I just adore this article by my pal Maria Alexander — “Why I Hate (Most) Photos and Drawings of Women with Swords.”
Read it. RIGHT NOW. I’ll wait.
There are dozens of tumblrs out there dedicated to babes-n-blades, and they could really all be called Women Holding Katana Wrong, Hot Chicks About to Maim Themselves or This Thing Isn’t Actually Sharp Is It, Tony? as it seems neither model nor photographer has any clue as to how said blades should be held.
And it’s unforgivable, too. What, you couldn’t find any reference anywhere? An old Red Sonja magazine drawn by Frank Thorne or five minutes of Crouching Tiger streaming on Netflix? No???
Well, in an effort to back Maria’s crusade, here’s some stills from the VN Sword Girls archive. These are from Japanese film and TV, where actresses were coached on brazenly theatrical pre-parry and/or post-strike poses based on centuries of stage and illustration traditions. The ways blades were held were not only credible (in a cinematic suspension of martial disbelief way, admittedly), they actually built character. A pile of thought was put into these grips, poses, and movements, and the effort shows.
Take notes, babe-n-blade-buffoons:
See, not that hard people. You can embrace either proper martial arts, OR proper cinematic posing geared for dramatic composition. Either one is going to yield a result better than a katana sheathed in cleavage, edge-side-inward. Oy…