During the past few years I have begun to collect swords, but my fascination with the sword does not begin there. The sword has always captivated me. I had every intention of starting a collection in fact dating back to at least middle school. Throughout my life I have observed the sword to be associated with morality, duty, and honor. I enjoyed watching programs such as the adventures of Zorro when I was younger. Even in Star Trek, the Klingons, a race so immersed in honor, preferred hand-to-hand combat and use of the bat’leth, a sword type of weapon (I really have to stop making it so blatently obvious of how much of a geek I am.). The sword always seemed to be a more honorable weapon than the firearm. And many of the heroes wielding swords were portrayed as men of integrity, value, and honor. These traits I have often felt are lost in todays society. As a weapon, while to kill a man from a distance with a gun is a tactical advantage, to look at the face of the man you kill in close combat with a weapon such as a sword does not allow for cowardice. There is so much gun violence in todays world that it makes me wonder if blades were still worn by the hip, would the world be as violent today. Wars, while bloody no matter what the weaponry used, would be different. If our soldiers in Iraq had to engage the enemy in close combat with nothing but live steel, perhaps governments would think twice about sending troops off to war. But now we can press a button and launch our missiles from miles away and war becomes more of a game to our governments. Diplomacy becomes a lost art, even a joke. War is no longer the last resort, but the first course of action. While it is true that kings sent armies off to the battlefield for the wrong reasons back then as well, the sword in use today with all our media and love of open opinion forums, would surely make any leader think very carefully before sending any army off to battle. This would seem especially true considering the degree of loss of life associated with close quarters combat. The public would not stand for it and any leader who defied the public in this manner would not remain in power for long.
My fascination and appreciation for the sword is not like that of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), I do not live in the past or pretend that I do. Although sometimes I do wonder if I was born into the wrong century. My interest in the sword is in the present, and the future. It is a symbol of the values lost by our society, but should be again found. The sword is a symbol of a romantic ideal. An ideal found in practices such as chivalry and bushido. To me, the sword is a symbol of not only duty and honor, but also integrity and even intelligence. Intelligence in knowing when to fight and also how to fight. To use a sword effectively takes skill, practice, and patience. These skills are being thrown out everyday. Our society is trying to make it easier for people who do not wish to work. While it is a noble goal in the short run to embrace the weak, this embrace of mediocrity and well below average effort will only serve to become the downfall or our society. Instead of giving up and brining ourselves to their level we should focusing on education and not dumbing down the schools like we are engaged in doing today. For the meek to be able to inherit the earth we should work with them and teach them and not give up and let them be satisfied by their under achievement. Skill, practice, and patience not only is needed by those who trouble our society because they know of nothing else, but it is needed by those who are in power. The sword represents to me this future. The future where all men, and women, of all races, can finally be equal and pursue happiness.