The Cutting Edge

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Tag: swords

The Return of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Sword

The famous sword of Gen. Robert E. Lee is making news this week because its finally returning to Lee’s place of surrender more than 146 years after the Civil War.

Anyone who’s not a history buff might wonder what the big deal is, but for decades, there’s been a myth surrounding Lee’s sword.

Legend has it that upon surrender to Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant after the Battle of Appomattox Court House, Lee gave up his sword to Grant as a traditional gesture, but Grant refused the sword.

History has a funny way of making a big circle, as the sword is moving from its longtime resting place at the Museum of the Confederacy in downtown Richmond to a new museum in Appomattox, Va.

Even if you don’t care too much about history, Lee’s sword is a notable and unique French-made sword.

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Sword-Wielding, Waterskiing Fish Hunters: Smart or Insane?

Every now and then there’s a video so utterly crazy that it starts to seem like a good idea… well, almost.

Two men, fed up with the invasive Asian Carp species heading toward the Great Lakes, took to the river armed with samurai swords, Wolverine-like steel claws and spiked body armor. And, what’s the best way to hunt Asian Carp with swords? On water skis of course.

According to the video, Asian Carps were brought to America and immediately invaded the waters. Now, the leaping fish are heading toward the Great Lakes and the government is trying to stop them with poison or genetic engineering. The two guys, who call themselves the Peoria Carp Hunters, are using their own ingenious ways to combat the large fish.

Keep in mind that these are “professionals” so you should definitely not strap spikes to your body, grab a sword and go waterskiing, not that you’d probably want to anyway.

Take a look at the video and let us know whether you think these guys are cool or off their rocker.

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Top 7 Hottest Female Sword Fighters

Comment on this post or any other between today and midnight on Sunday and you’ll be entered to win a 51-inch William Wallace replica sword .

If you are one of the first ten people to comment on any individual post, you’ll get DOUBLE ENTRIES.

What’s sexier than a sword?  How about a hot chick slicing up her foes with one?  Here, for your viewing pleasure, are the top 10 female sword fighters.

7. Violet Song jat Shariff (Milla Jovovich)Ultraviolet

Even though the sci-fi thriller was widely panned by critics for its excessive complexity and lack of realism, the film did produce one of the hottest sword wielding fighters of all time. Throughout the film, Violet, played by Milla Jovovich, relentlessly plows through groups of inept fighters with a range of weapons, including swords and knives. Check out the cool scene below where Violet takes out a room of sword fighters.

6. Guinevere (Keira Knightley)King Arthur

Along with being fierce, Guinevere, from the 2004 film about King Arthur, engages in some truly amazing battles. For her loyalty, skill with swords and other weapons and refusal to give up, Guinevere takes the number 6 spot on this list. Check out some of her fiercest moments from the film in this clip.

5. The Bride (Uma Thurman) – Kill Bill, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

Say what you will about Uma Thurman, but The Bride in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films is one hot sword fighter you don’t want to mess with. In one of the greatest sword fights in cinema history, The Bride takes on a group of masked men replete with gore and violence. Look at some of her moves in the clip below.

4. Xena (Lucy Lawless) Xena: Warrior Princess

It’s impossible to compile a list of hottest female sword fighters without including Xena. Even though she’s only a fixture on the small screen, she remains the quintessential female warrior. Throughout her six seasons on television, she battled countless enemies with humor and intensity. Kudos to any woman who could carry around that massive sword and wield it skillfully.

3. Jen (Zhang Ziyi)Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

The battle scenes in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon are whimsical, impassioned and inventive and no one in the film represents this deftness more than Jen. The beautiful sword fighter, who was destined for an arranged marriage but yearned for a warrior’s lifestyle, engaged in several battles throughout the movie including this iconic fight in the trees.

2. O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu)Kill Bill, Vol. 1

Although she may appear innocent and fragile, O-Ren Ishii should never be crossed, as demonstrated from the clip below. The film emphasizes her flawless beauty, grace and fighting skills, especially when pitted against The Bride.

1. Elena Montero (Catherine Zeta-Jones)The Mask of Zorro

This curvaceous student and love interest of Zorro earns the top spot on this list for her sword fighting skills and undeniable good looks. In the clip below you see her playfully battling Zorro with a rapier fencing sword before losing her clothes to the masked swordsman. Throughout the film, she demonstrates intimate knowledge of sword fighting and uses it for good.

Tell us which female swordfighter is your favorite and enter to 51-inch William Wallace replica sword .

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A Brief Guide to Swords

We’re writing about swords all week in conjunction with our first Cutting Edge product give-away. Comment on this post or any other between today and midnight on Sunday and you’ll be entered to win a 54-inch Scottish Highlands Claymore sword.

If you are one of the first ten people to comment on any individual post, you’ll get DOUBLE ENTRIES.

Throughout the world, millions of different types of swords have been forged for a number of purposes, including battle and ceremonial garb. Amazingly, when swords are forged by hand, they are unique in many ways.  To build on our theme of swords, I’ve decided to create a brief guide of swords. Even though there are hundreds of types of swords, I’ve separated the swords by region.

Asian Swords

Chinese Saber Sword There are two main categories of Chinese swords: the dao sword and the jian sword. The Chinese dao swords (pictured right) first appeared during China’s Bronze Age and have several distinct characteristic. They usually have a slightly curved single-edged blade with a handle that curves in the opposite direction to give maximum control. They were ideal for thrusting and slicing during battle. The second important Chinese sword is the jian sword. Unlike the dao, which is known as the “General of All Weapons,” the jian is known as the “Gentleman of All Weapons” because it is a very simple double-edged sword.

The other type of major Asian sword is the Japanese nihonto. The type of sword that falls under this category is the well-known katana, which samurai warriors used to carry in the 15th century. The common trait of nihonto swords is their long, single-edged blade. It was fairly standard-sized compared to the range of the other Japanese swords and had a long handle, so it could be held with two hands. If you’re really interested in Japanese swords, I recommend looking into the other types, which include odachi, tachi, nodachi, tsurugi and wakizashi.

European Swords

There are a ton of sword-types from Europe, so I’m not going to go into full detail since several scholars have already spent their time carefully categorizing each type. Instead, I’m just going to focus on a few types that are interesting and pretty common. The first type is the longsword, which was used during Medieval times and featured a massive double-edged blade. Some of the common longswords had to be carried with two hands to ensure usability and is the type of sword you’d see in The Lord of the Rings.

The next major type is the rapier. The design of the rapier, a long narrow blade with a sharp point, makes it perfect for thrusting. In fact, most blades are not sharp except at the end of the blade. Another important element of the rapier is its intricate hilt design that protects the hands during battle. From the rapier, you also get the smallsword and the epee, which are mainly used as fencing weapons and decorative garb.

Another predominantly European type of sword is the backsword. The swords that fall under this category include claymores, cutlasses and basket-hilted swords. The feature of these swords is single-edged blades with a thick back to help support it. Like the rapier, these swords also have complex hilts, because they were often used by European cavalry, specifically Scottish clans.

African Swords

You’re probably least familiar with African swords simply because there aren’t very many. According to Wikipedia, there are only nine recognized swords and none fall under major categories. One of the most interesting types of African swords is the khopesh, which came from Egypt. If you’ve ever seen “The Mummy,” the soldiers carry these swords that resemble sickles. The swords have a unique design with a somewhat circular blade that was used more for disarming opponents than slicing them.

Another sword called the ida is used by the Yoruba people of West Africa. It’s distinctive because its blade goes from being narrow at the handle to thicker by the tip. Legend also said that the Yoruba people added peppers or poison to the blades in order to make the slice more painful and deadlier. In general, the ida is extremely keen making it perfect for multiple purposes, such as hunting, battling and quotidian cutting.

American Swords

Similar to Africa, there aren’t very many prominent or recognizably American swords. The main reason is by the time the Americas were colonized, modern weaponry was already advanced. However, there are still a few notable swords from the region. The only recognized sword from America, according to Wikipedia, is the macuahuitl. This sword was used by Aztecs and made from volcanic glass and obsidian (in the mode of flintknapping). Although the macuahuitl was more like a wooden club with sharp fragments sticking out of the sides, some say it was sharp enough to decapitate a man.

The other American swords are mainly collectibles made from existing styles, typically European styles. For example, US Civil War swords are essentially the smallsword types I wrote about earlier. Other swords made for the United States are mainly designed for military ceremonies.

Tell us what sword category you like most by commenting below and you’ll be entered to win a 51-inch William Wallace sword. Good luck!

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