Up Close with Ernest Emer­son

Knives Illustrated - - Personal Defense -

KI: We have spo­ken about your axe col­lec­tion be­fore. Do you mind telling us how big it is? EE: I have about 20 to 24 axes, all the way from Ne­an­derthal through Cro-magnon to Ne­olithic and bronze age, iron age and Vik­ing. KI: How long have you been col­lect­ing his­tor­i­cal axes? EE: It has been over 20 years or more that I have col­lected a lot of that stuff. KI: What got you started? EE: I col­lect an­tiq­ui­ties, which ba­si­cally started with Ro­man coins and stuff like that. As I be­came in­volved in the search for Ro­man coins, I found that there were other items that in­ter­ested me, like stat­ues, art­work and other an­tiq­ui­ties. Due to my taste for weapons, I be­came in­ter­ested in an­tique weapons, like the shep­herd’s sling, Greek ar­row­heads, Ne­olithic flaked ar­row­heads and stone—and then, of course, knives and swords. In my col­lec­tion, I have some very unique swords, such as a real Ro­man Gla­dius from about A.D. 144—from an area that be­came mod­ern Bul­garia—and sev­eral medieval swords that are over a thousand years old, with one that is over 2,000 years old. Also, in the col­lec­tion are sev­eral Cru­sader swords from the Le­vant re­gion.

KI: The head of your new Bat­tle Axe was mod­eled af­ter an old Vik­ing axe head you have in your col­lec­tion. Where did the haft de­sign come from? Is it his­tor­i­cal in de­sign as well?

EE: In re­gard to the haft, that came from my ex­pe­ri­ence of grow­ing up in the north woods of North­ern Wis­con­sin and us­ing axes from a young age—same pe­riod that I got my first Bar­low knife. I was al­ways work­ing with my fa­ther around the farm and be­came fa­mil­iar with what was com­fort­able and ef­fi­cient for this type of tool. So, it is not a his­tor­i­cal de­sign, just from ex­pe­ri­ence.

KI: What did you feel was the most im­por­tant fea­ture of the Vik­ing Axe that you wanted to make sure to cap­ture in the Bat­tle Axe?

EE: The most im­por­tant thing is the bal­ance in the swing and the com­fort in the hand. Much like a ma­chete, peo­ple don't un­der­stand that tak­ing one in your hand and swing­ing it a few times is not us­ing a ma­chete; you have to take it out and swing it for a cou­ple hours, cut­ting through jun­gle. Same with an axe; you use it for an ex­tended pe­riod of time. That is when you find what is most com­fort­able. KI: Have you ever had the op­por­tu­nity to travel to Nor­way and re­search the Vik­ings and their axe? EE: No, I have not. That is on my bucket list, but it has not hap­pened yet. KI: Do you plan to re­lease an in­struc­tional video on the Bat­tle Axe into your DVD edged train­ing li­brary? EE: I am think­ing about it. I def­i­nitely want to, but it is a mat­ter of time. I am very par­tic­u­lar about my train­ing sys­tems, so I want to take my time and make sure that every­thing is ap­pli­ca­ble to func­tional com­bat. It has to work and has to be some­thing that the av­er­age per­son can walk out the door and use.

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