What’s your thing: Ashley Gorczany

Senior Ashley Gorczany poses with her brides sword from Kill Bill. Although weapon collecting has recently become a hobby of Gorzany, she has enjoyed her experience learning about the weapons use and background.
Senior Ashley Gorczany poses with her bride’s sword from Kill Bill. Although weapon collecting has recently become a hobby of Gorzany, she has enjoyed her experience learning about the weapon’s use and background.
photo by Ashley Gorczany

When senior Ashley Gorczany mentions her hobby—weapon collecting—people’s first reaction is usually shock. An uncommon hobby for anyone, especially high school students, weapon collecting gets strong reactions. Still, Gorczany finds people’s shock amusing and understandable since many associate weapons with violence. 

As a child, Gorczany grew up seeing displays of swords, shurikens and short knives around the house. Her dad’s collection includes a Katana, Tanto and aWakizashi on a stand near his office and three other swords hanging up on the wall. He has been collecting weapons since she was little, and although she was only allowed to see them from a distance, she quickly became fascinated with the collection.

Her intrigue comes from a perspective of culture. She is fascinated with the cultural aspects of weaponry, specifically metal work and the way it was developed.

“People don’t realize that weapons are used for more than just attacking—they are used for knighting people, for cultural rituals, as tools to farm and much more,” Gorczany said. “So usually when I am looking or researching about different swords I am intrigued to look at the background of the weapon first.”

People don’t realize that weapons are used for more than just attacking, they are used for knighting people, for cultural rituals, as tools to farm and much more. So usually when I am looking or researching about different swords I am intrigued to look at the background of the weapon first.

— Senior, Ashley Gorczany

Currently, Gorczany only has two swords in her collection. Her first sword was a Tachi sword that was a birthday present from her dad. The second sword is a bride’s sword from Kill Bill. She started her hobby last year, but is continuing to save money for a third sword— a Greek xiphos. In the meantime, the search to find a good quality sword continues. For her two swords Gorczany estimates the value of over $300. While her hobby is costly, Gorczany believes the hardest part of it is the actual search for the weapon. 

“Any time before I buy a sword or weapon I want to understand the significance behind it, how it was used, why it was used and details like that because I feel like it is very important to connect with the piece before getting it,” Gorczany said “ Truthfully,  [buying swords] is not as easy as walking to a store and getting a top…you need to really find niche websites and take a lot of care to make sure the seller is legit.”

Thanks to her hobby, Gorczany has also become closer to her dad. She is able to talk to him and connect with him more than she previously had.

“He gave me an odd but cool way to appreciate different cultures, and now we have more to talk about and kind of geek out together,” Gorczany said.

Gorczany’s final goal is to expand her collection of weapons and start collecting different metal works like short knives and short swords. She wants to have enough weapons to have a display room dedicated to them with explanations of their cultural background as well as the main way to use them.

“Because I was really young when I was first exposed to these types of weapons I really couldn’t focus on the violent aspect of weapons so I naturally explored more of the culture which has allowed me to have a greater appreciation of the weapon as a whole,” Gorczany said.

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