Swords are beautiful. A well made jian though is a thing of beauty. From the bound ray-skin handle to the layers of folded steel in the blade a well made jian is an amazing piece of workmanship. These things are not cheap. A good blade can cost a lot. Cheaper, practical blades are available but a good weapon is not cheap. The martial artists that invest in these blades, from the ones I’ve met anyway, tend to be the people who want to know how to use the weapons properly, they want to know the techniques used with that weapon and want to be the best they can be. Picking up and holding a sword actually carries an immense amount of responsibility. There needs to be a recognition that by holding a sword and learning how to use it properly we’re actually learning how to kill people. The hand-form contains lethal techniques but these are less obvious and are only taught to the inside students. Weapons are different it should be obvious right from the start that every single technique is designed to kill. Anybody can come to class and learn the weapon forms but this, to my mind, needs to be tempered with emphasising the responsibility of wielding a blade and the ultimate outcome of any fight. Only by learning the form and understanding the nature of what we’re learning can we fully appreciate what a truly dangerous piece of metal we’re playing with. All true martial artists have immense respect for the blade and the weapon they train with is very much a reflection of themselves. A good sword though is an absolute work of art and truly beautiful to behold. A beautiful weapon matched with the graceful and flowing movements of the form though is the reason why many people are entranced by Tai Chi.