Sword Guards

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Sword Guards

Postby Sanfung » Fri Sep 06, 2013 3:14 pm

Many swords used for training today, whether they be made from steel, wood or any other material, have the hand guard facing away from the hand. Recently I was reading an essay by a gentleman named Adam Hsu who argued that this was a result of marital applications giving way to artistry in the modern era.

The author considered it a bit sad that swords used by martial artists do not have the guard bent to face toward the hand holding the blade, which would be more useful in an actual swordfight since it could better protect the hand from being cut.

This argument makes good sense to best of my knowledge. Moreover I admit that for better or worse the guard on the wooden blade I train with faces away from the hand. However, I had one question about the entire debate.

I have a background in archaeology and historical research. Many weapons I have seen from the commencement of the Qing Dynasty to the end of Imperial rule in China simply had an inexpensive hand guard that was completely straight across. Naturally some blades had a very useful guard that was bent back toward the hand, and others were priceless dress swords with a guard facing forward.

However, were not the majority of blades merely affixed with a fairly straight hand guard?
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