The side by side! The great women's land! Far breath'd land! Arctic braced! Mexican breez'd! The Pennsylvanian! O I at any rate include you all with perfect love! I cannot be discharged from you! O death! O for all that, I am yet of you unseen this. Must not Nature be persuaded many times? I harbinge glad and sublime, And for the past I pronounce what the air holds of the. See in arriere, the wigwam, the trail, the hunter's hut,. Presidents, emerge, drest in working dresses, See, lounging through the shops and fields of the States,.
O a word to clear one's path ahead endlessly! O something ecstatic and undemonstrable! O music wild! O now I triumph—and you shall also; O hand in hand—O wholesome pleasure—O one more. O to haste firm holding—to haste, haste on with me. With the life-long love of comrades. By the manly love of comrades. I reserve, I will give of it, but only to them that love as I myself. How often I think neither I know, nor any man knows,. I am silent, I require nothing further, I cannot answer the question of appearances or that of.
Christ the divine I see, The dear love of man for his comrade, the attraction of. Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover? Do you think the friendship me would be unalloy'd. Do you think I am trusty and faithful? Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground. Have you no thought O dreamer that it may be all. Frost-mellow'd berries and Third-month twigs offer'd. Louisiana solitary in a wide in a wide flat space, Uttering joyous leaves all its life without a friend a lover. Only I will establish in the Mannahatta and in every.
The splendours of the past day? Or the vaunted glory and growth of the great city. You friendly boatmen and mechanics! You twain! Then separate, as disembodied or another born, Ethereal, the last athletic reality, my consolation, I ascend, I float in the regions of your love O man, O sharer of my roving life. Be not too certain but I. You light that wraps me and all things in delicate. You paths worn in the irregular hollows by the roadsides! I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are. You porches and entrances! You windows whose transparent shells might expose so.
You doors and ascending steps! You gray stones of interminable pavements! Here is adhesiveness, it is not previously fashion'd, it is. Do you know what it is as you pass to be loved by Do you know the talk of those turning eye-balls? Why are there men and women that while they are nigh. Why when they leave me do my pennants of joy sink. Why are there trees I never walk under but large and. I think they hang there winter and summer on those. What with some driver as I ride on the seat by his side? What with some fisherman drawing his seine by the. What gives me to be free to a woman's and man's good-.
Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first, Be not discouraged, keep on, there are divine things well. I and mine do not convince by arguments, similes,. They too are on the road—they are the swift and majestic. Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the. Let the tools remain in the workshop! Let the school stand! Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! On the ferry-boats the hundreds and hundreds that cross,. Nor is it you alone who know what it is to be evil, I am he who knew what it was to be evil,.
The cheating look, the frivolous word, the adulterous. River and sunset and scallop-edg'd waves of flood-tide? The sea-gulls oscillating their bodies, the hay-boat in the. What is more subtle than this which ties me to the. Which fuses me into you now, and pours my meaning. What the study could not teach—what the preaching. Frolic on, crested and scallop-edg'd waves!
Gorgeous clouds of the sunset! Cross from shore to shore, countless crowds of passengers! Stand up, tall masts of Mannahatta! Throb baffled and curious brain! Sound out, voices of young men! Live, old life! Consider, you who peruse me, whether I may not in. Come on, ships from the lower bay!
Flaunt away, flags of all nations! Appearances, now or henceforth, indicate what you are, You necessary film, continue to envelop the soul, About my body for me, and your body for you, be hung. The words of true poems are the tuft and final applause. O for the dropping of raindrops in a song! O for the sunshine and motion of waves in a song! It is not enough to have this globe or a certain time, I will have thousands of globes and all time. To push with resistless way and speed off in the distance. I join the group of clam-diggers on the flats, I laugh and work with them, I joke at my work like a.
I know the buoys, O the sweetness of the Fifth-month morning upon the. O something pernicious and dread! Something far away from a puny and pious life! Something unproved! Something escaped from the anchorage and driving free. To behold his calmness—to be warm'd in the rays of his. To go to battle—to hear the bugles play and the drums To hear the crash of artillery—to see the glittering of. To see men fall and die and not complain! To taste the savage taste of blood—to be so devilish! To gloat so over the wounds and deaths of the enemy! There—she blows! Again I spring up the rigging to look with the rest—we descend, wild with excitement,.
What attractions are these beyond any before? What beauty is this that descends upon me and rises out. Iowan's, Kansian's, Missourian's, Oregonese' joys! To rise at peep of day and pass forth nimbly to work, To plough land in the fall for winter-sown crops, To plough land in the spring for maize, To train orchards, to graft the trees, to gather apples in. Joy of the glad light-beaming day, joy of the wide-. Joy of sweet music, joy of the lighted ball-room and the. Joy of the plenteous dinner, strong carouse and drinking? Joys of the solitary walk, the spirit bow'd yet proud, the.
The agonistic throes, the ecstasies, joys of the solemn. Joys of the thought of Death, the great spheres Time and. Joys all thine own undying one, joys worthy thee O. To look strife, torture, prison, popular odium, face to. To be a sailor of the world bound for all ports, A ship itself, see indeed these sails I spread to the sun.
Long varied train of an emblem, dabs of music, Fingers of the organist skipping staccato over the keys. Or hotels of granite and iron? Where are your jibes of being now? Where are your cavils about the soul now? Hindustanee, Served the mound-raiser on the Mississippi, served those.
Whom have you slaughter'd lately European headsman? Whose is that blood upon you so wet and sticky? Rivals, traitors, poisoners, disgraced chieftains and the. Lawrence, or north in Kanada, or. Nor yield we mournfully majestic brothers, We who have grandly fill'd our time; With Nature's calm content, with tacit huge delight, We welcome what we wrought for through the past, And leave the field for them. For them predicted long, For a superber race, they too to grandly fill their time, For them we abdicate, in them ourselves ye forest kings! In them these skies and airs, these mountain peaks,.
Shasta, Nevadas, These huge precipitous cliffs, this amplitude, these valleys,. Time and Space, You hidden national will lying in your abysms, conceal'd. Colorado south, Lands bathed in sweeter, rarer, healthier air, valleys and. For we cannot tarry here, We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of.
O you youths, Western youths, So impatient, full of action, full of manly pride and. Have the elder races halted? All the past we leave behind, We debouch upon a newer mightier world, varied world, Fresh and strong the world we seize, world of labour. We detachments steady throwing, Down the edges, through the passes, up the mountains.
We primeval forests felling, We the rivers stemming, vexing we and piercing deep. Colorado men are we, From the peaks gigantic, from the great sierras and the. From Nebraska, from Arkansas, Central inland race are we, from Missouri, with the. O resistless restless race! O beloved race in all! O my breast aches with tender.
O I mourn and yet exult, I am rapt with love for all,. Raise the mighty mother mistress, Waving high the delicate mistress, over all the starry. See my children, resolute children, By those swarms upon our rear we must never yield or. On and on the compact ranks, With accessions ever waiting, with the places of the.
O to die advancing on! Are there some of us to droop and die? All the pulses of the world, Falling in they beat for us, with the Western movement. Life's involv'd and varied pageants, All the forms and shows, all the workmen at their work, All the seamen and the landsmen, all the masters with. All the hapless silent lovers, All the prisoners in the prisons, all the righteous and. I too with my soul and body, We, a curious trio, picking, wandering on our way, Through these shores amid the shadows, with the.
Lo, the darting bowling orb! Lo, the brother orbs around, all the clustering sons and. O you daughters of the West! O you young and elder daughters! O you mothers and. Minstrels latent on the prairies! Shrouded bards of other lands, you may rest, you have. Not for delectations sweet, Not the cushion and the slipper, not the peaceful and. Do the feasters gluttonous feast? Do the corpulent sleepers sleep?
Still be ours the diet hard, and the blanket on the. Has the night descended? Was the road of late so toilsome? Still with sound of trumpet, Far, far off the daybreak call—hark! They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops,. Could I wish humanity different? Could I wish the people made of wood and stone? Or that there be no justice in destiny or time? And who are you, blabbing by rote, years, pages,. What about these likes of myself that draw me so close.
Recalling now the obscure shapes, the echoes, the sounds. What is that little black thing I see there in the white? O troubled reflection in the sea! O throat! O throbbing heart! And I singing uselessly, uselessly all the night. Paumanok, Where they rustle up hoarse and sibilant, Where the fierce old mother endlessly cries for her. The old graveyards of the hills have hurried to see! Cock'd hats of mothy mould—crutches made of mist!
Arms in slings—old men leaning on young men's. Does the ague convulse your limbs? President's marshal, If you groan such groans you might balk the government. You have got your revenge, old buster—the crown is. Liberty, let others despair of you—I never despair of. Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean,. I rendezvous with my poems, A traveler's lodging and breakfast as journey through.
For I myself am not one who bestows nothing upon man. These eager business aims—books politics, art, amours, To utter nothingness? O Manhattan, my own, my peerless! O strongest you in the hour of danger, in crisis! O truer. How you sprang—how you threw off the costumes of. Manhattan arming. The blood of the city up—arm'd! Would the talkers be talking? Then rattle quicker, heavier drums—you bugles wilder. How envied by all the earth. I hear the drums beat and the trumpets blowing, I myself move abroad swift-rising flying then, I use the wings of the land-bird and use the wings of the.
New Orleans, I see far in the West the immense area of grain, I dwell. With passions of demons, slaughter, premature death? Eastern shore, and my Western shore the same, And all between those shores, and my ever-running. Mississippi with bends and chutes, And my Illinois fields, and my Kansas fields, and my.
O pennant! Valueless, object of eyes, over all and demanding all—. I too leave the rest—great as it is, it is nothing—houses,. O banner so broad,. Niagara pouring, I travell'd the prairies over and slept on their breast, I. O wild as my heart, and powerful! Heard the continuous thunder as it bellow'd after the. What, to pavements and homesteads here, what were.
What, to passions I witness around me to-day? How it climbs with daring feet and hands—how it How the true thunder bellows after the lightning—how. How Democracy with desperate vengeful port strides on,. And do you rise higher than ever yet O days, O cities! When you yourself forever provide to defend me? For you provided me Washington—and now these also. Proud and passionate city—mettlesome, mad, extrava-.
Spring up O city—not for peace alone, but be indeed. Fear not—submit to no models but your own, O city! Behold me—incarnate me, as I have incarnated you! Smell you the buckwheat where the bees were lately. Above all, lo, the sky so calm, so transparent after the. And come to the entry mother, to the front door come. She does not tarry to smooth her hair nor adjust her. All swims before her eyes, flashes with black, she. Who are you my dear comrade? Who are you sweet boy with cheeks yet blooming?
And sullen hymns of defeat? In mercy come quickly. I should never tire, Give me a perfect child, give me away aside from the. Give me interminable eyes—give me women—give me. Let me see new ones every day—let me hold new ones. Give me such shows—give me the streets of Manhattan! Give me Broadway, with the soldiers marching—give. The soldiers in companies or regiments—some starting. O such for me! O an intense life, full to repletion and The life of the theatre, bar-room, huge hotel, for me!
The saloon of the steamer! Manhattan faces and eyes forever for me. T HE last sunbeam Lightly falls from the finish'd Sabbath, On the pavement here, and there beyond it is looking,. Lo, the moon ascending, Up from the east the silvery round moon, Beautiful over the house-tops, ghastly, phantom moon,.
I see a sad procession, And I hear the sound of coming full-key'd bugles, All the channels of the city streets they're flooding,. I hear the great drums pounding, And the small drums steady whirring, And every blow of the great convulsive drums,. For the son is brought with the father, In the foremost ranks of the fierce assault they fell, Two veterans son and father dropt together,. Now nearer blow the bugles, And the drums strike more convulsive, And the daylight o'er the pavement quite has faded,. And the strong dead-march enwraps me.
In the eastern sky up-buoying, The sorrowful vast phantom moves illumin'd, 'Tis some mother's large transparent face,. O strong dead-march you please me! O moon immense with your silvery face you soothe me! O my soldiers twain! Goblin Slayer, who is used to hunting solo, often throws his weapons at a target and then just grabs a new one from a dead goblin. While it does work, Ranger points out that he's now unarmed, and it makes more sense to just let her shoot the goblins instead. Comic Books. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles do this all the time, particularly Raphael's sai which works and Michelangelo's nunchucks at times, particularly in the games, they return boomerang style.
Donatello also throws his staff at times, making ironically only the swordsman Leonardo to not hurl his weapon! Raphael's "sais" appear to be more daggers shaped like sais. Throwing knives are, of course, well known. Throwing a real sai would be rather like throwing a piece of rebar. Not to say that couldn't be effective. Travis Morgan uses this tactic multiple times in The Warlord. It is almost always successful. As if anything else could be spoiled, she was trying to avenge her brother, who was also trying to kill Blade. In Frank Miller 's comic miniseries, Ronin , the main character throws his samurai sword early in the first issue with his master even commenting on how the move is not a very intelligent one.
Then again, the main character is a fictional person even within the comic itself. Psylocke wounds Archangel this way in Uncanny X-Force , though even she admits that it's a one-in-a-million shot. The Mighty Thor gets a pass with his hammer, since it returns to him when he throws it and he can control it. It would've worked for Storm Shadow in his debut in the Marvel G. Joe series, to Scarlett's detriment, but Snake-Eyes catches it between his hands, from behind Scarlett, who was wearing a rocket-powered glider at the time.
The blade was intended for Snake-Eyes, but Scarlett landed in front of him, intending to take it herself to save him. It was fortunate for her that he made that catch. In Three , Klaros is very good at this. In the notes, Gillen tries to justify it by pointing out that in classical Greece, both the spear and the sword were primarily hand-held stabbing weapons, and that the sword was actually more practical to throw. She never uses it again for the entirety of the story, so that's a surprising bit of continuity.
While he's shielding himself with Light powers, he sees the orc warlock controlling the voidwalker, then hurls his sword at the orc. It goes right through the warlock's head. The voidwalker, no longer bound to the warlock's will, dissipates. In Child of the Storm , Thor, naturally, pulls this to great effect. His son, Harry, proves that it's In the Blood by throwing a sword into a training dummy, with one friend later noting that Harry has a remarkably good eye.
Though it is subverted by how Harry looks noticeably relieved that it worked and the later reveal that he's a very powerful telekinetic. Ryan Vs Dorkman 2 ends this way. Minty Pie : Huh, that usually works on Pony Rangers. An old classic, Disney's Sleeping Beauty , features a sword-throw at the climax which may have inspired some of the others. This is how Prince Phillip kills Maleficent after she has transformed into a dragon. However, in this case the effectiveness of the attack is justified by the magic Flora, one of the Fairy Godmothers, uses to enchant his sword so it would "Fly swift and sure, that Evil die and Good endure.
This is even odder because the weapon in question didn't work by physical contact in the first place. Occurs in The Secret of NIMH where a character who admittedly had been uneasy about the morality of his situation from about halfway through the movie pulls himself up with great effort and flicks a small dagger through the air — where it lands squarely in the back of the villain — before falling down dead himself. Redemption Equals Death again He never gets the sword actually half of a pair of scissors back, though. The extended re-release of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children features Cloud arriving at the Midgar EDGE battle by hurling one of his swords several hundred feet, where it flies in a wide lateral circle and slices through three monsters along the way before he catches it.
By this point in the movie, it's pretty clear you can bugger physics all you like as long as you're doing it awesomely. Not only does he throw it, it splits in two in mid-flight. And he catches the second sword with the blade of the first one. Justified as this is a setting that has active magical abilities via materia. Although in this case, Cloud isn't using any magical assistance. He's just THAT good with his swords. Taken to silly levels in Delgo , where not only does it work, but it works while averting The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In by knocking out the target with the hilt.
Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid : The badass captain kills one of the giant snakes and saves someone else from being eaten in the process by throwing his bowie knife at its head for an insta-kill. Done far too much in Braveheart. The unrelated instance of sword-throwing at the end, however, makes up for it tenfold.
The finale of Clash of the Titans ends this way, with Perseus chucking his Olympian sword at Hades. Thankfully, Zeus helps out with some lightning assistance, otherwise it probably wouldn't have succeeded. Conan the Barbarian : Conan throws his axe at one of the Vanir warlords in the battle of the Mounds. And then tosses his sword at a mirror in Conan the Destroyer , sending it halfway through the sorcerer Thoth-Amon without even seeing him.
Dead Again in Tombstone : During the showdown at the church, Col. Boomer throws his cavalry sabre at Alicia. It would have killed her had not Dr. Goldsworthy jumped in the way. Done with less killing and more lifesaving in Enchanted. In order to save Robert from plummeting to his doom, Giselle throws Edward's sword.
It catches on his sleeve and pins him to the wall, catching him. It was done twice. Edward did the same thing in the Cartoon World to save Giselle. A Fistful of Dollars : After the shoot-out in the little house, Joe is wrecking the place with a machete. Marisol sees a not-quite-dead bad guy reaching for a gun and shouts a warning. Joe spins around and hurls the machete at him, neatly impaling him. The scene in Freddy vs. Jason where Jason throws his machete which is on fire through the fat guy's chest is a great example.
It also doesn't seem too hard for Jason, a super-strong guy who seems to know how to properly use any form of weaponry. The hero in The General kills a Union sniper completely by accident when he sends his sword flying around. Storm Shadow kills Zartan by throwing his sword at him during the climatic battle of G. Joe: Retaliation. Gladiator : Maximus throws his sword and kills a Praetorian Guard from about twenty meters away! Being the smart guy he is, he kept a backup sword to deal with the remaining Praetorian. Subverted later when he throws a sword into a crowd of people during the "Are you not entertained?!
Used ridiculously in the climactic scene of Kenneth Branagh 's Hamlet , in which Hamlet skewers his uncle with a thrown fencing foil which not only impales him, but pins him to his throne before dropping a chandelier on him and finishing him off by forcing him to drink poison. Played egregiously straight in Hawk the Slayer , where the eponymous hero impales a bad guy through the stomach by throwing a massive two-handed sword at him.
Highlander: The Source. Duncan manages to throw his sword into The Guardian's neck. The Hunger Games : Katniss makes fun of Cato with this. After he proves incapable of hitting her with a bow from a measly distance, she claims he should try throwing his sword instead. In Ironclad , on arriving at Rochester, Marshall saves a woman being held hostage by throwing his sword using the technique described in Fiore see Real Life, below.
The film is set in Played straight and subverted in Jumanji. When confronted with Van Pelt, Alan throws the family sword. It's played straight in that it hits Van Pelt in the shoulder and pins him to a column. It's subverted in that Van Pelt, being a spirit of the game, is unharmed. He simply walks through the blade. In the "historical" remake of King Arthur , at the very end after Lancelot is shot by The Dragon , he chucks one of his short swords at him, neatly impaling him dead center of his chest.
This is more justifiable, given that it was at fairly close range. Impressive since this is a full-length great sword. Navarre throws his sword like a javelin, as well. In Howard Hawks' epic Land of the Pharaohs , the pharaoh played by Jack Hawkins in his best British-officer accent wins a fight with his treacherous captain of the guard by throwing his sword. Nathan Algren kills Bagley with a katana using this method in The Last Samurai , presumably in order to ensure Bagley's death before everyone is cut down by Gatling gunfire In The League of Gentlemen 's Apocalypse , Hilary Briss kills the giant homunculus with the heads of the three league members by throwing his halberd at it.
Legend Jack throws the unicorn horn at Darkness and impales him in the chest, wounding him and helping to drive him back. When seeing Boromir has lost his weapon and is at the mercy of his opponent, he picks up Boromir's own sword and throws it. Improbable Impaling Skills, yes, but it's the goddamned Elessar we're talking about. He throws a scimitar at something that will not die unless decapitated. And it works. It also lands point in the sand , allowing him to grab it while riding past. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Will Turner does this twice: once to seal off Jack's escape by pinning a door shut, and once to help him avoid execution by creating a miniature platform.
On the more realistic side, Jack reacts to the first incident with appropriate surprise that it worked and, probably, that the sword landed an inch from his face , and then points out that Will has left himself unarmed. But they're in a room full of swords at the time, so it's only a temporary setback. In Predator , Dutch Arnold Schwarzenegger tosses his machete at a guerrilla sneaking up from behind — killing him and pinning his body to a neighboring post. Azeem does this in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves just to show how righteous he is. Interestingly, the scimitar he throws is actually better suited to throwing, given the way it is designed.
In Shogun Assassin , our hero kills one of the Brothers of Death by throwing his katana. His response before dying: "I did not think you would throw your sword. In So Close : When the two protagonists reach the Big Bad 's room he presses a button that drops a bulletproof glass around him, but one of the protagonists throws her sword towards him.
While it doesn't directly kill him, it keeps the shielded glass doors from closing so that her partner could finish him off. In Stardust , Prince Septimus effectively lobs a sword near the end of the film during the big battle, which hits and kills one of the Lilim. Justified , as he's actually Khan Noonien Singh. Star Wars : In Revenge of the Sith , Yoda kills a clone trooper this way while he is still surrounded by blaster fire.
This is probably covered by Rule of Cool though, plus he's goddamned Yoda. Justified as a lightsaber's blade has no weight so the only source of mass and balance is the actual hilt and every "side" of it is an Absurdly Sharp Blade , and also because Jedi can manipulate the lightsaber's trajectory with The Force to make sure it hits blade-first. In Return of the Jedi , conversely, Darth Vader cannot reach Luke , so he cuts down the catwalk Luke's standing on and effortlessly retrieves his lightsaber off-screen. It helps a lot in retrieving your weapon if you're telekinetic.
Downplayed in The Last Jedi in that the throw itself is not fatal. Kylo Ren loses his lightsaber while fighting alongside Rey , and gets pinned by his opponent. So, Rey throws her lightsaber to him , letting the blade retract in the air. Kylo Ren catches the hilt, and activates it through the guard's head. Happens thrice in Sucker Punch. Babydoll throws her katana as a distraction so she can get close enough to shoot the second samurai in the face. Babydoll throws a bayonet to pin the courier's shoulder to a wall.
The German general throws his rapier at Babydoll, and uses the time it takes for her to dodge to close the gap and punch her into a wall. The captivating cult classic s fantasy film The Sword and the Sorcerer featured a variation: the title sword had three blades, two of which the wielder could launch like rockets complete with flaming exhaust!
Not only does it have at least 3 massive blades on each arm, it is designed to launch those blades in a fanning motion and has a magnetic return system, letting him recover "ammo" almost instantly. Although towards the end it started backfiring, as the Turtles started deflecting those blades back at him. Played straight with Leonardo, who chucks a katana at Shredder and impaled his shoulder.
Double Subversion in Richard Lester's The Three Musketeers , where Porthos invents a move which involves throwing his sword at the enemy. Aramis, unimpressed, ask Porthos to perform this move on him and easily parries the thrown blade, pointing out that Porthos is unarmed now. Later however, Porthos uses this move anyway, and it does work as intended. In the sequel The Return of the Musketeers , Porthos throws his sword at Justine de Winter during the climactic battle.
He misses, but it does provide a crucial distraction. In The Three Musketeers , a mook throws his sword at Aramis, but he grabs another mook and shoves him in the way. Aramis then throws his own sword and kills the first mook instantly. Yang does it while battling the ninjas in the laundry in The Warrior's Way. In Yor: The Hunter from the Future , the title character throws a flaming longsword at a purple caveman. Oh, and he does it underhand. The Dragon in the Zatoichi movie likes using his wakizashi the short sword paired with the katana as a throwing weapon. It works well for him against various mooks, but Zatoichi is able to block it.
Zatoichi Challenged Blind Weaponmaster Ichi is fighting samurai Akatsuka because he refuses to hand over Shokichi for execution. A second samurai turns up during the duel and Akatsuka orders him to kill Shokichi. Ichi throws his sword into the second samurai, saving Shokichi but leaving himself defenseless. Fortunately Akatsuka decides to forfeit the duel rather than kill Ichi. In the Fighting Fantasy book Slaves of the Abyss , you actually have to learn this skill from a master swordsman in order to use it. It becomes a very useful skill at a crucial point later in the story.
Notably, however, it doesn't always work — if you attempt it in the wrong circumstances, your enemy will parry your sword, and then insta-kill you by throwing his own. Meanwhile, in Sword of the Samurai , you absolutely do not want to throw the magic sword Singing Death. There are two places you can throw it; the first option merely means you have to fight the Big Bad with your regular sword; the second dooms the entire kingdom of Hachiman. In the Lone Wolf series, the opportunity to throw your sword is very rarely given, since the hero has usually plenty better opportunities, like using a bow and arrow or even offensive magic in the later books.
There is however one noteworthy occurrence in Book 12, The Masters of Darkness. Nile instead throws his sword at Dr. The sword enters at his neck and goes upwards into his brain. Chesterton 's epic poem The Ballad of the White Horse Colan of Caerleon kills the Danish Prince Harold with a thrown sword—the problem of not having a sword is then fixed as his fellow commanders compete to give him their own swords to replace it.
Apparently this is also part of the battle of philosophical allegories that make up the subtext of the piece and symbolizing GKCs rejection of the racial destiny theories that were popular around that time. Vivian Vande Velde's Book of Mordred has one of Mordred's half-brothers throw his sword at a man about to cleave Nimue's head in half. The projectile kills the man, but doesn't stop his sword's momentum This is the explicit magical property of Farslayer, one of the swords from the Book of Swords series.
Sort of. Yes, you activate the magic by throwing Farslayer, but you don't have to throw it at the intended victim, or indeed be in the same country as said victim. It just performs a nigh-unblockable telefrag. No, it doesn't return. Yes, the victim's relatives now have Farslayer. Before the climactic battle, one of the heroes throws a sword to kill a bad guy. It works. Seconds later, enemy forces attack and he asks whether anybody can lend him a spare one.
Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian occasionally engages in this, most notably at the climax of the story "Black Colossus" pictured above in comic form , where the Cimmerian hurls his sword through the torso of evil sorcerer Thugra Khotan, who was about to sacrifice princess Yasmela upon a demonic altar. Lampshaded by Harry, who muses that, while swords really aren't designed to be used like that, Nick has had years to practice his sword-tossing. This trope shows up a few times throughout the Dwarves series. It is generally regarded as a last ditch move, to allow: a the thrower to retreat in a hurry or; b to distract the target so a sister has a better chance to attack or; c to allow a blanket companion to attack.
Subverted in Guardians of the Flame. Up against a master fencer in the Great Games of Pandathaway, Karl Cullinane throws his sword and misses entirely, but the distraction lets the bigger Karl get close enough to grapple and throw his opponent out of the ring. Kerowyn is shocked both at being made to do it and at the fact that it works, and the more experienced fighter Tarma is frankly disgusted at the boneheadedness of the move.
The Inheritance Cycle : Paolini seems to be very fond of this trope, as it is used extensively throughout the series. Yet also averted when Roran catches a boy practicing throwing knives and tells him that it's generally a bad idea to throw away your weapon in battle. Edgar Rice Burroughs ' John Carter of Mars novels: In the very first book, A Princess of Mars , the hero and narrator John Carter's jaw drops the first time he sees the move, used by Kantos Kan to turn what had seemed a hopeless gladiatorial fight against a giant green Martian warrior into an instant victory, and Burroughs makes it clear that a some Barsoomian swords are designed for throwing, and b only the low gravity on Mars makes it practical.
Low gravity won't make the sword any less clumsy or awkward as a throwing weapon, so a throwing sword that works on Earth should work on Mars, and vice versa. In Llana of Gathol , during a duel John Carter tells his opponent that he will kill him at a specific time. After toying with him for a while, he throws his sword and impales the opponent's body, killing him at the precise time he predicted.
Used again in A Fighting Man of Mars. Hadron of Hastor throws one of his swords at a large reptile. He comments that it was not a good throw. In the cold open of the second book of the Kingpriest Trilogy , the hero's squire kills the High Priest of an evil cult by skewering him on a thrown sword. Though the squire gets knighted for it, it's pointed out to him immediately that he was incredibly lucky that worked, he gets the derisive nickname "Swordflinger" from the other knights, and never pulls the move again.
Happens at least once in the Kushiel's Legacy series. Celibate Hero Joscelin successfully nails a guy from throwing range having already thrown his daggers, using his broadsword. He follows up by saying "They don't even train us to do that! Old Kingdom : Touchstone explains that he tried this against Rogir after the breaking of two of the Great Charter Stones to prevent him from reaching a third with a cup of the Queen's blood.
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While he did get him in the chest, Rogir was already one of the Greater Dead and wearing a Free Magic construct for a body, so it only made Rogir come over to gloat. A solid tactic for the protagonist in the Percy Jackson series of books, for his sword is enchanted to always return to his side in a safe, non-stabby way. At the tag end of Prayers for the Assassin , Rakkim kills Darwin by throwing his Fedayeen knife, something that he was expressly forbidden to do during his Training from Hell. Justified in that his opponent had received the same training and so an off-the-wall move was the only way to kill him.
In The Rescuers the novel upon which the Disney film was based , it is Bernard's desperate, last ditch throwing of his dagger that causes the villain to lose his grip on the ladder, leading to his ultimate defeat. Bonus points for taking the time to point out that the knife wasn't very fit for throwing, and the thrower was out of practice and just coming off a drinking binge, yet still nailing the shot.
In one of the Saga of Recluce novels several characters can reliably use swords as a thrown weapon, since they use magic to make sure it works. It also helps that each of them carries around two swords, so they can throw one and still use the other one for hand-to-hand combat. The Saga of the People of Vatnsdal : Hired killer Thorir botches an attempt on Gudbrand's life , then runs away and leaps over a chasm.
Gudbrand throws his sword after him and hits him in the midriff, from which Thorir dies within a short time. Spellsinger : Subverted in The Paths of the Perambulator ; when Colin throws his sword at a quartet of demonic spellsingers and they knock his blade out of the air with a burst of music. Since he has no blaster or other ranged weapons and they have really cool ranged incapacitating weapons , he has some trouble.
Deciding there is no other way to resolve the situation, he throws his lightsaber, slicing open the wall and spacing them. As mentioned in the film examples, throwing a lightsaber is justified in that the people who wield them also have the power to psychically manipulate objects and the significant part of a lightsaber's mass is in the hilt, not the "blade". This is reinforced in The Last Command : Luke tries saber-throwing while within range of ysalamiri which block out the Force in the surrounding area , is a horrible shot, and misses both troopers entirely—but distracts them long enough for Mara to shoot them.
Which is rather odd, since two books earlier he had done a lightsaber throw under similar circumstances and hit his target a pillar supporting an archway. Perhaps it's easier to hit a static target than one that can move out of the way. There apparently used to be a group of Jedi who specialised in doing just this.
The narrative spells out in no uncertain terms that a kukri can't be used effectively as a throwing blade, and Sten only threw it because he needed to distract the enemy somehow. The Stormlight Archive : Occasionally used by Shardbearers. Considerably more practical than usual , because 1: Shards are Absurdly Sharp Blades and will slice through whatever they hit even with minimal force behind them, and 2: The Blade's owner can cause it to dematerialize into Hammerspace at will and then summon it again in his hand.
That said, it's still not used very often. It's forbidden in duels, and it's rarely useful in the battlefield since it takes ten heartbeats to summon it back and ten heartbeats unarmed on the battlefield can get you killed. Most Shardbearers only learn the technique as part of learning how to command their Blade in general. In Oathbringer Adolin does manage to pull off the trick to save an ally's life when he didn't have the time to get to him to rescue him the more usual way. Tortall Universe : Justified in the last Song of the Lioness ; the sorcerer Roger is using Alanna's sword with which he has a magical connection to drag her into his reach.
So she does something completely foreign to her personality and just The sword goes straight through his chest. Because he made it, it's like the Ghost Knife is a part of him, so he can call it back to him after throwing it, which tends to have it pass through the victim a second time. The fact that it's magic helps him a lot. In the final battle of Villains by Necessity , Sir Fenwick throws his sword at Sam and misses - he hasn't trained in throwing blades and longswords aren't really suited for that kind of thing in the first place.
Sam takes the sword and throws it at Mizzamir, and hits. He had trained in how to throw a sword and actually hit something, and had magically enhanced throwing skills on top of that. Justified in Warbreaker. The sword being thrown is an Artifact of Doom that tempts "impure" people into killing each other over it.
Its owner has weaponized this by tossing it into groups of enemies and letting the carnage run its course. Warhammer 40, : In the Gaunt's Ghosts novel Salvation's Reach , a minor Ghost is killed when a knife is thrown into his heart. In The Wheel of Time , Elanye is saved during an assassination attempt by a guardsman throwing his sword. Lampshaded when an onlooker describes it as a feat straight out of a storybook; the fact that it actually works is considered incredible.
Frigid Fracas by Mack Reynolds. An American agent is challenged to a duel by a Hungarian duelist who is actually an assassin sent to kill him. The American chooses Bowie knives as a weapon his opponent isn't familiar with What the Hungarian doesn't know however is that—provided you get the original designed by James Black—it makes an excellent throwing knife. The American throws and catches the Hungarian in the guts. The Hungarian uses his last gasp to throw but his Bowie blade—an imitation Bowie that's not as well balanced—misses. Live-Action TV. Octavia from The throws a sword right into a guy's chest.
She immediately gets her sword back by doing a sliding kick down the hallway and yanking the sword out of the guy's chest before he can even fall down. She does this again in Season 3, to take out an Ice Nation scout. Buffy the Vampire Slayer : Buffy has done it on occasion. In Season 5, it was her "seriously don't interrupt me" move, while laying the verbal smackdown on the Watcher's Council. Also done in "Anne", when Buffy throws a knife into a demon mook. The knife in question has additional blades coming off it at a perpendicular angle, making it far easier to kill someone with a throw.
If you choose to enter the community of the world of knives, you are welcome; the rewards will be up to you. The world of knives has only one rule: Enjoy the voyage. Contents There are many facets of knives; no knife This is the way it should be, for the knife is a corn- stands alone. While attempting to place articles in plete package. Nothing stands alone, a community, specific categories for the purpose of the book, if you will. All go together, many times we found them difficult to categorize. The high performance knife is only as good as the man who uses it.
Still, the man who needs a knife can make the knife sing in his hands when they join in a true relationship dedicated to function. Some fight their partners and waste a lot of energy while others are able to work with their partner in harmony. It takes some learning, but it is all common sense once you get the hang of it. All partnerships start out through the selection pro- cess, and then grow when the right decisions, followed by prac- tice, come together to form a team.
It seems as if a continuous battle rages between the stainless and carbon steel brothers in the world of knives. Most of the contention between the two factions arises from the expecta- tions each has of its knives. Both sides have trouble keeping their expectations in perspective.
To many of the stainless steel clan, performance is what a knife does not do — that is, it does not rust too easily. They are willing to sacrifice qualities such as cut or tough for the benefits of a maintenance- free knife. There is nothing wrong with their selec- tion of steel or expectations of performance; it is a simple matter of choice or individual preference. However, when they claim that the performance qualities that the carbon steel culture worships come under the realm of abuse, hackles rise and communication ceases.
A second issue is the fre- Taxidermist Eric Anderson with the moose rack and Fowler knife he used to cape the animal's head. He also used the knife to field dress four antelope, includ- ing splitting the pelvis of each animal and cutting the chests open by severing the costal cartilages between the ribs and sternum.
He also skinned, headed, and legged the antelope. Function, Design, and Techniques 9 quent and often exaggerated adver- tising claims concerning the "heartbreak of rust.
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Even knifemakers yield to the fear. There was a time when even I was ashamed to admit that a carbon steel blade could rust. I consider maintenance of any tool a responsi- bility, a privilege, an art form, a serious aspect of pride of ownership, and an opportunity for sincere participation in the nurturing of a good friend — the knife. As time and task pass, man leaves his personal signature on his knife, visible for any with vision to see long after man has passed from the partnership.
The virtues claimed for the stainless-steel knife remind me of a book written some years back. Some readers may remember the movie based on the novel, The Stepford Wives, in which the wives were transformed from those with free wills to absolutely obedient robots. While, on the surface, the world portrayed in The Stepford Wives might seem like utopia to some, life could get a little dull if that were the way it always was with knives and women.
I have nothing against stainless steel. I do not feel that it has the beauty of the carbon steel in my grand- mother's silver fruit knife that it replaced, though I do feel that it has a place in civilization. Man- kind has entered a new era of the disposable knife, where many who were never taught good cutlery etiquette let their blades soak in soapy water for hours rather than take three seconds to wipe them off, dry them and put them in the knife rack. Today, most kitchen knives spend their time bouncing against other blades and culinary hardware in the drawer. My grandmother was proud of her knives because they were sharp and cut well.
She also took pride in her care of them. Today, many knives are judged prima- rily by appearance and glitter, with performance only an afterthought or theoretical assumption. A lot of blades, both factory and custom, have great reputations that I feel are not warranted. Part of the problem comes from the fact that when many evaluate knife perfor- mance, they are shooting a little low. Many park bench conversations evaluate knives solely on their These two knives were forged to be the same before being overheated. The top blade was cold forged to shape.
Note the raised tip — only the cutting edge was cold forged. The blade at bottom was ground to shape. At one time, the blades were the identical shape. Note his grip on the handle, with his index finger in front of the guard. He won't take a chance on using a knife without a guard.
Anyone who has dressed out several hundred ani- mals knows it does not take much of a knife to do the job. Stone-age man butchered game for thousands of years with his teeth and a sharpened rock. This does not mean that the knife that only dressed one deer without the need to be sharpened is not good enough for an individual. If this level of performance is enough for him, fine, but to call the knife a high-perfor- mance blade is an overstatement of fact.
I feel that high performance needs to be carefully evaluated based on empirical testing, both at the time the knife is made and then in the field, in order for a rating of potential performance to be valid and reliable. I intend to discuss some aspects that I feel are required of a high-performance knife. Functional Balance The most important attribute of the high-perfor- mance blade is what I call functional balance. In the "Willow Bow Dictionary" of knife talk, this simply means the blade is designed and constructed with the greatest potential task as the guiding light.
My conception of a field knife is one that would make man a dependable and absolutely faithful companion at work, hunting, fishing, camping, or simply seeking to enjoy being a part of his natural heritage. It would be a monumental task for me to describe — and you to read — all the variables that need to be considered and the choices the knifemaker must make in the development of a high-performance blade. For example, years ago I decided to relate, in story form, the many issues to be considered in the design and construction of only the tip of a blade.
Six thousand words later, I still had not considered all the alternatives, and the end was not in sight. I deleted the story from my computer. There are many facets of the high-performance knife. One essential attribute is its ability to cut. Recently, I gave two blades to professionals, asking them to keep a record of how the knives performed. One of the blades went to a taxidermist, Eric Anderson, a neighbor of mine and owner of Tim- Function, Design, and Techniques 1 1 berline Wildlife Taxidermy.
Due to an error on my part, the blade was defective. I polished and etched one of the blades. Etching revealed that the grain structure had grown very large, and, after this kind of "abuse," I did not know of any way to save the remaining blades. I decided to experiment with them and learn what I could. One of my fellow ABS master smiths, Joe Szilaski, had been doing some experi- ments with a process called cold forging. Joe and I had discussed the many vari- ables that could be involved in the pro- cess.
I decided to cold forge one of my blades, then harden and temper it in my usual manner, and see how that would influence its nature. The resulting blade cut rope very well, about four times better than a second "burned" blade that was heat treated the same as the first, but without being cold forged. I was going to break it to test its strength and toughness, as well as to examine the crystalline structure of the blade, when Eric stopped by the shop for a visit. He looked at the blade and said that it was exactly what he wanted for a caping knife.
He requested most emphatically that I should not break the blade. As he is a good friend, I put a guard and handle on it and gave it to him. The blade was marked "experimen- tal, cold forged. Recently, he gave me the first results of his testing. Test Results Without sharpening the blade, Eric field dressed four antelope, including splitting the pelvis of each animal and cutting the chests open by severing the costal cartilages between the ribs and sternum.
Obviously, any knife that lays claim to the title of "high performance" must be able to cut, and cut well. Here Fowler uses a vintage Marble's blade of high carbon steel to make short work of a length of rope. The next task was to cape a Wyoming bull moose. This is one job that is a supreme challenge to the cutting edge, as it requires the constant cut- ting between bone and moose hide that is very tenacious and hard on knives.
Usually the operation requires three sharpenings on an average knife. Eric was able to cape the moose and, when finished, the edge would still slice paper effi- ciently. All the tasks were com- pleted without touching the blade to a steel or stone. As the knife is now Eric's, I cannot test the blade's toughness by flexing it to 90 degrees or more. All I can claim for the knife's performance ability is that it cuts very well. Eric asked me to sharpen it for him. In three min- utes, his Norton Fine India stone and I had the knife back to the original shaving edge — which also qualifies the blade as easy to sharpen.
The second knife also was forged from a 3-inch- diameter ball bearing. A 7-inch blade, it originally was intended to become a model I call my Camp "I ground the blade several times developing the various convex profiles I wished to test. I had used it for some extremely severe cut- 1 2 Function, Design, and Techniques "The objective of a high- performance knife is to exceed the owner's expectations.
I ground the blade several times, developing the various convex profiles I wished to test. By the time the tests were completed, the blade was too thin for my version of a camp knife. During the local big-game sea- son, he processes moose, elk, bear, deer, and ante- lope, and throughout the year butchers domestic American bison, cattle, sheep, and hogs. Troy is a regular visitor to the ranch. Many times I have reground the factory-made knives he uses at his plant. Troy had witnessed some of the testing I had done on the blade and literally had fallen in love with her.
When I told him that the knife was destined for some destructive tests and invited him to watch, he requested that I give it to him and let him do some tests with it, using it for what it had become — a nice butcher knife. He agreed to keep records of the blade's performance in his packing plant. After the local big-game season started, Troy worked 18 hours a day processing game. He brought his first report on the blade's performance. Without touching the cutting edge to a stone, the knife skinned, legged and headed at least 80 antelope, 27 elk, 23 deer, and eight moose for a total of ani- mals.
These figures are a minimum estimate based on a carcass count. It is obvious that things were a little hectic during the day test. Some other car- casses came in partially skinned, while others required some cleaning up. Troy trimmed meat around bullet holes and used the knife for many associated tasks as he prepared the carcasses for cooling and cutting. He is a profes- sional. He knows well the art of using and maintain- ing a knife. He steeled the edge using an F. Dick steel that he had customized by smoothing it out to a very fine surface with grit sandpaper.
Joe Szilaski: A true mastersmith who brings a beautiful blend of traditional European craftsmanship to the world of knives is shown here testing one of his blades for strength and toughness. Needless to say, the blade passed — and more. The knife previously had passed some extremely demanding tests requiring high levels of toughness and strength. It then proved itself beyond my expec- tations on wild game. In my opinion, the knife defi- nitely qualifies as a high-performance blade in this application. While most of you who read this would never have the opportunity to work this many ani- mals, the objective of a high-performance knife is to exceed the owner's expectations.
By proving her per- formance qualities in marathons such as this, you can be confident she is able to serve man well. Cut is only one aspect of the high-performance knife. There are many other issues to consider. First, the knife must be designed in such a manner that is consistent with the blade's intended use, or possess functional balance. Troy and Eric, both skilled professionals, selected knives they felt pos- sessed the functional balance for the work they needed them to do.
Function, Design, and Techniques 1 3 What to Look for in a High-Performance Knife - Part Knife safety, knife use — and abuse — and much more are topics for makers to consider Author's note: I am not trying to promote my knives by relating the events in the following, but rather to provide a complete understanding of my conception of the high-performance blade. Any tool of man must be designed to be as safe to use as possible. I feel that a full guard is an absolute requirement on a high- performance knife.
The knife I made for Troy Rog- ers — Troy is my friend and customer who tested one of my pieces in part one of this story — has a full guard and is therefore safe as possible. Troy's pro- cessing plant is only a mile from the hospital, but a cut hand would be very inconvenient and, at the height of game season, an economic disaster. I feel that, for field use, a knife must be capable of any task that circumstances demand. It is impos- sible to abuse a knife when you are desperately try- ing to survive unexpected challenges.
A knife that is made with what I term high performance in mind also can make life a little easier at times. Last summer I was on a tractor baling hay. While watching the windrow — the row of cut hay — behind me, I drove the tractor too close to an irriga- tion ditch in the corner of the field and dropped the rear wheel into the ditch. The tractor was high cen- tered with the draw bar on the ditch bank.
I had two choices: Walk about a mile to get another tractor and a chain and pull the tractor out, or fix it with what I had.
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There was a pile of old fence posts on According to the author, one of his knives was taken into a remote region on an elk hunt— led here by Mike Miller— and, after a game saw and hatchet designed especially for the job failed, was tough enough to split the vertebrae of an elk until the animal was cut completely in half. I used my knife to dig the dirt from under the draw bar and was back baling hay in about a half hour.
The task wasn't real easy on the knife, but it made the day a little shorter and I was able to resharpen the blade in about five minutes when the day was done. I would have used a shovel if I had one but I didn't. The knife was good enough. Fowler said that in order to be classified as "high performance," knives should be able to handle a variety of chores besides cutting.
Quality Control Another critical aspect of the high-performance field knife is an absolute dedication to quality con- trol. The knifemaker must be able to test each and every blade he makes for cut and edge flex at the time he makes it, preferably before he dedicates the time and materials into finishing the knife. It is too tempting for a maker to sell a faulty blade when he has put the time required into finishing the knife. It is best for the maker to test his blades as soon as he can, and either correct the problem or destroy the ones that do not pass muster.
I feel that there should be no secrets in the high- performance blade. It should read like a book. Etch- ing the completed blade reveals the true nature of the steel to both the knifemaker and the client. There is no other absolutely reliable method of providing such information on each blade that is so readily available to the majority of knifemakers in their shops. By etching all his blades, the maker also will become more proficient in his heat-treating methods.
In addition to testing every blade for the basic requirements of cut and edge flex, the maker should test a representative sample of his blades to the point of destruction. I usually test one in 30 blades to the limit. While this may seem like a ter- rible waste, when a maker is selling a high-perfor- mance knife, he must do all in his power to assure top quality. I have not had a blade fail for some time, but the testing still goes on. This does not absolutely negate the possibility of a faulty blade leaving the maker's shop, but it does guarantee that the maker is doing his part to ensure the cli- ent's confidence in his knives.
By developing quality-control testing proce- dures that can be accomplished in his shop when the blade is made, the maker receives immediate feedback concerning his methods.
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Immediate feed- back is an essential element contributing posi- tively to the learning process and to the development of new skills. Field-Testing For Longevity Years ago I felt I had achieved the ultimate blade by brazing an oddball alloy onto the surface of some damascus steel I had made. Tests con- ducted immediately after making the blade indi- cated that it cut better than any damascus blade I had tested. I could not wait to show it off. Several months later, Wayne Goddard came to my shop and I handed him the blade to test on some hemp rope.
Wayne tried to cut with the blade while I anxiously awaited his accolades. After a few attempts at cutting the rope, he said, "This knife won't cut! I handed him a stone and suggested he sharpen the blade and try again. He and I repeatedly sharp- ened the blade and tried to cut with it. The blade Function, Design, and Techniques 1 5 "The maker should test a representative sample of his blades to the point of destruction. After a few more attempts to make it work, I acknowledged the obvious: The knife would not cut.
After much consid- eration, I came to the conclusion that the blade, when it was new, was truly a high-performance one. After a few months in my shop — which at the time wasn't heated — the nature of the steel had changed due to time or temperature fluctuation, or both. It was a lesson well learned. Whenever any potentially significant changes are made in the knifemaking process, the resultant blade should be subjected to thorough testing over a period of time, use, and environmental conditions before it can be sold to a customer. As a result of this experience, I carried and used hard my first com- pleted multiple-quench blade for some time before I offered one for sale.
The high- performance field blade must be tough enough that it will bend rather than break. A broken blade is of no use whatsoever. A knife that breaks has failed. Blades intended for hard use also should be strong enough that they cannot be flexed beyond a minor deviation without the added leverage of an exten- sion to the handle.
This degree of strength provides the man who may have to rely on the knife an added margin of dependability. Last year, my attorney, who had accepted one of my knives as payment for legal fees, was hunting elk with three other men. They had packed into a remote region on horseback and set up camp. The next day they shot and killed two bull elk, but the place where the animals fell was virtually inaccessible.
Fallen tim- ber and a rock slide prevented the hunters from get- ting horses within a mile of their harvest. They had to hike in and dress the elk out, then quarter the bulls and pack them to the horses. They had a game saw and a hatchet with them. Unfortunately, both of these "trinkets of the big-game hunting market" failed when the hunters tried to split the first elk.
My attorney — Tom is his name — decided to put my knife to the test. The author says the knifemaker must be able to test each and every blade he makes for cutting and flexing ability— the author does the latter here — at the time he makes it. It is best for the maker to test his blades as soon as he can and either correct the problem or destroy the ones that do not pass muster. They tied the hind feet of each elk to two trees, putting some tension on the spine. Tom held the knife inside the body cavity of one of the animals with the edge centered on the first vertebra, while his brother used a tree limb to beat on the spine of the blade that protruded outside the elk's back.
One-by-one the vertebrae separated and the hunt- ers were able to split the animal in half. While this may sound like a Herculean feat, when you understand how the spine of an elk grows, they were cutting with the grain of the bone in the center of each vertebra. Due to the geometry of the blade, the sides of the convex blade were doing the work, splitting the bone ahead of the cutting edge. A high-performance blade is not simply ground to shape but carefully sculpted by visions of perfor- mance realities.
The blade was tough enough and designed for the task. An interesting sidelight occurred when Tom brought the knife to my shop for cleaning up after the hunt. He said that the edge had chipped! I examined 1 6 Function, Design, and Techniques A true high-performance knife is one that performs both a variety of cuts and offers an array of hand holds.
Tom stated that he had inadvertently bounced the edge against some rocks while skinning the elk. Wanting to show off a little, I told Tom that I would fix the dents by working them out on my anvil with a small ball-peen hammer. Tom wouldn't let me do it, stating that he didn't want me to "abuse" the knife, requesting that I clean the edge up with my sharpening stone instead. I tried to convince him that the knife was born on the anvil, but he would not listen. Tom timed me while I resharpened the blade. It took eight minutes to hone out the dents and sharpen the edge.
The high-performance field knife must be easy to sharpen. Other High-Performers Other makers seek and achieve high-perfor- mance blades. While experimenting with the multi- ple-quench process, Bill Burke of Salmon, Idaho, recently achieved a blade that flexed 90 degrees over 50 times, each time returning to straight. This knife is now in the hands of a butcher who is thor- oughly testing its qualities cutting meat. I have related these events only to bring under- standing to what I feel are some essential attributes of a high-performance knife.
Any maker can achieve these qualities in his blades, though they aren't qualities that are easily accomplished. It takes time and dedication and involves a lot of learning but, if high performance is the goal a "Any maker can achieve these qualities in his blades, though they aren't qualities that are easily accomplished. A friend of the late Dick Iiams hard-surfaced oil-field drill bits, bulldozer tracks, and other heavy- duty steel tools for a living.
Dick's friend made a knife that could lit- erally chop a burned-out oxygen cylinder in half. The blade was bull strong, crude as they come and would have challenged a hydraulic press in a flex contest. I judiciously used my earplugs and safety glasses while witness- ing an extremely dramatic cutting demonstration that proved the man's knife was up to the task. This was his dream of a high-performance blade and he succeeded. Any maker who wishes to make high-perfor- mance knives can achieve his goals by simply using his knives to do what he intends them to do.
The high-performance knife will continue its evolution to perfection as long as the maker seeks to make the best knife for the job. Simple testing can be very revealing — just use the knives to cut what they are intended to cut. Experiment and test relentlessly. There is a lesson to be learned by every failure. Each maker must take his time and keep his mind open in order to recognize success.
He should keep accurate notes and take nothing for granted. The essence of high-performance knives is not a thing to be captured, but forever sought, nurtured, and care- fully groomed. Each maker should explore the fron- tiers of his steel thoroughly and, most important of all, enjoy the voyage. Function, Design, and Techniques 17 Design: Linchpin of Knife Safety During hunting season, the emphasis should be on knife safety-and a good place to start is with knife design The oval guard on this packing plant skinner does not get in the way and still provides a significant degree of safety.
While Fowler said he would never carry a skinning knife as his primary using piece, it is good for what it is intended— skinning. If you are like me, you like to read and talk of heroes, those magnificent human beings who run into burning buildings, dive into freezing waters, or leap into the path of a stampede to rescue folks in danger.
Heroes bring out the best in man. But heroes risk their own lives and sometimes lose them, too. Where possible, the need for heroes must be prevented, because the events before and after the fact can be too costly. Safety through envi- ronmental design is the responsibility of all blade enthusiasts. In the world of knives, everyone involved can contribute. During the late s and early '60s, one of my part-time jobs included working for an ambulance service.
One fall day a call came in for an ambulance to meet a four-wheel-drive pickup racing to town with an injured hunter in the bed of the truck. The caller reported that the hunter had suffered a sev- ered artery and was in bad shape. I headed for the mountain road and had no trouble spotting the pickup in question — the dust cloud it was raising was visible long before the truck came into view.
There were three men in the bed of the pickup: the injured party, another with his bloody arm extending from the pelvis of the injured man, the third working at keeping every- body calm in the middle of the hurricane of events. I was told that the injured man had been trying to split the pelvis of a bull elk and had pulled his knife through the elk's pelvis and into the vicinity of his own pelvis, severing his femoral artery.
His friends had been with him and, when the profuse hemorrhage became evident, one of them had inserted his hand into the wound and, by virtue of a lot of luck and prov- idence, was able to stop the bleeding. A quick discussion among us reinforced our belief that we should keep with what was working, and the injured man's friend should keep hold of the artery. Since it was cold in the bed of the pickup, transfer to the ambulance was absolutely necessary for the mile trip to the hospital. With a lot of planning and coordination, we transferred the injured man into the ambulance without his friend losing control of the severed artery.
The hunters were college football players, linemen — big, strong, and used to teamwork. As we headed for the hospital, above the howl of the siren our conversation was not much more strained than that of a friendly poker game, mostly aimed at maintaining the morale of the injured man and the friend who was keeping his lifeblood off the ambu- lance floor. Arriving at the emergency entrance to the big city hospital, we were greeted by an obviously important and angry intern who immediately ordered the man with his hand in the wound to "get his filthy hand out of that wound! Soon a surgeon appeared and they proceeded to the operating room, where all went well.
The injured man's friend was a hero; he had not only found but held onto that femo- ral artery for over three hours! The muscle cramps in his forearm were considerable. The remedy for this kind of acci- dent is education. Splitting the pel- vis on an animal you are field dressing is not necessary. It is just as simple to core the rectum, tie it off and pull it through as you remove the intestines from the body cavity I personally always split the pelvis when field dressing simply because an old rancher taught me how to do it the easy way.
Place the knife tip on the top of the joint on the ventral surface of the pelvis, cutting edge up, with the animal lying on its back. Repeat this action, moving the tip successively back into the unsplit portion of the pelvis until the task is complete. The spine of the blade does the work, saving the cutting edge for the rest of the job. It is not necessary to apply any excessive force to the knife. In fact, applying excessive force to a knife is another source of accidents.
Had the hunter been aware of either of these methods, the accident would not have happened. I detest knife accidents. They can cripple and, in an instant, change the lifestyle of the injured. Whenever I become aware of a knife accident, I ask all the questions I can. How did it happen, why, and how could it have been prevented? Then, as in this case, I ponder over the events for years. Safe By Design While knife accidents will continue to occur, I strongly believe that makers can have a significant influence in reducing the severity and frequency of the accidents by providing knives that are designed Function, Design, and Techniques 19 to be as safe as possible.
In addition, makers should take the time to educate those who want or need to know about the proper use of man's favorite tool, the knife. That the design of knives can and does influence the degree of risk to those who will use them has long been understood by those who care- fully study issues of safety in design. Some time ago I bought an aged bread knife made by Case from Bernard Levine. I was impressed with its design but wondered why it was made with a blunt tip.
After using it for the past five years, I have realized that a sharp point is not needed on this type of knife. I use the blade in the morning slicing bread for my toast. The knife is usually stored in a hanging wall mount, about head high, next to the kitchen sink. One morning I reached up to remove the knife from its perch. However, the blade hung up ever so slightly as I pulled it from the rack and my hand slipped from the handle, the knife falling to the floor.
Not wanting the precious, antique blade to bounce on the floor, I tried to grab it in mid air, an obvious error on my part. I caught the knife but the momen- tum of my hand drove the blunt tip into my belly. Had Case included a sharp point on the blade, it could have cut me seriously. The blade without a point is now more greatly appreciated. Thanks, Case, for offering a bread knife, a time-honored design that does not have a point on the blade and does not need one. Sharp points are necessary for many knife tasks but not all, especially around the kitchen.
As for trying to save the knife by catching it in mid-air: It was foolish on my part, yes, but a reflex action is hard to control. That is why safety by design works. It kicks in when the mind shorts out. By using knives that are designed with safety in mind, the odds of getting through such an event are more in your favor and it just might make a difference.
Many issues of knife safety and design are not clear cut. Wrist thongs on knife handles are one such issue. A wrist thong can reduce the probabil- ity of loss of the knife when using it over water, or prevent the knife from flying across a room full of people in rope-cutting demonstrations. A wrist thong can also pull a knife from its sheath when its user is walking through brush. Wrist thongs do not always provide a measure of safety.
Wayne Goddard related one such instance. The wrist thong caught on the door knob and pulled the knife through his hand, cutting his hand. Personally, I do not like wrist thongs and would rather be able to get away cleanly from a knife. Guarded Moments I would not willingly choose to carry a knife in the field as my primary tool unless it had a full and comfortable guard to protect my hand from acci- dents. One afternoon I was talking knives with a man who previously had worked for many years in a packing plant skinning beeves.
He showed me his hand and there was a nasty scar on the palm. His crippled fingers did not fully extend and the severity of his accident was obvious. He told me that he had skinned cattle eight hours a day, five days a week, for over 15 years, and one day his hand slipped from the handle and he "could not get away from the knife fast enough. Several sur- geries failed to restore full func- tion to his hand and he had to change occupations. Needless to say, he felt guards were absolutely necessary on his working knives.
Still, guards can be inconvenient in many functions. Every kind of knife has its place. All issues of safety are matters of give and take. Anything you add to a knife takes away from another function. Therefore, there are few absolute rules concerning safety and design. All are a per- sonal choice. The challenge is to keep your brain working whenever you are around any tools, and make decisions about design based on knowledge rather than by accident.
I fully realize that not all clients of knifemak- ers will want a knife that is designed as safe as possible.