Archive for the 'Indian' Category


Introducing: The Gun Katar

I’m not really into politics, however it appears that the Good ‘ol U. S. of A. is going to have it’s first African American President. Now while that is of itself a noteworthy and landmark occurrence, as the transition from slavery to presidency is no mean feat, I’m also hoping it will bring with it important changes. Like an improved economy. Reduced national deficits. Better international relationships. You know. Good Presidential stuff.

However we will just have to wait and see. Politicians are politicians after all, it doesn’t matter whether they are black or white, which is a fact many seem to have forgotten. The proof is in the pudding. Whatever that means… I never really liked pudding anyway. Only time will tell how well campaign promises equate to results…

Anyway, in honor of this momentous occasion, I thought I’d break out a beauty of a weapon I ran into a while back. I have done a few gunblade posts in the past, but none of them compare to the sweetness that is the Gun Katar:

Gun Katar

Gun Katar

[click image to view full size]

Is that not completely and uncompromisingly awesome? Now this is a weapon for which a Gun Kata would make practical sense. Yes, A Gun Kata. You know, that little gun dance that seemed to occur at random in the movie “Equilbrium”? The one with Christian Bale before he became the “Dark Knight? Yeah. That one. Go look up Gun Kata (not Katar) on the YouTubes or something. But I’m ranting here. Back to Gun Katar goodness.

What you are looking at here is a Katar, a traditional Indian punch dagger, primarily a thrusting  weapon, often designed to penetrate chain mail armored opponents. It has a thick wedge shaped blade, and unlike most other weapons, the blade is held vertically, by a grip and a set of side bars that sit at right angles to the blade.

Gun Katar - Side View

Gun Katar - Side View

[click image to view full size]

This one is a particularly ornate one, featuring some very intricate engravings. You can see an elephant and a boar on one side, as well as flowers, leaves in the center area where the blade emerges, and other traditional Indian adornments.

Gun Katar - Engravings

Gun Katar - Engravings

[click image to view full size]

Gun Katar - Engravings

Gun Katar - Engravings

[click image to view full size]

Like many other katar, this features a double bar center grip, with the traditional side bars that run down either side of the blade and acts as guard as well as added support for the weapon.

Gun Katar - Side Guards

Gun Katar - Side Guards

[click image to view full size]

Under normal circumstances, that would be the sum total of the design of a traditional Katar. Except this one takes quite a hike from the traditional beaten Katar path. This Katar is loaded. With black powder. A double charge no less… 🙂

Gun Katar - Flintlock Pistol Barrel

Gun Katar - Flintlock Pistol Barrel

[click image to view full size]

This Katar is sporting a pair of flint lock pistols, one attached to either side of the weapon. If you look closely at the grip, you can see a pair of triggers recessed into the front bar, one at the top and one at the bottom.

Gun Katar - Flintlock Pistol Triggers

Gun Katar - Flintlock Pistol Triggers

[click image to view full size]

As you can probably imagine, a person wielding this in battle would have a healthy advantage over your poorly equipped standard Katar wielding schlub. I can just imagine how confrontations with the original owner of this weapon would have ended. Indiana Jones style.

I love weapons that make the old saying: “never bring a knife to a gun fight.” redundant… 😉

Anyway I thought this was a cool weapon for a special day… There are one or two more pics at the link after the jump. Here’s to great things in our future… 🙂


Gun Katar – []


An Interesting Mughal Blade…

A while back, I had a reader ask for some information on Mughal period weaponry. Not knowing too much about it, I did some reading up and found that the Mughal period was a historic period in India that ran roughly from the 16th to 19th Century, where a large portion of the Indian subcontinent of Asia was ruled by Islamic Imperialists.

However I also quickly discovered that the Mughal period covered waaaay too much time and encompassed a large a geographical area that sported too many different but entirely indigenous weapon designs for me to single any specific one out. So due to my rather dwindling time resources, I wasn’t able to be much help (for which I apologize).

However during my travails, I did manage to turn up one rather unusual supposed example of Mughal weaponry:

The Sword of the Mughals

The Sword of the Mughals

This sword features a damascus blade that starts out fairly straight, but curves mildly towards the tip into a rather wicked looking point. The spine of the sword follows suit, except for the top third, which looks a lot like it was cut down from a much larger, wider deeply curved scimitar.

The hilt is also unusual for a Persian blade, featuring no cross guard, and almost straight grip, but a reverse curving pommel, molded into the head of a stallion. Overall an interesting (if a little perplexing) study in Persian weapon design.

This blade is an interesting mix of flavors, part scimitar, part broadsword, with an unusual hilt design. The weapon, as a whole seems to match little of the historical weapon patterns of the area that I’m aware of, but instead seems to be a variation of a mix of different Persian weapon styles that have themselves been modified.

As an example of Mughal style weaponry, I must admit to being a bit flummoxed by the design. Most of the authentic historical weapons I came across when I was doing my initial research on the topic, bore significant differences in design.

I’m tempted to say this is another fanciful but failed attempt by an overzealous weapon designer to create a historical Mughal blade with generous helpings of creative license thrown into the design process. But being no expert in Mughal specific blades, who knows…

But no matter. It does not look bad on it’s own merits, even if it’s just a little too tame by my standards…

The Sword of the Mughals – [Realm Collections]


More Kooky Khukuris…

In the comments of the post before last, I was asked by a friend what kind of sword I would pick for personal defense/offense were the world to be suddenly plunged into a post apocalyptic state where firearms no longer worked. My answer?: A Japanese Katana.

However it was a rather incomplete answer. In reality, I would not be limited to 1 weapon, and even if we retained the artificial “no firearms” limitation there would still be quite a number of considerations that would go into how many weapons I would carry and which ones. It is a topic I think worthy of a dedicated post.

However today, I thought I’d talk about one of the specific kinds of knives I might carry around with me for utility and defense purposes. Namely, a Gurkha Khukuri (aka Kukri) . Or a variation thereof:

Alice’s Khukuri

Alice's Kukri
[view full size]

Now the observant movie going folk among you might be asking: “Isn’t that emblem on the blade from “The Umbrella Coporation”?” Indeed it is. And the reason is because this particular Khukuri is a replica of the pair of Khukuri used by Milla Jovovichs character “Alice” from the “Resident Evil: Extinction” movie. In the movie, she worked those Khukuri like there was no tomorrow. I suppose it would be accurate to say she was trying to ensure that there actually was a tomorrow, and being suitably motivated to do so, well, I’m sure you get the picture… 🙂

Interestingly, the Khukuri has made an appearance in other post apocalyptic movies, such as “Cyborg” (one of Jean Claude Van Damme’s characters favorite weapons) and “Waterworld” (Kevin Costners “Mariner” used one to rather terminal effect). Now while the movies are a great (but sometimes unrealistic) showcase for the Khukuris flexibility, there are actually a lot of good real world reasons why a Khukuri would be a great blade to have as part of your arsenal in a post apocalyptic world.

The Khukuri is actually a very flexible and capable weapon design. It is a large knife with a stout spine, that carries all of it’s weight at the top half of a forward canted blade, making it an excellent chopping tool. But the unusually angled top half of the blade still retains a strong, sweeping cutting edge, so it is also a great cutting weapon, though not in the same way that a Katana is. And while thrusting isn’t really it’s forte, it does have enough point to be used for stabbing action. Although some of the more contemporary designs marginalize that particular weakness:

Kukrage (Paul Ehlers)

Paul Ehlers
[view full size]

Notice the sharp point, the knuckle guard, the saw back spine? Most of these features you’d find on your average survival knife. But here they are in Khukuri form. And its all black! Ha! Now this is a Khukuri I’d love to have, come the apocalypse!!

Yet an additional advantage of the Khukuri is it’s packaging. It is actually a fairly compact design, for what it can do. It is shorter and than a machete, but because of it’s stout, top heavy design, can be used like one. And it’s rugged build would make it suitable for the many tasks that you would not want to abuse a Katana blade with. A large bowie knife might also have fit this bill, but, no offense to the bowie purists among you, a Khukuri just feels balanced better to me, and looks a whole lot cooler… 😛

So while it might not be my primary combat blade, it would certainly be a great utility blade. With offensive capabilities. A good all around, general purpose blade. I’d never leave home without it… 😉


The Truth About Cats And… Tigers.

Today I thought I’d talk about hand claws related to animals other than Wolverines… Yeah. No more Wolvie. Unless I find something new. What can I say. Oh Come ON. Just let it go…

Anyway, many ninja hand weapons are often confused with one another and incorrectly described, so I thought I’d take a crack at sorting them out. Let me formally introduce: the Bagh Nakh, Neko-Te, Shuko and Tekko-Kagi. Just a quick warning before you dive in. You may want to grab a cup of coffee…

Bagh Nakh
First off we have the Bagh Nakh, also sometimes called the Wagh Nakh, whose heritage is the least obscured, but whose name is often incorrectly used to describe Tekagi. The Bagh Nakh is a weapon of Indian heritage, intended to replicate the damage that a tiger would inflict on your average unsuspecting jungle meal.

Bagh Nakh

A Bagh Nakh
[view full size]

Anyway, as you can see, it is essentially a set of claws attached to a bar with loops for the fingers. The version above with the knife blade attached is called the Bich’Hwa Bagh Nakh. In contrast to how it is often portrayed, (and it seems to be portrayed and described incorrectly in a lot of otherwise reputable places) it is not a set of over-the-hand claws, nor was it likely to have been worn with the claws out over the knuckles.

Rather, I believe that is held in the hand, supported by the thumb and pinky, with the claws facing outward from the palm, and the basic traditional designs all appear to confirm this to be the case. If you look at the various forms of Bagh Nakh, you will see than it includes a few different forms, many with a blades that extend laterally out from the side of the weapon, in addition to the claws.

Two Different Bagh Nakh Designs

Left – Bich’wha Bagh Nakh. Right – Regular Bagh Nakh

Bagh Nakh 1Bagh Nakh 2
[The Forest Hermit (Japanese site)]

This tells me that they the bar was intended to serve a dual purpose as both the knife handle and the claw holder, and would therefore be held in the palm of the hand. Not to mention that many Bagh Nakh designs are near impossible to wield with the bar over the knuckles. From this we can assume that it was used with the claws projecting out from the palm. The same grip would likely have been used for both forms, with or without the original blade.

A simple Bagh Nakh

A Simple Bagh Nakh
[view full size]

The Bagh Nakh is an excellent weapon for open hand clawing or raking attacks, as well as open hand slaps, and is very effective at tearing flesh. The best targets for this weapon would be the eyes and face, though any soft target would work.

Next up is the Shuko. Shuko, or “Tiger Claws” is the Japanese equivalent of the Bagh Nakh, and is one of the trademark weapons of the Togakure Ryu, which is believed to be the oldest school of Ninjitsu. This weapon employs a similar claw design, except for the way it is held and supported. Much like the Bagh Nakh, this name has also been used, incorrectly, to refer to Tekagi or Neko-Te.

Ninja Shuko

Ninja Shuko - Tiger Claws
[view full size]

Unlike the Bagh Nakh however, it is supported by a steel band that goes around the entire hand, as well as a strap that fastens it to the wrist of the wearer. This extra support mechanism allows it to be used in ways the Bagh Nakh cannot, such as for climbing walls and trees, where it was usually used in conjunction with Ashiko or Ninja foot spikes. My guess however would be that commercial versions would be lacking and many would have to make a pair custom fit to your hand size, and appropriately padded, in order to comfortably use it for wall climbing duty.

Wearing Ninja Shuko

Wearing Ninja Shuko
[view full size]

It would, in theory, also allow for much more powerful raking attacks to harder and tougher targets, like boney parts of the body and ligaments. This hand weapon is also often incorrectly referred to as Neko-Te, (even I have been guilty of this) but as I found out, the Neko-Te is a completely different weapon.

Neko-Te, or (literally translated) “Cat Hands” are traditionally small steel blades attached to the fingers using a band, usually of leather. Another weapon that is often confused with the Shuko and Bagh Nakh, these are actually steel claws designed to become clawed extensions of the fingertips of the wearer. Much like cat womans claws.


Neko-Te -

The most common references to Neko-Te are as the favored claw weapon of Kunoichi (female ninjas). They were primarily used for distraction, but could be made lethal by poisoning the blades.


Neko-te -
[view full size]

The use of Neko-Te would be almost exclusively limited to soft targets such as the eyes, throat, groin, etc. Especially since finger strength would be a limiting factor in the amount of power a Neko-Te user could generate.

Last, but certainly not least, we have the Tekko-Kagi (or Tekagi), which I talked about in my first Wolverine post. This is the only verifiable example I could find of a hand claw that employed claws located above the hand, like Wolverines claws. Most versions of this weapon are supported by both the wrist and the hand, and would have been used with the fist closed, either as a punch blade type weapon, or closed fist rake, depending on the claws configuration.


Tekko-Kagi - Over the hand Claws
[view full size]

It was generally used to attack and disarm sword wielding opponents. Of the weapons here, this is the only one that could have been used against hard targets, and I believe it could have been built strong enough to handle the amount of force required to even punch through light armor, (not to mention it is the closest design to good old Wolvies’ claws, making it one of my faves) though sadly, I have not seen any evidence that it was ever used in this fashion.


Tekko Kagi - Warrior Quest Armory
[view full size]

And thats about the size of it. I often see these names used interchangeably, however after doing a lot of reading about each of them, I realized that they each refer to a completely different weapon, and thought I’d share… Hopefully your head hasn’t exploded…

Bagh Nakh – [Brighton & Hove Museum]
Bagh Nakh – [The Forest Hermit (JP)]
Bagh Nakh – [Therion Arms]
Bagh Nakh – [ (IT)]
Shuko – [Ninja Dynasty]
Neko-Te – [Warrior Quest]
Neko-Te – []
Tekko-Kagi – [Mark C. Barrett]
Tekko-Kagi – [Iga Ninja Museum]
Tekko-Kagi – [Warrior Quest]


A Bewitching Blade!

Today we get to talk about yet another unique blade, wielded by an equally deadly siren of comic and film. Here is the gauntlet blade from the live action TV series Witchblade:

The Witchblade

Now having actually read a few of the comics that the Sara Pezzini character (played by Yancey Butler) was based on, I have to say that the live action TV series sucked all of the freakin’ “witch” out of the “WitchBlade“. The comic book Witchblade was awesome purely because of the sheer versatility and resulting coolness of the Witchblades armor.

In the comic, when activated, the WitchBlade protected it’s wearer with a kind of H. R. Gigeresque organic armor, which could make scorpion fish-like spines, blades and whatnot emanate from the arms, hands back, legs, shoulders, etc. Much like the comic book Spawn armor, except the Spawn movie got the armor right (with the help of a lot of CGI effects). The Witchblade armor could be mentally willed to form bladed appendages and weapons of various forms, as well as fire energy blasts, darts, etc. Just episode after sweet episode of sheer, unadulterated wearable wickedness.

Witchblade Full

So, given a chance to make a live action version of this marvel of comic book weaponry, what do they do? Bollox it up. As you can see from the pic above, in their infinite wisdom, they turned the glorious Witchblade into little more than a medieval suit of armour, with what can only be described as a rather simple gauntlet sword as it’s primary weapon. Pointless. Silly. Bah! What a waste. Yeah, yeah, the blade gauntlet could retract into a small unobtrusive bracelet. Big Whup. For all it’s usefulness as a sword, they might just as well have given her a rapier and said “have at it!” against the baddies. Compared to the immense flexibility, power and, more importantly, the unique aesthetic presence of the comic book Witchblade armor, this was a point of great disappointment for me.

But considering the amount of CGI it would have required to make comic book accurate, Spawn-like WitchBlade transition sequences every episode, coupled with the fact that, in order to be comic book accurate, Ms. Butler may have been required to run around half nekkid with naught but some very cool (albeit sparse) prosthetic biomechanical armor to keep her warm on many a cold NY night, I can see why they chose to take the brain-dead route. However, as irksome as this all is, there is a silver lining, in that it makes an excellent segue into a look at a very similar traditional blade, called the Pata:

Pata Gauntlet Sword
[view full size]

The Pata is a sword gauntlet from northern India which, As you can see, bears an uncanny resemblance to the live action WitchBlade sword. However, unlike the WitchBlade weapon, the Pata is not a full hand gauntlet. It simply covers the top of the hand and forearm. As you can see, the handle is set in the middle of the semi-spherical hand guard, and a brace at the top of the forearm guard helps gives the wielder better control of the weapon.

Pata handle and GuardPata In Use
[view full size] – [view full size]

Perhaps not as convenient as a blade gauntlet that retracts into a small bracelet, (a-la-the movie WitchBlade), but it would probably a safe assumption that it’s fairly lethal in it’s own right. And did I mention that this particular Pata had a blade of damascus steel? A dark, stylish and sinister blade. What more could one ask for? Well, actually a proper, well made, CGI enhanced live-action Witchblade movie, for one thing. But I’d settle for a Pata. Heh. I’m easy like that.


Another Whip Sword…

Today I’ll be introducing you to a new kind of whip sword which, unlike the ninja blade whip I blogged about earlier, is actually much, much closer to a real whip in it’s design. This is a weapon of the Indian martial art Kalarippayattu, which is said by some to be one of the oldest. However our interest for today is not the etymology of Kalarippayattu, but rather a very unique weapon used in the art. Say hi to the wicked Urumi/Chuttuval:


Urumi Chuttuval
[view full size]

This ultra-flexible sword is called the Urumi in the Northern System of Kalarippayattu and Chuttuval in the Southern System. It is little more than a long strip of flexible steel, usually about four or five feet long, and between three quarters of an inch to an inch thick. As you can see, this sword could easily qualify for bull whip duty, and being made of steel, would probably be a good sight more lethal too. As if that weren’t enough, there are varieties of this weapon that incorporate multiple blades, like a cat-o’-nine-tails, for added lethality.

Multi Bladed Urumi Sword

Now my admittedly calculated guess would be that this is probably a very difficult weapon to learn to use correctly (read safely but effectively), likely many times more so than a whip. I suppose it goes without saying that mistakes with this weapon could be very costly to, for instance, a practitioners calves, eyes, ears, nose or other valuable extremities.

Practicing with two multi-bladed Urumi

A Kalarippayattu artist with a Urumi

To my untrained eye, it looks to me like the guy in the little movie above seems a little scared of his own Urumi. 🙂 But apparently even seasoned professionals still have to be very careful with it. Me personally, I would constantly be worried about the blade fatiguing at the point where it is attached to the handle, as that would most likely be the area that would experience the most frequent of high angle flexing during daily use. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take much to see that a seasoned Kalarippayattu practitioner equipped with a pair of multi-bladed urumi would make a formidable opponent, even against multiple opponents. Unless they all also had urumi. Then it might suck to be you.

Sparring with Chuttuval

Two Practicing with a Chuttuval
[view full size]

But I’m sure it’s disadvantages become moot once you’ve mastered it and can swing it around effortlessly like an evil steel bull whip of death… Add to that the fact that it can be coiled and worn like a belt, and its like the ultimate stealth weapon!! You know, the kind of weapon that would elicit an aghast “What the…” from an unfortunate would-be opponent as you slowly uncoiled it from your waist, swinging it to the side with an ominous pinging “WHAP” to straighten it out…

July 2019
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