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Re: [at-l] Technology on the Trail

Jim Owen wrote:
> Malcolm Fuller wrote:

> > By the way, Last summer I discovered that katanas are Wingfoot
> > approved for trail use, but only if you attach spiritual
> > significance to the weapon and practice with it in that vain.
> > I was very tempted to res*bscribe to his list just to ask him
> > whether I could take along my seven-hole punch if I worshipped
> > it every morning and conducted daily presentation kata.
> I wonder if WF knows what a katana is?   40 inches of razor sharp steel
> is not  a toy.   Even sword Masters generally don't "practice" with them
> - practice is usually with a bokken.   Nor would anyone with the mindset
> to own a real katana be asking WF for "approval".   Sorry - I just find
> it really curious that the question would even be raised.
> Walk softly - and don't cut yourself,
> Jim

Well, judge for yourself. Below is Wingfoot's answer to a
feller who asked whether a katana was o-tay to pack on the

[begin post]

Subject: Is a sword a bad idea?
From: forum
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 17:19:31 -0000

Wingfoot writes in the Class of 2000 Planning Forum:

As all of you know, I advise against taking defensive weapons,
such as dogs, on the AT. I mention dogs specifically to make a
point. Some folks could bring a dog purely for defensive purposes,
and it would probably be what we call an "attack dog". I have
experienced this situation on several occasions on the Trail
over the years. I would advise leaving a trained attack dog
at home.

In the case of the ceremonial katana sword, I see this as akin
to someone wanting to bring their dog for companionship, or, in
other words, for positive reasons rather than as a defensive or
offensive weapon. The sword, if properly used in martial arts, is
a way of focusing spiritually, with all of the mental and physical
safeguards in place that keep it from being a threatening weapon
to others while being used ceremonially.

Technically, a ceremonial sword could be considered a weapon on
the AT, but so could a hiking pole, for that matter. I think the
matter of a katana sword being carried by a trained martial arts
practitioner, as is the case we are discussing, takes the discussion
out of the realm of discussing weapons and puts it in the realm of
spititual pursuit, and on the practicality of carrying a ceremonial
sword on a thru-hike.

As for practicality, if the sword is valuable (I'm speaking either
spiritually or monitarily here), it may suffer damage during the
exposure it will get during a thru-hike. The user has to decide if
the risk of damage to his or her sword is acceptable, and, if not,
perhaps consider carrying a Bokken sword instead.

Also, the reaction of others who may not understand the restrictions
on aggression engendered by martial arts training has to be considered.
Some will see the sword as a threat, period. Thus, use of the sword,
even in the purest ceremonial way, should perhaps be limited to times
and places where it can be done in private. Since the woods are rather
spacious, this should not be a problem, and the spirituality for the
martial arts practitioner will probably be enhanced by privacy, I would

So, to sum up, I personally see no reason to object to a katana sword
being carried and used for personal ceremonial use during a thru-hike
as long as the feelings of others are taken into account.

All members of the Planning Forum should reply using the link below
Class of 2000 members should post questions to the Planning Forum at

[end post]

There you are.

Spirituality in Oriental martial arts is apparently peachy keen,
while in Occidental martial arts it's a sign of Freudian perversity.
Funny, that.

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Cc:            "AT-L" <at-l@backcountry.net>
From:          "Kenneth R. Knight" <krk@home.msen.com>
Date:          Mon, 13 Mar 2000 03:53:46 -0500
Subject:       Re: [at-l] Technology on the Trail: weapons
Content-type:  text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"

Hmm, I shouldn't bring a defensive weapon but an offesnive one is OK (re: 
"...As all of you know, I advise against taking defensive weapons,...")? 
I'm not sure there is a difference. If I use a weapon to defend myself it 
is defensive; but, if I attack with it it is offensive. It might be 
harder to call some classes of weapons defensive, but I really can't 
think of a weapon that is strictly defensive only. A weapon that can only 
be used to repel an attack.

Perhaps what WF really means to say is that he doesn't object to 
non-lethal weapons. A katana wouldn't fall into this category. Non-lethal 
weapons are rather different beasts.

  ** Ken **

**  Kenneth Knight    Web Design, IT Consultant, Software Engineer  **
**        krk@home.msen.com           http://home.msen.com/~krk     **

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