Musashi was Right… Again – Sept 8, 2014, Kim Taylor, CI Sei Do Kai, NanaDan

Monday morning after a weekend of pounding metal with the Sei Do Kai folks. The kid’s weekly culture nights morphed into a weekend knifemaking class that saw 8 of us huddled around four forges in Floradale at Thak Iron Works. Yes that is a plug for Thak the Armourer (Robb Martin) who has been a part of the fun and games in our stange little world of swords for years. http://Thak.ca/

I was informed of the class a couple of months ago by the students who arranged it all and simply told me I was going. Maybe one of them will post a photo or two here. (I can’t even figure out how to “share” on this thing… faceplant indeed).

The reason I’m writing this is that I was reminded of Musashi’s comments on mastery in one art being transferred to another art. This class of 8 was the first time the folks at Thak had tried a course like this and as Ryan said they had visions of disaster with so many newbies boucing around the place. Turns out Pam is a pretty persuasive organizer and they gave it a shot.

Turns out too, we were a pretty hard hammering, steady handed crew and nobody had a broken or even seriously warped blade come heat treatment. Ryan said he was impressed but let’s face it, with no disasters come no teaching moments… The students all cozied up to the coal fires and collected blisters and the occasional sting of a stray spark without dropping their hammers on their feet. Filing and finishing went as well as could be expected and the result was 8 lovely knives of all different sizes and shape. Mine was of course the smallest at about 6 inches and I figure it was the easiest to finish. Age and treachery and all that, I was done and having a rest at least an hour before everyone else. Even managed to avoid cutting myself while sharpening, only to cut myself on Robb’s axe that he brought out to tempt us into another class. Who wants to shave with an axe??? I did like the idea of taking a material and making it bigger, can’t really do that with wood where all you do is take material away. Once I got to day two and we were removing metal I was at home.

Why so easy a time? I figure the class simply transferred their sword swinging skills into the hammer. Then looking around I didn’t see anyone trying to elbow their files into their blades, they were all in a nice stable stance and were using their hips to get into it. Of course having the calmness to shift four inches to avoid a sword coming at your head will make you confident that your forging partner isn’t going to hit you in the elbow with his hammer.

In short, I figure Musashi was right, skill in swinging sword will transfer into learning how to swing a hammer.

Thanks to Thak Ironworks for a great weekend, I hope the cleanup today isn’t too difficult and there wasn’t too big a dent in the coal supply. The kids are already planning the next class.

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