Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Brief History of the Cherokee Bone Tomahawk

The Algonquin People are credited with the invention of the ‘tomahawk’, though there’s now speculation that they may have engineered their version based on influence from Vikings lead by Leif Erikson. Viking axes were also used in battle and so had points on both ends as well as long handles. Regardless, over time the technology of the tomahawk spread down the coast, and soon the Cherokee had their own version of this lethal battle axe. Until the Europeans came over, tomahawks were usually made of wood and stone, or bone and stone. Though they are only really effective as a weapon, one of the most interesting uses of the tomahawk was as a pipe. The back end (which could have a spike) would be hollowed out for a bowl, and the stem of the pipe was the handle of the blade itself. Bone, being filled with marrow in the center to begin with, is ideal as a pipe. It can be hollowed out with ease.

As the Europeans brought metal, they appropriated tomahawk technology, and it became a standard-issue piece of military gear in America through 1812. Though tomahawks were used throughout the wars of the 20th century, for the most part they weren't standard issue and had to be purchased separately by military men. Though, throwing tomahawks and engaging in hand-to-hand combat with it have been taught by the American military. Still, modern day tomahawks are made out of steel in a single segment; and there's no pipe to be had anywhere. They're a far cry from the leather-wrapped bone-pipe Cherokee tomahawks of long ago, with their stone blades and ceremonial dressings. Though, even with the European introduction of metal, there was still a great deal of pipe use parleyed into Cherokee axe manufacture.

Today, there are a ubiquity of tomahawks in production. Certainly there are those of the modern tactical variety, but arguably more popular are authentic replicas of Cherokee bone tomahawks. These are often made as lovingly as their predecessors. Some can even be found fashioned by existing People of the Cherokee Nation today. These are necessarily going to be of the finest, most authentic quality. Additionally, there are organizations that produce them on a larger scale; but beyond weapons manufacturing, there is definitely something lost from that individual touch with which authentic Cherokee bone tomahawks are fashioned.

Since the Tomahawk was either a killing tool or a vice facilitation agent in its day, it has always held about it an aura of savage mystique. It’s one of the most iconic representations of Native American Warcraft commonly depicted. In fact, there were some Native Americans who refused to have their picture taken without their tomahawk pipes.

Bows, arrows, tomahawks--these things all evoke the image of the Native American Peoples. This evocation is to such a degree that often any tribe is depicted as using such traditional weapons, when in reality there were certainly tribes that had different means of defense. The 21st century audience can't really parse the difference, because the individuality of ancient Native American Peoples is often underplayed in academia. What may surprise many westerners to learn is that there are many Native American tribes who had religious practices that read like a translation of the Bible with tribal names describing major characters. (Take a trip down the flood legend path of ancient Native American tribes to see how true that is.) All of which demonstrates the difference in kind among these vast people. There were monotheistic (Great Spirit) and polytheistic tribes across the country; things weren't monochromatic. So even though the Cherokee bone tomahawk is one of the most iconic representations of pre-European culture on the North American continent, it isn't the single variation of traditional tomahawk available in either tradition or archaeological record.

There’s deep history in the Cherokee People, as well as the varying traditional weaponry and pipes they used in daily life. Perhaps one of the greatest reasons their bone tomahawk is still revered today has to do with the historical depth it cannot help but to evoke in anyone viewing it.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Why are Anime and Manga Genres Popular with Cosplay Enthusiasts?

In a world of cosplay where individuals dress up as iconic characters, you may be wondering why anime and manga are so important to the cosplay enthusiast. Some cosplayers dive into both genres, and others are very specific with which style they choose to follow. Both genres are from Japan, and have become a famous style that can fit any cosplayer enthusiast’s interest. So, what’s so great about anime and manga?

Anime is a type of Japanese animation that is very specific in style. Anime tells a story through movement, color, sound, effects, and images. With a range of movies to very long series, any avid anime fan of any age can find something that fits their needs or their interests. Most anime is based on a manga series, but some are original pieces that were created in studio or on a story board. It is different than the typical cartoon or animated movie as the style is specific in art, story development, relationships, and creativity. A lot of anime has been dubbed in English as well as other languages, but the newer or less popular anime is still fresh in the Japanese language, which encourages many cosplayers to study the culture and language of Japan to enhance their overall experience when watching anime. It has become a community of fans that come together and show off their favorite characters that have inspired them to be who they are. On screen, anime has become one of the most admired and sought after genre of TV in the world.

Manga, like anime, is from Japan. It’s a type of Japanese comic book or graphic novel, so to speak, but there’s more to it than that. Manga comes in all different varieties that targets all types of ages. The art is done in pen and ink with emphasis on bold lines and written dialogue and sound effects. It is a progressive novel where a story is unfolded to the reader through images and scene capturing on paper. The plots are in-depth and emotional with drama and creativity. With a range of short single stories to long series and volumes, manga will capture your mind with whatever time you give it. Manga’s important to cosplay enthusiasts because it gives the bare bones of the characters they look up to, and furthermore dress up as. If you're an avid reader, then you’ll sure to love the ease of reading manga. It’s really easy to get caught up in a story and forget what world you live in. Cosplay enthusiasts put their hearts into the stories, and to them, the characters come to life. The characters found in manga are written by single authors who develop such intricate, beautiful, and sometimes hilarious worlds that speak multitudes to readers. It’s a style of writing and imagery that’s accepted globally.

Both anime and manga are closely related. They’re targeted to all different age groups such as children, young men, young girls, adult men, and adult women. Cosplayer enthusiasts have felt the reality of the stories developed within anime and manga from the deep thought and creativity that goes into creating these worlds. The characters and stories are inspiring and have become friends and role models for many cosplay enthusiasts around the world. No wonder cosplay enthusiasts find anime and manga so important.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

3 Main Differences Between Functional and Display Swords

There are swords built for contact against other swords or cutting other objects, and there are swords built specifically to hang on the wall. Decorative swords are not made of a flexible material, nor are they constructed in a way that will tolerate a strike against another object. Using a decorative sword against another sword can be dangerous, so it's important to consider the following factors before using any sword as a weapon.

Difference #1: Most decorative swords are made of stainless steel. Stainless steel is highly corrosion resistant, so your decorative sword will look beautiful and last for several years. However, stainless is a poor choice for a weapon because it is rigid and brittle. The risk of breakage is great and this can result in injury.

Stainless steel is cast from a mold, rather than formed. It is an alloy of steel and chromium, which keeps it shiny and prevents rust. However, under stress, stainless can break or shatter.

Difference #2:  The "tang" or piece of metal that extends from the blade up into the handle is critical to the strength of the blade. Most decorative blades are built with a stick or rat-tail tang, a narrow piece of metal that threads through the pommel into the handle to make it possible to grasp and swing the blade. A decorative blade, when swung against another blade, will likely break at the handle because of the relative weakness of the tang.

Functional swords generally feature a tang that is nearly as wide as the blade and either as long as or 3/4 as long as the handle. The tang of a functional blade is often hot peened to the handle. By this process, the portion of the tang that extends past the end of the handle is heated and hammered until it compresses down into the handle, similar to a rounded nail head. This secures the handle to the blade and makes it one solid unit, ready for the stress of striking against another blade.

Difference #3: The forging process of a functional sword accomplishes several things. First of all, it aligns the grain of the steel so the metal will flex rather than shattering. Forged steel is forced steel, or steel that has been forcefully manipulated from a block of metal into a workable sword. It hasn’t been hardened with other metals or brightened with chromium, so it’ll rust if not properly cared for.

A well-forged sword contains one long piece of steel from striking tip to the end of the handle. The hilt consists of three facets. The cross guard separates the blade from the handle and functions to protect the users hands and add weight to balance the length of the blade. The handle needs to provide plenty of comfortable and secure grip space for the user to grasp and swing the sword in confidence. The pommel is the portion of the sword closest to the user. Within the pommel, the tang is secured to the entire sword functions smoothly and snugly. Any poorly made connections in the hilt will cause the sword to rattle and be jarring to the user.

A forged sword is a weapon with stamina and flexibility. While it may look nice on the wall, it can be put to other uses. A decorative sword is a cast piece of stainless steel with rudimentary contacts between blade, hilt and user. It’s meant to be admired, not used.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Why Overlapping Terminology is Common Among Knife Enthusiasts

A perhaps confusing question to those ignorant regarding the ways of the blade, but completely relatable to any circle of people intimately familiar with a subject matter in particular, the terminology of knives is small, sparse, and commonly overlaps with knife enthusiasts, fanatics, collectors, smiths, and designers.

To answer why, or more importantly, what determines the complexity, depth, and diversity of terminology, one simply needs to look at and understand the depth and complexity of the subject itself - if it’s even that complex or in-depth to begin with.

The first, most obvious, and most important thing to understand about knives is that they are simple. They always have been, were always meant to be, and always will be, even with the advancements in blade materials, blade types, knife designs and materials, and knife forging techniques. The knife is one of the first inventions ever created by human beings, after all. The true nature of the knife is eternally unchanging and uncompromisingly simple.

Thus, due to the simplicity of knives, the depth and complexity of the terminology involved is relatively simple and straightforward. It was never meant to be unnecessary complex even among knife manufacturers that go deeply into the subtleties and complexities of knife steels, handle materials, knife types, lock types, blade shapes, blade hardness, etc.

Anyone who wants to gain an understanding of and learn more about knives, would do well to learn the terminology used by knife enthusiasts. They would practically need to in order to truly enjoy their passion for blades, as they must understand caring for knifes, maintaining them, buying them, using them, and many other things any blade enthusiast absolutely must know.

The knife community is a large and diverse, yet tightly-knit and bound community of users, makers, collectors, people who carry knives as part of what's called an EDC system they have (a very well-known term among the knife community that stands for Every Day Carry), hunters, men and women in the armed services, police, martial artists that train to fight and defend themselves with blades, and even criminals and unscrupulous types.

There’s common knowledge that anyone into knives learns and knows. One needs to know the basics of knives before they learn the subtleties and technicalities of knives, or of what little there are, really. Sharpening, honing, cleaning, using, and storing knives are one of the most basic and essential skills and bases of knowledge that one can develop, and this area of discussion is where knife terminology becomes commonplace, and overlaps frequently among knife enthusiasts.

Since the complexity and frequency of terminology depends upon the complexity of the subject matter in general, and since much of the terminology used, and the aspects of knives discussed in general are the basics of knife care, use, what kind of knife steels there are, different blade types that exist, and such, focused on education and the fact that knives are consumer products in the end, and such terminology is also necessary to know to understand and make the best decisions a consumer can make regarding the purchase, sale, maintenance, and use of knives according to the needs and desires of knife enthusiasts, collectors, and consumers in general, is the reason why knife terminology overlaps so readily and frequently in the world of knives.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Top 3 'Game of Thrones' Sword Duels

Game of Thrones is a hugely popular show on HBO that constantly has over 10 million viewers per episode. It has both beautiful and devastating scenes which cause viewers to sit in suspense for every episode. Game of Thrones is also well known for killing off some of its most beloved characters and leaving many of its fans overwhelmed with emotions. Since its first episode in 2011, there havve been over a hundred characters that have died. Though some of the characters have died of natural causes, most were killed in rather brutal ways. However, some characters, when death is staring them in the face, have been able to fight for their chance to survive, offering fans a truly epic battle.

With that said, below are a list of the top three sword duels throughout Game of Thrones so far.

Game Of Thrones Episode Sword Duel #3: Syrio Forel vs. Lannister Guards
Syrio Forel was hired by Ned Stark to teach his daughter Arya how to wield her sword Needle. He was able to inspire her while also teaching her enough skills to survive the upcoming hardships to her family. When it was ordered for all the Starks in Kings Landing to be captured Syrio Forel didn't blink in his choice to protect his student. This allowed Arya enough time to run away. During the fight he was severely outnumbered but was able to hold his own against several men with armor and metal blades while he only had a wooden sword. Even though the viewers don't actually see Forel's death the fact that one of the men fighting him, Ser Meryn, is alive in later episodes fills in the gaps. Many like to believe that he somehow escaped and safely made it back to his home in Bravos. 

Game Of Thrones Episode Sword Duel #2. Brienne vs. Jamie Lannister
At this point in the show the viewers have witnessed what both characters can do. Brienne might be a woman but she has been able to not only hold her own against those who should has beaten her, she has consistently won, and Jamie who is the head of the King's Guard and has boasted about his skill. By the time Jamie has run his mouth enough to aggravate Brienne to fight him, everyone is ready for him to get put in his place. Sure, he is shackled and has been a prisoner of war so he isn't fighting in peak conditions, however, Brienne isn't either. Their fight is a good, old fashioned, grudge match that gets interrupted before anyone dies. The narrow bridge they are dueling on leads to cinematic shots which were enjoyable to watch.

Game Of Thrones Episode Sword Duel #1. Jon Snow vs. White Walker

When Jon Snow stood face to face against the White Walker hoard viewers were preparing for the worse. The abominations had just shown everybody how quickly they could kill and add more members to their army by halving the Wildlings stationed at Hardhome. A few tried their hand at defeating the four leaders but none were successful until Jon Snow was able to slay a White Walker with a little help from his Valyrian Steel sword named Longclaw. This was not only a well-choreographed scene; it also gives the fans hope that there'll be a chance at stopping the White Walkers before they destroy all living things.

These are just a few of the many, many sword duels that have occurred so far on the show. Though there are several amazing duels and battles to choose from, in my view, these three standout the most, both in how enjoyable they were to watch and the implications that followed. Viewers will just have to wait and see if the next season will add anything new to the list.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Ways You Can Tell If Your Sword's Blade Is Dull

Whether you're wielding a knight’s broadsword, katana, or a saber, having a dull blade simply defeats the purpose. Therefore, it's necessary that you know all the ways to spot if your sword's blade is beginning to dull. Once you’ve identified the cause of the problem you can work toward re-sharpening your blade to the razor-sharp edge it deserves.

There are many ways to tell if your sword's blade is beginning to dull, and the first way you may notice this is by monitoring its performance. Does the blade cut slower, and require more energy than it used to? Does your sword become lodged in objects mid-cut, when it used to swipe clean through them? This may be the first sign that your blade is growing blunt. But one way to determine whether this is actually dullness, rather than the variability of human performance, is to conduct a paper test. 

Simply hold a piece of paper out in front of you with one hand, and while gripping the hilt of your sword with the other, attempt to push the blade through the paper. It is very important that you push the blade down, as opposed to slicing it. Take turns pushing different sections of the blade through the paper. Does it cut unevenly? Or does it cut for a few inches before the paper begins to tear? Anything but a clean cut straight through the paper indicates that your blade has lost some of its edge. 

Another way to tell if your blade has become dull is to conduct a touch test. Run your fingers along - never down - the edge of your sword. You may feel that the edge has become chipped, or that the metal is pitted in certain areas. This type of damage is often the result of cutting hard or abrasive materials, which have simply taken their toll on the blade over time. It's also important that you examine both sides of the steel, as there is another type of dulling known as a rolled edge - think of an ocean wave slowly beginning to curl over - which can be the result of an improper sharpening session.

However, there are a few types of dulling damage that cannot be detected by touch alone, so be sure to carefully examine your blade under a bright light. Can you spot any corrosion or discoloration? If your sword was formed from a high carbon steel, a slight discoloration may be normal, but anything worse may require a chemical treatment.

Be sure to hold the sword's edge directly up to the light as well. Does the edge reflect the light back? This may be the result of a flattened edge, which would be totally undetectable by touch, since the affected area is one that you certainly should not run your fingers along.

Fortunately, there are many ways to restore the sharpness of your blade, and one of the most effective ways is to utilize a set of Japanese water stones.

Begin by soaking the course, medium and fine stones in water for about ten minutes while you clean any oil off of the blade. Position the blade’s edge on the course stone, starting at the hilt. It's wise to break your sword into manageable sections, as each area of the blade should be worked across each stone for about one hundred strokes. This process requires patience and careful attention to detail, as any miscalculations in the angle could result in a loss of geometry in the blade, leading to an ineffective sword. 

Knowing the signs that your blade is beginning to dull is a vital part of owning and wielding a sword. If you're unsure of how much your blade has dulled, or are hesitant about sharpening it yourself, you should consult a sword specialist to better preserve the quality of your blade.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cut Resistant Safety Gloves for Sword and Knife Maintenance

Routine maintenance of swords and knives is mandatory in ensuring their efficiency and extended durability. However, one needs to be very careful by protecting themselves while conducting the maintenance process. We know that knives and swords are sharp objects that are dangerous and can cause injuries when mishandled. The safety precautions include getting cut resistant safety gloves to protect your hands. The cut resistant safety gloves serve the following functions:

Providing A Firm Grip
The cut resistant safety gloves are important in providing a firm grip on the tools. A strong grip is important when handling them, as it reduces the chances of the knife or sword slipping from one’s hand. With them, one also requires much less grip force when performing the maintenance process. As such, you've more control on the tool, thus enabling better handling. Having a better grip reduces the chances of one injuring themselves by being cut. Some even come with long knitted cuffs for extra protection around the forearm.

Shielding the Skin from Blisters 
Given that the maintenance process involves moving one’s arm against the sword, friction is bound to occur. This can cause heating and blisters on the hands. The cut resistant safety gloves act as a shield to the hands. The gloves are abrasion resistant and can withstand the force that is being exerted. Your hands, therefore, stays safe throughout the process.

Provide comfort
You also don't have to worry about comfort at all. The safety gloves are very flexible and comfortable to wear, allowing effective handling of the tool. The technology used to make them is quite unique. The manufacturing process of these gloves targets at producing not only more flexible, strong and resistant gloves, but also those giving comfortable and light feeling on the hands. A comfortable feel is mandatory in the proper and efficient handling of the knife or sword during the maintenance process.

One should have their safety as the top priority as they conduct knife and sword maintenance. Alongside the other key safety precautions one should take, getting cut resistant safety gloves is mandatory. You can be sure that your hands will be in the same condition they were after the maintenance process. Therefore, make sure to get yourself a pair of cut resistant safety gloves that are stout, tear and abrasion resistant, and comfortable to wear, for maximum safety from Sword N Armory when doing your knife or sword maintenance.