One of my students sent me this link about a week ago. For those of you who don`t have patience to read entire page, I will explain in short. After few serious attacks made with, mostly, cheap imitations of katana (japanese, samurai sword), British government decided to ban selling, making, hiring or importing samurai swords in England and Wales. As far as I know this is the first law of that kind that exists in Europe, maybe in entire world.
Before I proceed, I want to make one thing clear. I do not approve any kind of attacks made with katana; also, misusing that beautiful but very dangerous weapon is something I will never alow to anyone of my students; I am strongly against it.
On the other hand, there is an entire community of people who use katana (and some other japanese and chinese blades) in their everyday activity – through practicing of kendo, iaido, battodo and probably a lot of chinese martial arts systems that I am not familiar with. Any serious practitioner of iaido or battodo, knows or has experienced the difficulty of obtaining a good sword. This was never easy. To buy a good blade, usually it is necesarry to go to Japan and to try to find a good producer or seller which is also a kind of art. The cheapest blade that I have found costs about 1500 USD, but a proper, solid one is above 5000 USD. If you count that airplane ticket from Europe costs about 1200 EUR and the costs of stay in Japan cannot be less than 500 EUR for a week, you may have the impression of how many people may buy one for themself. So, the most of us must rely on a swords that can be bought over the Internet and these are not the best ones for practice but are cheap enough…
And now what? With this law I suppose some of realy good practitioners will not be able to buy a sword for themselves because if anyone tries to import them for selling will be arrested; if practitioners try to do that by themselves, they will face the same penalty. I understand the concern of British government and police but some serious changes to that law must be done and a list of exemptions must be widened. Also, I don`t know if the firearms importing and selling is forbiden in the same way. It is interesting that in Japan they don`t have a lot of attacks made with katana. But, producing and selling of swords in Japan are regulated by a strong laws and everyone who has live blade (not aluminium alloy ones) must have a permit for it – like if they have firearm, although providing permission for a sword is not as complicated. And this is something I support.
I am practicing martial arts for more than 20 years now (kendo, iaido, battodo, aikido) and we, who teach others the way of using sword have a great part of responsibility. I have seen a lot of people who intended to practice martial arts because they just wanted to look dangerous to their friends and people around – a lot of them never succeded to obtain master degree. Practicing of such specific art requires a lot of dedication and not only during trainings. As I can see that, someone serious must change his perspective over the people and events. But this is a topic for some other post 🙂

ps – this is friends only post; I consider my martial arts practicing a personal matter, very important to me;

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57 Responses to Swords

  1. yomeriux says:

    Katanas are so beautiful. My oldest brother has been a big fan of them for many many years now. That one belongs to you??:up:

  2. gdare says:

    No, this one was borrowed to me when I was in Japan in 2006. I have only aluminium alloy one, for everyday practice. This one is sharp and I used it for cutting practice.Was your brother in martial arts too?

  3. yomeriux says:

    My brother has a couple but I guess they are aluminum too, I don`t know :)Yes, he used to practice some martial arts, but he stopped for a long time now. Not too long ago he bought a sword, not a Katana though. It`s very sharp. Of course he doesn`t use it, he just takes it out and admires it, and drools…jahaha 😆

  4. gdare says:

    :lol:I can understand him :up:When I got my first sword I was :eyes: almost whole day :DI have a lot of photographs from my trip to Japan in my photo section, look after "Yokohama".

  5. gdare says:

    Yes, I just hope it will be changed in a way that will make that groups more space and possibility to have what they need to function.

  6. attilasoul says:

    This law is a huge step back for those who practice martial art in England. 😦

  7. nopanic says:

    I think information and registration of weapons are important issues, but forbidding them. No way. That nver helped anything :)I denmark swords and bajonets are huge collectors items!

  8. Spaggyj says:

    Interesting post – the reason that authentic blades are prohibited here is basically the "hard man complex". People who fancy themselves as tough will use pretty much anything, and many opt for imitation katana to appear as if they're knowledgable in martial arts. To be honest, I hate a lot of my countrymen because their attitudes are like this. But it does spoil it for the few that take martial arts seriously. Again, I stress that these people are few.I didn't know you were so experienced, Darko. I admire that.

  9. Spaggyj says:

    Yes, exactly, hard man complex is hilarious, they fool few people with their acts… Unfortunately they will go further to attacking other people when they have no defense or awareness of the attack to "prove" it to their friends, and mostly, themselves. I'd love to hear more about your experiences and learning, Darko – your journey must have been amazing!

  10. gdare says:

    @Nic – you are right, it will never help anything :left:@Kimmie – hard man complex is something I see everyday here; angry expression on the face, showy way of walk, rudeness in all ways; as far as I know a lot of them are just trying to be dangerous, but unable to recognize how funny they look like :Psometimes I am surprised how much time had passed… where is that boy who stepped in kendo dojo in December 7th, 1986, in 6pm looking for some answers? 😀

  11. Furie says:

    They did similar with nunchuks back in the 80s and changed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. 🙄

  12. Furie says:

    One of those katana murders was in this town. Part of a dealer war. It later turned out that it was a machete, but the media still had it's fun at the expense of katanas.

  13. rose-marie says:

    It's always frustrating when few people ruin it for many :(.I had no idea you had been practising martial arts for 20 years! *bows*

  14. Capegirl says:

    i am in favor of the strict control of all dangerous weapons. as to the blades that are being used by those doing serious practice–i wonder if permissions could be obtained?? maybe you must find out some more. the media does love to leave things out of stories. 😀

  15. ellinidata says:

    P.S. my subscription was set for your posts but I still did not get a post entry notice! Opera turns to be more playful than I thought 🙂

  16. ellinidata says:

    spathology : the study of swords "spathia" were used in Greece for War fighting and they are mentioned widely in the Greek Modern History.It must first be appreciated that a sword is unlike any other object. There is nothing else to which it can really be analogous. It is a fighting tool, but it is not simply a giant knife or a huge razor blade nor is it just a heavy hunk of long flat metal with a handle. A sword is a unique instrument with its own functional properties dependent upon its design. how do you feel about the glass swords??

  17. gdare says:

    Mik, in Japan, I know there were some murder attempts with katanas among the members of yakuza. This is why they have a strong laws about giving permitions for having it. But the good thing is that they never prohibited possesion of it. As a part of their culture, tradition and history, sword has a meaningful position. Also, it is impossible to import non-Japanese katana in Japan, this is the way they protect themselves…. and protect the brand.Here, one lunatic grabbed big knife from a fast food restaurant few months ago and badly wounded few people who were just walking on the street. He was chinese and media started to talk about "samurai sword attack" immediately…. Stupid. But insane people are everywhere :eyes:

  18. gdare says:

    Michelle, people in Serbia just prefere fire weapons, no one really thinks seriously about swords. We have law that requires from us to ask for permittion for any blade longer than 4cm. And it works :happy:

  19. Spaggyj says:

    I don't think any different of you, Darko. I've always thought you were cool, I always respected you, and I still do. It's very interesting that your passion for martial arts stayed strong, you must be a very eager learner to learn so many!

  20. gdare says:

    Kimmie, as far as I can remember, I was interesting in martial arts – when I was a kid, karate and kung fu always tempted me, but my parents were strongly against it. Then, one day on my way back from school, I have seen a poster about kendo, with address and practicing hours. I went to see one training and instantly knew: this is it. Later I wanted to expand my knowledge and started with iaido (1994), aikido (1999), and battodo (2003). Now, I am practicing and teaching battodo and a little bit of iaido (just as an addition to battodo). Also, I am practicing aikido in my friends' dojo.I was never fond of talking a lot about my martial arts experience because usualy, people start to look at me from a quite different angle and don't see all the rest that I am. And I don't think that we are supermen in any way 😉

  21. gdare says:

    Rose…. *bows back*

  22. gdare says:


  23. Spaggyj says:

    Well I think that's very admirable :yes:

  24. gdare says:

    Angeliki – in past times in almost every nation that used swords in their warfare, it has special meaning. Every young man, old enough to has its own family, received a sword as some kind of permition to establish it. Giving sword to someone was a kind of initiation when boy became a man. Then, this sword became his for a lifetime, something more personal than any other possesion. Breaking sword meant giving away life, destroying family, surrendering in all ways. In ancient Japan, suicide by own sword was a common practice among dishonoured samurais.Sword is definitely not just a big knife 🙂

  25. Furie says:

    6 foot 3 and studied martial arts for twenty years? :eyes:.*gives Darko a wedgie and legs it*

  26. gdare says:

    Kimmie, I still have 5 trainings a week, sometimes more. I never get bored of it 😀

  27. gdare says:

    Thanks Kimmie :happy:

  28. Furie says:

    *sends anonymous note explaining*WedgieLeg it – run away

  29. gdare says:

    *afraid to ask what wedgie is – and what does it means when it is leged*:insane:

  30. SittingFox says:

    Perhaps the solution should be to restrict their possession outside of certain areas used for the practices you describe? While I firmly support the ban on handguns in the UK, the number of tragedies caused by traditional swords is very small, and most likely the culprits would just have used any number of other knives, garden equipment etc if they hadn't got ahold of a sword. I think the law, as it stands, is disproportionate. My brother has a samurai sword which he brought home from Japan years ago.

  31. Words says:

    It's taken me a while to reply as I wasn't aware that the law had changed and wanted to check what I could find. From what I can see the law allows legitimate use by members of martial arts clubs and collectors, so it shouldn't stop people practising martial arts in the UK as long as they belong to proper clubs. They will still be able to obtain and use swords.I'm not convinced the law will make much difference to crime (we outlaw guns but there seem to be more shootings than ever), but I've got to admit that selling cheap and lethal weapons by mail order and on the high street has never seemed a good idea to me.I don't know what impact it will have on getting a new weapon for someone seriously into martial arts, but I suspect it's still possible to do so legally. Some form of licensing would make sense though. Thanks for posting the item.

  32. wickedlizard says:

    Lovely pieces! It´s a pity that always because of a handful of idiots that make problems like that are also affecting those who practice it as an art form and in a responsible way. I don´t agree with such laws, I too, use to do fencing, which is a very interesting strategic play, I enjoyed it. Alas, I gave it up simply due to the time schedules didn´t fit with my work schedule.

  33. gdare says:

    Words – I am glad if this is true because this is only reasonable way. I have talked with one of our students two days ago, he travels to London often and occassionaly practices battodo in London dojo. He told me they still don`t know how the law will treat them but do hope if they can prove that they use swords for training there will be no problems :up:

  34. gdare says:

    Adele – I have never heard of using sword for murder attempt in Serbia after the WWII – probably it is very rare; I think that obtaining permition can solve the problem of that kind and police should pay more attention to illegal use of fire weapon; after all the wars from `90, we can still hear for accidents made by hand granades, mines, automatic rifles even rocket launchers :eyes: Not to mention the crime…

  35. gdare says:

    Isabel – I suppose it was European fancing? What was it – floret, sword or sabre? Sorry to hear that you had to stop with it. Last year I got the bronze medal in cutting competition with European sabre 😀

  36. nopanic says:

    Sure 😀

  37. gdare says:

    When you try it, let me know :up: OK?

  38. nopanic says:

    Fencing is good. My old training tecniques helps me to hold my balance when I dance the tango :up: Tango with a sword, might be interesting 😀

  39. ellinidata says:

    visiting Turkey (it is only 2 hours driving from my home town in Greece), I have dinner in Istanbul in a restaurant with a belly dancer. When she dances with the sword on her breast or balancing it on her for head. every body forgets he is there to have dinner! :lol:Tango with a sword will make the moves even more demanding!

  40. nopanic says:

    Tango with a dagger. hmm good title for a painting.:eyes: I love belly dancers. There´s a Turkish Reasaurant in Copenhagen called Ankara. Have seen a very beautiful belly dancer there. She´s a jewel 🙂

  41. gdare says:

    @Angeliki – with mouth opened, right? :lol:@Nic – I suppose you are regular there 😀

  42. ellinidata says:

    oh yes!! 😆

  43. wickedlizard says:

    yes, especially when we´re duelling! :DI find the practicing a bit boring… 😦

  44. gdare says:

    Ah, I didn`t know the word is foil. We use word "floret" for same weapon – it is recognisable by characteristic handle. You should try to do it again. I am not practicing kendo since 1998 but once in a while few of my friends meet and make a kendo training. I like it a lot. Make your blood run faster 😀

  45. wickedlizard says:

    yeah, I know! I just hate poking the board for hours on end… 🙄

  46. gdare says:

    Yes, but practicing is an entry to duelling. Otherwise you will lose from every one 😀

  47. martinouellette says:

    I'm for freedom. To me,the less government restriction the better.Katanas, arms, etc. are not dangerous alone, only the people using them -can be-.What about responsibility? Parents, friends, teachers… everybody.I hate when a kid choke with a chair and then they want to ban these chairs or whatever. Stop blaming others or objects. Look at yourselves.

  48. gdare says:

    As far as I understand, this law in England has come in the power only because that politician got hurt – it was not the first murder attempt with katana (or any other sword or knife) but first time a politician was involved. What about other people, then?"Stop blaming others or objects. Look at yourselves."People, in general, are irresponsible 😦

  49. attilasoul says:

    I have only trained martial art in two different dojos, but it is my impression that the people who go there to learn how to fight, and intend to use it, are leaving the dojos pretty soon after they started. There are way too much discipline for them in the dojos. The teachers I have had have been (and are) very responsible and teach us when we are allowed to use what we were taught!

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