Let me start off by saying that if you’re only interested in seeing a badass sword get made, skip a few paragraphs. For all you gamers and nerds, stick around.
So this might be a controversial statement, but I think Majora’s Mask is the best Zelda game of all time. Sure, Ocarina of Time laid out this new three dimensional world of Hyrule, but the darker themes and unique premise of its successor really struck a chord with me.
Every now and then, we like to eulogize those who have made a significant impact in the world of knives and swords. While most people we honor were bladesmiths, the recent death of Bob Anderson at 89 is something we can’t ignore.
If you’re not familiar with the name Bob Anderson, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the work he’s done. Anderson was the man behind (and sometimes in) many of the most notable sword-fighting scenes in the movies for the past five decades. Examples of the movies he had a hand in include the original Star Wars trilogy, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Princess Bride, The Mask of Zorro, Highlander, The Moonraker and much more.
Before becoming involved in the movies, Anderson was actually an Olympic fencer before answering an ad to work as a fencing coach for a British film studio. Although he didn’t win any Olympic medals for his fencing prowess, he gained much more fame and exposure working in the movie industry.
A while back, I wrote a post on the most badass sword fighting scenes and Anderson’s work featured prominently in the list. His most notable role by far was in the original Star Wars trilogy. In A New Hope, he did some training behind the scenes to prepare the actors for sword fighting. However, in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Anderson actually donned the Darth Vader outfit and performed the stunts himself. While this went uncredited for a long time, Mark Hamill finally revealed the secret in an interview later.
Although Anderson may have recently passed away, you can still see some of his new work in the upcoming 2012 film The Hobbit. If you can’t wait, simply put on one of the biggest epics that featured sword fighting and you’ll see his skill translated through the big screen.
There are many useful things you can do with a blade. For example you can cut tomatoes with a knife, use an axe to chop wood, skin a deer with a blade or put a sword down your throat. OK, so maybe the last example isn’t that useful, but it’s definitely cool.
That didn’t seem too likely, so I took to the Internet and found that like juggling knives or throwing knives, it just takes a little practice.
Before continuing, I strongly advise you not to try this at home, especially with a real sword. This is not necessarily a how-to article, but rather a how-it’s-done article. Do not try this at home.
There’s nothing really magical about swallowing a sword, but it does take a lot of physical discipline and patience. For some, it takes years and hours of practicing before finally being able to swallow a sword. The Sword Swallowers Association International (SSAI) says it takes anywhere from three to seven years to learn.
The first and most basic thing you have to learn is to control your gag reflex. If you’re new and try to put a sword down your throat, you will gag and cut yourself for sure. That’s why you have to take it slow and practice with smaller objects. You have to invoke your gag reflex over and over until you become inured to the act. When you do active your gag reflex, be prepared for a world of discomfort and vomit.
Then, a performer must learn how to relax the muscles that are involuntary for everyone else. These muscles control the opening of the esophagus, which is where the sword enters your throat. You have to tilt your head all the back, relax your esophageal sphincter and guide the sword (or if you’re still just learning, another object) down your larynx.
It’s simply amazing what can be done with a good sword.
Isao Machii also known as the modern samurai has such control and connection with his sword that he can cut a speeding bullet in half. That’s right, a speeding bullet.
A friend told me about Machii’s bullet-cutting abilities, but I found it hard to believe until I watched the video below.
Machii was featured on the television show Stan Lee’s Superhumans, which highlights people with real superhuman abilities. In one episode last year, they focused on Machii’s sword-wielding skills. In one of the first segments, Machii impressively sliced a baseball in two clean pieces, but the major feat was cutting the BB shot from a gun.
In order for him to do something like this, he has to really connect and feel his sword rather than simply look at the BB approach.
Check out this clip and be amazed. Just remember, don’t try this with one of your samurai swords.
Yesterday, the Ball State University Daily News ran a great piece profiling two local swordsmith students who were given the opportunity of a lifetime when a props team commissioned them to make a sword for the movie “Thor.”
BSU metal design major Andrew Davis and David DelaGardelle had started their business MAD Dwarf Workshop while they were kids in high school. After developing their sword making skills for fun, they began selling really cool swords online.
Their big break came, however, when a props team working on the film “Thor” contacted them to design and construct the Sword of Heimdall.
The BSU story, written by Devan Filchak, goes into detail about what the process was like in creating the epic sword. They were in regular contact with the props team in California, but had almost complete artistic freedom with the sword.
They had to make two steel and bronze swords along with two aluminum versions for stunts because they weighed a lot less.
The swordmaking duo definitely felt a sense of accomplishment once they saw their work featured in the movie and saw toy replicas in stores.
Four “Lord of the Rings” replica swords, along with a bunch of other move memorabilia, were jacked from a Chicago-area man’s house. In addition to the swords, thieves stole a Spartan helmet from the movie “Troy” and memorabilia from the movie “Alien.” An AK-47, sniper rifle, $18,000 in watches, and a few grand in cash was also taken.
The thieves used a saw to crack open the safe and apparently broke in through the back door. If you have valuable swords or other knives in your house a safe is really the best way to secure them, but sometimes thieves can be so tenacious that they’ll snag you valuables any way. If you’re going to head out of town, consider leaving your valuable knives with a friend.
We’re counting down the top 10 movie sword fights of all time in conjunction with our first Cutting Edge product give-away. Comment on this post or any other between today and midnight on Sunday and you’ll be entered to win a 51-inch William Wallace replica sword .
If you are one of the first ten people to comment on any individual post, you’ll get DOUBLE ENTRIES.
1. Kill Bill, Vol. 1 – The Bride Vs. The Crazy 88
This Quentin Tarantino classic, starring Uma Thurman as a sword wielding bride out for revenge, has a variety of legendary and violent fight scenes. In this scene the bride faces the wrath of The Crazy 88 and all their violence. That scene begins around the 4 minute mark, but the previous scene is also worth a watch. The combination of sword fighting skills, violence and awesomeness makes this the number one movie sword fight.
If you are one of the first ten people to comment on any individual post, you’ll get DOUBLE ENTRIES.
What’s sexier than a sword? How about a hot chick slicing up her foes with one? Here, for your viewing pleasure, are the top 10 female sword fighters.
7. Violet Song jat Shariff (Milla Jovovich) – Ultraviolet
Even though the sci-fi thriller was widely panned by critics for its excessive complexity and lack of realism, the film did produce one of the hottest sword wielding fighters of all time. Throughout the film, Violet, played by Milla Jovovich, relentlessly plows through groups of inept fighters with a range of weapons, including swords and knives. Check out the cool scene below where Violet takes out a room of sword fighters.
6. Guinevere (Keira Knightley) – King Arthur
Along with being fierce, Guinevere, from the 2004 film about King Arthur, engages in some truly amazing battles. For her loyalty, skill with swords and other weapons and refusal to give up, Guinevere takes the number 6 spot on this list. Check out some of her fiercest moments from the film in this clip.
5. The Bride (Uma Thurman) – Kill Bill, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2
Say what you will about Uma Thurman, but The Bride in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films is one hot sword fighter you don’t want to mess with. In one of the greatest sword fights in cinema history, The Bride takes on a group of masked men replete with gore and violence. Look at some of her moves in the clip below.
4. Xena (Lucy Lawless) – Xena: Warrior Princess
It’s impossible to compile a list of hottest female sword fighters without including Xena. Even though she’s only a fixture on the small screen, she remains the quintessential female warrior. Throughout her six seasons on television, she battled countless enemies with humor and intensity. Kudos to any woman who could carry around that massive sword and wield it skillfully.
3. Jen (Zhang Ziyi) – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
The battle scenes in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon are whimsical, impassioned and inventive and no one in the film represents this deftness more than Jen. The beautiful sword fighter, who was destined for an arranged marriage but yearned for a warrior’s lifestyle, engaged in several battles throughout the movie including this iconic fight in the trees.
2. O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) – Kill Bill, Vol. 1
Although she may appear innocent and fragile, O-Ren Ishii should never be crossed, as demonstrated from the clip below. The film emphasizes her flawless beauty, grace and fighting skills, especially when pitted against The Bride.
1. Elena Montero (Catherine Zeta-Jones) – The Mask of Zorro
This curvaceous student and love interest of Zorro earns the top spot on this list for her sword fighting skills and undeniable good looks. In the clip below you see her playfully battling Zorro with a rapier fencing sword before losing her clothes to the masked swordsman. Throughout the film, she demonstrates intimate knowledge of sword fighting and uses it for good.