The 2003 film, “Kill Bill Vol 1” introduced us to Kiddo. She awakens form a 4-year coma and seeks revenge on the rest of her assassin squad for betraying her on her wedding day. Before she begins, she travels to Japan, where she retains the services of Hattori Hanzo, the world’s greatest swordsmith.
Hanzo gave up swordsmithing 28 years before and swore never to again forge an “instrument of death.” But upon learning that Kiddo’s purpose is to dispatch her former employer and Hanzo’s former student, “Bill”, he forgoes his oath and prepares what he claims is the finest sword ever forged. He then brags to Kiddo that should she meet God along her path of vengeance, “God himself would be cut.”
To make a sword, especially a sword such as a katana, one starts with a lump of metal.
The metal is then heated in a forge to extremely high temperatures. Once red-hot and soft, the chunk of metal is beaten with a hammer. Then it goes back into forge and reheated. This process continues until the sword is twice as long as the useable sword. Then the entire thing is beaten until folded in half.
The sword goes back into the forge, beaten until it is twice its useable length, then folded again. This folding process occurs 10-50 times. The heating and lengthening and folding process removes all impurities. Heated, beaten, folded, heated, beaten, folded. Again, and again. The repeated folding produces what could be considered a “grain” like that of wood. This grain type structure gives the final sword its indomitable strength and sharpness.
When the final product is free of all impurities and has gained the proper amount of strength and resilience, it is then shaped into the signature curved shape for which all katana swords are identifiable.
Once the shape is perfect, the blade is sharpened. It is driven against a stone until a sharp edge emerges. The sword is nearly complete. Once the edge is finished, clay is applied to the back edge of the sword. The sword goes back into the forge for tempering. The clay along the back edge keeps the excessive heat from making the sword too brittle. This is what gives the katana its signature wavy line long the length of its blade. This way, the back of the blade is soft and resilient, yet the blade can hold an edge and is tough and unyielding.
Once the final tempering is concluded, the sword is sharpened again. This time, the sword takes on its final edge. It becomes razor sharp. The blade is then polished to a fine sheen. Abrasives are applied to the metal to produce a brilliant shine, which protects from corrosion.
The blade is now ready.
The remaining hardware is then made to fit. Each piece has purpose and meaning. Each piece hand crafted to fit only that blade.
The final product is then presented to its owner.
In ancient times, a samurai’s katana was considered his own soul. It’s like the Ranger’s creed, “without me, my weapon is useless, without my weapon, I am useless.”
To keep and maintain such a fine instrument, it must be constantly and carefully addressed. It must be sharpened and polished with singular attention. Its edge must be meticulously kept and its bright shine dutifully polished. The edge is kept by running the sword along a stone, removing all that dulls the edge. It is polished by applying gritty compounds to the metal and rubbed until the reflection is seen. Special kits are needed to properly sharpen and polish a sword.
A sword, the instrument of a warrior, is a beautiful and exquisite work of art, taking months to construct. It begins with a block of ordinary metal, and through repeated abuse, becomes an awe-inspiring work of art capable of vigorous and use. Eventually it will become the extension of its owner.
All you have endured to this point simply forge you into a useful instrument. You are strong, and sharp, and capable. You are all that your repeated heating and hammering have produced. You are not broken down by your past, you are forged into a beautiful work of art.
To maintain your usefulness, you must constantly keep yourself sharp. You must chip away at tiny pieces of yourself, those pieces that dull your edge. You must keep yourself polished, by enduring life’s abrasives until the best of you is shining for the world to see. Continued care for yourself prevents corrosion from the world.
You are a work of art. Your life is an extension of the tempering you have sustained. These events of your past are not meant to break you down, but to build you up. You are now stronger and more capable. Your edge cuts through life’s bullshit. Your strength prevents you from breaking when colliding with life’s challenges.
Keep yourself sharp and polished. Make yourself ready for use. By constantly ready, so your maker may take you up and put you to purpose.
You are beautiful and useful because you are forged by your life.
So mote it be.
Joe “Weeg” Weigant is a Holistic Health Practitioner and Empowerment Coach who specializes in combining physical bodywork, energy work, and metaphysical teaching to release trauma, reset the autonomic nervous system, and balance the energy systems of the body. This begins the healing process in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our lives. He encourages his clients to drop the white flag of victimhood and pick up the banner of empowerment.
Weeg is an herbalist who works with Pure Herbs Ltd. and Nature’s Sunshine to provide natural solutions and remedies.
Weeg teaches Karate, Tai Chi, Reiki Certification, as well as seminars and workshops in metaphysical and spiritual matters. Weeg is available for sessions at Tri State Holistic Wellness by appointment only.
Contact by text 812.568.5356, or Facebook Messenger to set an appointment.