a far cry from the hunt, and long skirts for boxing training
Click on these women with swords thumbnails for larger pictures.
A Belle Gordon
I wanted to show you that so that you women with swords would be able to see what it was like for women in martial arts a generation or so back. Belle Gordon was a woman ahead of her time. I don't think she actually got to punch any real people - not like the men. She was a "bag punching" champion of women's boxing. Fox hunting was open to women as long as they wore long skirts. Lady Theodora would have been thought overly progressive if she had been riding astride, rather than side saddle. Women's archery was another sport for women in martial arts. Honestly though, I don't know how they could draw breath, let alone draw bows, in those corsets.
Real Women With Swords
This section of the Chinese Swords Guide is dedicated to women with swords. We train alongside the men, although, I'm sure Ellen Preis, up in the gallery, did not, back there in 1932.
We train with the men but some of our needs are different. That's why we have a section for ourselves. Women often have to take long breaks from their training to have babies and then look after them. Women are much weaker than usual for about ten days every month. During these times of changing hormones, they are also more prone to injury - eight times more likely than men to tear the meniscus in the knee, for example. It's just too bad if the once in a year, or once in a lifetime tournament comes up at the wrong time of the month.
Women are physically weaker than men. We can't grow the muscles they do, and no matter how we try, we can't turn our arm ligaments into ropes of steel, even by doing the same conditioning as the men. We also have advantages. Women are often more flexible and quicker to respond. We can train in more than one discipline more easily than men because of our ability to multi task.
As this section of the Chinese Swords Guide grows, expect to find special training notes for women. There will be some great pictures ... no, not the kind some men like to gawk at. If I put pretty young women with swords here, it's because the female swordie just happens to be young or pretty, not because she is. I'd like to break down some of the stereotypes. Women often feel they are regarded as sex symbols, or of lesser ability. In Chinese swordsmanship, strength doesn't necessarily count. Good body mechanics, agility and strategy are important. This means men and women can train on equal terms. I want to encourage that. There are differences in our training needs but we all have a love of Chinese swordsmanship.
Movie Women With Swords
Women with swords have often been the heroines of movies. There will be more on this. For now, here's an excerpt from The Empress and the Warrior.
Cartoon Women with Swords
From Red Sonja to the women of the Manga series, women have always been drawn with swords, usually as expert warriors and leaders. This is nice for us, as long as everyone remembers they are only figments of the artist and copy writer's imagination. We are no more built like a Manga girl than a plastic Barbie, and no one, either male of female, can really fight like that without a scratch.
If you have non copyright pictures, original writing, or other media about women in comics who use swords, especially Chinese swords, and if you would like to contribute to the Chinese Swords Guide in this manner, please use the contact form to let me know what you'd like to share.
Women Dancing with Swords
Many cultures seem to have mixed swords with dancing. Scotts in kilts, both male and female trip lightly between the blades of a pair of swords. Belly dancers add to the mystique of their shimmering gyrations with swords. Steel and silk seem to attract one another.
Modern Wushu has become a sport as graceful as any dance. Men and women both do it and there is no denying it's as entertaining to watch as acrobatic acts, gymnasts, or the ballet. I love watching it but I'm not really built for it. There is something in Chinese swordsmanship for all types of women. This video is a good example of Wushu with a jian. It is not real swordsmanship. The performer does not use a real weight sharp sword. These movements would not be useful in a real swordfight, but it's entertaining to watch and very skilful. This is rhythmic gymnastics with a sword.
Great Female Warriors of History
Joan of Arc.
There were many real women of history who wielded swords. Joan of Arc is one who comes immediately to mind. Boudicca of the Celts led an army in revolt during Roman occupied Britain.
If you would like your paragraphs or pictures to appear here or in a page dedicated to this subject use the contact form if you have something to contribute.
Women with Swords in Art
This painting by Katiye Rhose-Singh is one of many in her Flickr photo collection. Women have been the subject of paintings throughout history.
The picture of a woman on a bear, holding a sword, was photographed on the back of a car in America. This one is in the realm of fantasy art.
In the porcelain statue it is the woman holding the sabre, not the man. Admittedly, this is the only such porcelain work I've seen.
I photographed this statue of a woman holding a sword by the blade in a Washington park, very close to the Whitehouse. She is reaching up to a man with the sword. Here are some more statuesque pieces of Russian sword art, shown to my by Plaenqua.
I am accepting contributions for a page dedicated to women with swords in art forms. I'd prefer Chinese swords, but others are also acceptable. Please Let me know if you have something to contribute.
Women with Swords in Literature
I am accepting contributions for a page dedicated to women with swords in literature. I'd prefer Chinese swords, but others are also acceptable. Please let me know if you have something to contribute.
Sasha - a story about a young woman warrior. Reveiew by Ellen Mumford,Australia.
Joel Shepherd is known for his science fiction writing and is now making his way into the world of fantasy for young adults. Sasha is a woman on a mission, training her body to wield the sword without thinking - using the momentum of an enemy strike to take control of the fight.
Women (and men) with Swords, in Games
I am accepting contributions for a page dedicated to women with swords, or even men, this time, in computer and digital games. I'd prefer Chinese swords, but others are also acceptable. Please let me know if you have something to contribute.
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Reviewed by Shaun Heenan, Australia
One of the most interesting differences in this game is the reality of sword fighting strategy. Without spoiling the game too much, for those who haven't played it yet, is the part where you play the gate guard. If you charge in, slashing wildly, he is likely to beat you. However, if you wait until he strikes first, avoid it and strike back while his momentum has carried his blade wide, you will win the sword fight. Without any more clues, here's Shaun's review:
Poorly Marketed, Very Solid
Ubisoft's marketing department have been oddly silent about the single player mode of the thirdAssassin's Creedgame, choosing instead to focus on the multiplayer portion of the game. Make no mistake: this is the third game in the main series, not a spin-off, and it features a full length, high-quality campaign mode which begins immediately following the high-impact ending ofAssassin's Creed IISet in just the one city, Rome,Brotherhoodlacks the grand scope of the first two games but, with the many refinements to mission structure combat, it is easily the best game in the series so far.... read on for full review on Digital Kebab, which has reviews for movies, television, software, hardware, etc
Final Fantasy Games Reviews by Paul Santos
Final Fantasy games feature an excellent selection of weapons, including many swords, both realistic and fantasy style. If you are one of those who would rather play with men and women with swords on a screen, than in the backyard, the following site is for you.
Reviewing Final Fantasy 2, Paul Santos writes:
A very basic story which has been used repeatedly in many other games but is not as complex in this game. This is perhaps one of the first games to feature the 'an evil empire wants for destruction and a small band of rebels are the worlds only hope of stopping them' story.
The game's story centers on four youths whose parents were killed during an army invasion by the empire of Palamecia. Three of the four main characters join a rebellion against the empire, embarking on missions to gain new magic and weapons, destroy enemy superweapons, and rescue leading members of the resistance. After defeating the empire and the Emperor, the trio discovers that the fourth youth, now a dark knight, has taken the place of the previous emperor and is preparing to attack the rebellion. Upon confronting him, the Emperor reappears as a demon, the "Dark Emperor"
For the rest of this review on Final Fantasy 2, and reviews on all other Final Fantasy games, visit Paul's website Final Fantasy Empire.
Women in Martial Arts Training with Swords
The following pictures are of women and men training together in full speed swordplay. Real swordsmanship proves that some aspects of the movies are based in reality. A woman can train and compete equally with a man in Chinese swordsmanship.