The Sword – Form & Thought

This post is a review of the exhibition and catalogue ‘The Sword: Form & Thought’. I have contributed a small part to both, working with Peter Johnsson on the computation and display of dynamic properties from his detailed documentation. The exhibition makes a beautiful display of various types of swords, and the catalogue contains a wealth of data and knowledge about the function and design of antique swords. Both highly recommended!

On Silver’s times

George Silver is the famous author of an early printed work on fencing and martial arts in English, Paradoxes of Defence (1599). He is often quoted for having layed out universal principles in the form of his hierarchy of true and false times. Sadly, the most common interpretation of these does not fit the whole text. This post provides the necessary quotes to understand the causes and key properties of true and false times, which are in my opinion more interesting and less open to interpretation than the hierarchy itself.

Visual representation of mass distribution

The mass distribution of swords is a well-known component of their performance and handling feel. Although sword makers have to control it through a variety of means, from a user perspective, only three parameters are needed to completely describe it: total mass, centre of gravity, and radius of gyration. They are well known of physicists. However, their values are not in direct relation with what we perceive when using a sword. Because of this, their usefulness has been questioned and their measurement in the sword community is still scarce. In this article, I will demonstrate how to build a more visual representation of the mass distribution of swords, with an application on five swords of my collection.