View Single Post
Old 22nd December 2017, 10:42 PM   #15
Timo Nieminen
Timo Nieminen's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 415

I can see where people might get the idea from. I'm often impressed by the quality of the metalwork on Moro blades. Laminated construction so that a soft body supports a very hard edge and stops cracks from spreading when that very hard edge cracks in use, superb sharp long-lasting edges. Often decorative pattern-welding. The construction quality of the blades, and their artistry, is on a par with that of excellent Japanese katana, superb early Medieval pattern-welded swords, and top-quality Chinese swords (harder to compare objectively with crucible steel/wootz swords, since they're made quite differently, but you could add them too). Since Japanese blades are often of such quality that they attract "these are the best blades in the whole world" fanboyism, it shouldn't be too surprising to see similar for Moro swords. Of course, one also needs some ignorance of the quality of other people's excellent swords, and it's helped along by a good dose of nationalism and/or racism (including 2nd hand nationalism/racism).

That said, there are Luzon and Visayan blades with that same level of quality. What do these people compare? Are they comparing superb 19th century Moro blades with post WW2 tourist bolos? I know I haven't been impressed by the average quality of the post-WW2 Moro kris (including tourist specials). Is it just the magic of "Moro"? (Note that a significant part of arnis/escrima/kali is marketed as "Moro", at least implicitly, with practitioners posing for photos with kris or barong in hand, despite this family of martial arts being historically anti-Moro.)

For sure, a statement like "the only effective Filipino blades are almost exclusively, if not literally exclusively, Moro blades" is not true. While some cheap bolos are junk, many are excellent work knives. If somebody's grandmother has used her Igorot bolo as a work knife for decades and it's still going strong, it is certainly an effective blade. One could, as a matter of taste, condemn it as ugly, but to call it ineffective, weak, soft, fragile, junk, or such - not at all. Same thing for many other work knives. (Tourist knives/swords, OTOH, are often of rather poor quality.)
Timo Nieminen is offline   Reply With Quote