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March 8, 2014 8:40 AM   Subscribe

Melee combat enthusiasts rejoice! Cold Steel (previously) are back with a whole bunch of new videos showing off their newest armaments. The more exotic selections include the Battle Star, the Boomerang, the Viking Axe, the Grosse Messer, the Sergeant's Halberd, the War Hammer, the War Club, the Sword Cane, and a brand new video for the beloved Two Handed Great Sword. (WARNING: Pig carcass butchery and tactical dummies full of blood ahead.)

As per the videos:

"Meat used within this presentation was sourced from local butchers and was already intended for human consumption. The meat was carefully and hygienically preserved and donated to the Ventura County Rescue Mission."
posted by griphus (67 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
after seeing a few of the "watch these weapons cut meat" demos, this was amusing
posted by idiopath at 8:49 AM on March 8 [9 favorites]


Great, because with the good weather and all I was thinking about running up to the Northumberland coast and doing some Viking raiding this weekend while they're on the piss, out in shirt sleeves and high heels.

Or, maybe just firing up the Weber BBQ. Either way, looks like this is the kit I need.
posted by C.A.S. at 8:50 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Man, Dark Souls 2 looks really strange.
posted by codacorolla at 9:04 AM on March 8 [4 favorites]


Every one of those men look exactly as I expected them to look.
posted by Sternmeyer at 9:05 AM on March 8 [9 favorites]


For all your throwing-a-greatsword-through-a-pickup-truck-hood needs.
posted by mhoye at 9:07 AM on March 8


Hmmm.... unclear whether these blades will be sufficiently vorpal for my purposes...
posted by Navelgazer at 9:08 AM on March 8 [4 favorites]


Bigg Nife!
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:10 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Looks like slate blue shirts and dark grey slacks are the new horned helmets and breastplates.
posted by jonathanhughes at 9:11 AM on March 8


I hope they're not involved in the Angry Birds movie
posted by BinaryApe at 9:15 AM on March 8


Cold Steel used to mail DVDs of these videos out with their catalogs. After watching one where they demonstrated the penetrative powers of a chisel-pointed tanto, my son turned to me and said, "Boy, he really hates that car door!"
posted by valkane at 9:16 AM on March 8 [3 favorites]


I have one of their machetes! I should've had someone video me hacking down dead parts of my banana tree cluster with it, because I wielded that thing like a herbicidal maniac.
posted by planetesimal at 9:19 AM on March 8 [7 favorites]


Now, sit thee down, kind sir, and quit thy prattling. Shall I receiveth my raise, or not? Pray, remember before thou dost reply - Mr. Sergeant's Halberd sides with me.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:20 AM on March 8 [6 favorites]


The only athletic activity I ever got into was Olympic style fencing. And back in high school I was pretty good at it (USFA ranked D in foil, and E in saber if you want to know) not great by any means but still not horrible.

For a while now (as in the past 15 years or so) I have wanted a functional rapier. I can't even remotely justify the expense of one, and it would be a totally pointless purchase as I can't even imagine a circumstance where having one would be of any benefit at all.

I can't even think what I'd do with a functional rapier. Not only am I now woefully out of shape and all my training has faded with disuse so even if (by some utterly unlikely set of events) there was a need for me to have one I'd be useless with it. But since there is no circumstance where I would be using it all it'd do is sit on the wall it would be completely worthless. But I still want one.

Two things hold me back. The first is the cost. The second is the fear of being "that guy with the swords", which I think is the neckbeard version of being the crazy cat lady. And I'm already close enough to neckbeardness that I really don't need to push myself further in that direction.
posted by sotonohito at 9:20 AM on March 8 [12 favorites]


Every one of those men look exactly as I expected them to look.

That, and they always have such terrible cutting technique. I guess when you have their reputation for looking ridiculous, it's hard for a company to find talented reënactors?
posted by fifthrider at 9:27 AM on March 8


I hear you about rapiers. This guy makes some beautiful ones.
posted by valkane at 9:30 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


For a while now (as in the past 15 years or so) I have wanted a functional rapier. I can't even remotely justify the expense of one, and it would be a totally pointless purchase as I can't even imagine a circumstance where having one would be of any benefit at all.

You need one in case you expose the man pretending to be the Archduke and he lunges at you with terrible animal speed. You need a rapier on the wall nearby to counter his blows.

I mean it's obvious.
posted by The Whelk at 9:31 AM on March 8 [17 favorites]


One of my best friends left the country a few years ago and necessarily had to get rid of his armory. I couldn't justify taking the rapier (that I couldn't lift) or the Japanese officer's sword (that I accidentally cut myself with at least once) or the machete (with which he, in the nude, chased a nighttime burglar out of his house and into the street) but I did take this.
posted by griphus at 9:36 AM on March 8 [3 favorites]


TIL that a boomerang is not a club you throw, but rather an awkward throwing knife that doubles as a chin-up bar.

I feel a bit mean-spirited making fun of these guys who are clearly nerds deep into doing what they enjoy. I mean it's not really any more ridiculous than making pastry, managing a fantasy baseball team, or restoring cars, is it? Maybe it's the violent power fantasies combined with the insipid metal power chords.
posted by Nelson at 9:42 AM on March 8


The other day I saw a guy carrying one of those two-handed swords down the sidewalk. I think he might have just bought it because he was looking very proud of it (and yes, he also looked just like you would imagine). It's hard to imagine a less practical item in this day and age, but as hobbies go it doesn't seem particularly harmful.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:44 AM on March 8


As someone who also only excelled in fencing and archery in High School, I'd like an exercise class in WEILDING HUGE AXES and ducking a lot.
posted by The Whelk at 9:53 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


Don't touch swords. They will fuckin' cut you wide open
posted by munchingzombie at 9:54 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


Actually can I just take stage fighting courses with foam weapons? Why don't things exist just for me? *pout*
posted by The Whelk at 9:56 AM on March 8


I have one of their machetes!

I'm embarrassed to admit to owning one of the cheaper tantos. Just in case I ever need to put my car door out of its misery.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:57 AM on March 8


Tangentially related, today's SF newspaper has a story on 19th century mounted broadsword combat. As a spectator sport in San Francisco 1886, up on Telegraph Hill. Bring the kids, make a day of it. Maybe you'll see someone be decapitated!
posted by Nelson at 9:57 AM on March 8


... Swords
posted by heathkit at 10:01 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


The Whelk, they do make rubber knives, that's how they do knife training.

I know too much about this because my husband was on stage and he is one of those knife collecting guys who drools over the Cold Steel catalog when it comes in the mail.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 10:03 AM on March 8


griphus: I feel like if a rapier is too heavy for a grown man (regardless of physique) to lift, there is something wrong with it. They are supposed to be light, no?
posted by Scientist at 10:09 AM on March 8


They are supposed to be light, no?

Not as clumsy, or random as a blaster; an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.
posted by valkane at 10:14 AM on March 8 [5 favorites]


I can't even think what I'd do with a functional rapier.

I had my B in épée. Let's fuck some shit up.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:16 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Here is a photo of it and a 19-year-old griphus. It was nearly as tall as I was and real fuckin' heavy. Albeit I've never been what would could honestly call "in shape."
posted by griphus at 10:18 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


I love how their site has a 'Specialty Items' section - as if the war spears and tomahawks were for the general hoi polloi.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:19 AM on March 8 [3 favorites]


Whelk, if you're in a large enough city, there may well be stage fighting classes you can take. Some fencing coach friends of mine were teaching the Princess Bride duel to actors a week or two ago; looked like they all had a ton of fun.
posted by tautological at 10:20 AM on March 8


'Specialty Items' section

Tactical antique table leg.
posted by griphus at 10:20 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


I ordered one of their DVDs back before YouTube made their lives much easier. Most of the DVD was them hacking relentlessly through denim jean legs filled with meat, but by far the best part was the VERY SERIOUS saber professor who had several courses on how to defend yourself against a variety of opponents and tactics if you are lucky enough to have remembered your saber that day.
posted by SharkParty at 10:27 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Can anyone vouch for their kitchen knives?
posted by barrett caulk at 10:36 AM on March 8


Tactical antique table leg.

Hell with that. I'm saving up for the Strategic Lawn Furniture.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:39 AM on March 8 [4 favorites]


I somehow got into a conversation with a construction super who hunted hogs with dogs and a spear. He said that cold steel makes shitty spears and he ground his own out of an old leaf spring. You know, in case you any of you were planning on buying a cold steel boar spear.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 10:44 AM on March 8 [5 favorites]


Every one of those men look exactly as I expected them to look.

I'm going to start a new tumblr called "The White Stuff", and this will be my first post
posted by crayz at 10:52 AM on March 8


Can anyone vouch for their kitchen knives?

I have two blocks of very nice forged kitchen knives and an astonishingly heavy and sharp forged cleaver with a slightly convex blade. All handmade, all quite expensive, and any one of them would fuck shit up.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 11:01 AM on March 8


griphus: "'Specialty Items' section

Tactical antique table leg.
"

You mean the Chair Leg of Truth?
posted by namewithoutwords at 11:56 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


One of those guys slinging Cold Steel might have been the Jedi Light Saber kid.
posted by surplus at 1:11 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


I got an Assegai spear a few years ago. Many a cardboard box has fallen to my speary wrath.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:38 PM on March 8


Actually can I just take stage fighting courses with foam weapons? Why don't things exist just for me? *pout*
posted by The Whelk at 9:56 AM on March 8 [+] [!]


You should look into boffers - I'd be playing CTF with a glaive today if I didn't have this sore throat. Check your local college campus.
posted by mikurski at 1:59 PM on March 8


It's hard to imagine a less practical item in this day and age, but as hobbies go it doesn't seem particularly harmful.

Spoken like someone who isn't a pig carcass or a truck hood.
posted by neckro23 at 1:59 PM on March 8


I'm not sure piercing a hollow-core door is as impressive as these guys think it is.
posted by Think_Long at 2:05 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]


The messer video made me think of K. J. Parker's Sharps. Here's a bit from a review/interview with Parker:
Q: Where does the messer fit in the history of the sword?

KJP: The messer doesn’t really have a place in the aristocratic family tree of the Western sword. It was a farm tool. Messer is just the German for ‘knife’. The grosse messer was a large version of the everyday utility knife. A modern analogy would be the Nepalese khukuri, or the bowie knife on the American frontier. Humans being as they are, they tended to turn their cutting tools on each other in moments of stress. As with the khukuri or the bowie, the messer doesn’t naturally lend itself to defensive plays – it was designed to cut things, not to ward off blows or be hidden behind, unlike the purpose-designed weapons of the upper classes, whose design is all about still being alive at the end of the fight. Because a purely intuitive fight with messers would inevitably be short and lead to mutually assured destruction, extremely complex and sophisticated combat techniques evolved to enable messer fighters to survive encounters (if you get no help from the weapon, you have to try harder). A considerable literature on the messer survives from 15th century Germany – there’s a complete manual illustrated by Albrecht Durer, no less. I stole the line “Here they fight with messers; God help them” from Talhofer’s manual; it was that line that gave me the idea for the book. For me, the messer stands for functional savagery, the desire to actually hurt people, as against the more civilized weapons, which represent a desire to win (you can’t be said to have won if you’re dead or in bits) I guess that’s why Addo, who deliberately loses at chess, starts off as a complete no-hoper with the messer, and then evolves a way of subverting it to achieve victory with the minimum of slaughter.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:16 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]


...but as hobbies go it doesn't seem particularly harmful.

Bear in mind, a huge portion of the Cold Steel product line is illegal to own in several states. I bet there's a reason for that.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:26 PM on March 8


Yeah, some of those videos make it very clear that these are weapons every bit (or more) deadly as guns. Anything that's capable of cutting a quarter of a man's torso off is as unambiguously a weapon for killing as a gun is. I mean, seriously, it's not as easy as people think to shoot someone with a handgun and ensure that they're going to die (and quickly). Sideways into a torso or down from the neck into the torso with one of the two-handed swords? That's instant death, guaranteed.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:41 PM on March 8


Something that I also think about whenever I see one of these is an inexpert swordsman totally missing a swing and digging the blade into his own body as a result.
posted by codacorolla at 4:06 PM on March 8


Okay, lemme tell ya a sword story.

My friend Marc collected antique Scots weaponry as he slowly died from cancer. Ultimately his collection was donated to the National Infantry Museum in Fort Benning, GA.

The highlight of his collection was an imposing two-handed claymore sword which had spent decades in the back of an antique shop stuck through a door.

One winter night a year before Marc's death, I watched him swap shots of Laphroig with an old friend, after which the three of us took the sword outside to take turns swinging it around over our heads in near-darkness with snow falling.

The sword's behind glass forever now. Not much fun in that.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:25 PM on March 8 [2 favorites]


codacorolla: one of the first things you learn when you learn fencing is a) how difficult it is to hit someone who is dodging, and b) how easy it is to screw up and hit yourself.

The good news is that generally I'd guess a person wouldn't have enough leverage to actually kill themselves very easily, but I can easily see some pretty gruesome accidental self inflicted wounds from inexpert sword handling. Ear and eye wounds especially from people who want to play Highlander and whip their swords around all badass 80's movie style.

Real swordfighting isn't a visually impressive Hollywood sort of thing, and one reason is that doing stuff like you see in movies is a good way to lop off your own ear. Neil Stephenson, in The Diamond Age once described European style swordfighting as follows:
Napier stepped forward cautiously, checking his footing as he went, as if he did not want to get any blood on his boots, parried a belated attack, and stabbed the Fist in the thorax three times in quick succession.

Napier calmly impaled a Fist who had tripped and fallen, then turned his attention to a new antagonist, a formidable character skilled with a real sword. The duel between Western and Eastern martial arts moved back and forth across the lobby floor, the two combatants staring directly into one another's eyes and trying to intuit the other's thoughts and emotional state. The actual thrusts and parries and ripostes, when they came, were too rapid to be understood. The Fist's style was quite beautiful to watch, involving many slow movements that looked like the stretching of large felines at the zoo. Napier's style was almost perfectly boring: He moved about in a crabbed stance, watched his opponent calmly, and apparently did a lot of deep thinking.
posted by sotonohito at 6:26 PM on March 8 [2 favorites]


Bear in mind, a huge portion of the Cold Steel product line is illegal to own in several states. I bet there's a reason for that.

Yeah, politicians are stupid and make laws based on moral panic. Few of Cold Steel's more exotic products are as useful as weapons as more common things like guns and knives.

If you live in a state or city that doesn't respect the second amendment, having a spear by the door might not be a bad idea, or a smallsword if you know how to use it. Most of the other medieval weapons they sell were designed for use against armor, since nobody wears armor anymore, these weapons extra weight just make them slower.

Personally, I like their unbreakable baseball bats. I also have a their russian special forces shovel, 'cause it's funny.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 6:54 PM on March 8


Hmmm.... unclear whether these blades will be sufficiently vorpal for my purposes

Seeks less manxome foes.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:10 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Several of Cold Steel's non-metallic items live permanently in various bags and instrument cases of mine, but have never featured in any of my TSA adventure stories. They don't show up on metal detectors or most x-rays, and look plausibly like a pen if only the grip is showing.

I particularly like their Delta Dart for cleaning under my nails, and making holes in things, such as musical manuscripts, coconut eyes, and the hands of people who grope me on public transportation. With a good swing could easily go through a car hood (but why?) or leather jacket.
posted by Dreidl at 8:12 PM on March 8


OTOH, there is not a single offering from Cold Steel video or pictures showing a female person (or person of color). Is this the anti-Women's Day post?
posted by Dreidl at 8:14 PM on March 8


In other combat news: Are Weapons and Suits of Armor the Future of MMA?
posted by homunculus at 9:23 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


With a good swing could easily go through a car hood (but why?)

Speed holes.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:42 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


griphus: I feel like if a rapier is too heavy for a grown man (regardless of physique) to lift, there is something wrong with it. They are supposed to be light, no?

Two and half or three pounds, maybe a bit heavier. Doesn't sound like much, but they are long. I have never done rapier, but my arms are as big now as they have ever been in my life, and my forearm gets pretty burned holding a much shorter and slightly lighter one-hander (Albion I.33) in guard for any length of time. Rapier guards are much more extended and tend to also have more awkward body positions.

My understanding is that the messer as a weapon grew out of German towns' sword bans. Hey, it's not a sword, it's just a knife! A really big knife. I readily admit I don't know that much about German martial arts, though.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:06 AM on March 9


MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch: "If you live in a state or city that doesn't respect the second amendment, having a spear by the door might not be a bad idea, or a smallsword if you know how to use it."

I have a Halligan tool by my front door.
posted by Splunge at 8:11 AM on March 9


Is it the Titanium one?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:09 AM on March 9


I sleep with a bat'leth under my pillow. I may not have room to get a full swing, but I figure any armed attacker would be so busy laughing at me that I'd have time to flee. It's kind of pointy though, maybe I should try a lirpa. Handy when battling for a mate, too.
posted by Nelson at 9:46 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]


I really wanted to see the boomerang return.

*so disappoint*
posted by BlueHorse at 8:20 PM on March 9


Some boomerangs you kinda really don't want coming back at you

You'll notice CS doesn't sell a chainmail catcher's mitt made out of dingo-hide either.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:22 AM on March 10


So yeah, I kinda sorta have a gardening tool living between the headboard and the mattress with the handle conveniently available. And that only seems weird when someone makes a Cold Steel post on MeFi.

And having survived into my my 40s, when I'm wearing cufflinks to work and shaving on my days off, I'm coming to think that walking sticks need to make a comeback.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:32 AM on March 10


Pffft.
Pirate-Bartender-etc, that can't be any more dangerous than what we have in our basement. We have the US Army Surplus Folding Entrenching Tool. It may not be made of cold steel, but it's also a highly dangerous weapon. I've had it fold and whack me in the head causing severe scalp wounds, nearly sever fingers while screwing the blade open, and collapse and thus throw me onto the ground and nearly eviscerating me when I land on the blade. All this, and the horrible embarrassment of not being able to get it open in order to dig the latrine trench in time.

Anyone sneaking into the house and attempting to steal camping gear will die a horrible bloody death.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:21 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


I actually bought the Cold Steel shovel because I needed a camp shovel and couldn't find anything that looked like it could actually dig a hole without folding up unexpectedly and severing a finger. No shovel of that size is actually comfortable to dig with, but it's pretty sturdy and has a nice handle. And you can sharpen up one of the edges and use it as an ersatz machete.

As for everything else Cold Steel sells, meh. It looks like it probably hangs on the walls of someone who rides a Honda Goldwing and attires themselves in a high quality fedora and promotional software t-shirts.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 6:30 AM on March 11


But can they forge a Sword of a Thousand Truths?
posted by homunculus at 1:50 PM on March 23


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