I have a sword.
I've always wanted a sword. When we were kids, my cousins and brother and I would make swords, and I still have the last one I used in the closet at my parents' house: two pieces of 1"x 2" wood nailed together to form a hilt. We used to run around in the woods behind Oma and Pops' house building forts and planning battles and generally creating mayhem. When I needed a few minutes of quiet, I would climb the tree in the middle of the fort, up and up until I was alone in the high branches, very possibly with my sword.
So, yeah, I've always wanted a sword, and now I have one. It is shiny. It has a hilt wrapped in fabric and a red silk square tied to the hilt end.
I have a sword for kung fu. In the summer, we do a weapons form on the top of a hill in Universe City. So far, I have learned how to hold the sword, and about ten stances of the form. The exciting part is whipping the sword around, which is also the scary part, because I am not exactly the most coordinated person ever, and I am a little bit afraid that at some point I am going to lose my grip on the sword and it’s going to go flying through the air. Hopefully not then landing on some person’s head.
The one minor problem with my sword is that using it involves holding an object of weight in my right hand like a tennis racket, and waving it about. I might possibly have mentioned, back when I was going to occupational therapy for my wrists, how my occupational therapist once told me that if I ever took up tennis again, I should never come back to her, because she would refuse to see me if I wasted her work that way. Good news! She is back in New York and cannot stop me. (Bad news: I have to sleep in my wooden arm again after kung fu.) I am not giving up my sword for some measly little nerve problem.
I HAVE A SWORD.
I am slightly embarrassed to admit exactly how many photos I have of myself with this sword, because there are a lot, and most of them do not depict me in any actual kung fu sword stance. Okay, no. I am not actually embarrassed to admit how many photos I have of myself with the sword (because nothing, seriously, is cooler than owning a sword). I am embarrassed to admit on how many occasions I have randomly said to people, “I have a sword,” and that comment has resulted in the taking of photographs. (Hint: more than twice.)
Oh, please. If you had a sword, you’d want to tell people, too. It’s amazingly cool.
I wish I had known that you could get a sword for only $38. WITH SCABBARD. I probably would have bought one years ago, and then my brother and I could have killed each other with it. Or I could at least have beaten him with the flat of it. What good is a sword you can’t hit someone with? And once you outgrow beating up your siblings, there really is no one left who it is acceptable to actually beat up.
Possibly this is why I take fighting classes. That, and, obviously, the chance to own a SWORD!
Yesterday at fighting class an experienced student told the girl I was working with to strike my arm forcefully when she did the block. “Won’t that hurt her?” she asked.
“No,” he said, “she conditions for that.”
Which is true. Not only do I beat myself with a phone book (not often enough), but in kung fu we do drills of hitting our forearms together to strengthen them.
I was amused.
I was even more amused at the end of class when a woman I had worked with on Monday, a brand new student, talked about how she had thrown me around while practicing how to get out of headlocks from behind.
“She wouldn’t even take a turn to practice!” she told the kung fu students. (I had already practiced, on someone taller and stronger than me, which is much more what I need than to practice on someone shorter than me. Plus the practice I need is on the falls.)
“I spent the class throwing her around, and she wouldn't even let me help her up."
"Of course I wouldn't let you help me up!" I said. "The last thing you want to do after you take someone down is help them up. You shouldn't get into that habit."
"I hit her in the ear, accidentally. But even though she was the one being thrown around, it was pretty clear who was the badass.”
Only the new students think that of me.