Friday, April 10, 2015

Sharp is safe

A sharp knife is a safe knife. You're less likely to force through, it's less likely to buckle and, if you get cut, you heal much better. Much. Really.

In the knife-using circles I've known, those points above are so basic, they're often not even told. The same way you're not told your feet touch the ground.

Remember the kid from last week? Thanks to him, I found an interesting site on teaching knife-use to kids.

It's interesting. Because it's mostly about empowerment, respect, some family bonding... All those nice things when you apply them to abstract knowledge, but oh so scary when you put a knife in a kid's hands.

Some years ago, I was talking with a senior field officer in the Spanish army. He mentioned that he'd rather hire a climber than a soccer player. All that being up there hanging from a rope gave a calm and introspection that soccer simply didn't, even before you accounted for the frequent association between soccer and violence.

What I'm finding is a certain correlation between people who're comfortable around knives (may or may not carry them, or even know their knives, depending on their background) and people who're comfortable with themselves.

And I think on the 1001 ways I use a knife... not quite daily. And I think about the 1001 ways society is trying to teach that kid to misuse knives, to fear them... (Insisting on dull knives and teaching him to play with them; fussing around him when there are knives in the open, to the point of blocking his parents' access in case of an accident; and so on) A kid that knew how to handle knives before he could walk, who keeps trying to help in the kitchen, slicing included (and the reason for his father's search; he finally got one). A kid a goodly part of society can't accept as a responsible "adult-in-making" and tries to dumb down.

And society usually wins. And then we complain that "kids these days", that "most people can't", that "this thing is too sharp". When, really, what happens is that we've been dulled down.

Take care.

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