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chinese sword etiquette?

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  • #16
    as Spock would say, "fascinating." But with a capital "F."

    Interesting to note the feeling that the sword is more than a sword, that it is personified, and I note a corrolary to other sword infused cultures. I was once instructed in the sword etiquette or a sword ritual of Jamaica, and I have the machette still. a lot of it has to do with giving the blade "soul" or also the word "life" was used. mostly it was about how to tune the blade to the user. It's ugly, and it bears 6 notches in the pommel, each for a life. There is a way to tune the sword for it's use, a war machette or other, but the distinction was not made clear to me because when I was asked why I wanted it I said I wanted it for protection. So I was told anyway this machette had some kills, and I don't know if it is because I was told that or if it is true, but you can look at it and get a weird feeling sometimes. I've went for it a few times but god's honest truth is I don't know if I could ever really bring myself to use it on someone, because I've also used it like it's last owner did, to chop up trees. Seeing what it can do to that basically makes you realize you have to be serous as a heart attack to use it. This kind of machette is preferred because of the saying attached to it, "no bone can stop it." I guess with the lighter machettes, called cutlass, a bone might stop the blade. Looking through the testimony of the Rwandan genocide that may be superstition or just a machismo saying. But if memory serves I may have put some info up about it here, but if I can not find it in this cavernous web site, lol, and all props and respect to the Dark Lord Cod for making it cavernous, I'll try and find my notes.

    I think that one vid is slightly misleading in that Japanese sword construction wasn't exactly unique...there is a forum actually where you can view some really stunning swords and learn about their techniques and construction.

    Also, I have had a mahuatl made for me, an azteca sword, the last time I was in Mexico City I met some indians outside the major temple and asked if anyone knew how to make one. If you ever saw one, it is a section of wood with pieces of obsidian inserted to make the "blade." According to Cortez' soldiers, a good whack from one could take off the head of a horse, quite a danger to the Spanish. There is a whole methodology to make one, which I regret to not having been a part of to document it but I will when I get back. Since it seems likely that that sword culture would also contain ritualistic elements I am sure there must be corrolaries there too.
    "Arhat, I am your father..."
    -the Dark Lord Cod


    • #17

      just a small correction here: Nahuatl is the native language of the Central Mexico.

      The Aztec weapon, which is studded with pieces of obsidian in order to create a blade is named Macahuitl.

      I am attaching some pictures.

      Attached Files


      • #18
        yup, that's them, they have varying constructions, lengths, and blade arrangements and I've seen several alternate spellings and heard differing pronunciations of the name in the field as it were. It took me many tries actually to track one down or someone who could still make a real one, and when I would finally draw one everyone would raise their eyebrow and say their name for it. One azteca told me it took 2 weeks, mostly for the glue to set. My guess- a rather obvious one- is Nahuatl is full of dialects from the various indian tribes cortez first allied with then subjugated into spanish mexico. There are some toys available which you can get or parade or dance versions, but to find a "real" one, we had to find aztecas and lucked out that there was a feast day and the main square was full of them.

        Here is a working description- I never got the whole book but I intend to:

        Bernal Diaz:

        While we were at grips with this great army and their dreadful broadswords, many of the most powerful among the enemy seem to have decided to capture a horse. They began with a furious attack, and laid hands on a good mare well trained both for sport and battle. Her rider, Pedro de Moron, was a fine horseman; and as he charged with three other horsemen into the enemy ranks--they had been instructed to charge together for mutual support--some of them seized his lance so he could not use it, and others slashed at him with their broadswords, wounding him severely. Then they slashed at his mare, cutting her head at the neck so that it only hung by the skin. The mare fell dead, and if his mounted comrades had not come to Moron's rescue, he would probably have been killed also...

        ...As for Moron, I do not think I saw him again. He died of his wounds two days later.
        My gong fu brother was supposed to bring it back with them but they said they couldn't even wrap it up for transport. Must have been a funny scene- heng n'ou and sifu standing there, and yi bringing out the sword, goes, "for some reason fa wants this" and every time they tried to wrap it the damn thing kept slicing through the materials. I don't know how the mexicas carried these things but I imagine they were probably constantly slicing themselves up with them, lol...

        although I refuse to give Mel money I will sneak into Apocalypto. I think, to fully come clean as a sword geek, if I see one of those things or it's mayan variant I will cream my pants.

        The other thing I got to bring back, because all the mexica were there in the square and at the temple, was hand made chocolate bricks from oaxaca and chiapas. God's food, that.
        "Arhat, I am your father..."
        -the Dark Lord Cod


        • #19
          I want to vacation with you, Arhat.
          Becoming what I've dreamed about.


          • #20
            that can be arranged, when is your spring break, lol...
            "Arhat, I am your father..."
            -the Dark Lord Cod


            • #21
              April 2-7

              Let's go get some exotic steel...or obsidian, in South America.
              Becoming what I've dreamed about.


              • #22
                well I will be in Jamaica, developing my iron head!
                "Arhat, I am your father..."
                -the Dark Lord Cod


                • #23
                  Speaking of sword etiquette, whats up with all the "Shaolin swords" ? (oversised straight swords) The swords you see in all the magazines and the web like I know most of them are meant for decoration. For hanging on the wall for Fengshui purposes. But do they actualy have any association with Shaolin at all, or are they just another case of a company using the name"Shaolin" to sell a product ????

                  I don't, at all, advocate Yong xin's copyrighting the name Shaolin to shut down schools using the name, but if his copyrighting was used instead to get rid of all the Shaolin bullsh**, Shaolin tiger balm, Shaolin inccense, Shaolin butt powder, then hell yeah. I'm all about it ! I could personaly do without any Shaolin nail clippers, Shaolin hot sauce, or Shaolin hair gel. I mean, if it ever gets to Shaolin hair gel,,, things have gone horribly wrong ! Thats like the fat lady singin !!!

                  But seriously, whats up with those swords ???
                  "Winners turn to losers, losers are forgotten..." - A Tribe Called Quest


                  • #24
                    The trademark issue was discussed, back when it was happening, I think in the Shaolin Topics section. It was seen here, first, on

                    You have a lot of reading to do, LOL.
                    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

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                    • #25
                      I'm new on the forum.
                      I am a secular shaolin martial art system student and I've also studied kenjutsu an kobudo, for a few years now.
                      I dare say this because I consider weapons as weapons, no matter of culture or race, its either efficient or not the way you use them.
                      There are etiquette rules in chinese martial arts wether sword or other weapon (altough probably not for the SF ones I saw on a national geographic documentary ).
                      The reason why these rules are not visible is because most of what is shown is presented by demonstrations which tend to be on the spectacular side rather then the realistic one. The chinese warrior class , the wu xi, is the predecessor of the japanese bu shi. Also the Bushi do or wushi dao in chinese, is drawn form the chinese wu xi warrior class rules and the confucianist writings.
                      Many of the rules known today from japanese sword schools, are purely artistic, but some have strong roots and reasons to be. And you might find that these are found in almost every warrior society that existed.
                      The ones that just come to mind:
                      1. if one behaves in a play fight very cheerfully and relaxed most likely he will be the first to run when a real one is to take place. one does not gamble with a life laughing.
                      2. one does not draw a blade wether sword or knife without expecting to draw blood.
                      3. A sword can be drawn with either hands and from either side so its not the weapon you look at but the distance and stance of the opponent.
                      4. one gives and receives a weapon , sheathed if its a blade, with both hands, as a sign of trust.
                      5. a hand on the weapon means agression.
                      6. presenting a weapon with the blade or the tip towards the receiver is not polite and aggressive.
                      7. reaching for the others weapon, is agression.
                      8. The weapon is never placed flat on the ground when in a group.
                      9. A weapon should not be drawn to threaten.


                      • #26
                        While there is certainly a large amount of sword etiquette per se, I am adding here a link to an excellent little site outlining the etiquette when visiting sword shows.

                        Makes good reading.




                        • #27
                          Great site , Uwe!



                          • #28
                            You can get Shaolin hair gel?

                            Where? Does somebody know? And how much? Are there bulk discounts?

                  , Shaolin hair gel... wow.
                            Last edited by renato; 12-21-2006, 02:36 PM. Reason: spelling error...

                            There are only 10 types of people in this world.
                            Those that understand binary and those that don't.


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