots of informative lurking.

Welcome to the forum.

I have a question about sword aesthetics. Basically, when buying a new (non-antique) sword, why be limited by the design choices of a bygone age? Why no new sword designs for a modern era?

Limitations such as these are simply a matter of individual choice. It happens that you are asking the question on a website dedicated to the study of historical weapons, so people with a historical interest predominate here.





The only “modern” designs I really see are the bad crystal-dragon-vampire swords familiar to pretty much everyone. Of course some high end custom makers are doing beautiful and original work, but the tendency seems to be towards recreating every last detail of the period originals.

Sword producers make what interests them and/or what people are willing to buy at a given price point. It’s all demand and interest driven.

If you are practicing kung-fu, is it an essential part of the experience that your jian look as much like an old one as possible?

I don't practice any Eastern arts. I suspect it might technically not make much difference, but many of these arts emphasize a traditional component which is (I think) positively reinforced by traditional arms. I suspect much of it comes down to preference as already mentioned, although I also suspect more than a few people would credibly claim proper form and learning requires proper tools.

What about all the WMA guys (and gals) out there? Does the look of the sword matter? I know most everyone here is into the historical stuff, but wouldn’t it be cool to have a modern looking sword for the modern practitioner?

To me looks do matter. I think it’s cool to use a tool that is reasonably close to period because I’m trying to learn a period art. That is just my preference. I do agree that a modern looking sword would be cool for a practitioner or a modern art. However, I aspire to be a modern practitioner of an ancient art, not a modern practitioner of a modern art. Does that make sense?

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Tim Harris
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PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2006 8:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is my first post as well, and I think it's appropriate that I make it in response to yours.

You raise an interesting question. On the face of it, there is no reason why a modern aesthetic couldn't be brought into sword making. There may be other examples out there, but I can think of only one example of a modern aesthetic that goes beyond the standard fantasy style: the weapon featured in the "Blade" movies. Everything else seems to come from the private dreams of black metal fans.

As both a swordmaker and Western martial artist though, I find that traditional methods and styling choices are more effective than modern approximations. There is also quite a "form follows function" component. It could be argued that historical swordplay techniques are determined by the characteristics of the weapon used, and that a weapon's aesthetics are, to some extent, integral to these chartacteristics. (There's a chicken/egg discussion in that.).

Period "feel" goes hand in hand with historical techniques, in my view. I could make a contemporary analogue that would do exactly the same things an 18th century backsword does, but using it in 18th century backsword play just wouldn't seem "right".
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B. Stark
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PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2006 9:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Frankly there are plenty of sword makers who produce "contemporary " designs. You have to realize that there are only so many ways to manipulate the corresponding parts of a sword, dependent upon it's origin, before you loose it's dynamic qualities. "Tactical" is the usual byword for modern interpretation of sword design. Often bead blasted finish, some kind of polymer grip material etc. You are not going to improve upon the weapons function beyond what has been already discovered 500 years + ago short of increased durability perhaps. Gus Trims blades have a very contemporary look. Also you could have these blades re-hilted with a "modern" design motif. Odinblades would probably be game for such an idea.

The problem I have with the question is how are you going to aesthetically improve upon the weapons of the 16th and 17th centuries. Metal work reached it's apogee during this time, many modern sword makers wrack their brains just trying how to implement the designs of the past using modern methods. Trust me, it's a work in frustration. The levels of complexity reached at this time are really mind boggling. In contrast most "modern" designs are very spare and simple, and really quite easy to make when compared to a baskethilt or some other complex hilted weapon.

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2006 9:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To really have something " NEW " , as in something that nobody has ever imagined as a functional sword, would be very difficult as long as some new technology and materials were not invented or used.

Science fiction like concepts of a vibro blade, monomolecular thick blade made of impossibly strong and rigid materials capable of cutting a tank in half with just ounces of pressure in slow motion ? Or a Starwars like lightsaber. Eek! Laughing Out Loud

Aesthetically blade shape type, fullers and complex grind lines impossible to do handheld, hilt components of modern design / style should all be possible.

One point though is that swords are no longer viable as weapons except in maybe the most specialized special forces scenarios. ( Mostly, action film stuff ) For those applications a wakizashi type of medium blade length 18" to 24" or even a gladius type blade might be useful in extreme close quarter combat.

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2006 9:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

B. Stark wrote:
The problem I have with the question is how are you going to aesthetically improve upon the weapons of the 16th and 17th centuries. Metal work reached it's apogee during this time, many modern sword makers wrack their brains just trying how to implement the designs of the past using modern methods. Trust me, it's a work in frustration. The levels of complexity reached at this time are really mind boggling. In contrast most "modern" designs are very spare and simple, and really quite easy to make when compared to a baskethilt or some other complex hilted weapon.

This is such a valid and absolutely spot-on point that I wanted to emphasize it by quoting it and having it show a second time.

I'll go further and say that even the most ornate and decorative modern-made swords can not match the complexity found in literally thousands of swords coming from times past. It was not uncommon to have hundreds or even thousands of hours go into a single sword hilt. This amount of time is rarely spent today. And even when it is, the examples present today are not atypical for historical examples or even representative of the "top" of what history has left us.

Another point, and it was touched upon already in this topic, is that the simple fact is that most swords produced today are not historical in nature and are modern designs. By and large, the sword market is overwhelmed with fantasy creations that are not even attempting to be based on anything from history. The historical reproduction sword market is a relatively small slice of the whole market. As Mr. Stark mentions, it's often a case of the modern maker wracking his brains trying to figure out how to recreate the piece (and within a modern economical model to boot!).

It's also worth noting that antique swords were often created at the hands of several different craftspeople. There were often many people involved in the making of a single sword. Several specialized crafts were implemented. This type of work is often seen (and replicated) in Japanese sword-making, but rarely mirrored in today's European sword market. We see scabbardmakers, some cutlers (hilt-makers), and some people focusing only on blades. Occasionally, there will be a special person doing grips or helping out on other parts. But that's about it. In the Renaissance, as an example, there were several other specialized craftspeople involved and at the swordmaker's disposal. It's very hard to mirror this complex set of skills and specialties in today's market, especially considering today's economic realities and customer's budgets.

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J. Padgett




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2006 11:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Other than a minimalist approach with modern materials I'm not sure what a sword with a modern, non-fantasy aesthetic would look like.

Sharks stopped evolving millions of years ago arguably because they reached perfection for their ecological niche. The same could be said for swords, but their niche also vanished, and they became effectively extinct. There is no true evolution of the sword (aesthetic or otherwise) to bring them to the modern era.

So what would a modern sword look like?

"The truth shall make ye fret."
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G.L. Williamson





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PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2006 11:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeni, I likely could not present better responses to your question than those posting before me in this thread--given the exceedingly excellent points made in all of those posts--but I am wondering about your question itself. What, exactly, would qualify in your mind as "modern-looking"? I ask because I'm not sure any sword (any proper one, anyway) could really look very "modern" without looking quite historical as well. Afterall, a sword of any age or pattern will still end up (far more than likely) with a longer blade than a knife and with a grip of some kind.

Please take a look at all 4 or so pages of the thread Nathan mentioned earlier in this thread ( Ornamentation: Fantasy vs. History ) to see some examples that may very well be classed by some people as rather "modern-looking" even though they were produced 400-500+ years ago. Just on the first page of that thread are a few very good examples of this. Other than such types, I'm not sure what else might qualify. Unless you meant something like having Phasers engraved into a notably "modern" plastic, purple grip, and a long line of joined Harry Potter heads for a guard with perhaps a decidedly "modern" ICBM-shaped blade? I'm truly not poking fun, so much as I'm trying to illustrate that whatever a maker could possibly do to add a "modern" look to a sword might very well turn out to look simply like most historical swords (in some way) with more "modern" designs pasted on it (which, logically, might not turn out to look so hot, either).

None of this is to say that someone who wants the above-mentioned (IMHO, hideous...lol) Harry Potter/ICBM sword has no taste, or that the sword wouldn't by definition be a "sword". It's just that it seems a maker would almost have to go that far to make a sword clearly "modern". Anything less would look more like another basically historical design with a few twists (like, otherwise a perfect Viking sword, but with Oprah's face on the pommel just to show it's modern). Some people might find swords other than the "Vampire" type fantasy swords you mentioned to be too old, historically-based, etc. because they don't know enough about the history of swords in general to know the differences between truly old and "modern". Some very fine swordsmiths make honestly modern swords (not fantasy wall hangers, either) that to most people would look just as old in design as a direct reproduction of Edward III's sword.

I hope that's thorough enough that it doesn't read as caustic (which is not intended in any way), and explains some of the confusion a few people may have over how to adequately answer your question. I hope this has helped some, and welcome you to the website. Happy
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Martin Wilkinson





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PostPosted: Wed 04 Oct, 2006 4:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Padgett wrote:
Other than a minimalist approach with modern materials I'm not sure what a sword with a modern, non-fantasy aesthetic would look like.

Sharks stopped evolving millions of years ago arguably because they reached perfection for their ecological niche. The same could be said for swords, but their niche also vanished, and they became effectively extinct. There is no true evolution of the sword (aesthetic or otherwise) to bring them to the modern era.

So what would a modern sword look like?


It could be argued that modern swords exsist, in fencing blades. So a modern sword would be an Epee, Foil or Sabre.

"A bullet you see may go anywhere, but steel's, almost bound to go somewhere."

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Joel Whitmore




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Oct, 2006 6:12 am    Post subject: Really intreresting question.         Reply with quote

Jeni welcome to the forum and what a great question for your first post. I think the reason there are no "modern swords" is due to the fact of what a sword is. In the end it is an implement for maiming and/or killing someone. While this may sound harsh I am in no way degrading the artistry, craftsmaship or beauty of the sword. One of the major reasons I believe you see so many recreations of period swords is because many people who love to study swords are also fascinated by their historical usage. I would venture to say that a great many collectors were brought to swords through a love of history, though for some, it may have worked out in reverse. I would go so far as to say that nearly every sword today is a modern sword in that modern metals, fabrication and finishing techniques are used. As far as what the sword looks like, well the sky's the limit there. From your readings here Jeni, you may have noticed that swords (most epsecially European samples) changed shapes and weights over time. This was in direct response to conditions meton the battlefield with advances in armor, tactics, etc. From that standpoint, what would a completely modern sword design seek to do? What exactly would it be designed to combat on the battelfield that would shape it? As you can see this question is a moot point since swords are no longer used on the modern field of battle. Thus, the crystal, dragons head, with the 4-pound brass winged pommel and non-heat-treated stainless steel blade. These are deisgned to cater to a clientel who care little about performance and only about looks. There are custom smiths out there who will make a sword for you based on your own or contemporary designs, but there is only so much that can be done before you end up with something that is not really a functional sword. As stated above, there is only so much you can do with the design of a sword blade that hasn't come up in history. Just some of my thoughts about things. Thanks for posting a greta question Jeni.

Joel
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Oct, 2006 6:27 am    Post subject: The sword in our time.         Reply with quote

Interesting topic. It permeates to the entire scope of what we do as sword makers, users and consumers. In effect the question of why do we do what we do is at the core.

First off, I would say there are modern designed swords. The vast majority fall into two areas presentation swords, symbols created to represent some event or accomplishment and as B. Stark wrote the "tactical"group designed for use in some modern combat situation. The sword combining function and esthetic value is less seen as we do not wear them as jewelry today and expect to use the same piece for defence. There have been some of these made over the years but the market for such is smaller than the others and it is often limited to those interested in collecting a particular maker.

The presentation type sword has always been there and probably always will be. A piece done in some style and decorated to highlight some aspect of the owners life. I think the French Order of Merit still presents each new member with a sword designed to highlight there area of specialty.

Many decorative artist have worked in swords as a form and one can find some very nice smallswords for example that are done in an art deco style. The market size again is what limits this to some respect as swords were an expression of the popular culture of their day and as that has changed we have done less to carry the form through to the culture of today. In fact the sword now probably appeals more to a personality that appreciates elements of the past very highly and is less attracted to what the popular culture of today extols for style and design. Though it would be quite interesting to see what some one like Frank Gerry would come up with for a sword design.

When the popular culture of the now connects with swords today we are in such areas as anime and fantasy.

If you are truly interested in finding a modern sword I would recommend talking to several makers and see what type of ideas they have to answer your query of what would the sword of today look like. Look at there work and see who has the design chops and style that you like and have them make it for you.

We sometimes relegate the sword to the past but it is still something that runs through our lives. It is often a symbol but it can still be a terrible weapon of destruction. We are only a few short years beyond Rwanda and I have heard it estimated that more people died from machete wounds in that horrible conflict than had died from bladed weapons since the 17th C.

Like I said very interesting topic.

Best
Craig
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Oct, 2006 7:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin Wilkinson wrote:
J. Padgett wrote:
Other than a minimalist approach with modern materials I'm not sure what a sword with a modern, non-fantasy aesthetic would look like.

Sharks stopped evolving millions of years ago arguably because they reached perfection for their ecological niche. The same could be said for swords, but their niche also vanished, and they became effectively extinct. There is no true evolution of the sword (aesthetic or otherwise) to bring them to the modern era.

So what would a modern sword look like?


It could be argued that modern swords exsist, in fencing blades. So a modern sword would be an Epee, Foil or Sabre.


I thought about that angle as well, and it seems like a very legitimate point to make.

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Jean-Carle Hudon




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Oct, 2006 7:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr Wilkinson,
for modern swords, why not just check out Wilkinson Swords? Beautiful products, and still made for armed forces and police forces throughout the world . I wouldn't mind adding a few of those to my inventory. I think that ''modern'' can also include WWI and WWII swords, and I am quite proud of those my father brought back from Europe in 45, nicely displayed on the fireplace in the living room. My den serves more for the repros of medieval and renaissance swords . My old fencing gear is in the attic somewhere, except for the mask which I get to use every now and then, when I get the opportunity to swing the rapiers around...So, to add my input to the original question, I see no reason why ''modern'' swords cannot be a subject of interest, though as their use is extremely limited in the ''modern'' period, it is to be expected that there is not that much to discuss. What more can one say to the new owner of a fine Wilkinson sword product, or even some finely crafted fantasy piece, than '' Congratulations'', whereas the reproduction of a XVI th century rapier can give rise to a whole debate about its historicity and conformity, or lack thereof, to an original model seen in a museum somewhere, or even criticism of the use of the term rapier as some prefer to call these things ''cut & thrust'' swords if the blade is made a bit too hefty. I don't think there is anything barring conversation and exchanges of information on this site about modern products, save and except the very limited interest for them in the more historically inclined community which visits this site as regular contributors.

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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Wed 04 Oct, 2006 8:22 am    Post subject: Re: Why no modern looking swords?         Reply with quote

Jeni L. wrote:
Hello. This is my first post after lots of informative lurking. I have a question about sword aesthetics. Basically, when buying a new (non-antique) sword, why be limited by the design choices of a bygone age? Why no new sword designs for a modern era?

I’m not asking about blade geometry, handling characteristics, or any of the other “performance” aspects of a sword. Our predecessors had to bet their lives on these things, and it seems unlikely to we moderns have much to offer in these areas.

What I’m asking about is more the aesthetic aspects of the sword components (guard, grip, pommel). While they may have to have certain features (weight springs to mind) to maintain handling characteristics, they can basically look like whatever the modern sword maker can imagine.

The only “modern” designs I really see are the bad crystal-dragon-vampire swords familiar to pretty much everyone. Of course some high end custom makers are doing beautiful and original work, but the tendency seems to be towards recreating every last detail of the period originals.

If you are practicing kung-fu, is it an essential part of the experience that your jian look as much like an old one as possible? What about all the WMA guys (and gals) out there? Does the look of the sword matter? I know most everyone here is into the historical stuff, but wouldn’t it be cool to have a modern looking sword for the modern practitioner?

Thanks to all and I look forward to your thoughts.


It takes a real artist with genious to invent a new style, also history has shown that new artistic styles are often upgrades and improvemets of old ones.

The renaissance had its fair share of genius, but they were reinventing creatively old graeco-roma models, while in painting they went way up an unsurpassed perfection, while building from constant middle age improvements and discoveries.

To create new sword styles would be to build upon a deep knowledge of ancient styles, so new sword designers could be found among people with a deep grasp of old architectures of swordmaking, as well as sound artistic culture.

That's also why there are so many bad cartoon inspired bad swords today, because the creators of such swords have a shallow grasp of anceint styles, no artistic culture but the pitiful one coming from comic strips and cartoon movies.

So you will see that only an handful of people today could get into this enterpise of creating new styles, the few masters we know, just to name somebody never named here, a certain Peter Johnson in primis.

In fact PJ started as a graphic designer with a keen interest in fonts proportions, and proportions are the core of his research work.

A new sword style would be a creative work in bringing to life some new harmony of proportions that be useful under an engineering point of view and beautiful from an aestheical one.

It would probably require the testing of innumerable casual sschemes and ideas, and their subsequent taming to the above stated proportional rules.

A big work indeed that would require perhaps years but worth tryng.
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Oct, 2006 8:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean-Carle Hudon wrote:
Mr Wilkinson,
for modern swords, why not just check out Wilkinson Swords?


I believe I heard somewhere that Wilkinson Sword is now defunct? Or concentrating on their razor blade business or some such?

Anyway to the point of the original question, I think folks have already addressed in large why people here are pretty much interested in historical designs and pointed out that there are also the folks that make modern "tactical" designs as well as the fantasy pieces that are so prevalent in the market. Along those lines there are also outfits like AngelSword who pretty much seem to advocate what you want Jenni that is "not being confined by historical designs" but doing their own take on the modern sword (although they do not for the most part seem to be creating more "tactical" swords) If that is what you are interested in you may want to check them out. In a more general sense you are truly only limited by your imagination, funding and the laws of physics / chemistry. Happy

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Sam Barris




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Oct, 2006 8:44 am    Post subject: Re: Why no modern looking swords?         Reply with quote

Wilkinson Sword is dead. This event troubled me greatly, as they were the only maker of my style of dress saber that used wood and rayskin for hilt components, rather than mere plastic. Cry But I digress.

Jeni L. wrote:
I’m not asking about blade geometry, handling characteristics, or any of the other “performance” aspects of a sword. Our predecessors had to bet their lives on these things, and it seems unlikely to we moderns have much to offer in these areas.


I’m glad you clarified this. The last time I saw a post that started this way the author’s intent was to pick and choose from the sum total of human military experience to create a “perfect” sword design, go on to establish a “perfect” school of swordsmanship and then carry his weapon on a daily basis on the off chance that he’d run into some old woman being mugged or something. Thank you for not being that guy. Big Grin

As to your questions, I have to agree wholeheartedly with most of what has been said here. The form of a weapon is in large part determined by its function, and its function is in large part determined by the needs of the battlefield for which it has been crafted. Since we can only make educated guesses about the needs of our ancestors’ battlefields, I think we will inevitably lose a good deal of the sword’s quality of swordness if we muck around too much with their design by trying to make them contemporary. First, they’re not contemporary and never really can be. Second, I’m sure my ancestors knew what they were about when they made their weapons, and that’s really good enough for me for the most part. It is a historical art, after all. Most of us probably like to dig in the dirt on some level, or we’d be more excited about the M-4 rifle and the Tomahawk missile. And I have to say that in my humble and limited experience a historically accurate recreation of a period sword does wonders for achieving a proper mindset or getting in character for any training one might do with regard to the weapon in question. I once trained in a dojo that required sweat pants and t-shirts rather than the traditional gi, and the overall atmosphere of the place was severely lacking partially as a result of the lack of proper dress, though the quality of instruction was not in any way inferior judged solely on its own merits. I don’t want to get too new agey here, but when you assume a costume, you take on the attributes implicit in that costume. How I carry myself when I’m sprawled on my couch in a bathrobe playing video games on a lazy Sunday morning is far different than how I carry myself when I’m wearing a uniform and standing watch on the bridge of a warship which is in turn different than how I carry myself when at a Renaissance Faire with sword and mail. The clothes might not make the man, but they do remind him of where he is and what he should be doing. I believe the same principles of appearance, ceremony and traditionalism must apply to swords and swordsmanship as well. A weapon must feel right in its historical, cultural and material contexts simultaneously or the overall package just comes across as being lifeless and without spirit.

That said, I think a modern tactical kodachi or kindjal would be a very neat addition to a modern CQB kit, so long as it were kept small enough to not get in the way of anything. I’ll admit that this is primarily my innate romanticism talking. The overall return would not be worth the investment in extra gear and training, or we’d be doing it already. And most of the attempts I’ve seen in commercial tactical blades ignore the simple practicality inherent in battle-proven blade designs and end up looking like some ridiculous theater prop a Klingon might carry, and that would seem to negate the whole point of making a tactical weapon in the first place. The only exception that springs immediately to mind is a very nice tanto made by Bugei Trading Company. It’s made of modern materials, but both blade and hilt are patterned after traditional Japanese designs.

I also wanted to echo the point that there actually are modern swords that continue to evolve to suit the needs of a modern age. This would include the aforementioned foil, saber and epee, as well as all military dress swords that the nations of the world issue to their forces and even the various ceremonial swords that are used by organizations like the Knights of Columbus. None of these are designed to kill, but since the modern battlefield no longer requires swords to function as weapons we must view these younger sword designs as heirs to the legacy of the sword no less than a functional recreation made by Albion or Arms and Armor. It’s easy to dismiss them, but we must remember that some of them still serve a purpose in the modern military that functional replica swords do not.

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Jean-Carle Hudon




Location: Montreal,Canada
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Oct, 2006 4:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam,
what a tragedy. I didn't know that Wilkinson had gone belly up, bloody shame.

Bon coeur et bon bras
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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Oct, 2006 5:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Why no modern looking swords?         Reply with quote

Welcome, Jeni. Excellent first topic!!
Jeni L. wrote:
...What I’m asking about is more the aesthetic aspects of the sword components (guard, grip, pommel). While they may have to have certain features (weight springs to mind) to maintain handling characteristics, they can basically look like whatever the modern sword maker can imagine ....

In my opinion there are several fine blade smiths / artists who present a modern aesthetic. As an example, I think that some of these swords, from the Masters of Fire International Contemporary Bladesmiths Exhibition, demonstrate exactly that. All of the participating smiths are " ... high end custom makers ...." And some of them are, indeed, "... recreating every last detail of the period originals ...." However, I don't feel that is the case with all of these artists. Do any of these pieces meet your criteria for a "modern design", or am I missing your point?

"...dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation, for thy assailant is quick, skilful, and deadly."
- Sir Toby Belch
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