Perhaps the most important …
Perhaps the most important text about the swords you've read …
In Akira Kurosawa's film masterpiece, we hear the words: 'The Best Sword is Kept in its Sheath'. What a pity that so few understand these words properly ...
I always avoid politics and ideological issues, and I wish it would stay that way. Be sure that this fanpage and my activity will always be about medieval swords, reconstruction, research, workshop, finds, typology, museums, etc.
Despite this, the sword is a tool of war, and 'war is always a defeat for humanity.' However, weapons, including the sword of course, are much more than a killing tool. And this is what I wanted to write about, because we are not always aware of it when considering scientific points, typologies, finds, cross-sections or the balance of swords. And yet there is something else, something fundamental that is not talked about enough.
When I was giving lectures to children in schools about medieval swords, many times someone said: 'Great, but still it is a weapon, it is used to kill people. '
And here, of course, comes the negative context.
A little more needs to be said to understand some essential things. I replied then to them, to kids and their teachers: If someone has bad intentions and would like to hurt someone, then you don't need a sword or a knife, a bad person can harm someone with a pencil, a stone or a car. Or that person won't need anything for it and will use his bare hands. These objects or his hands will then become weapons, although they were designed for something else. You can create works of art with a pencil, you can build houses from stone, you can take someone to a hospital by car, etc. Or someone can use those things to kill. It all depends on the intentions of the person. It is the man who decides what to do.
'So what good things can you do with a sword?' the children asked. This is a very good question.
In my native language, for weapons, we have the word 'BROŃ' which comes from the verb 'BRONIĆ.' This word means 'to DEFEND'.
Weapons, like any other thing, can be used to do good or bad.
A sword, as a weapon, can be used not only for attacking and killing, but also for defense. To defend yourself, your loved ones, your home, property, family, city or country. To defend values and rights. To defend freedom and independence. The sword was once an attribute not only of a noble, but simply of a free man who was armed to defend himself and others.
But why have a sword at all? (in the context of the Middle Ages and more).
Because it was an attribute of a free man, the status of his rights, and was held in times of need.
Let's make a comparison like this: Look at an umbrella, for example. Most of the time it lies in the wardrobe, we only take it out when it is raining. But it is needed all the time. In case of rain. If we do not know how to use it, it will be useless, we will not use its potential contained in the designer`s project. If it is left lying for a long time and we do not take care of it, it will be damaged and when it starts to rain, the umbrella will break or simply not working. It may be weird and even a little funny, but it is somehow the same with the sword.
Explaining to children why the sword itself is not 'bad' or 'good' object and how it depends on the man and his intentions, I also gave an example of a gun nowadays. Who carries a fire arm, a gun today? Answer from the school room: 'Bandit, thief!' And then I ask them: What about the policeman? What about the soldier? Children begin to understand. Moving on, a policeman, in order to be effective in his duties, must practice shooting all the time, clean the gun, know it, trust it. Even if he will not use it throughout the entire police service, he has to be ready to use it. It was probably similar with swords in the Middle Ages.
But besides that, the sword was also an important attribute of the status of a person in the Middle Ages. The most often drawn, naked sword, held by rulers, kings, determines the independence and strength of the state. The sword in hand also announces the law, justice and rightful authority.
These are very important features of the office held.
It is worth mentioning that in many cultures the sword (sometimes the other weapon kinds too) was endowed with great respect and esteem, even mystical properties were given to it. At that time, it was also due to the technological secrets in the manufacture of this weapon, but also the most anatomically natural form of extending the human arm.
The sword was also so highly respected by men of honor for its ability to take a life or save a life.
In the sword, today, there is also the beauty of the virtues that disappear in today's world and of which it remains a symbol. In our minds, it is also a representation of a longing for an idealized world where good and evil are clearly defined, without ambiguity. Unfortunately, such a world never existed. I believe we can try to create it through our goodness, choices, awareness, knowledge every day. A world without war ...
How to talk about swords in the context of war? It is difficult because it is always associated with responsibility and commitment. There were many wars in the Middle Ages, swords, axes, and spears were in common use. Today we see them in museums, but we have much more powerful weapons in every country that can both attack and defend, depend on intentions, as it used to be. The principle is the same, only technology has changed.
Do not judge the sword then, judge the man and his deeds.
So is a sword a weapon? Yes, of course, definitely it is, it was designed to be a weapon. But the intentions lie solely with the wielder. Therefore, let us not judge an object according to its nature, but a man according to his intentions. We admire the beauty of weapons and the art of using them. Both when it comes to fencing, shooting, archery and much more. Because the ability to use a well-made weapon is a characteristic of a man who is aware of its usefulness. On the other hand, deeds done with weapons testify only to a man...
Maciej Kopciuch - Swordmaker A.D. 2022