Sword Buyers Digest - Issue 146, May 4th 2020
Before we get started
A Formal Apology regarding last months issue..
Before I get into this months edition of the digest, I wanted to issue a formal apology for some silly off the cuff remarks I made in LAST months issue regarding Covid-19..

It was never my intention to be flippant about this virus, what got mangled was that I felt the panic surrounding it was out of hand - and I was contacted by many justifiably angry and offended people all around the world in response to what i wrote..

My intention was never to belittle this hideous, murderous disease. And it most certainly was not to belittle the brave front line workers in hospitals, delivering food and yes, the UPS parcel guys that we all used to complain about - you guys are keeping the world turning right now.

Disease, famine, murder - we can all agree they are terrible things. Worldwide, over 200,000 people have lost their lives to this merciless new virus - no doubt many thousands more though saved by social distancing practices showing just had adaptable and remarkable we are as a species..

Anyway, to those who did write back initially hostile - by the end of our exchanges I had actually made some new friends and met some pretty amazing individuals... So while I apologize, it was worth it to meet some truly good hearted, solid and real folk open to civilized discourse.

For me personally, it caught me mid travel and trapped me in a part of the world with third world hospitalization options, no insurance, and made me break a promise to be there this month for my daughters 13th birthday in Japan. But I know many others have had it far, far worse - and what heartens me is that while we were forced to practice social distancing, this has brought out some of humanities FINEST features.

But again, sorry to have misrepresented my thoughts on this worldwide scourge in such a clumsy way..
And so gentle sword enthusiast..

...As many sword fans know (or when pressed HAVE to admit that there can be no cooler sword than a light saber) - May the 4th is International Star Wars Day, and so we will be celebrating 'the ultimate sword' with a special issue, the last time we did this way back in 2016 ( click here for the back issue).
So be forewarned: in addition to our usual collection of crazy sword related nonsense, likely a few badly phrased examples that put my foot firmly in my mouth, and various posts, videos and cool sword stuff from all around the globe...

But be forewarned, expect just a little bit of my inner Star Wars Geek to burst out uncontrollably from time to time..
Oops, like that..!

Sorry! (funny how this Japanese Yukata is VERY "Jediesque"!)

But, we will return to the special theme later - in the meantime, to all fellow Star Wars fans, Happy Star Wars Day..!
Swords in the News
Positive Sword Related Stories in the News
For a good many years, when swords were given barely any attention by the curators of various museums all around the world, many even believed that bronze (an alloy of copper and tin) was relegated to purely ceremonial use. This article begs to differ, and shows they can hold up long enough on the field of battle to be HIGHLY effective weapons. Bronze IS beautiful!

To write a really good sword fighting scene, it pays to at least have some idea of real historical fighting techniques. But these 3 authors take it to a whole new level - and this, their interview about what types of swords they train in, how it is best incorporated and solid advice to any aspiring fantasy sword writers out there.

It's mostly for complete newbs. But there are a few bits of info that you may NOT know in this list of 17 selected by Interesting Engineering.com. Like did you know most Japanese people who buy Katana buy them as a Talisman for luck and prosperity?

Its been done before, but so far this early access VR sword fighting game has some potential and is designed for online PvP action..
Not that it is even possible right now, but the Louvre in Abu Dhubai remains open with an amazing virtual exhibition of Knightly Warriors of the East and the West, and of course, their swords. Its only until the 30th of May and seems to be having some technical difficulties at the time of writing, but its well worth your time to check it out if it is up and running! Really fantastic idea.

Apparently over in at an otherwise Idyllic English village three are sightings of a Cosplayer with full plague doctor gear often seen out for a stroll. Even though our social distancing response to the SARS-COV2 outbreak may be based on some solid Milanese techniques in use during the Black Death that claimed up to 50% of entire city populations in 4 months, taking tens or hundreds of million souls in the 14th century. And still incidentally the bacterium responsible can be found in some animal reservoirs in North America..
Courage, Integrity, Respect, Honesty, Benevolence, Loyalty, Honor. Personal development books that you might relate to..
The Elegant Weapon from a more Civilized age
I'll admit it. I am a huge fan of the Star Wars Universe.

I was 4 years old when Episode IV: a New Hope came out and while I can't recall when I first got to see it in the cinema I was hooked (and so curious why it started at episode 4). And for me, the original trilogy got better and better, the story deeper and deeper as Master Yoda trained Luke all the while fearing that his impatience and the dark side in his blood would ultimately win out..

And then for many years, it remained a classic trilogy and developed a deep fan based exploration of the many incredible places, creatures and star ships that were only on screen for a few moments, but left you with a sense of wonder and interest to find out more about them..

Case in point, the Orc like "Gamorrean Guards". Why did they use steel axes instead of blasters or light based weaponry? Who were these creatures and wanted to know more..
The first trilogy (not remixed) ended perfectly. And then... Well... Things got 'silly'..

I don't have much to say about the other movies. It's like the Matrix - there's no Matrix II or III as far as I am concerned, no movie ever ended more perfectly - and that's where it stops..

JaJA Biggs was bad enough. And I half liked the recemt series, even though as all true fans know they broke the universe when they only now figured out light speed missiles would make defensive shields useless.. (though I guess the Chinese mostly used Gunpowdeer for Fireworks, but still...)

What I love the most, and always have loved the most apart Star Wars, is the epic fight scenes. But not all of them.

Case in point - well, the kind of 'thing' going on in the image below...
Now, its true - and I have mentioned it before, if you take a flashlight you can use it a whole lot differently than something with mass like a stick. Try it at home with a flashlight and th

Not great cinematic, but chances are according to Kendo Sensei Christopher Salet - actual light saber duels would be more like a cross between fencing and kendo.. You don't need power, just speed and accuracy.. Lots of circling, a sudden flash of movement and someone is missing a limb..

Based and inspired heavily by Kurosawa, it makes sense that Lucas adopted effectively a cinematically appropriate bastardized version of sword fighting based heavily on Japanese Kendo.

If you want to dig REALLY deep into what actual Light Saber fighting would probably be like, this article "the Jedi Know Nothing About Fighting with a Light Saber" from the Jedi Temple Archives goes all the way down the rabbit hole..
Light Saber Fighting is a fun hobby but now its also an officially recognized REAL Sport
Courtesy Wikimedia Common

You might not know it, but Lightsaber duels are a serious sport these days - and a business many, many times bigger than the sword industry ever was or ever will be probably..

It is especially popular in France, recognized as an OFFICIAL SPORT - and the rules are quite clear:

"Combatants fight inside a circle marked in tape on the floor. Strikes to the head or body are worth 5 points; to the arms or legs, 3 points; on hands, 1 point. The first to 15 points wins or, if they don’t get there quickly, the high scorer after 3 minutes. If both fighters reach 10 points, the bout enters “sudden death,” where the first to land a head- or body-blow wins, a rule to encourage enterprising fighters."

Founder Philip Isherwood
Unfortunately, the rules force them to use the swords in a manner similar to the movies and not how you might if they were a real flashlight with a burning length of energy sticking out of it - and to count, a blow has to be wound up - no quick thrusts. But it is approved by the French Fencing Federation to revive interest in all forms of swordplay.

While it is still growing, the number of amateur groups around the world and people who buy and collect battle ready light sabers truly is amazing. In his interview with SBG from several years back, owner of Saber Forge Philip Isher revealed that at the time he had 50 workers and 8 figures in annual sales.

And his is just ONE of several major saber making companies, but just Saber Forge alone is bigger than any US sword making company many, many times over and is more comparable to the Chinese Forges in their heydays..

It is a bit of a grey area in terms of copyright (even though, while I cannoy for the life of me find it now, I do recall a movie from the very early 70s that had a space opera with lazer swords! So the idea is not entirely original - though as I cannot find the reference again, I could be totally off)..

Regardless, so far Disney does not seem to be too concerned. Indeed, they are going all in with a special streaming event today and the classic original 1975 droids in the desert artwork added to their carousel. Check it out here.
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Becomes just $149.99 with the 25% discount! Lifetime Guarantee against breakage under normal usage too (and you also get a free mystery gift, just a fun thing).
What could be a better choice for the Star Wars Sword edition of the Digest than the Lord of the Rings - with Light Sabers! Very well made, and love those lazer tipped arrows of Legolas 3000..

THere's quite a few movies that have been lightsabered in this way. So here's a bonus video of the month.. A prototype of a REAL battle ready lightsaber from Dec last year..
Best Forum Posts
SBG sword and blade maker L. Driggers has kindly offered a Viking Seax with tickets being sold for $10 and all proceeds going direct to our great, late global moderator who we sadly lost two months ago from Cancer.

It is often dismissed by modern collectors. But the Gladius still remains one of the most effective and deadly swords ever invented. In this thread we look at what to expect from one - and just how sharp were they?

Forumites discuss the latest sword by Cold Steel, and lament how darned expensive swords have become in Europe these days thanks to the worldwide sword shipping restrictions.

Could a greatsword REALLY be used to chop through pikes on the battlefield? If not, what did they actually do and how did they use them? Thought provoking historical discussion.
Well, okay. Apart from the sword news section and the forum posts, Star Wars day did indeed dominate this issue of the digest..

Hard to say what next issue will be all about with the way the world is this year. But let's all hope that things start to get better for everyone.

Until next month, take care of yourselves and happy swordening!