Four Examples of When Bringing a Sword to a Gunfight Was a Grand Idea


1.) The Samurai Servant of God


One morning in 2006 when Bishop Kent Hendrix’s teenage son came barging into his bedroom screaming that a woman was being attacked out on the street, the Mormon man did not get on his knees and pray to god for help, but instead took matters into his own hands. The part-time Kishindo martial arts instructor and fourth-degree black belt grabbed one of the many swords he kept by his bed and without wasting time to even put on a pair of shoes he made his way out onto the street in his usually peaceful Salt Lake City neighbourhood to confront the attacker. Hendrix’s brandished his 29-inch steel blade at the man who in complete and utter shock and disbelief fled in terror and hopped into a nearby vehicle. In his panic while fleeing from the sword-wielding bad-ass servant of the lord, the attacker dropped his chapstick onto the pavement and Hendrix managed to pick it up and also memorized the douche canoe’s license plate. With DNA evidence and license plate it didn’t take Utah authorities long to make an arrest. No doubt arch angel Gabriel will be waiting to welcome Bishop Hendrix’s with a high five and a pat on the back into the gates of Heaven when his hopefully-not-for-a-long-time comes.

2.) Bayonets VS Bullets  (and the scabbard that saved me)

chamberlain     bayonet-charge-of-the-unions-20th-maine-at-little-round-top-at-the-battle-of-gettysburg

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain made quite a name for himself during the American Civil War. The badass Bowdoin College professor rose up through the ranks from lieutenant colonel to brigadier general and sustained six wounds during his time in service- all while sporting one of the most amazing facial hair styles of the Union Army (sorry General Burnside). He quickly rose to fame after the battle of Little Round Top during the bloody three day fight at Gettysburg in 1863. The 21st Maine was ordered to protect the Union flanks, but after many Confederate charges the boys in blue were almost out of ammo and running out of luck. In a bold and desperate move, Chamberlain ordered his men to attach bayonets to their muskets and charge downhill at Johnny Reb below. With bayonet points gleaming in the July sun like some ancient army from centuries past Billy Yank swung down like a the door of a gate closing in on the Confederate ranks bunching them in. Chamberlain’s tactic worked, but just before the Union charge, Chamberlain was slammed to the ground by a bullet that hit his thigh. Luckily this Union man had his military saber at his side and the scabbard took the bullet for him. The Battle of Little Round Top was won by blades- not bullets- and Chamberlain was able to limp away from the engagement as oppose to having to head to the Union medical tents for what could have been a leg amputation- or worse!

3.) Tovlar takes the trigger finger


In the wee hours of a November morning in 2006 Guillermo Tovar’s Memphis home was invaded by burglars. They kicked down the door, and pistol-whipped Tovar into unconsciousness then demanded that his son give the intruders all the cash and jewelry in the house. Tovar came to with a massive headache unlike any hangover he had ever known, but he didn’t let that stop him. The pissed off father snuck into the living room and grabbed a sword from under his couch- y’know where most people keep their blades, right? Previously the couch cavalry saber had been used by Tovar to cut pesky vegetation in his backyard garden, but now the sword was going to be used to confront his home’s invaders. Swooping in and swinging the sword, Tovar managed to cut the gunman’s trigger finger off and the robbers quickly fled the scene. In their panic the would-be burglars forgot to pick up piece of the gunman’s finger which police used to identify it to a man who already had a criminal file. Try explaining to an officer how part of your finger ended up in someone else’s home!

4.) “Any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed.”
— Fighting Mad Jack Churchill

churchill-sword          churchill archery

No words can describe how amazingly awesome and brave lieutenant colonel “Mad” Jack Churchill was. I seriously hope that one day I can be as awesome as this bagpipe playing bad-ass’ nut sack.  The WWII commando leader not only survived getting shot in the neck by a German bullet, but he went into battle wielding a Scottish claybeg (think of the claybeg as being the Scottish claymore’s little sword brother) and carrying an English longbow along with American Indian arrows. Having represented Britain in the 1939 Olympics for archery, Jack Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill (try saying that ten times fast!) was the only British soldier to kill Germans using the ancient art of this prolific projectile weapon. He also managed to take 42 German prisoners and capture a motar- with the help of corporal Ruffell- by sneaking into enemy lines under the cover of night using nothing but his sword. Brandishing his blade, Mad Jack took one frightened German guard as a human shield and proceeded to creep from one sentry post to another luring in the other 41 soon-to-be prisoners using the voice of the first captured soldier to lull them into a false sense of security. Oh, did I mention he played the bagpipes- because this eccentric soldier played the freakin’ bagpipes while charging into battle! As if these weren’t examples enough of the man’s complete and utter bad-assery, Fighting Jack Churchill managed to escape captivity from the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp not once but TWICE. He survived the war and went on to complete paratrooper jump school at the age of forty and served in Palestine, then became an instructor at a land-air warfare school down in Australia where he took up surfing- even designing and making his own surf boards! He retied from the army in 1959 and received two awards for bravery during his service. Had this amazing man not passed away in 1996 at the ripe old age of 89 I would currently be trying to adopt him as my grandfather.

Devon Boorman is the Co-Founder and Director of Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay, which has been active in Vancouver, Canada since 2004. Devon’s expertise centres on the Italian swordplay tradition including the arts of the Renaissance Italian rapier, sidesword, and longsword, as well as knife and unarmed techniques.
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