Today, I got to handle actual blades at a blade shop in my local mall in order to get more inspiration of how to handle such weapons. For example, I got to touch a Damascus steel knife with an antler handle. The handle was smooth yet had notable ridges while the Damascus steel itself also had a dense network of small ridges due to its multiple layers of steel, which was similar to snake skin. I also got to handle three hand-and-a-half longswords from fantasy films and shows: Jon Snow’s sword Longclaw, Aragorn’s sword Anduril Flame of the West, and Gandalf’s sword Glamdring the Foe Hammer. All of these swords could be held in one hand when one has the proper upper body strength, but you have much more control when they are held with two hands. Some of these swords had oval-shaped handles, which gave a secure grip while some were more rounded, which made it hard to index the edge of the blade. Then things got even better! I got to handle a Japanese katana, which made me feel like I was in an anime! The katana I held had a manta ray skin handle with a brass tsuba (crossguard) while its blade had a fuller running along its spine and a hamon line that ran down the length of the blade, which gave it a distinct yet beautiful design. Compared to the European longswords, the katana’s hilt had a much more secure grip and the overall weapon was much lighter. Also, the store owners were trained martial artists and swordsmen who gave me much needed insight on what kind of fighting styles and techniques were required to use these blades. Overall, this was a productive session that gave me more inspiration for future writing in my fantasy series.

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