Monday, October 10, 2016

The 2 Most Popular Types of Metal Shields Throughout History

Given that a "shield" is a rather broad term which refers to any piece of personal, paneled armor which's held and expressly designed to intercept incoming attacks, we'll only here be concerned with, perhaps, the two most well-known and popular types of shield through history. Also, given that most ancient shields were constructed from wood, such as "poplar", we'll concern ourselves only with shields made at least partially of metal. "Partially," is used due to the fact that almost all shields constructed of nothing but metal would be ridiculously heavy and thus, worthless in battle.

The Kite Shield

Now probably the most well-known of all shields is the Kite Shield, popularized by Hollywood tales about valiant knights combating evil and rescuing damsels in distress (though in such films the shield is generally presented in a highly stylized form). The Kite shield's first historic appearance occurs during a depiction in the Bayeux Tapestry, which showcases the Norman Conquest of England which concluded with the epic Battle of Hastings and so naturally predates it though it's exact origins remain presently unknown.

Kite shields are long and almond shaped, with a wide upper body which tapers into either pointed spike or a pointed curve. Due to the inherently unwieldy nature of the armament, they typically featured hand grips alongside arm straps to ensure that the shield would not be wrenched from one's grip during a particularly vicious battle. 

The frame of a Kite Shield was typically of laminated wood which was then covered with iron sheeting and a metal boss (which was generally also fashioned from iron).

The Heater Shield

The small and compact Heater Shield (so named due to it's at a glance similarity to the bottom of a clothes iron) first began its life as a modified Kite Shield but quickly gained characteristic that were completely its own. Where the Kite Shield was large and cumbersome (typically four to three feet in length) the Heater Shield was much smaller and more mobile (though they were often just as wide, they were usually a foot or so shorter) which eventually lead to it surpassing the Kite Shield and become the mainstay defensive armament for most knights until the 14th Century.

Heater Shields just like their progenitor, featured a base structure of wood over which a thin sheeting of iron was affixed. In later models steel would replace iron in the shield's the metal sheeting. Heater shields very rarely featured a boss, whether metal or otherwise.

As you can see, these two types of metal shields are the most popular shields because of how they were used and how they're still recognized today.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Top 3 Uses For Using a Folding Knife

Without question, one of the best tools that you can have at your disposal is a folding pocket knife. In this regard, one of the best knives that you can invest in is a multi-function spring assisted opening knife. This is a knife that’ll be useful to you in a number of different ways. Now, in order to learn as much as you can about the ownership of these knives and why they will be an excellent investment into your life, you can start with these three different uses below and then begin reaching out to a knife supply shop that can assist you. 

Usage #1: Cutting and Cleaning Fish
If you are an avid fisherman, you know that half the battle is gutting and cleaning your fish after you catch them. In this regard, one of the best things to have at your disposal is a folding pocket knife. By having one of these pocketknives, you will be in a better position to remove the head, slice the fish in half and get rid of scales. In doing so, you will make your work much easier once you get home and can take home fish that are sliced up and ready to fry. With this in mind, be sure that you purchase a folding knife that is sharp enough to accommodate any sort of fish that you are planning to catch.

Usage #2: Tending To Your Fruits and Vegetables
Whether you have a garden or simply want to chop up fruits and vegetables while on the go, investing in one of these knives can be incredible in this regard. More people than ever are becoming health-conscious and realizing that they need to add more fresh produce to their diet. The freshest and most organic food you can eat grows from the ground, so you will be able to upgrade your health to maximum potential as you garden. By having a knife at your disposal, whether you have your own garden or rent land from a co-op, taking this knife will give you the opportunity to sort and cut your fruits and vegetables with no problems.

Usage #3: Self-Defense From Attackers
Finally, one of the best things you can do is look out for your health and safety by protecting yourself. Self-defense is one of the most immediate responsibilities that is key to your survival, and a folding pocket knife allows you to do this easily and effortlessly. You will feel safe traveling throughout your city knowing that you have a quality weapon at your disposal that will keep attackers at bay and can potentially protect and save your life from said attackers. Be sure that you recognize this responsibility so that you can respond to danger as it arises.

As you can see, these three uses will benefit you greatly. If you are interested in owning a folding knife, you will be able to enjoy it whenever you put these three tips to good use and reach out to a shop that can help you out.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

3 Sword Meditation Techniques

Sword meditation is the practice of meditation through movement involving a sword. Moving meditation isn’t uncommon, and several practices involve walking a set path while training the mind to focus on the present situation. In sword meditation, the movement is incorporated with a weapon. Most styles of sword meditation center around learned forms, or choreographed routines of movement incorporating sword. The goal of the practice is to unify the body and mind through kinetic meditative practices.

One form of sword meditation practiced by Knights of the Templar Order involves cycling through a series of stances. The first position is called “Ochs”, in which the practitioner draws their sword up and to the side. The second position is called “Pflug”, in which the practitioner lowers the hilt to the hip and extends the point outward. There are five stances which are cycled, and some variations on the combination of movements. A metal or wooden sword may be used, and if neither of those are available, a broomstick or even a yardstick will suffice. This series of stances is part of a ritual warm-up for training, and may even be thought of as a type of prayer for the Templar Knights. Through the movement in this form of meditation, practitioners link their inward mind and spirit with their body as it moves through the sequence.

Another form of sword meditation practiced in the Japanese art of Iaido involves stepping through 4 motions in repeated sequence. This moving meditation becomes a physical mantra, wherein the practitioner focuses their energy to the mental plane and the movements become automatic. The four movements in the sequence are called “nukitsuke”, “kiritsuke”, “chiburi”, and “noto”, and repeat indefinitely until fatigue. Again, students apply mindfulness techniques, and focus on connecting the inner mind to the movement through the external world.

A third type of sword meditation is “Shim Gum Do”, which was introduced 1965 following the enlightenment of South Korean Buddhist monk Won Gwang, following a 100-day meditation retreat in Hwagyesa temple in Seoul. This practice incorporates weaponry into choreographed sequences of movement called forms. Many different combinations of weaponry exist within Shim Gum Do beyond the sword, however the principles remain the same. Forms may involve use of a short staff, long staff, single or dual swords. Each of the different methods incorporates 50 forms each. Beginning trainees use a practice wooden sword, known in Korean as the “mokgum”, and once a practitioner has achieved a rank of black belt, they may use a single-edged Korean steel sword. The goal of the meditation remains similar to that seen in empty handed moving meditation technique, where in the inner mind is connected to the outer world via movement. 

The underlying philosophy of the sword meditation emphasizes the principle of a clear mind and a harmony with the actions that the body is performing. The intent is not to fight, but to allow the practitioner to find an inner balance which’s the strongest foundation for interacting with the world and defending against any kind of assault, mental or physical.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Turning Bones Into Weapons

For thousands of year’s man has developed weapons for warfare, hunting, tools and decorations for clothing and jewelry from the materials that were accessible at that time. As the technology developed the weapons have also changed with it throughout history.

In 2013 a site in central Alaska was excavated where they found the bones of two small children that dated back 12,000 years ago. They had been buried with ritual objects that dated to around 11,230-11,600 years. The researchers seemed to think that the implements found with them, which consisted of antler rods, projectile points and sharpened stones, were placed there by the family. The antler rods were most probably used as spears or dart shafts and the points were attached to these rods. It was equated to a functional hunter’ tool kit.

Bones were used in place of wood many times for weapons and armor. Other material such as shells, ivory and horn were also used. Bone weapons do not have the hardness therefore creating a fragile quality for weapons and armor.

There are numerous ways in which to obtain bone for weapons or tools. Cannibalistic tribes would leave the bones of their victims to cook on the fire or hung them on a drying rack. By boiling or cooking the bones they will achieve a level of hardness. Animal bones can be found in caves, and put to use. Bones can be used for skirmish weapons in a hand to hand fight. Primitive people created a form of bone armor which consisted of bones and leather or hide of an animal.

However, bone is brittle and it'll fracture. It also won't hold and edge if it's being used for a knife or some type of cutting instrument. If your opponent is of a similar level as you, then you'll be fighting with the same or similar weapons, so if you were to grab a bone from a kill you could probably do just fine.

The fact is that weapons are designed to do specific things. Some will fail or break the weapon. When warriors are trained the thing to take into account is to only use the weapon in whatever is its strongest direction. Where bone is concerned the strong direction is the long direction. This is due to the way these long bones are utilized within the body. The leg bones tend to have to hold up a lot of weight so therefore should be stronger than say a rib bone.

Bone spear points have been found around the world. In Washington State in the 1970’s a mastodon rib bone was found that had a bone spear point embedded in it. It was carbon dated to around 14,000 years old.

At some point in time man learned that you could not depend upon chance to provide him with a weapon, and there just might not be a convenient rock or stone, some sort of wood to use as a club or a piece of bone. They did however learn to carry some type of weapon with him at all times.

In Siberia during an excavation they uncovered weapons for around 35,000 years ago. There were not however any weapons made of wood, bone or stone. The people of this era were hunters of big game and had to have used offensive as well a defensive weapon. The dig did however have bifacially oval knives, flake cores, choppers, end scrapers and two different kinds of burins. The knives, end scrappers and burins were wood and bone working tools and that was taken to mean that they were creating spearheads from wood and bone. The researchers presumed that these weapons have long ago decayed and turned to dust.

The first thought we have when we consider the Native Americans is the bow and arrow. These were used for hunting and in warfare and nearly every Native tribe used one form or another of the bow and arrow. Palo-Indian arrowheads have been discovered in North America and were dated at more than 13,000 years old. They have also discovered arrowheads made by the ancestors of the Native Americans along with the bones of a wooly mammoth and a giant bison, prehistoric animals that are now extinct.

There are still a lot of undiscovered weapons and tools of the prehistoric man which the archeologists will eventually discover so that we may learn more in connection with our ancestors of thousands of years ago.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Pros and Cons of Wearing Leather Armor

Want to feel like an ancient hero? Worried about devilish assassins? Thankfully, even today there’s a solution from the medieval times that can help. Wearing leather armor was a common practice for men of status and warfare in the Middle Ages, from the 8th to the 15th centuries. Often times, the political agendas of feuding European and Asian lords required that there be some practical protection from common threats. A disgruntled soldier might end his lord's career, if he did not properly clothe himself on the field.

With all that said, here are the different pros and cons of wearing leather armor:


1. Protection from Assassination - Particular in the age of chivalry, there was often a poorly developed system of justice. Powerful barons often plotted against each other. A stabbing with a dagger during a night time stroll, or worse could possibly occur, particularly in large cities such as Paris, Tokyo, or London.

2. Protection from Battlefield - Metal armor was quite heavy, but no soldier would want to go out on the field without some kind of protection. Leather armor offered a balance of some protection, and a lot more flexibility for combat. A leather armor soldier could march farther, and if a knight lost his horse, he could walk easier if not encumbered by steel plates.

3. Ego - Let's be honest, most soldiers wanted to look the part. Wearing the leather armor could make a simple trade salesman look like something special. Many citizens were part time guards, so having something cheap to put on if their city was attacked was a useful purchase.

4. Price - Unlike metal armor, which required the skill of a highly trained blacksmith, it was much cheaper to fabricate a cow hide suit for protection. A soldier with a small budget would want something that kept him safe, but not in debt.


1. Hot - Like metal armor, leather armor added to the temperature of the soldier. While in Northern climates, this could be an asset, in southern climates such as Mexico or Vietnam, it would bog him down greatly.

2. Not as Safe as Metal - Metal armor was the highly prized symbol of being a knight or squire. Metal armor was very expensive, and very safe. Leather armor could be sliced through with a quick and powerful sword blow. Once effective crossbows and then gunpowder came on the scene, most soldiers completely discarded their armor because of its uselessness against projectiles.

3. Rarity - Although easier to make then metal armor, leather armor was still something that the average man probably could not fabricate in a day. This tended to raise the price. Clearly, this isn’t something a common villager could have in his war chest.

4. Weak Compared to Modern Technology - Since the invention of plastics, Kevlar has come on the scene as a modern and stronger substitute for leather. Many police officers wear it today. Modern Kevlar body armor can resist a small caliber bullet fired from a close distance. This is something that leather body armor cannot do.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Use a Shogun Quality Wood Sword Stand From Sword N Armory

Owning a katana of high quality, even just for looks or just having a quality blade around is nice. But displaying it can be troublesome. The typical sideways stands are bulky, outdated and depending on the details of the sheath, can even block some of it. But there are other ways to display them that are not traditional, more so that you can show off the sword at almost any viewing angle.

That is where the Deluxe Vertical Shogun Upright Sword Stand from Sword N Armory comes in. It’s a heavy duty, quality stand with a sleek design that allows the viewer's attention to remain on the details of the sword rather than the stand itself. The frame is simple, yet elegant, with the holding arm curved to allow the sword to rest at a slight angle, with the kojiri, or scabbard tip, to rest in a slight indent at the base.

The entire stand is made up of a light, black wood. It weighs around three pounds, perfect for placing on almost any shelf with plenty of head room above. Each piece is perfectly cut and placed, with little assembly required. The base holds a slight beveled edge to give it a sleek look without compromising the structure. Where the base and arm meet is a stylized cross piece that helps with supporting the long upwards arm. The kojiri is placed into a small intention near the front of the base, then slid into a hand at the upper end of the stand's arm, cut and grooved for most standard style scabbards.

Owning a quality katana means having a quality display. Most katana holders are the horizontal, multi-tiered holders with bulky arms, blocking the true light and design of a katana. Discard the traditional design, and replace it with a vertical stand, and this stand from Sword N Armory will fit your needs perfectly. A single blade deserves the attention that this stand allows, making it a perfect centerpiece for any room, or placed on a mantle or shelf. The low profile and small footprint grants the katana a great view from almost any angle, without sacrificing stability.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Spear Training Tips for Hunting and Combat

Spears are one of the oldest weapons available. Older than guns and other modern weapons, spears are far from obsolete. There’s a good reason for that; as a weapon with a basic design, they’re more versatile than most and, with the right training and knowledge, they can be used by most people. According to the ancient histories of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, spears were used centuries ago to hunt different land animals and game, as well as used in war and combat. As a matter of fact, almost every major civilization throughout history have accounts of using spears in ancient times. 

If you are interested in using spears, whether for hunting or for combat, here are some tips that will help you to get the most out of your spear usage.

Using Spears for Hunting

Hunting with a spear brings a satisfaction that can only be attained from using your hands and body to bring down your target. When spear hunting, be sure that your spear head is sharp and securely attached to the handle. Using a sharp spear ensures quicker penetration and a sharper, faster kill that is best for the hunter and also the hunted animal. 

When hunting large or dangerous game, such as an elephant or lion, a team of spear hunters should be used to ensure a quick and successful kill. 

Spear fishing is the practice of using a spear to impale fish in a body of water. Spears used for fishing are usually serrated along the sides of the spear head. Using a harpoon is another form of spear fishing.  To be successful at spear fishing, hunters should be familiar with the type of fish that are found in the region. Knowing what kind of fish are available will make it easier to seek out the habitat that they are abundantly found in. Hunting schools of fish are ideal because their high density will increase your chances of impaling one. 

Those new to spear fishing should start out in shallow water, stalking fish from above the surface. Underwater spear fishing is significantly more dangerous and should always be done with a partner. Only experienced swimmers should attempt underwater spear fishing.

Spear fishing is not limited to just fish; crabs and other sea dwellers can also be captured by a spear. 

Using Spears in Combat

Fighting with spears as the primary weapon can be generally used in two styles: hand-to-hand (melee) combat or used as a thrown weapon.

Spears that’re to be thrown will sport a spear head that is made of lighter, thinner material.
For melee usage, broad and heavy spear heads are best used against an enemy. Using a quick thrust, a sharp spear will pierce the flesh and deal a fatal stab. One-handed spear usage is the most effective in battle. In a spear fight, it is highly recommended that fighters use a shield as well to protect their body from attack. 

Whether you're interested in hunting or combat, a spear will always be a tool that's useful and practical. Need a spear but don’t have one lying around? Well, you’re in luck. Any tool with a long handle, such as a shovel or a rake, can be fashioned into a spear. Simply remove the metal end and sharpen the end of the pole into a point. 

Remember, a spear is not a toy but a dangerous weapon and should be respected as such.