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Old November 15, 2001, 06:02 PM   #1
Abominable No-Man
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Swords still viable?

This thread is related to the ones about the Portugese and
Samurai swords.

Reading them got me to wondering if the sword might still have a
place in the modern "defensive arsenal". There's a lot of chatter
about various knives, but I'm curious now if there's anyone who
has had any kind of experience with a sword in self-defense. Are
there any legal ramifications that might go along with using a
sword? If my idea isn't new (not many are), then is there anyone
who has a sword that s/he uses for self-defense and if so, what
kind and why?

ANM
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Old November 15, 2001, 09:37 PM   #2
Mort
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There's a khukuri on my nightstand. It's one of the best close-quarter weapons ever designed. I'm not saying that it beats my Makarov at 30 feet, but it's still a viable option.

Musashi said "once swords are crossed the gun is useless". That's not so true anymore, because he was talking about muskets rather than repeaters. But at contact range, a blade is terribly efficient and dynamic.
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Old November 15, 2001, 09:49 PM   #3
Jody Hudson
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One of my clients is a weight lifter and exercise enthusiast. For some reason he won't or perhaps can't own a gun. He has several swords in his home for defense. I would NOT want to be a BG who met this 5'8" 295 pounds of muscle and Italian attitude and a sword...

Another friend of mine, a small woman of about 22 years old, lived in DC where only the criminals and politicians have guns and body guards legally. She had a couple of close calls since she lived, of necessity, in a cheap and therefore dangerous area. I spoke to her about self defense and various options. She took what I said several steps farther and began to take sword lessons with various types of swords. She began to carry a Claymore as a walking staff and a 24 inch dirk in her belt. She had no more problems.
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Old November 16, 2001, 12:39 AM   #4
David Park
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Jody, is the situation described above legal? Granted, the DC Code is worded a bit strangely:
Quote:
22-4514. Possession of certain dangerous weapons prohibited; exceptions.

(b) No person shall within the District of Columbia possess, with intent to use unlawfully against another, an imitation pistol, or a dagger, dirk, razor, stiletto, or knife with a blade longer than 3 inches, or other dangerous weapon.
I suppose self defense is not "intent to use unlawfully" but it would still make me nervous in a city that has completely banned handguns.

Mort, I have a khukuri beside my bed too.
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Old November 16, 2001, 03:12 AM   #5
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No

Not in soCal....illegal.....can't even import them...I see that even in the parks the cops have chased away the T'ai Chi people with their swords.

Get ready folks, we are a preview...you know, the sacrificial lambs.
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Old November 16, 2001, 06:51 AM   #6
Jody Hudson
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Hi David,

Yes, it was probably illegal. But she was cute, young, female, sexy. And that was before DC had any female cops with high testosterone. So she was never stopped.

My suggestion had been some street fighting training from a local training center that "practiced" on volunteer prisoners and trained the local prison guards and some additional training in the use of a walking stick from another local trainer who lived in the same area she did.

Pretty young women always have special protection under the law -- even with our new female cops but much more so then.
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Old November 16, 2001, 10:42 AM   #7
ronin308
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I have an Ontario Blackwind Katana that I use as a close defense weapon in my apartment. Its a single piece of high carbon steel with a paracord wrap tsuka. All swords should be constructed of high carbon NEVER BUY STAINLESS. The stainless (i.e. 440, 420, ATS34) is brittle and not suitable for a sword. The blade is only 20" long, which is important because any longer and I would not be able to do an overhead strike because the blade would hit the ceiling. I have been trained in Iaido and Kenjutsu so I'm no stranger to the sword. I truly believe that placed within its limitations (i.e. it is not a range weapon like a firearm) it makes an awesome defensive tool.

Dan
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Old November 16, 2001, 12:28 PM   #8
Joe Demko
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A good-sized Chef's knife makes a wondrous weapon. Try one sometime and see. less explaining to do too, if you happen to do in an intruder with one. Everybody cooks, you see.
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Old November 16, 2001, 05:28 PM   #9
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I think impact/contact weapons still have a place. Besides a handgun or two I ALWAYS have an ASP near at hand when sleeping. Plan to add Cold Steel Trailmaster Bowie (or similar sized semi Custom) knife.

I have read to many case studies were Goblin started attack on someone asleep in their own bedroom. And IMHO the ASP is much faster into use from a safe "carrying" position than a gun. A knife would probably be a little slower than an ASP but more effective once drawn. With impact weapons you don't have to worry about shooting thru walls.
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Old November 16, 2001, 05:53 PM   #10
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I see the mall ninja has many followers. Practice your slashing, Dancing Tiger, Sleeping Crane death strikes if you wish, HOWEVER--Word to wise: understand that if you stick some numbnuts with a sword you are going to be marked either a nut or some mope by the prosecution.

Just look at all the cops that freak out over knives. The attitude among my former colleagues in a prosecutor's office (whose last fight was over the last blueberry scone at Starbuck's) is even worse.
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Old November 16, 2001, 06:31 PM   #11
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I found a great overview of swords, their use, and selecting them on the Web. Too bad I can't remember where, but I think it was on one of the knife sites. Bottom line as I remember it was that picking a sword is like picking a wife -- complicated and very easy to get wrong....
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Old November 16, 2001, 10:40 PM   #12
riddleofsteel
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Go here, learn, drool, spend plenty money.

Just don't shelve your pistol........

As the owner of Cold Steel has said many times "There is a deep and abiding Anglo-Saxon prejudice against edged weapons."

Case in point; I have a state issued permit to carry a handgun concealed. Yet, if I am caught with a concealed fixed blade knife I can face arrest and if convicted do jail time.

Figure that **** out!
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Old November 17, 2001, 09:50 AM   #13
nbk2000
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quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
22-4514. Possession of certain dangerous weapons prohibited; exceptions.

(b) No person shall within the District of Columbia possess, with intent to use unlawfully against another, an imitation pistol, or a dagger, dirk, razor, stiletto, or knife with a blade longer than 3 inches, or other dangerous weapon.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I noticed that there's NO mention of swords, but that would be covered un the "other dangerous weapon" clause.

And WHY is it that woman get away with things more than men? I'm always hearing the liberal s*** eaters talking about the "unequal" incarceration rate between whites and blacks, but it's even worse when it comes to the man/woman rate for similar crimes.

If you do the crime, you should do the time, not "Well.....she's a woman so she only has to do community service for killing a dozen dogs" while a man has to do 3 years for killing a goat for food. And these are TRUE cases that have happened recently.

Anyways, sorry for the divergence.

As for the knives, I'd think either a kukri or good quality cleaver would be sufficent for defending against non-gun armed intruders. If they have clubs or such, though, you may have problems, but I don't think they'd want to risk engaging someone with a weapon that'll lop off a limb if they miss with their weapon.

It's also most likely that a person will slash with a knife, not stab, unless they've been thouroughly trained otherwise. So go with an effective slashing weapon if you're not trained for stabbing.

Does lopping off a head count as a "One 'shot' stop"?
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Old November 17, 2001, 09:57 AM   #14
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Now I do have a razor sharp tomahawk... With a hammer head. Hmmm... But, my Makarov and Mossburg are what I'd reach for if I heard a bump in the living room in the night.
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Old November 19, 2001, 04:46 PM   #15
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Old November 20, 2001, 11:07 AM   #16
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Long knives-yes, but I don't think swords are very useful if someone has (legal) access to a firearm. They have more of a discipline and symbolic purpose nowadays. I own 3 Japanese forged blades (2 katana, 1 tachi) plus a variety of other edged weapons, studied Kendo for over 3 years, even got to spar with the Korean National Team, but i still don't think that swords are that useful for modern combat. Their length actually gets in the way.

How many USGIs were killed by sword-wielding Japanese in WWII? How many Japanese officers/NCOs/and infantry were gunned down by USGI packin' Colts?

I will be reaching for my .45 if ever ninja barbarians come knocking on my door.
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Old November 21, 2001, 11:43 PM   #17
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Legality vs. Effectiveness.

First off, a sword falls into the "knives with blades over 3 inches" category. BELIEVE me, I've already tried it.

Second, everyone loves to quote Musashi.

"Expect nothing. Be ready for EVERYTHING."

What people forget about Musashi is this: Musashi dueled (and killed) over 60 other samurai in his life, and the last 30 or so were done with a wooden bokken. For those of you who are scratching your (heads) right now, a bokken is a wooden practice sword.

You see, somewhere in the middle of Musashi's career, the Japaneese police started cracking down on their "no swords in public" policy. So, the samurai were forced to carry bokkens. Either that or those "hidden cane swords" that you see in the gift shops.

Now, if you take a bokken, turn it upside down, and touch the base of the hilt (tsuka-ito) to the ground, it becomes a cane. It is PERFECTLY legal to carry a cane in public. I do it all the time.

Now that we have a weapon, how do we use it? Simple. Go to school. Take classes in modern and traditional swordplay before ATTEMPTING to purchase a sword. I recommend a mix of Akido (contact martial arts) with Iaido (non-contact) and Olympic Fencing. Because the simple fact is, a warrior can kill a man with a ball point pen, and an idiot can kill himself falling down the stairs in the middle of the night.
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Old November 24, 2001, 09:15 AM   #18
Matt Wallis
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I am loving all these sword related threads!

Samurai,

A question and a comment for you... You said, "You see, somewhere in the middle of Musashi's career, the Japanese police started cracking down on their "no swords in public" policy."

Are you sure about that? It was my understanding that in the Tokugawa era there was a ban on commoners carrying swords (I guess Tokugawa was an anti ), but that the complete ban on carrying swords in public was not enacted until the Meiji restoration in the 19th century. Of course, I must admit to not knowing exactly when Mushashi lived, so maybe you could help me out on that too.

And then you said. "Either that or those "hidden cane swords" that you see in the gift shops."

Actually, despite the write up they often get in the sword and knife catalogs I've been told by some pretty knowledgable people that the shirasaya (aka "sword in a stick") was never actually meant or intended to be a "hidden sword". In fact, they weren't meant to be used at all! Rather they were simply a temporary sheath to hold new blades while the rest of the fittings were being made. Go figure.

Regards,
Matt
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Old November 24, 2001, 10:25 AM   #19
riddleofsteel
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At no time would a bokken be mistaken for a cane, upside down or otherwise due to its shape and construction. If a samuri carried a bokken it would have been clear it was a weapon. Sword length sections of rattan or cured flexible wood were quite popular with samuri even during the height of the sword era in Japan. They were often used against those who did not have a blade or those seen as beneath drawing your sword to fend off, kill or discipline.
Bo and Jo size staffs where used extensively throughout Asia as walking/hiking sticks. Fighting with these staffs reached the state of a fine art as personified by forms taught in Kenpo Karate and Kung Fu. There are myrid stories of Okinowan Bo and Jo staff practitioners defeating samuri with swords.
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