My brother was over yesterday, and we were talking about my weapons. I had mentioned that I wanted a nice new weapon because most of my weapons are practice ones. That means either wooden or dull steel. I love my sword, but the steel is dull. It’s better for practicing, of course. My brother said that was the weapon he grabbed when he was checking out my house the night after my medical crisis.
He said that he could have ran an intruder through with the sword. I said he could not have because it’s dull. He said the point is sharp and that was all that mattered because it was just physics. I disagreed vehemently, and I emailed my Taiji teacher to ask her about it. Obviously, we could not test the hypothesis because that would mean one of us being seriously hurt (my brother or me, I mean), but we had a voluminous debate.
My teacher emailed back saying it was possible at the soft bits–the throat, the eye, the abdomen. That made sense, but I was still dissatisfied with what my brother had said, though I couldn’t quite figure out why. Then, as I was practciting this morning, I realized why. I tested the point with my finger, and yes, it’s sharp. But I automatically pulled my finger back as the point dug into it, and I had no desire to push it into my finger any further.
I understand that it’s different to do it to yourself than it is to do it to someone else. The body is very protective of itself, so it’s really hard to self-harm. Not impossible, obviously, and I did it regularrly when I was in tmy twenties. But it takes a lot to override the stop button in the back of your mind when you deliberately try to hurt yourself.
It’s not the same with someone else, I’m assuming–hurting someone else, I mean. But there are a lot of social mores against hurting someone else, especially if you’re middle class. Tearing someone to shreds verbally? Not great, but the most you would get is probably a stern warning. Lay one single finger on someone else? Crime! I’m not even arguing this isn’t the right way to handle things because we really can’t have people hitting each other.
As a result, though, in the unlikely possibility that you actually need to fight someone off, the chances that you can immediately flip the switch in your brain from ‘do no harm’ to kill, especially with a sword, are small.