It’s a sword. Hold it like one, dammit!

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 WrongHot 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:

Yuriko Hoshi from SENGOKU YARO strikes a confident “I’m a woman and I KNOW how to use this chisa-katana dammit!” pose that makes a band of ninja think about their next move for a second before rushing into their inevitable deaths.
This is Sonny Chiba’s well-schooled action-star daughter Juri Manase, striking a gorgeous ‘Z’ pose. Note how safely AWAY FROM HER DAMN BODY that blade is, gents.
Akiko Kujo in the LION MARU television series used her athleticism and dancer-honed posing to create an equally attractive and deadly female warrior that spent more time killing skull-ninja than she did suffering the usual capture predicaments and damsel-in-distress nonsense seemingly required in TV sidekicks.
Hizuno Takachiho from CASTLE OF OWLS block a full-on katana strike from a man twice her size using a firm grip and the sheath from her hidden umbrella blade for leverage.
Junko Miyazono’s post-strike posing was just phenomenal in the QUICK DRAW OKATSU flicks. Nice extension and follow through…
Reiko Oshida’s character in the same film specializes in breaking up gambling dens, thus she uses a short sword and firm reverse grip for close quarters combat. And looks damn cute doing it, too!
This one… this one’s from PORN! Even porn stars have better blade skills than you, you dweebs! NINJA PUSSY CAT knows how to plant a tanto in your bitch ass.

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…