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While swords played a pivotal role in the early days of the FVZA, they fell out of favor in the first half of the 20th Century due to the advent of more advanced weaponry and a decline in the swordmaking arts. Fortunately, the Agency was able to contract with the distinguished Hideyoshi family from Rokugan, Japan, to make swords for them. The Hideyoshi were brilliant artisans who created beautifully balanced weapons that never failed in combat.

In the FVZA, only Shadows were permitted to carry swords. Selecting a sword for combat was a highly personal matter, based on the individual agent's size and physical attributes and the type of mission. For instance, a mission to erase a disorganized group of zombies roaming in an open field required different weaponry than a night patrol in a small building against an experienced vampire pack. Below are a few of the more popular bladed weapons for undead fighting.

Double-edged katana This Japanese sword, with its long, curved blade, was the preferred sword for fighting multiple vampires or zombies in close quarters. The sword was quite fast, very sharp and, at 35 inches long, could keep the undead out of their effective fighting range. The katana also was a good-looking sword, with its polished brass blade collar and ray-skin-covered hilt wrapped with black cord in the traditional cross-over style. Although light and fast, the katana still packed plenty of punch: it was capable of severing a 7-inch-thick piece of bamboo with a single stroke.

Jian sword This Chinese sword was longer and heavier than the katana. It had a straight blade that terminated in a strong point useful for stabbing, and also was good for cutting and slashing. Although the Jian generally was more difficult to handle than the katana, some agents preferred it for decapitating vampires. Agents liked this sword for daytime raids against vampires, when assault teams were less likely to become surrounded.

The Great Scimitar The crescent shaped Asiatic saber was not for everybody, as its large size, heavy weight and rather unwieldy blade made it impractical in most situations. However, if you encountered a lone zombie out in the field, there was no better sword with which to chop it in half.

The Double Stiletto While technically not a sword, the double stiletto was a personal favorite of mine for bladed combat. The weapon attached to one's forearms with straps (A) while the stiletto was concealed in a spring-loaded cartridge (B). If attacked, an agent could deploy each stiletto by pressing buttons on the handles (C). Once deployed, the knives (D) became like an extension of your hand, and it was easier to keep attackers at bay.

Swordfighting Primer: Part I

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