My life as a succession of borrowed swords:
If I hadn't been in a relationship with Dany, I probably wouldn't have followed him to the iaido dojo, where I was loaned two iaito in succession. The first was a short reproduction, chromed (yech), in a blonde wood saya (sheath), ill balanced and never intended for actual use . The second was much nicer, a gift to the dojo from one of the sensei we regularly brought out from Japan. It had faded purple tsukamaki (cord binding the hilt) and menuki (hilt decorations) in the shape of salmon. The gentleman who gave it to us was a keen fisherman.
If I hadn't done a fair amount of iaido, I probably wouldn't have tried fencing at the university club, where I discovered mostly that I have no talent for fencing. The highlight of my attempts was the scoring of one (1) point at the university games. I was only there 'cause they needed another warm female body to make up the numbers, and the parties were good. I was up against a chick who'd been a national rep for the UK or something like that. I was using borrowed electric gear and was completely intimidated.
She took a step back and left an opening for me to attack into. I was attempting to hide behind my foil at this point - an idea made more ridiculous by the fact that I've never been what you could call slim - and didn't have the foggiest idea what to do about this, except for maintaining distance. So I stepped forward, and continued to hide behind my foil. She repeated her maneuver. So did I. We did this two or three times more until she stepped backwards off the piste! I think this pissed her off a little, because she proceeded to beat the snot out of me.
After about a year it was a question of either buying my own gear, or moving on. I moved on. To aikido.
The aikido dojo had an entire rack of sword-analogues available for borrowing, but at this point, having been-there-done-that with iaido, I wasn't that interested in doing any more Japanese sword work than was strictly necessary. Usually people do this the other way 'round, going from aikido to iaido. I did eventually buy my own rather nice white oak bokken (wooden sword).
Also training in aikido were Susi and Gert, who eventually persuaded me to go to dance lessons with them. No swords involved in salsa - well not that I've encountered. It was good fun with a great bunch of people and I got pretty deeply involved with the club. Every so often the dance club would have a series of lessons in some other style, and it was here I first tried bellydance.
I've since moved to Wellington and joined another bellydance school and now I'm a member of a small performance troupe of bellydancers. Ten years, give or take, of martial arts and dance have left me with excellent posture and an unusual ability to balance stuff on my head. Now our teacher has grand plans for a show in August , and I have yet another borrowed sword, a really cheesy piece of music and a sword dance to choreograph.
I wonder what my next borrowed sword will bring.