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December 16, 2007
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Ankh Sword by WurdBendur Ankh Sword by WurdBendur
In the Christian nations of Europe, the straight sword has been a symbol of the cross at least since the Crusades.

But I had a different idea about how a sword might be constructed, and when I turned it around, I realized it rather resembles an Egyptian ankh. The symbolism is wholly unintentional, though. This sword is designed with function in mind.

I've been participating in Dagorhir since the summer, and I'm just starting to get good. I've been trying out underhanded moves (with the sword pointing downward, not sneaky stuff), but they're really difficult for me. I often find myself switching my handing in the middle of a fight, and it slows me down.

So one night, as I was playfully twirling a coat-hanger around my hand (careful not to poke myself with the hook), I had an idea. The handle could have a loop. It wouldn't be used for fancy spinning or showy twirling. That's just wasted effort. If you want to show off, you can do that with a straight handle, but it won't do you much good. No, this is designed for an easy transition between upright and underhand orientations, making it adaptable to several fighting styles.

However, a few new moves become available which utilize the ability to quickly switch positions. Mostly it means not having to switch before you make a move, which might give you an extra advantage with speed and surprise.

The blade is designed to be useful for both stabbing and slashing. And there will be a lot of slashing, since it's easy to do when you're turning the blade around. But you can also hold the very end (which is at the top here) and sort of punch with it. Of course the total length from the tip of the blade to the inner part of the handle at the far end (the rotation point - it's not a fixed point, but that's where it is when the blade is toward you) must, and I can't emphasize this enough, must be shorter than your arm if you don't want to cut yourself in very terrible ways when you use it, at least if you plan to turn it toward yourself.

The cross guard is angled so that it can catch blades, but also to allow a wide range of control over the angle at which you hold the sword while also keeping you from bumping your arm against the blade when switching. At the same time, however you hold it, the opposite side of the handle acts as a convenient guard for your fingers. And you're not especially likely to drop it (as sometimes happens...), unless you're doing something silly, because your hand will tend to slip inside and make it easier to catch.

My original design was actually an ordinary sword which had a double-length handle with a small loop in the middle. You could use it like an ordinary two-hander (though the blade is necessarily shorter), but insert a finger into the loop to turn it around. I tested it extensively with a cardboard mockup, and it seems to work, but it's tough on your finger after a long period. After some more planning and drawing, I've finally come up with this design and brought it to life with Meshwork.

That said, I haven't actually done any physical testing with this design, so it's possible that it may not work quite as planned. One of these days when I get some money, I'm going to buy some PVC and foam and try to make a boffer like this so I can give it a real test.

Edit: Sorry I wrote so freaking much. D:
Anyway, you might want to see the animooted version.
:iconazrieljohnson:
AzrielJohnson Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2010
Have you made this yet? I'd be interested to see your finished product.
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:iconwaywardspirit:
WaywardSpirit Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2008
so this might be a bit after the fact, but the fighting style you reference as being the inspiration for such? it's called "backfist," not "underhand." i have quite the thing for the fighting style, and suggest watching the movie Equilibrium if you want to see some nice examples thereof.

that said- seems like an impressive enough idea; hopefully by now you've managed some means of actually crafting and testing the weapon. ...and if so, how did you manage the handle? i've been working on a few assorted pieces, and if you've managed a successful means of making a full circle out of pvc, i'd love to know how.
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:iconwurdbendur:
WurdBendur Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2008
Ah, I knew "underhand" wasn't quite the right word. I just couldn't think of what to call it.

I actually haven't got around to doing anything with this yet. However, I had looked around the web for resources and found that PVC is easy enough to bend into shape with a little heat. You fill it with sand and heat it in an oven. The sand distributes the heat and keeps it from collapsing or kinking when you bend it.

I'm not sure how easy (read "difficult") it'll be to make a full circle, but the ends can be joined with some connector, which could also provide a place to attach the guard and blade (though it would be an extra point of weakness). But I still need to get ahold of some PVC and try it out before I can say how it works.
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