Bending a Blade with Bare Hands

JK is a first generation Korean American from Durham, North Carolina. He is a spring-admit freshman at USC who is currently undecided.

“This is a story passed down in my family. My grandfather came from a wealthy landowning background in Korea. His family at one point were the lords of a small town in the mountains. One year there was a series of bandit raids and the leader of that group came to my great-great-something grandfather. He asked for his land and said if he didn’t give it to him, the bandit would seize the village by force. At the meeting my great-great-something grandfather mentioned the bandit had a nice sword and asked to see it. The bandit agreed and allowed him to hold it. My great-great-something grandfather then, while admiring the blade, bent it in half with his bare hands. The bandits then left and never came back.”

I thought this piece was pretty unique because it is a story specifically passed down within a family, as opposed to one that has circulated within a larger community. The story highlights the qualities such as bravery and strength of the “great-great-something grandfather” and seems to be a revered one to have passed down so many generations. In some sense it also suggests that these qualities also run in the family and can inspire younger generations.