Indomitable Way

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The Kanabo. A powerful symbol. A powerful artifact. Stirring images of terrifying Oni standing all powerful and invincible in combat. A symbol that enflames stories of mythology and spirituality. An image of Japanese martial arts and culture. Yet what is the kanabo? What is the Art? This will be a writing first of martial art expression, followed by mythological inspiration.

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The kanabo comes in many various shapes and sizes, as do many weapons. The immediate feature is the desire to break bone. The martial art? Kanabojutsu, does not necessarily exist. Yet it’s image permeates Japanese martial arts. Pictured is a kanabo I have recently made. Measuring seven feet in length, carved of Oak. One is to use the edge for striking, the studs add weight. 1 3/4” in girth upon squared section. Although made as a practice weapon, it is equally deadly. For a true battle weapon I would prefer one entirely of steel. Designed a particular way. This is the first piece of a matching set, including an Odachi, Katana, Wakizashi, and Tanto all made of Oak. The first time I will use Japanese practice tools tailored to my length. These ones will have rounded edges suitable for sparring, at least sparring with the smaller. One can imagine full contact Kanabo sparring. Or greatsword, great axe, etc, equally translated from originals in weight and form. This can not entirely be done, someone will die or be maimed regardless of protection, regardless of wood or steel. ‘True War weapons’ against armour are such for a reason, armour becomes a cage you die in… Anyways, my original practice “Kanabo” is one naturally created. An oak tree cut down by a beaver I found floating in the river while running many years ago. Naturally shaped as a six foot baseball bat. I can not express the power this new one expresses as it is weilded. Yet, how does one wield such a thing? There is no such true form of kanabojutsu. Kanobodo. Yet to speak of the two, does not the Jutsu of any form, lead to a Do, if one stays true to path… Regardless, my pursuit Is what it Is. My continued pursuit of mastery lies in the Western martial arts. Because of my constant training with the greatsword, I am able to apply this ability to the kanabo. There are many similarities between Samurai swordsmanship and Knightly swordsmanship. Yet more differences. Immediately due to technology. The core of All martial arts is the same. We are all stuck within the human body. There is much to learn in Kenjutsu, and all it’s styles, yet much to ignore in a combative sense, as with all martial arts, Hema included. Training variations of beauty and creativity aside, as these ways will give greater understanding of control, and we all do such things and should. Many eastern arts suffer from a large amount of choreography, taking this no further. Yes, many of these demonstrations are beautiful, yet there is so much to filter out when it comes to simply cutting a stranger as quickly as possible while staying unharmed, while said stranger is also attempting to do the same to you. The eastern arts suffer from ‘fencing around’ as intensely as the western. Techniques piled atop one another, simply too many additions for the sake of impressing the ignorant. Many Kenjutsu demonstrations are highly involved with Iaijutsu. While attractive, such a thing has its limitations in impressiveness, especially when the swords are short aluminum, as they often are. It has very little to do with the actual duel or battlefield, save switching after losing your pole arm. And perhaps assassinating someone who allows you too close as they trust you. After understanding and much practice, the design of the sword allows the scabbard to literally not exist. Therefore it is what it is. I prefer the Kenjutsu, as what actually happens between fighting men. I see Iaijutsu as simply an additional aspect to learn. Kendo is were to take ones sight in straight forward use. Or any full contact sparring use of Kenjutsu, old and new. There is Kendo and Kendo. The sport and the Way. The Way stands alone. The sport simply an extension. If you wish to see some of the greatest swordsmen in the world move, watch the peak of Kendo, although remember the weight and balance of the ‘swords’. Of course they are not acting as if in a real sword fight, nor targeting in such a way, yet the skill obviously translates more than choreography. As it is not routine practiced choreography. One thing I appreciate of Kendo tournaments is the length of match, as well as the stamping and ‘noises’ made. Mine developed more from low rolling growls changing magnitude during Muay Boran training. I really appreciate the ‘Kamikaze pitched’ yell of the Japanese. Western sport swordsmanship should take the round length into consideration, even extending matches to ten minutes, allowing fighters to tire if weak, truly testing them. It is much easier to score points in the longsword as the entire body is the target, this is not the same of Kendo. Such long matches would have a high point score. Yet only produce a greater expression of average, leaving less to chance, more to overall consistent skill and perseveance. Yet back to the kanabo. The kanabo is not a greatsword, as I constantly use. Nor any type of sword for that matter. For in the greatsword I find the deep desire to cut over striking. With the kanabo one must strike. In pursuit of the kanabo, one must know the sword first and foremost, for the sword is the door to all weapons. Next would be the equal understanding of the Bo. For with no blade, the kanabo can be used in such manner on many occasions. It is the combination, yet neither of these arts that one will find the kanabo. Such is viewed in old Japanese art. It desires to be “Fenced around” with, yet equally desires the “one inch punch”. Against armour it will devastate, especially Japanese armour, which is quite questionable in standard of protection and overall design function. Design beauty is amazing. There is much to compare technologically and write of, another time. Although this is why their armour technology changed when contact was made with Europeans. Give me a stout Oaken staff against a knight in full armour, and I will feel great confidence with no armour on. I will wield the staff as a greatsword… Just like a kanabo. The key truly lies in the training, to become such a being. An Oni so to speak. No, it will not give you huge swollen muscles. Do not inflate with supplements, simply for psychological strength. Train outside barefoot and bare shirt upon dirt as much as possible. Use granite blocks with awkward grips and such things. The actual weight of the kanabo is light in comparison to ‘everyday weight lifters’ and your daily reps should be in the hundreds and thousands. The torque of the wrists and strength of grip is another given strength all together. You will appear harder than any ‘sole body builder’ over time. Wiry and animalistic. Not swollen and soft of combative energy. It is energetically obvious who does what. Of course one should lift heavy weight in pursuit of combat prowess. Simply balance as to not become combatively weaker.

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What is it to become Oni? My first thoughts of imagination pull towards Shugendo. The Way of training and testing. A “hermitic” path of wilderness meditation, martial training (for many) and testing such things. Historically these men would be associated with aspects of spirituality such as the Yokai. Tengu and Oni. Both being wilderness embodiments. Feared and mysterious. Possessing powers Unknown to those of society. Thus these Shugendo practitioners are seen as something otherworldly. And what is the pursuit of martial arts than to unleash ones true Dragon, if dragon is what you wish to express. Oni ‘translates’ to many “things” westernly. Daemon, troll, ogre, giant etc. If taken into western understanding. First off, universalism in mythology carries countless flaws. In my mythological narrative, the closest comparable entity of the Oni would be the European Giant. I have written of the giant previously in depth. Jotunn. Yet there are many cultural options to attach such a being to in a universal expression. Does Daemon even have anything to do with Oni or the European pagan folkloric and mythological beings as ogres, trolls and giants? Are the latter even comparable to one another? Or is Daemon simply a Christian term used to brand everything non Christian, and still falsely used today to express understanding from other cultures. Daemon, what does such a thing truly mean? Does it even translate easternly? The word is Greek, the understanding is a supernatural being, not quite god, not quite human yet part of the human being, neither good nor evil by nature, yet sometimes one or the other, sometimes both. This has little to do with the pigeon hole nature of “later” abrahamic thought, using a word for their own cultural expression of something else. Sounds similar to forms of the Fey, to forms of the Yokai, the Giants, etc. If one wishes to be universalists in approach, yet keep the narrative somewhat similar. Thus the Christian “demon” becomes it’s own unique entity. The Greek Daemon is something all men may become, to understand. For what is the Id, the Dragon, the Giant. What is the base natural self when put into a hostile environment, just as what is such a thing when put into a loving environment? What is it when one enters combat of life and death? What natural aspect of self, yet extremely developed to be found, for how disconnected is the human being? Driven by ego, never coming close to touching what it really is capable of… Thus such warriors as the Shugenja become the Oni, the Tengu. Thus they are feared. This reminds me of the Ulfhednar ,Berserkers and Svinfylking of the sagas, as well as many other existing, living human expressions, simply in a generalized, flawed manner. There is the saying “Like giving a club to an Oni”. As in, now one is unstoppable. Ones power greatly enhanced. Indomitable. These wild haired, power enhanced, club bearing Oni brings one sight towards other similar mythological images. Mighty Thor with with magical hammer Mjolnir, wild and red haired. Samson the Judge, power ridden long locked haired, Nazarite from birth, wielding the jawbone and slaughtering thousands of enemies. Herakles, of the “long-haired Achaeans”, locked and bearded as depicted in original art. Fighting with his great club, able to impregnate fifty woman in one night. Symbols of Masculine power and dominance. The Oni also brings to mind the greatly misunderstood Grendel. Grendel being an embodiment of many berserker ‘dark’ qualities. Grendel and the berserker Beowulf being two sides of the same entity. It is my belief the origins of this story are extremely “Odinic.” Grendel being stealth, night, silent killing, cannibalism, etc. Just as the Oni are also ghostly, shadowy entities, as well as enraged animalistic field standing combatants. The true evil of the Beowulf epic were the warriors of Herot hall. Grendel being a man living in the swamps, who became something vastly powerful, sent to punish such decadence… another time. Always allow all mythological symbols to stand as they are. In the beginning and end, an Oni is an Oni. The ‘hero with a thousand faces’ theory, I am extremely against based upon many reasons. It is naive and ignorant of time, culture, historical figures, human psychology and creativity. Mine is the ‘thousand heroes with the face of humanity’ theory. Perhaps another time.

One must constantly test oneself, for oneself, against oneself. Soon will be the ‘day of ten thousand sorrows’. That is ten thousand kanabo strikes in a timely manner, “fencing around”, completed in a Japanese style… Oni Kanabodo… Previously it was three thousand ‘Thai kicks’ to taped pads upon the pell. What begins as endurance, becomes a test of pain and blood. Training is The Way, testing is The Way. There is no single definition to express The Way. “I am because I am not.”

Lone Warrior

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A true martial artist must often study alone. For alone is as we spend most of our time. It is in this solitude that we develop particular methods and regimes, tailored specifically for the individual. A habit of training style that revolves around life. I pull large amounts of inspiration from mythology in all pursuits of life. Just as mythology is a large bases for any religion, any way, any spirituality, any cultural expression of self outside of modern times. For today’s mythology is bound to the glowing boxes, bound to slavery and desire of the mob. No longer the cultural expression of self. Therefore the desire of the martial artist is to find something outside of this lowness of the human desire. This is the bases of martial arts. To guide us above, perhaps away. While grounding us to truthful action and behaviour. To seek more than the temporary pride and disgust of the mobs desire and the desire for the mob… My method is of the Lone Warrior. This is not simply the aspect of training alone as one must often do to obtain true mastery of self. This lies in mythology. This lies in technical understanding and practice. This is my way.

Mythologically I am most inspired by the aspect of the Lone Warrior. In a way, this is the core of European mythological traditions. Norse mythology, a final recording of European paganism, a recording, not a way. As that has been lost, never to be found. When studying such a thing, a key figure is the Einherjar, that is the Lone Warrior. Not the Single Warrior, in reference to one battle, this is modern armchair weak gibberish. The aspect of Lone is great importance. Just as Thor is ‘He who rides alone’. The greatest of Northern European champions The Hound, the key character of our greatest epic, is a face of this Lone Warrior aspect. As he stands alone against all. A terrifying yet beautiful champion. With strange personality traits of artistic behaviour, bearing and words, extreme introverting and extreme extroverting. Sensitivity that when exposed to such a life as that time, caused extreme changes in behaviour. Locked in complete psychosis in a way due to cultural upbringing and beliefs. Humble and honorable, proud and beautiful. Yet his bravery, his way, the teachings of the story, speak that one must be able to stand alone. This is the key element of many northern European myths. The cultural ways. The Einherjar are chosen champions. Lone Warriors, for they are capable of such a thing. Many men are not. Many men need the group, the tribe, to function and feel importance. This is not a bad thing, however one must be able to be the Lone. For this is were true strength develops. From your shield, not those besides you. This becomes more and more important as time becomes modern. As neighbors are no longer such a thing, and in a way, there are very few allies to be had in a modern capitalist society, and none of the same sex seen through the entire life. Thus we see the Lone warrior again and again. The archetype expressed in a multitude of ways. The ways of solitude and strength are expressed in many cultures, for there is much to find. A teaching that is to be harnessed. A teaching that is again and again bound to such a mythology.

Let us role-play momentarily into such a mindset as the Einherjar. First and foremost, there is no such thing as a religion as the men followed in today’s time. What religion it was, we do not know. We simply have later recorded mythologies, presumably attaching the stories to a remnant of a religion. Perspective: Consume Thyself. If so, we will continue. Such men truly believed in the afterlife of Valhalla. To live a life of worth to enter such a realm. What type of life, may be more open ended ethically that one could ever imagine. And please be real with such understanding, such things are not romantic and many aspects thoroughly disgusting during such a time. This does not apply to every man, only the cultural mob. This is why I truly stand by The Hounds Way, for this was an honourable and upstanding example of humanity and the martial Way. Regardless, the Einherjar must constantly prepare for the events of Ragnarok, there in lies the martial arts. Yet these men were not to face other men. They were to face the Jotnar. The mighty eaters of flesh. Powerful and hungry. Ravagers of the world, the bane of mankind. This was to be understood while living. Destined to face such opponents. Destined to pursue such prowess to stand ready in life, and afterwards death. And therefore it would be the warriors desire to obtain this ability, this prowess. To be found worthy of Valhalla.

Martial Arts. What type of training, we do not know. In such a culture you find particular weapons. The type of weapons you train with dictate what you become. The Dane Axe is a prevalent weapon found within such a culture, as well as far before. Artistically represented and by artifact into the bronze age. The Great Weapon. A weapon of the aristocratic elite. For training with such a thing is a Way unto itself. Training with such a weapon changes the body into its own aspect. Capable of standing against many, or something vastly more powerful than you. A weapon of the Lone Warrior. This brings to light the heroism, regardless of perspective, of the Lone Warrior of Stamford bridge, undoubtably armed with a Dane Axe. This also brings to mind the mythological aspect of the greatsword in later times as hinted at in the Goliath Fightbook. For the greatsword allowed one to stand against something vastly powerful. To both be Goliath and David. To both be the Giant and the Giant slayer. Just as the Einherjar. There is great power both martially and symbolically of such a weapons.

Technically speaking, I am obsessed with such a weapon. The greatsword, the greataxe, etc. It is my training of such weapons that have truly forced my Way. My mindest and fighting spirit. One must train day in and day out to understand what I speak of. Take your reps extremely high, hundreds, sometime thousands. Both fencing around and not. These weapons hold great power. Power of health, body and mind. You will not desire vast bulk, as ignorant understanding wishes to perceive in its calculation of combative strength, Such practice will not make you appear this way, especially when seeking to truly become your best with such weapons. The observant can tell were one puts there time and effort. What energy is combative and what energy is not. Simply do, and you will discover. As it is difficult to express. A few days ago a practiced with a longsword for the first time in three months, it felt as a knife. This makes such a thing very deadly. The constant use of a great weapon changes your psychology. That you could truly stand against something vastly more powerful than you, for you too hold such power in a different way, when weapon and body are one. Every weapon comes alive, every weapon wielded with ease, in a way you will never understand unless you dedicate yourself to the great weapon. This is not only bound to European martial arts. I am passionate of many Japanese arts as well. The Kanabo a powerful symbol and tool… The way of such a ‘Way’ truly creates an archetype, a power source to energize life. In that the great weapon is a Way unto itself. Impossible to express to those who do not know. Repetition upon repetition. The spirit to stand against something vastly powerful. The spirit to stand against many. The spirit to stand alone.

Weapon Anatomy

There is no such thing as a standard close combat weapon. Just as there is no such thing as a standard human body. This is in the study of martial arts, in the sense of individual close combat, both upon the field and duel. The bearing of a warrior who would be extremely well versed in close combat. Not the “modernized” soldier or technology. In regards to 17th century warfare and onward in the European theatre. That is, when weapons were massed produced for the hands of a quickly trained warrior. Of course through all time weapons would be massed produced and placed in such hands, depending upon time and culture. The “perfect” weapons I speak of are cultures that maintained an aristocratic elite, trained for war from a young age, or elite bands, having the wealth to produce weapons individually crafted for the wielder. Amongst all cultures, particularly the “technologically advanced” ones. Such as European longswords, or Samurai katanas. This will not be a post of technology comparision. Another time for there is much to write.

When I refer to trained quickly, a year of training is quick in my understanding. And yet this far outstrips many of the “modern” armies I speak of. Yet when you approach an individual who has trained for three years and more, things begin to change. Especially when you reach the ten year mark. These are the warrior elites I write of, often based upon feudal systems of management.

There is no standard weapon. Every weapon is to be made to fit your own standards. A longsword that works explosively for me, may not for another. Just as the clearing room of the handle will be different as another. Just as the tip clearing the ground upon techniques will be different. Vadi states the longsword is to measure to ones armpit. Based upon these measurements I am in the 57” area. Many modern practitioners base a longsword as being no longer than 54” with a 40” blade, before it becomes a greatsword. This is debatable, based upon skill of the smith. A 48” longsword is excessively short to my standards, a drawback to my height. For length wins a sword fight. Yet at a particular length, a weapon obviously becomes weaker. This is to be found. The same is said of all weapons. This is extremly expressed upon renaissance rapier fighting systems. One’s sword length upon ones body proportions. When studying historic originals, one must take into regard the height of the wielder. Men were shorter, not greatly, and often due to diet and health than any form of evolution, yet shorter. Therefore filter the average height of a man from a particular race and apply it to said historical artifact. The mathematics are simple and easily transferable to find the proper height of artifact for a modern practitioner. A silly thing you will always see in the west is the practitioner of eastern martial arts using weapons based upon artifacts of medieval eastern races. One is using a vastly small weapon. The katana is the perfect example. A very popular form of martial arts in the west. Medieval Japanese were small in comparison to modern western Europeans. Based upon skeletal evidence and handprints we have of Japanese warlords. Placing ones hands atop these prints is as covering a child’s hands. I am 6’2”, I speak from my perspective. It is strange to use such a piece of technology, created for a man of this stature. The average Katana is roughly around 40” in length. Upon simple mathematics, a 6’ man should use a katana of roughly 48” in length and will be wielding it in the same nature of the average medieval Japanese. 8 inches is life and death. “Medieval” based upon their timeline, not the west. This is to be repeated in every single weapon one can find. Something to pay attention to in all martial arts.

In combat and the duel: reach will win, when using well crafted respectable weapons. This is simple martial arts theory and law. Of course there are variations. Especially with pole arms when their edge is “penetrated”. Therefore bring the proper equipment to a duel. Just as each martial artist carries a custom body. Each martial artist must carry a custom weapon. This is the nature of history. One must find himself.

Till Death

I am ashamed of my generation. This does not mean I hold past generations in higher regard. Simply viewing my own. The laziness and lack of effort many make is open and obvious. The quality of being. A truth: your body represents a deep inner aspect of yourself. This is not vanity. This is not who is pretty and not. This is simply truth. My generation is incapable if not being in front of a computer. Many are incapable of effort. Masculine effort. That is capable of body and will. Not what one can do at a desk. Unhealthy bodies have become the obvious norm, a following of the past few generations. Commercialized diets, sitting entertainment, sitting work, sitting life styles. There is nothing wrong with making money while sitting. In all regards it is best to make money while actually not trading time after initial investment. It is simply the dignity of still being physically capable as a human being. The lazy, snobbish, I am above the effort of today, this generation carries is appalling. There is a timeline of capability we as men have. This timeline is far mis calculated in the modern beings perspective. The idea of down hill at thirty disgusts me. It is a lazy excuse, to enhance laziness.

My perspective, that of martial arts, dictates a much different timeline. Timeline based upon healthy eating and training habits. With overlap expressing transition. There are many examples to give, yet are unneccesary. First and foremost, as a man, you have little use below the age of twenty five. Regardless of talent. From the ages of twenty five through forty five, you are at your peak as a “fighter”. Your blending of athletic ability and skill, while rooted as a man. From the ages of 35 through 65 you are at you peak as a martial artist. Your blending of artistic talent extremely developed, alongside continued athletic ability maintained. 40 through 65, you are the King who still commands on the frontline, you are to be rooted, skilled, strong, and respected. Whether the martial arts “master”, “business owner”, etc. From 65 through death, you are the elder. The King who rules from the throne, yet still able to perform for a long while. The martial arts high master and sage. Your wisdom from success and failure to be omnipotent. While maintaining rooted nature and strength of body. Expansion of business and art to ever continue through this age. Obviously changing as you enter venerable elder stage of late seventies and above, were physical nature means less. Yet your body is still to represent who you are on the inside.

In this sense, we are to ever grow more powerful in life. Although the form of power changing. Our roots are to grow deeper, as branches grow higher. When viewing what walks around in western culture, while calling itself a man, we might feel we live in a joke. It is true, we do live in a joke. Yes, this is judgmental, but it is deserved. Yes fingers are pointed, the intent is to stab. What walks around is far disconnected from what we truly are. What we, as men, are supposed to be. Ones body is a direct reflection of ones spirit and lifestyle. You represent yourself. This means nothing to so many. And therefore we live in such states of depression. Such states of sickness. Not even realizing how sick we are, for sickness is the norm. And if it is the norm, then by all means we must be it. Doctor prescribed medications make you a drug addict as much as any illegal substance. Alcohol is a hardcore drug as well. Prescriptions for mental anguish are due to our own laziness. How could you not live in torture, when confined in such a vessel as your body, and life style that created it. Prescriptions for health are causing men to live longer then life would allow. Prolonging their filthy lifestyles and eating habits. Fixing the immediate threat, yet offering no resolution. Such is modern medicine.

Stand. Take responsibility for yourself. Your lifestyle. You will feel such worth, such ability. You will feel as nature. Or: you will feel as a slave. That society is holding you down. That you are judged. That you feel sick. That running a small distance may kill you. That dirt may make you feel sick. Touching a rock may make you bleed. Addicted to the chemical grease of the machines food. Addicted to the high of the machines medications. Dependent upon anything else to take away the responsibility that you have control and power to be something vastly greater than what is pressed upon you. The peak of the human potential. Yet all is a waste when health is cast aside. All is a waste.

Wood and Steel

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Wood breaks. Steel bends. In martial arts training there are obviously two types of proper training tools. Steel and Wood. It is best to have both, used depending on the occasion. Please do not use plastic or aluminum, based upon principle.

The most beneficial is a steel blunt. Created to immediately mimic the use of a sharp one. Never shy away from training using sharps in solo practice, never fear your own blade. There are few drawbacks of steel. It is wonderful when training in dual, mutual technique. When sparring, it demands one to wear proper protective equipment. Which can be a nuisance when you are switching between various things and simply wish to train shirtless, or unarmoured. The draw back is pell work. The steel bends. Steel swords are expensive, if this is not a problem, train with steel on the pell. Steel bends easily. Understand the old strong man techniques of bending such things, and then the sword seems less impressive. My albion training sword pent at the pommel at some unknown point, I apply a lot of pressure at the pommel. Only slightly, perceivable when spun upon it’s tip, yet perceivable enough to be annoying for 500 dollars. Needless to say, I will never buy another training steel. My own way of making such things will be finalized in the near future.

Wood has many benefits as well. Firstly, yes, even a well made wooden tool feels as a graceful club in comparison to steel. Yet this can be a good thing as well. Hickory and Oak are most recommended. I always use oak, just because. I have purchased training swords of wood (hickory) in the past. My true opinion is they were made too gracefully. Causing their weight to be too light. Also causing weakness of instrument. Needless to say there have been repairs, fortunately wood glue is very strong when used properly. A quarter inch here and there makes a profound difference in strength and weight. I will never buy another’s tools again. My own are simply too easy to make. Also allowing to make tools slightly above average height, as my proportions are a little above average. I am 6’2”. Wooden tools allow for vigorous pell training (wood pell, punching bag wrapped in tape, etc.) Always let the pell be of a “light wood” to protect your tools, steel or not. I have gone thru 3 pells in the past 2 months, yet breakage is due to elbow strikes on taped pads. Wood also allows for unarmored dual technique, while still allowing force, as well as sparring without protection to a degree. Always wear gloves, hands and fingers are constantly plowed through.

Something to pursue is obtaining the tools and ability to make your own training instruments. It is well worth it, the weapon feels as you. One can immediately make Exactly what they wish, not just find something close enough. Matched to your proportions or a particular historic original. Or something completely new, such as extremely heavy, well balanced training tools. Do not believe the skill is beyond you, it is not. Both in steel and wood. The skill set is basic once defined. Simply follow the process and pursue effort. If someone asks to use your weapons, simply say no if the two are not intimate and you do not wish to share energy. Another’s touch taints a weapon. “No” is easily spoken and enforced, in all things.