Forums > Other Toys > Weapons as performance toys- some thoughts

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AmanitaSILVER Member
member
157 posts
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada


Posted:
I've been reading the threads lately on fire kamas, sai, hookswords, and all manner of fun bladed things, and it's given me some things to think about.

The issue of using weapons as performance props is a pretty big one. For one thing, there's obviously alot of interest, as evidenced by the number of posts on this forum. And of course, there are other issues as well.

The first one is the Law- Before you take your cool pointy performance toy out in public, know your laws! In some areas, you're pretty much allowed to carry whatever you want. In others, the rules are much more strict. Some areas don't consider a dull sword a real weapon. Others do. Nunchucks are fine in some areas, forbidden in others. I can't stress this strongly enough, know your local laws, including those pertaining to performers before buying weapons or performing with them in public.

Safety is another huge issue, so I'll break it up a little. The first one is something I've seen raised here- does it count if the weapon is not sharp? Legal issues aside, this is a kind of thorny issue. It seems that some people believe that performance weapons must be sharp, or it somehow diminishes the performance. I don't neccesarily agree with this, especially if fire is also involved. I'm aware of the traditional fire dancers who use sharp fireknives. But these people have had a great deal of practice, and goddess only knows they didn't start out by swinging sharp steel around from the get-go.

Personally, unless a performance specifically calls for cutting something, I don't feel a sharp blade is really needed. Safety is a big part of this. If you're not cutting, is the audience really going to be able to tell if your blade's razor sharp or not? Does it matter? Odds are, they're going to be too busy watching you gracefully handle the thing to spend too much time nitpicking about edge or lack thereof. I've got some beautiful swords that look lovely when handled, and they've got no edge. It doesn't have to be sharp to look damn cool.

The other issue I see here is fire. I'm not an expert in metallurgy, but some metals react differently to high heat and stress. Before wicking a sword, know what it's made of, and have at least a rough idea of how it will handle heat. Some metals become very brittle at high temperatures. Another big issue is sword construction. For more on this, please visit www.swordforum.com . There is a world of difference between a pretty stainless steel wallhanger sword and one actually made to be used. Most decorative swords have what's called a "rat tail tang", the tang being the part of the blade that continues down into the handle. Rat tail means what its name implies- very thin, not alot of metal. You DO NOT want a rat tail tang in a sword you're going to be performing with, especially if you plan on using fire or choreographed swordfighting. These skinny tangs have a bad habit of breaking off at or near the handle, creating a serious safety hazard to both you and your audience. Make sure your sword has a full tang before you perform with it. This bit of caution now could save a life later.

The next big issue is training- Some of the recent threads I've seen suggest that the OP's were not terribly experienced with weopons in general. It's been said before and I will say it again- get good with the weapon before adding dance moves, fire, or other extras. For those of you who have this option, martial arts training is a Very Good Thing. Some arts, such as Kendo, specialize in weapons. Others teach empty hand first, and weapons come later. Of these latter schools, there seems to be two approaches to introducing weapons training.

Some schools insist that you reach a certain belt level before they begin weapons, others insist on a set period of time (say a year or so) elapsing before they will give you a weapon. This makes sense- they want to insure that you've learned the basics of the art first, and will be safe with a weapon in hand. This also gives them time to see what kind of person you are- for obvious reasons, most instructors would not involve overly nervous or belligerant people in weapons training. When looking for a school, be honest. Let the instructor know that weapons training in specific forms is one of your goals. Tell them you're also a performer, although you might not want to tell them you're going to light the weapons on fire..at least not for the first little while. You may have to do some shopping around to find a school that is compatible with your goals, but when you find a good instructor, it will be worth every bit of hassle.

But what if you can't get live training? If you can't afford steady lessons, or nobody in your area teaches the style you want to learn? You're not completely out of luck. There are a great many books and videos on the market, teaching the basics of many weapon styles. Some are better than others. Of course, hands on training is best, but if no teacher is available, a good book or teaching video is far better than nothing. There's also a decent amount of material on the net, for those training solo. No matter what your preferred style or weapon, you want to do practice drills that improve your control and precision with the weapon. Not only does it make your weapon play look better, good control is also vital to safety. A good swordsman is a safe swordsman.

For any training, whether from a person, or a book, I suggest wooden and/or blunt metal weapons to begin with. While you're learning the basics or working on new moves, you don't want to worry about cutting yourself. Elements such as fire or sharp edges should only be added once you have had sufficient practice. Sharp swords are nothing to dick around with! I own a katana sharp enough to take a man's head off. You can bet I handle it with much care, even when just oiling it up every so often.

So there you have it- my meandering thoughts and advice for all you aspiring sword dancers out there..Remember, it's worth exactly what you paid for it, and I accept NO legal liability if after reading this, you pick up a weapon and hurt yourself or somebody else with it. It's all about personal responsibility, folks!

"Do not meddle in the affairs of Tower Cranes, for you are soft and would look better when squashed by a full concrete bucket"


NYCNYC
9,232 posts
Location: NYC, NY, USA


Posted:
Well said.

Every now and then some martial arts person shows up at our spins. Even carrying anything that can be construed as a weapon in New York is a crime. And they do ticket and arrest.

Good points, well said.

Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]


_Aime_SILVER Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
4,172 posts
Location: Hastings, United Kingdom


Posted:
extremely good points *claps*

AmanitaSILVER Member
member
157 posts
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada


Posted:
Glad you guys liked my essay, I was afraid of flames..

NYC, I'm thinking twice about visiting..I've been known to practice with wooden swords in public parks- they're a safe alternative when steel's not allowed. If even that could get me arrested..ugh. How does a person transport their practice weapons to a class if they don't own a car? Put them in a carrying bag, or do they then get screwed for concealed weapons? Damned if you do, Damned if you don't, it seems.

As you can see, I'm no fan of draconian weapons laws, especially when they target martial artists and performers, while real criminals skate. But that's a whole other rant.

"Do not meddle in the affairs of Tower Cranes, for you are soft and would look better when squashed by a full concrete bucket"


PeleBRONZE Member
the henna lady
6,193 posts
Location: WNY, USA


Posted:
I would also like to add that the essence of safety and knowledge in that essay also extends to weapons which are not bladed...whips being in the forefront of my mind. I have seen many lose slabs of flesh from ill-training with a whip.

Nicely said Amanita.

Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK


AmanitaSILVER Member
member
157 posts
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada


Posted:
I'm glad you liked my little essay post, Pele. Coming from a professional like you, that means alot:)

"Do not meddle in the affairs of Tower Cranes, for you are soft and would look better when squashed by a full concrete bucket"


NYCNYC
9,232 posts
Location: NYC, NY, USA


Posted:
New York City has some of the strictest weapon laws in the country. Especially guns.

I hate to say it but that kind of makes me happy. wink

Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]


StoneGOLD Member
Stream Entrant
2,829 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia


Posted:
Written by:

"A sword is dangerous to the man at the point, but not to the man at the hilt. Unless the man holding the sword is a fool, or careless, or unskilled, in which case it is twice as dangerous to him as to anyone else."




Robert Jordan, Weel of Time series

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh


quietanalytic
503 posts
Location: bristol


Posted:
what about performance toys as weapons?

ture na sig


AmanitaSILVER Member
member
157 posts
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada


Posted:
Heh..I still remember the school I worked nighttime security at- it was right close to two universities, so I had lots of drunken idiots around on weekends. One night, several of them were beating on the doors, hurling rocks at the windows, and other asinine garbage. I was genuinely afraid that they were going to get in. Security guards are not allowed to carry weapons in the company I work for, so I was screwed..or was I? I grabbed my two poi chains, took the heads off, and connected the chains so I now had a three foot long steel whip (!!!)
Luckily, I did not have to use it- eventually the morons left, probably having been chased off by the police. Yes, I did call them, I just armed myself in case the goons got in before the cops showed up.

"Do not meddle in the affairs of Tower Cranes, for you are soft and would look better when squashed by a full concrete bucket"


Bender_the_OffenderGOLD Member
still can't believe it's not butter
6,978 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia


Posted:
excepting for my cocktail dress, i've never used a weapon to hurt others.

Laugh Often, Smile Much, Post lolcats Always


AmanitaSILVER Member
member
157 posts
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada


Posted:
Me neither..unless you count friendly sparring matches

"Do not meddle in the affairs of Tower Cranes, for you are soft and would look better when squashed by a full concrete bucket"


Bender_the_OffenderGOLD Member
still can't believe it's not butter
6,978 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia


Posted:
yes, you're right, with the right hips, *any* cocktail dress can kill!!

Laugh Often, Smile Much, Post lolcats Always


Devilstick_RussellBRONZE Member
I like devilstick...
196 posts
Location: Falmouth, United Kingdom


Posted:
using weapons as spinning props is a cool way to reverse thier violent nature and turn a thing designed to maim and kill into a thing of beauty that makes people go 'oooh thats pretty.' I've had nunchuks confiscated off me by pigs tho(police officers)

Does this site actually exist? Or am i talking to all my other personalities?


darkpoetBRONZE Member
Irish
525 posts
Location: Dallas.........ish, USA


Posted:
most weapons (non firearms) if properly used are both a thing of beauty and a thing designed to kill...hence...deadly beauty...
for instance..a katana...:D

Jesus saves sinners and redeems them for cash and
prizes

Co-Founder of Keepers of Light

Educate yourself about the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!


LazyAngelGOLD Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
2,895 posts
Location: Cambridge UK


Posted:
hmmmm..... I was thinking about this recently. Good points, Amanita. I would also like to add the idea that certain moves need consideration when performed in public even if you practice in the park. Recently I made a practice rope dart with tennisball on the end instead of a dart. However, while I was practising neckwraps, I suddenly thought, what If a kid was to see me doing it, go 'Oh that's cool' and end up strangling themselves: now I try to find somewhere more secluded before trying anything like that. A couple of local kids have already asked me about poi. They were also begging me to let them play with my (wrapped in plastic bags) fire poi and practise nunchuks. I was very clear about the fact that they were not something they should regard as a toy, and that it required a minimum level of skill to use. I didn't dare tell them that I set the poi on fire! Just some thoughts on public responsibility...

Because ActiveAngel sounds like a feminine deodorant

Like sex, I'm much more interesting in real life than online.

'Be the change you want to see in the world around you' - Ghandi


AmanitaSILVER Member
member
157 posts
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada


Posted:
That's what I like about my fuzzy poi- they're safe to let others play with.

I see what you are getting at, but I also believe in personal responsibility too. If somebody sees you do something and then tries to copy it without having a blessed clue, it's their own fault, IMHO.

I've discouraged kids from playing with my wooden swords before, saying that they're heavy, NOT toys, and can really cause pain if mishandled.

On another note, I'm thinking of elaborating on this post of mine, adding some stuff about whips in general, and submitting it to HOP as an article if the mods are cool with that.

"Do not meddle in the affairs of Tower Cranes, for you are soft and would look better when squashed by a full concrete bucket"


LazyAngelGOLD Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
2,895 posts
Location: Cambridge UK


Posted:
i know it would be their fault but not sure I could keep spinning if i ever thought it had harmed someone, however indirectly. Though I have to admit I would feel worse if it was a kid cos they tend not to think so much about the consequences of their actions and somehow that makes me feel more like I should set a good example to them.
Article sounds like a good idea...

Because ActiveAngel sounds like a feminine deodorant

Like sex, I'm much more interesting in real life than online.

'Be the change you want to see in the world around you' - Ghandi


Bender_the_OffenderGOLD Member
still can't believe it's not butter
6,978 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia


Posted:
I myself never let children play with my swords before i eat them.

Laugh Often, Smile Much, Post lolcats Always


Disc0annoying boy
160 posts
Location: Sweden


Posted:
do you eat wooden swords bender!? =O


how do they taste? wink

fire is just light and heat.
it's you friend!


Bender_the_OffenderGOLD Member
still can't believe it's not butter
6,978 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia


Posted:
not swords, children. unless the children are shaped as swords.
like sword children.
tongueoints at fence:

Laugh Often, Smile Much, Post lolcats Always


ShuBRONZE Member
Retro Fyre Wizzard
538 posts
Location: Pietermaritzburg (KZN), South Africa


Posted:
Written by: quiet


what about performance toys as weapons?




LOL
for sum ppl... tht's unfortunately the point (excuse the pun)!

Regards hug

Shu
(Ice-E FyreStorm - Group Manager & Performer)

You know those people your parentals warned you about?... I'M ONE OF THEM! ubbloco
Yes, i do bite!!


the looney beanmember
45 posts
Location: halifax uk


Posted:
good points made there . i train live blade at aikido and have seen the damage they do when you get it wrong . a question for NYC would the police consider fire poi as weapons ?

those who are possessed by nothing possess everything


darkpoetBRONZE Member
Irish
525 posts
Location: Dallas.........ish, USA


Posted:
dont know...i was going to spin fire at homecoming a while back...and was told that if i brough the WICKS on campus i would be expelled and arrested for attempted arson.....

oh! and beamers....most def. considered weapons...

Jesus saves sinners and redeems them for cash and
prizes

Co-Founder of Keepers of Light

Educate yourself about the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!


AmanitaSILVER Member
member
157 posts
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada


Posted:
God, Darkpoet, that's rediculous..That they make NO distinction between controlled performance and malicious vandalism.

One reason why I will NEVER live in a college dorm, if I ever go back to school. The rules are written for children, not grown, responsible adults. I refuse to be treated like a child.

"Do not meddle in the affairs of Tower Cranes, for you are soft and would look better when squashed by a full concrete bucket"


ShuBRONZE Member
Retro Fyre Wizzard
538 posts
Location: Pietermaritzburg (KZN), South Africa


Posted:
!here here!

Regards hug

Shu
(Ice-E FyreStorm - Group Manager & Performer)

You know those people your parentals warned you about?... I'M ONE OF THEM! ubbloco
Yes, i do bite!!


darkpoetBRONZE Member
Irish
525 posts
Location: Dallas.........ish, USA


Posted:
Written by: Amanita


God, Darkpoet, that's rediculous..That they make NO distinction between controlled performance and malicious vandalism.

One reason why I will NEVER live in a college dorm, if I ever go back to school. The rules are written for children, not grown, responsible adults. I refuse to be treated like a child.




hahahahaha im still in high school....graduating this year..but yeah...they even had a story in the paper about jon and i with our endevour in the fiery arts....but still not allowed...same thing w\talent shows...we arent allowed to participate....so i guess it just has to be taken from perspective w\a grain of salt

Jesus saves sinners and redeems them for cash and
prizes

Co-Founder of Keepers of Light

Educate yourself about the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!


likwidSILVER Member
member
53 posts
Location: dallas, texas, USA


Posted:
there was an article in the paper about us??

howwowardGOLD Member
member
73 posts
Location: Reno, USA


Posted:
Excellent thread!

For those of you in the US, here's two links to some good information about the state-by-state legalities of carrying / using weapons. In nevada, it looks like carrying machetes with and intent to harm is illegal. However, I don't see anything else illegal for swords, especially not for swords used in performance



Packing.org - mainly for concealed weapons info

Bernard Levine's - Is a knife legal in your state?
EDITED_BY: howwoward (1149452813)

Sometimes, you just have to believe.


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