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Cold Steel FTW
May 7, 2010 2:54 PM   Subscribe

Is your sword having difficulty cutting through boots filled with meat? Then perhaps you need the Cold Steel Two Handed Great Sword. [via] Trouble getting through your opponent's cleverly designed chainmail (and some cardboard boxes)? What you need is the Cold Steel War Hammer. Pesky eggs hanging from strings hanging from a wooden frame got you down? There's a solution: the Cold Steel Indian War Club. More Cold Steel products/videos here. (All meats utilized in these videos carefully preserved and donated to the Ventura County Rescue Mission.)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates (116 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
WARNING: Scenes of animal carcasses being hacked up by large men wearing polo shirts wielding weapons. (probably should have put that above the fold...)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:56 PM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like the pullups with the sword bending about 40 degrees to show how strong it is, then it cuts to the guy magically holding a perfect, unbent sword.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:58 PM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


You haven't lived until you've seen a fat guy awkwardly cut open a pig head.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:00 PM on May 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


Is that just the pleats in the big guy's pants, or something else?
posted by splatta at 3:01 PM on May 7, 2010


"the sword world... continues to overlook the efficiency and power... in my opinion... and majesty of "

guns? are you going to bring out some guns?

... "this great sword"

Oh. Well, the next time I'm attacked by a pig's head lashed to a post, I'll keep you in mind.

(I'm not even a gun person, but honestly)
posted by boo_radley at 3:03 PM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dear short, fat man with short necktie: you frighten me.
posted by GuyZero at 3:04 PM on May 7, 2010


wait it can pop a balloon

this changes everything.
posted by boo_radley at 3:05 PM on May 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


HA HA HA YESSSSSSSS
I LOVE GETTING THAT FUCKING CATALOG IN THE MAIL, I BEEN GETTING IT EVER SINCE I GOT THAT SCOTTISH BROADSWORD

THATS RIGHT I BOUGHT A SCOTTISH BROADSWORD
DEAL WITH IT, MOM
posted by Greg Nog at 3:08 PM on May 7, 2010 [30 favorites]


Was anyone else kind of reminded of this?
posted by battlebison at 3:08 PM on May 7, 2010


We are doomed as a species.
posted by roue at 3:08 PM on May 7, 2010


see also these knives
posted by boo_radley at 3:12 PM on May 7, 2010


I used to have these friends who collected swords and maces and shit. They'd have these serious conversations about which assortment of medieval-esque weaponry would be best for post-apocalypse living, and would have these slow-motion battles with broomsticks.

I suspect that one of them grew up to become the dude with the mustache and the bald spot in the videos.
posted by Forktine at 3:12 PM on May 7, 2010


Tremble before the awesome flourish of the SWORD CANE!
posted by CKmtl at 3:14 PM on May 7, 2010


They certainly seem sturdier than this one.
posted by sanko at 3:14 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


You should just get a Halligan bar. At least according to MeFi's own Lore.

Srsly. That thing is way more useful in any situation you are likely to encounter.

If the halligan bar doesn't solve your problem, you aren't using enough halligan bar.
posted by poe at 3:16 PM on May 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


Best YouTube comment I ever read:

jtothe100 i like how they have to get in a special guy to do a chin up.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:16 PM on May 7, 2010 [19 favorites]


This was worth it for the slow motion indian warhammer watermelon explosion. (@2:30, for those keeping track, and yes that is my new band name.)
posted by Panjandrum at 3:16 PM on May 7, 2010


I'm going to make a blanket statement here. Sorry.

... ahem ...

SCA people scare the shit out of me.
posted by starvingartist at 3:16 PM on May 7, 2010


I love “put one of the by your front door and you’re going to be a power to reckon with. NO ONE is going to take advantage of you when you have a great sword in your house.”

I think what the little fat man really needs is a friend to talk to.
posted by silence at 3:16 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cool!
posted by BeerFilter at 3:17 PM on May 7, 2010


And makes mounds and mounds of coleslaw.
posted by hal9k at 3:18 PM on May 7, 2010


This was worth it for the slow motion indian warhammer watermelon explosion.

Paging Mr. Gallagher. Mr. Gallagher, you're wanted at the front desk.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:20 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, sorry. I see now I'm supposed to be making fun of the fat man.

EAT MOAR BUTTER YOU STUPID FAT FUCK
posted by BeerFilter at 3:20 PM on May 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


I need details on his BATTLE TIE!
posted by ryaninoakland at 3:22 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Treacherouseeeeeeeeeez!
posted by Panjandrum at 3:24 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is beautiful.

Do they make a bastard sword? Cause they do as much damage as a 2 handed sword, but it's 1 handed.
posted by empath at 3:24 PM on May 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


Maybe some of these guys actually know what they're doing, but they don't LOOK like they know what they're doing.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 3:27 PM on May 7, 2010


Well, the bastard sword is one and half handed but if you buy your GM some dorritos and dr. pepper he might let you dual wield. I've got to get me one of those watermelon smashers to keep under the bed in case I hear a noise at night.
posted by Tashtego at 3:32 PM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Cold Steel Two Handed Great Sword would pee in its pants if it ever came up against a Chinese Military Shovel WJQ-308.
posted by digsrus at 3:33 PM on May 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


/me attacks boo_radley with a pig's head tied to a pole
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:35 PM on May 7, 2010


uh, I wonder what kind of people buys a sword. Is it for self-defense? are you allowed to own one without any kind of special permit? and I was thinking, could you rea-HOLY SHIT A SWORD CANE I WANT ONE OF THOSE
posted by darkripper at 3:35 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, I'm reminded of this.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:36 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, they do in fact make a bastard sword, even if they prefer to call it a Hand-and-a-half.

But I'm pretty sure that a machete and riot shield would be better in a zombie apocalypse.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 3:36 PM on May 7, 2010


I think it is wonderful when people follow their passions, even if people on the Internet make fun of them for being nerdy, not wearing the right pants, not being young and/or being overweight.

These guys love swords and I think that is delightful. If you limit your passions to things other people think are acceptable then you are a boring person and if you make fun of other people for following their passions then you are a jerk.
posted by ChrisHartley at 3:38 PM on May 7, 2010 [37 favorites]


Where can I get some of that bootmeat?
posted by fidgets at 3:38 PM on May 7, 2010


Navin R Johnson says "He hates these oil barrels! Stay away from the oil barrels!"
posted by Diddly at 3:41 PM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


fidgets: apparently at the Ventura County Rescue Mission
posted by psp200 at 3:42 PM on May 7, 2010


The balloon pop is a little anticlimactic.
posted by delmoi at 3:44 PM on May 7, 2010


I bought a Cold Steel Kukri as a hatchet backup for one of our emergency backpacks.

I have no idea how well it will serve in an emergency, but just looking at the thing makes me giddy sometimes.

Oh and I guess it tests out pretty well...
posted by circular at 3:45 PM on May 7, 2010


Mr. darkripper, sword canes are illegal to own in a lot of places. Regular swords are illegal in somewhat fewer places. Hell, pocket knives of various sorts are illegal in a bunch of places. I would do a thorough investigation into your local laws before trying to buy a sword.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:46 PM on May 7, 2010


They'd have these serious conversations about which assortment of medieval-esque weaponry would be best for post-apocalypse living

Pretty sure that's how Lynn Thompson sells this stuff. I think they mention S. M. Stirling's work in one of the catalogs in fact.
I remember looking over a catalog thinking "hmm... warhammer ... " and mentioning it to my wife. I hunt among other things so I have firearms and I train with live blades so my wife is used to me buying stuff, lugging it around places, etc.
On this though she said I was nuts and what the hell would I do with a real warhammer?
I mumbled something like mymntzombiescumnvrhregttaprtctfmbly
And she's looking at me like - you really think that don't you? You really think that at some point civilization is going to break down or you're going to get transported back in time or gunpowder is going to magically stop working or zombies are going to come to life and attack us and you're really going to need a warhammer to smash their brains like in the movies.

I was of course a little embarrassed there. But it was constructive criticism, y'know, for some reason, yeah, I actually had that in my head. Still sorta do. Dunno where the hell it comes from. Some sort of cultural osmosis. You'd think I'd know better, I've collected loads of stuff from training since I was a kid. I was using a tonfa to keep a window propped open there for a while (or T-baton, pr-24, why people won't just call it what it is... but I digress).
But no. Got my eye on that spontoon. Never know when some guy is going to charge me on a horse when I've got the Weber grill out and there's less room to maneuver.

What.

S'why my wife runs the finances.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:47 PM on May 7, 2010 [27 favorites]


This is almost 10 minutes long, is it possible that they're over-selling the great sword?
posted by splatta at 3:58 PM on May 7, 2010


I started fighter training in the SCA when I was in university and thought it was great fun until the day I borrowed a helm and let someone deliver a couple of light blows to my head. And I was enlightened.

So I decided to start attacking things that couldn't fight back, and switched to archery (BUTTS LOL). Which also means that I left this thread to look up neat amateur archery videos on YouTube.

- Longbow versus Crossbow
- Electrically Operated Crossbow
- Paper Crossbow (demo) AND How to make a paper crossbow with ease
- Bonus: Battle of Crécy: a French perspective

But I'm pretty sure that a machete and riot shield would be better in a zombie apocalypse.

Nuh-uh: This guy modified a standard self-cocking pistol crossbow because "it's not going to be enough when the zombies come." So he tacticalized it. As long as you're facing canonical slow zombies, it should do nicely.
posted by maudlin at 3:58 PM on May 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


"I bought a Cold Steel Kukri as a hatchet backup"

If you had a real hatchet, you wouldn't need a backup!
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 3:59 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Finally. The one sword to replace all the swords in my house.

Incidentally, for some reason, I would have imagined that sword nerds would tend to pronounce the 'W' in "sword."
posted by The Potate at 4:00 PM on May 7, 2010


There's a pretty wide range of sword geeks, though usually the scale to pay attention to is how much they harbor Weekend Warrior fantasies, that one day, they'll get to have an Awesome Swordfight ala Highlander/Chambara movies.

They tend to be the blade equivalent of the Gun Guy with the night vision scope, laser targeter and tripod for their tricked out revolver.
posted by yeloson at 4:08 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Trejo and a stapler would look more dangerous.

Actually, forget the stapler.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:12 PM on May 7, 2010


You know what's funny is that I frequent some circles of knife collectors/aficionados, being one myself. The Cold Steel company is very polarizing among them, particularly because of the videos/DVDs they send out. Indignant outrage is expressed for, as much as I could tell, selling knives with such crass commercialism. What is so amusing is that they really seem to ooze with jealousy deep down inside, despite all the derision poured over fat boy Lynn Thompson's antics.

I did buy a Two Handed Machete from them a few years back, mostly because it was ridiculously large and only about $10. It was a good gag I could show off as my insurance against a zombie uprising. But it also proved damn handy when I had to cut down some overgrown banana trees in my back yard.
posted by 2N2222 at 4:16 PM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, that'll come in handy next time I do a pig roast.
Chop the pig and cut the ice all with the same tool.

I am curious though, why the Medieval Dungeon Sword Olympics(tm) has distance markers during the the balloon popping competition.
I could really use an NBC style voice-over to clue me in to the finer points of that event.
posted by madajb at 4:29 PM on May 7, 2010


I kinda liked the guy. Until I went over to his company bio page and saw the "I killed me a hippo" photos. Yick.
posted by feckless at 4:31 PM on May 7, 2010


It's very nice, but I really had my heart set on a flamberge.
posted by homunculus at 4:37 PM on May 7, 2010


I have a few swords in my house. My favorite is this one, which I saw for the first time as a kid and fell in love with instantly. It's just pretty. None of them are sharp and none of them are threat deterrances; to me, they're pieces of artwork. I should buy a couple more, it's been some years since I added to the collection.

I'll tell you what, though, I'm really sorry I was eating when I saw the guy chop through the pair of leather boots, to reveal the meat packed into them as feet. Urgh.
posted by Errant at 4:41 PM on May 7, 2010


The Shamshir video is not to be missed - watch the tossed potato, melon, and soda bottle cutting in slo-motion, starting around 1:40. Cold Steel's parking lot must have pretty sticky asphalt.
posted by stachemaster at 4:42 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cold Steel has a very mixed reputation among knife collectors. I've owned a couple myself. The biggest problem is their marketing, it is so over the top and weekend warrior/mall ninja-ish that it really detracts from their products. Plus, they are really overpriced for the quality.

Believe it or not, there are quite a few folks out there producing high quality made for use swords (not that I have any idea what you would use them for--except for some S. M. Stirlingish apocalypse).

Hanwei makes really nice swords, if they were my thing, and I had assloads of money lying around, I would get one.

Someone mentioned swordcanes, here ya go, Burger Knives make outstanding ones.

There's always the tactical/urban apocalypse fetish, then the Busse Ak-47 is for you (but good luck finding one).

For all of your SCA needs there's Albion Armory.

Of Course, there's always the custom route.
posted by anansi at 4:43 PM on May 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


"I killed me a hippo" photos

What
posted by benzenedream at 4:43 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Having once spent quality time psyching myself up to beat an intruder savagely with a bastard sword sized hickory waster (which were based on my cheesy knock off of a Oakeshott Type XXa.1 ) I would just like to say: You don't want a greatsword unless you're really worried about the local juvenile delinquents forming Swiss pike squares or something.

The best plan I could come up with for a four foot blade was some sort of half swording thing where I used it more like a bulldozer that anything else. He decided to try and lie his way out of things, so no beatings were necessary.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:47 PM on May 7, 2010


I love Cold Steel! I have this one.
posted by hermitosis at 4:49 PM on May 7, 2010


Also, using swords to cut is so 12th century. You use a sword to pry your enemy's arms out of socket and then ransom him back to his family and countrymen. If you keep hacking your enemies in twain you're going to go back home and tax yourself right into a peasant revolt. Is that what you want?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:55 PM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Heh. I got this DVD free last year when I bought a spear.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:10 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


The truth is that after all the Oblivion and D&D and Civilization I've played, and Shakespeare plays I've been in, that I was able to look past the weird marketing and think "awesome!" Considering how springy the great sword was in the pull-up test, I'd expect it to be weaker. And as silly as the balloon thing was, they were showing that at a running gallop you could still pop a balloon on instant impact - most swords would have bounced off of it.

Then I realize, wait, these are useless for anything that Cold Steel is actually spending so much time making them useful for. And as awesome as they may be, the fact that they are cool in their own right is the only downside to living in a universe where they are no longer necessary for any purpose.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:13 PM on May 7, 2010


But I'm pretty sure that a machete and riot shield would be better in a zombie apocalypse.

A few years ago some friends were talking about making a zombie movie and just for fun I put together designs for a belt-fed semi-automatic & pump action shotguns. They always get you when you need to reload. ATF evaluator said the semi-auto version would count as a destructive device.
posted by Tenuki at 5:14 PM on May 7, 2010


If it's zombies you're up against, the AA-12 is what you need.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:19 PM on May 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Cold Steel is pretty easy to laff at, but they do one good thing: Sell niche traditional martial arts weapons cheaply.

For example, I'm a (lapsed) student of Okichitaw, a modern attempt to preserve hand-to-hand fighting techniques of 1700s Plains Cree. Same thing Asian countries have been doing for centuries, but North American. The system uses period weapons like Gunstock Warclubs. Unfortunately that means training weapons are a pain to DIY. Cold Steel to the rescue.

Cold Steel's gunstocks weigh a ton, but they're cheap and make for good training. You have to be pretty strong to make movements at a reasonable speed though. So, for helping preserve North American Aboriginal culture, cheers to Cold Steel (and their sweaty-shirted demo man).
posted by anthill at 5:29 PM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


The revenge on my grammar school tormentors will be complete as the steel spike of my Cold Steel Indian War Club smashes through the motorcycle helmet used in a feeble attempt to protect their skulls which happen to be at a convenient waist height, preferably resting on a table or saw horse.
posted by digsrus at 5:29 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was not previously aware of the existence of such a thing as a "sword nerd," but in retrospect, it makes perfect sense. Entertaining and cool with a touch of disturbing (i.e. pig heads).

I ended up rifling through a bunch of their videos, and I was most struck by the Brooklyn Smasher. I mean, seriously...a baseball bat optimized for fighting? Strangely enough, it might be the most useful, since it's a lot less likely to make people think you're an (admittedly cool) psychopath than a warhammer?
posted by Edgewise at 5:30 PM on May 7, 2010


I did buy a Two Handed Machete from them a few years back, mostly because it was ridiculously large and only about $10.

Along similar lines, when they recently had a big closeout sale, I bought two one-handed machetes.

TRIFFIDS, YOU KNOW WHERE I LIVE; COME GET SOME
posted by Greg Nog at 5:31 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've mentioned here numerous times over the years, that despite the large quantities of firearms at my disposal, that if someone was breaking into my house, the thing I'd grab was my Zulu spear, because, while a person with a gun might be scared, a person with a spear has been waiting for this.

Cold Steel makes the one I use.

And the thing is, Cold Steel actually makes some really outstanding knives. A lot of their stuff is just silly, but it's silly built really well.
posted by quin at 5:31 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's pretty common to have to fight off barrels of water, tubs of water, and giant ice cubes in your typical suburban office park.
posted by delmoi at 5:39 PM on May 7, 2010


If it's zombies you're up against, the AA-12 is what you need.

The XM25 sounds promising too.
posted by homunculus at 5:41 PM on May 7, 2010


This was worth it for the slow motion indian warhammer watermelon explosion.

Some Andrew-WK-style overenthusiastic music nerds need to start a band called Warhammer Watermelon Explosion. I'd do it myself, but I'm not nearly FIRED UP enough to do the name justice.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:43 PM on May 7, 2010


I was most struck by the Brooklyn Smasher . I mean, seriously...a baseball bat optimized for fighting?

That would be perfect for these guys.
posted by homunculus at 5:46 PM on May 7, 2010


I love Cold Steel! I have this one.

I can appreciate the sculptural Brancusi-esque quality of that, uh, thing in the video. But I'd imagine that if the guy in the video was throwing a piece of ordinary pipe it would do a lot of damage too.
posted by Drab_Parts at 5:46 PM on May 7, 2010


I'm relieved the Brooklyn Smasher isn't a sex act.
posted by box at 5:51 PM on May 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is nuthin'. A soldier in the Chinese Army could do any of these things with just a shovel, plus get through barbed wire and cut julienne fries three different ways.
posted by XMLicious at 5:51 PM on May 7, 2010


I'm relieved the Brooklyn Smasher isn't a sex act.

Yet.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:53 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ummm, excuse me sir, all I wanted was a pound of pork chops.
posted by dr_dank at 6:27 PM on May 7, 2010


Yeah, it's pretty common to have to fight off barrels of water, tubs of water, and giant ice cubes in your typical suburban office park.

Would you rather test these weapons the old Japanese way, by Tameshigiri?
posted by chambers at 6:30 PM on May 7, 2010


Tameshigiri was practiced even up to the 20th century:

Recent books published about the 1937 "Rape of Nanking" and other Japanese atrocities are peppered with photographs of mass beheadings. Interviews with former Japanese war criminals tell harrowing stories of using Chinese prisoners as tameshigiri targets to teach freshly-minted officers how to use their sword (Cook and Cook, 1997). Nakamura sensei bluntly states "During the wars of the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa eras the Katsujin-ken had been thrown away and the Satsujin-ken taken up" (Nakamura, 1995:37). Satsujin ken (the murdering sword), is the polar opposite of Katsujin ken -- "the life-giving sword."

citation
posted by chambers at 6:34 PM on May 7, 2010


Pswaw. That guy is obviously using a crooked d10.
posted by gamera at 6:42 PM on May 7, 2010


I have learned today that it is easier to come out on metafilter as a sword nerd than as a republican.
posted by Fiery Jack at 6:48 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


anansi: Someone mentioned swordcanes, here ya go, Burger Knives make outstanding ones.

It's a very good thing that I don't have a few grand burning a hole in my pocket, or I'd be the proud owner of a couple of those. And then I'd have to get a swanky cane-friendly wardrobe to avoid looking like a complete tool.
posted by CKmtl at 6:51 PM on May 7, 2010


not kosher.
posted by NortonDC at 7:07 PM on May 7, 2010


Much as I feel swords, daggers etc are an integral part of not just my wardrobe, but my home decore, I prefer hand-crafted custom made original work to this mass produced stuff.
posted by The otter lady at 7:18 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


a few words of caution
posted by warbaby at 7:27 PM on May 7, 2010


Burger Knives

Sadly, not what I envisioned.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:54 PM on May 7, 2010


Just don't buy cheap garbage swords from the TV.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:59 PM on May 7, 2010


The Perils of Cheap Fantasy Swords
posted by Burhanistan at 8:09 PM on May 7, 2010


"Tremble before the awesome flourish of the SWORD CANE!"

Keep in mind that sword canes are illegal in some states; if you're caught with one it's an immediate arrest for carrying a concealed weapon. The whole idea of using a cane - sword can or otherwise - is fascinating.
posted by Vibrissae at 8:30 PM on May 7, 2010


Man with greatsword vs grizzly? (No element of surprise, natch.)
posted by Ritchie at 8:39 PM on May 7, 2010


From benzenedream's link:
It is a collection of the greatest blood-on-the-shoes hippo charges ever recorded by anyone--anywhere.
Thank goodness, because I am tired of being ripped off by all of those other videos of featuring lesser blood-on-the-shoes hippo charges.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:40 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


What the fuck does that fat guy have against pigs, anyway? Seriously. Let it go, man. Whatever they did to you you need to just let it go.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:20 PM on May 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can't believe nobody has yet pointed out that these are the same people making a knock-off of that damn shovel.

(also: I THINK MY HEART'S EXPLODIN')
posted by magnificent frigatebird at 10:11 PM on May 7, 2010


Here's a link to Google videos of "QVC" "Katana". That, plus the previous links, should bring this thread to well over 60 links for the same video.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:14 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't believe nobody has yet pointed out that these are the same people making a knock-off of that damn shovel.

Get the Glock shovel instead.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:17 PM on May 7, 2010


a baseball bat optimized for fighting?

The story goes that the owner of the company noticed that a lot kids were getting broken wooden bats at a little league park or batting cage or something, and he felt that the polymer they used in some of the product line might be a good, virtually indestructible, replacement.

Supposedly so, anyway.

Might, and could be bullshit, doesn't diminish the fact that an unbreakable bat does have a sort of superhero weapon thing-I-want vibe going on.
posted by quin at 10:37 PM on May 7, 2010


Oh, and I got one of these Sjambok replicas mainly because it was only $8.33. It's in a strategic location in the house and could be used to whack a gun out of someone's hand from around the corner, and then maybe wail on their collar bone. It also might make a good aggressive dog deterrent if out walking around. I know it's effective because I used it to smash up some planed wood pieces as a test. It's made out of the same material as the Brooklyn Crusher, only more flexible.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:44 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cripes. That brooklyn smasher demo is horrible. I don't quite understand the point he's trying to make. "Check out what happens to OUR bat when you run over it with a car; it gets bent to hell just like the other bat, but hey, you can bend it back with your bare hands!" Wah?
posted by iloveit at 11:33 PM on May 7, 2010


I too have a sword at home and I too sometimes make far fetched plans about its eventual employment. Nice to see that I am not alone.

Since we're trading sword links - check this out: Tactical Gladius.

I actually worked with a guy once who got a custom made katana - took him quite a while to pay it off fully.
posted by Horatius at 12:23 AM on May 8, 2010


This is almost 10 minutes long, is it possible that they're over-selling the great sword?

No, it is not.
posted by BigSky at 1:10 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Woah, sword nerds represent. I used to have a very nice hand forged bastard sword a friend gave me. Yeah, even unsharpened it could cleave small trees in two like the demo, but it would take on dents quickly with a steady diet of that. I would never want to be hit edge on by one of those. At the minimum you're talking about broken/shattered limbs. I never sharpened it because I didn't really want a three and a half foot long razor blade to worry about every time I wanted to look at a sword or swing it around or show it to someone. "Hey, cool, is it sharp? O FUCK I CUT OFF MY THUMB SHIT!"

The thing about these demonstrations - were the pigs and meatshoes really necessary, guys? Gah. - is that you don't get to really use a sword like that in combat with an armed oponent. Sure, in a bloody melee you can wind up and use it like a machete or club but not in actual hand-to-hand with a fairly equal opponent. You don't swing it around wildly like it was a baseball bat and clash edges of swords, and it looks nothing like SCA whack-a-mole style fighting. There are plenty of old bones that show deep-cleaving wounds like this, but the way it really usually works doesn't chop bones.

"Real" swordfighting means trying to walk your way inside your opponent's reach, and then slicing them up like you were wielding a steak or butcher's knife. To do this you try to keep the tip of their sword above their head and parry side-to-side with the flats of the sword, try to grab their hand, arm or hilt, or otherwise get their sword out of the way long enough so you can get well inside their guard, firmly press the edge of the blade somewhere vital and then drag or push it across them like a saw or a steak knife. With a long edge cut like that it can hit two or more arteries and/or ligaments and drops an opponent (or zombie) like a load of wet bricks.

Or you can just get your point inside their guard and thrust, but killing with the point lacks artistry... Even though it happens often in realistic broadsword simulations, and is an entirely valid offense. If the opponent was doing their job on defense they wouldn't have let the point anywhere near the inside of their guard, because that's just dumb and dangerous.

Anyway. You rarely get to swing a great honking broadsword around one and/or a half-handed like it's a hammer or machete. The wind up and follow through leaves you far too vulnerable to a counterattack like someone sticking a knife in your ribs, or simply stepping in and tripping you up. Also, you run the risk of the blade shattering or getting severely nicked if you chop with it like that against the edge of the other sword.

And armor? Yeah, people are surprised when basic weapons shatter even modern stainless steel heated treated armor. The real story about complicated plate armor is that it's extremely expensive, heavy, and of limited tactical or defensive value. It was primarily worn by nobles with too great a sense of self preservation and self worth - not to mention tactical value, because they're usually the ones telling the indentured peons to go attach some other rich dude's indentured peons - to ever really get into hand-to-hand combat with someone with a great honking pike, hammer, axe or sword. They spent most of their time up on horses away from the skirmish line. (There are counter-examples, but they're bloodthirsty and likely mad edge cases.)

So, why bother with playing at sword fighting? It's fun, like paintball and martial arts. But it's also fairly useful as a self defense skill. Any pool cue, tree branch, cane or broomstick becomes a tidy way to defend oneself, and if you've practiced at all you can use the point to deliver strikes accurately to just about any spot on an opponent who is trying to drunkenly box you or something stupid. You can box someone's ears at a distance, knock things from their hands, deflect thrown objects and more.

These Cold Steel guys do little, however, to dispel the reality-based myths of basement-dwelling, Cheeto-stuffed SCA/AD&D/RenFaire sword junkies who couldn't parry a Puritan's Bible sober.

I was given a copy of the Illustrated Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe before I was 8. I know my pole ax from my pike. Bastard swords are where it's at. I also did about 3-4 years of weekly fake melee swordfighting with some dude who used to hold lessons in the parking lot of a coffee shop, who used to be so deep into RenFaire he was part of the Queen's detail as a guard and would tour the North American circuit with the Queen. He was an insanely good sword fighter, would often take on 15-20 people at once. Like "oh, shit, that guy moves like a fucking jedi oh fuck run" good. He also used to disappear from the game room at his place when we're we're RPGing and re-appear by crouch-leaping clean through the window landing in the middle of the map on the coffee table with a rapier or saber in each hand and expect you to lay about the room for arms and defend yourself.

Argh, sorry, was I spraying it again? I'm such a dork.

posted by loquacious at 1:33 AM on May 8, 2010 [18 favorites]


Correction: To do this you try to keep the tip of your sword above their head.
posted by loquacious at 1:39 AM on May 8, 2010


I liked the part where he talked about defending your house with that two-hander. Shit, if you have a place big enough to swing around something like that; I hope you have an alarm, a gun, and attack dogs...or bees...or dogs with bees in their mouths so when they bark they shoot bees at people.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:49 AM on May 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


box: "I'm relieved the Brooklyn Smasher isn't a sex act."

Oh. But it is.

:grin::
posted by Splunge at 4:54 AM on May 8, 2010


Two things:

#1 Laugh all you want, but you know these dudes have better office Christmas parties than you do.

#2 No offense to the sword nerds, but I suspect that any theorization about realistic sword techniques hold about as much water as pre-MMA strip mall Tae Kwon Do classes. Until we can really put those ideas to the test, then we can't really know. (Nor do I think we should.) Sword fighting ideas are so far removed from any real world application, that I suspect as in most things, a well conditioned athlete would do better in a real world situation than many of the rotund ninjas you see scampering around.

Here's my reasoning, and it's been a while since I was 13, so my references will be sketchy.

A. Most modern sword fighting techniques have very artificial ideas of instant kill, first hit wins, so a second hit doesn't count. I think it would be hard to avoid a pretty bad injury yourself, even if you were more skilled.

B. Most injuries will probably be to the limbs at first. I can't recall if it was Hagakure or Book of Five Rings or some other Japanese work, but most of the duels I read about ended up unresolved after some samurai cut his thumb or forefinger. Similarly (Again this goes back to being 13) but I'm pretty sure that many modern knife fighting techniques (which I assume have at least slightly more relevance) rely on some cheesey idea called "defanging the snake" which relies on quick attacks to the opponents hands over any exposing mortal attacks. Anyways, expect a lot of cut hands and forearms.

C. Even the old fencing pros around the turn of the century totally freaked out when they had the opportunity to duel for real. I'm not going to look into, but there is a pretty famous anecdote about one of the world's greatest fencers, Aldo Nadi (sp?), who pretty much reverted to an amateur when he was in a real life situation. I bet there's a lot more scared flailing in a real sword fight that people would like to admit.

D. I don't think people worry too much about artistry in a situation like this.

E. I think the efficacy of the sword is probably exaggerated due to it's connection with the elites. I imagine that spears were probably more practical if less romantic.

F. (Relatated to E.) It's funny how many major science fiction series try to create situations where swords are relevant again. (Herbert-Dune, Lucas-Star Wars, Final Fantasy, China Mievelle(sp?)-Scar, Highlander etc etc.) There is something romantic about swords, but it's interesting how video games will scale back the terrifying efficacy of guns, so that swords are still important/the main weapon.

Obviously people like swords, but I suspect that there are very few battles where they were the major/defining weapon. I guess they were probably extra important for the Romans, but they still carried spilum and were supported by various other troops.

Finally, the warhammer video made me laugh pretty hard. (There's no resisting the spike! I wouldn't want that to be my face!) On the other hand, I agree with the above poster, that these dudes are doing what they love. So more power to them. I wouldn't have the balls to post videos like that on the internet.
posted by Telf at 8:57 AM on May 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's funny how many major science fiction series try to create situations where swords are relevant again.

I've always noticed that -- they are even willing to rewrite the local laws of physics to repriviledge swords.

I think I've mentioned this before here somewhere, but while I've never seen a genuine old-style swordfight, I've seen the results of machete fights. In the movies someone gets poked by a sword, and it's either a minor fleshwound (to be later bandaged by the hottie slave/princess) or they keel straight over and a little blood trickles from the corner of their mouth as they say their last words.

In real life, it looks a lot more like the videos of the pig's head being chopped open, except with screaming and blood spraying everywhere. Even minor, glancing blows on the arms or legs can leave you with big flaps of skin hanging loose, severed tendons, and massive blood loss. It's like the scene in Apocalypse Now where they kill the water buffalo with machetes, except that people are smaller and more delicate.

He also used to disappear from the game room at his place when we're we're RPGing and re-appear by crouch-leaping clean through the window landing in the middle of the map on the coffee table with a rapier or saber in each hand and expect you to lay about the room for arms and defend yourself.

I think anyone who ever played role playing games or took a fencing class has met this guy, and holy shit is he annoying.
posted by Forktine at 9:14 AM on May 8, 2010


I suspect that any theorization about realistic sword techniques hold about as much water as pre-MMA strip mall Tae Kwon Do classes.

Yeah, the three big changes to the modern world and sword fighting are: a) people don't use armor anymore, b) no mass combats, and c) modern medicine drastically changes what wounds would have been fatal.

How many techniques have lost their context? Not to mention sword vs. sword fighting probably wasn't the most common thing.

Probably the closest thing we've got is the carryovers from places that were/are still doing machete fighting and knife fighting.
posted by yeloson at 10:24 AM on May 8, 2010


Telf: That's actually about right.

A common practice tool for "broadsword simulation" is the Kendo Shinai, those clever rattan swords with four sides and a bit of string that can be chalked to show strike marks for scoring. It hurts less than a hardwood boken if you're hit and it has a nice way to teach and show edge and flat control by being aware of that string that runs the length of the shinai.

Anyway, even with just non-lethal practice swords in full speed sparring or melee where you're you're supposed to be holding back your hits and strikes - people go to pieces faster than a bittorrent stream. Getting thwacked in the knuckles, wrists or face with a shinai fucking hurts. I've seen people lose teeth or get busted lips, and split knuckles were extremely common.

With live steel the fear factor is immense, even when messing around with unsharpened swords in a controlled environment.


That said... skill and training go a long way. Albeit in an arcane martial art that relies as much on brutality and being an opportunistic bastard as it does finesse and basic grappling skills.

But for an example, there were always Hiro Protaganist wannabes - complete with high powered crotch-rocket motorcycles with scabbard holders, I shit you not - that would show up at the practice melees who would be dual-weilding shinais and doing fancy high speed Conan-esque baton-twirling moves and fancy-footwork they've obviously been practicing for weeks that were useless.

(One way to spot a practiced, realistic sword-fighter is to watch their feet. If they ever cross their steps they're idiots - see any bad ninja movie. A realistic sword fighter always keeps a wide stance and takes "elephant steps" and shuffles around, back and forth in a goofy looking way - see kendo or fencing - because you really don't want to trip in a sword fight. Small steps and a wide stance means a lower center of gravity and a faster reaction time because both feet are usually on the ground.)

The guy I was talking about who led and taught at these practices loved puncturing and deflating these fools, generally by casually parrying everything they could throw at him with their wild swings and then waiting for the perfect moment to unbalance them with a lunge and light tap square in the center of their foreheads, knocking the Hiro wannabe flat on their ass, which was hilarious to watch. It generally happened about once per practice.

Forktine said: I think anyone who ever played role playing games or took a fencing class has met this guy, and holy shit is he annoying.

Yeah, it can be annoying but this wasn't that guy. The annoying guys are the Hiro Protaganist or Highlander wannabes.

The fellow I'm talking about was always really entertaining and relaxed about it, as well as fair and educational, and he was always realistic about the whole thing and wasn't ever deceptive about how brutal and violent a sword fight would be. His descriptions match yours and telf's, so he certainly had no illusions about how dangerous it was, and how people tended to go to pieces in a hurry. But the guy had genuine skills that were amazing, and I wouldn't be surprised if he went on to consult for movies for stuntwork and choreography. Or he could still be living in the pre-fab covered patio at his parent's place rolling dice and paper. (Not kidding.)

He had a lot of skill, but he had made it more or less his life. I've watched him waltz and flow through an entire field of 20-odd melee participants like a jedi where it's all smooth arcs and edge cuts. Would he fall to pieces in a live fight? I sure as hell wouldn't want to test him and find out.
posted by loquacious at 10:30 AM on May 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Student uses sword to kill intruder. MeFi post.

My takeaway from that story is that if I'm every involved in sword play, I want to be the only one with a sword.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:18 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Speaking of crossbows, here's how to make a pencil crossbow out of office supplies.
posted by mendel at 11:47 AM on May 8, 2010


Lynn Thompson bills himself as the chief instructor at their knife school. Which is fine, I guess. Except that I get the impression that he's never actually fought for his life with one of his blades (or anyone else's) in his hands, so taking knife fighting lessons from him seems a bit like taking sex lessons from a well-read virgin whose done a whole lot of dry-humping.

I mean, here he teaches students that "When your opponent stands still, get behind him and murder him in the kidneys". I mean, I hope that if one of LT's student's actually pulls off this maneuver in a fight that he's got a GOOD lawyer. He also teaches a "fight from long range and never get cut" idea.

Marc MacYoung is a former street thug who's experienced real world knife violence, and his advice is that that kind of knife instruction is dangerous fantasy. I don't think any of LT's videos discuss the subject of Blood, urine, and feces as part of the curriculum.

Lynn Thompson is teaching dueling. But in America, the knife is the assassin's weapon, and a knifer who is worth his salt isn't going to let you see his weapon before he uses it, much less give you a chance to draw your own.

On the other hand, you could take advice from a book like Put 'Em Down, Take 'Em Out!: Knife Fighting Techniques From Folsom Prison, a book which caused a bit of a stir in the knife martial arts community for it's no fantasy, no bullshit approach (and what it implied about much knife instruction going on). I believe part of the advice included "You and several friends overpower the guy, wrestle him to the ground, then shank away repeatedly until he's dead or the guards show up and beat you with clubs" (I paraphrase).

Watch a few prison knife fight videos and you'll how little they look like what Thompson is teaching. They tend to look a little more like this. The guy with the paper knife is a former Marine hand to hand combat instructor in Iraq. Again, someone whose experience is worth listening to.

I own several of LTs products, gonna get more. But I cant help but hear "knife instructor" and think "dry humper".
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 2:21 PM on May 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


For some reason this thread is rich with MeFi straight lines, but I think I'll have to go with this one and get out; I've had a nasty cough the past week or so, and laughing too much is painful.

MetaFilter: As long as you're facing canonical slow zombies, it should do nicely.
posted by kipmanley at 2:27 PM on May 8, 2010


My girlfriend and I got together over a Cold Steel video.

It was back in college, and she found an abandoned DVD from Cold Steel in the campus Mail Hut. She brought it home to show my friend Matt, and the three of us sat up to watch the entire thing, throwing stars and all. Then Matt when home, and the missus and I have been together ever since.

Neither of us own swords, or really have any attachment to them, but we do both have a thing for demonstration videos.
posted by Hoenikker at 3:52 PM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


By this point I'm waiting for cortex, mathowie, and jessamyn to weigh in with their favorite Cold Steel products.
posted by benzenedream at 7:02 PM on May 8, 2010


By this point I'm waiting for cortex, mathowie, and jessamyn to weigh in with their favorite Cold Steel products.

That would be the Viking-replica Ban Hammer, of course.
posted by Forktine at 7:23 PM on May 8, 2010


Eh? I'm not sure what being thirteen years old has to do with the topic but I seriously doubt swords were around thousands of years "just for show".

Any man with a sharpened piece of material, regardless of his physical capabilities, has exponentially increased his ability to do grievous harm to another human.

Yes, the context for martial arts has changed drastically as society, in large part, has settled in around humans but the viability of edged weapons hasn't changed. Knives are still part of standard issue in most armies worldwide for good reason.
I would reduce the idea even further and say humans have mostly lost the context of physical aggression regardless of how it's employed, and it is becoming more so as we retreat farther and farther from the front lines and close our eyes to the real horrors. That is good in some ways, bad in others.

There are no absolute truths to combat, and there are no tried and true methods of winning a physical encounter.

That would be the Viking-replica Ban Hammer, of course.

Quite possibly not as cool as you think.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:33 PM on May 8, 2010


That would be the Viking-replica Ban Hammer, of course.

Quite possibly not as cool as you think.


There's always the banning shillelagh.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 4:00 PM on May 11, 2010


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