Archive for the ‘Editorial’ Category

Twin Spinning Points of Doom… :D

Friday, November 6th, 2009

A while back, there was an interesting discussion on the Exotic Automatic Forums (http://exoticautomatic.com) about a rather cool weapon, or set of weapons, called Emeici or Emei Piercers (aka Emei Daggers). they are basically a set of steel rods, with sharp broadhead-like points on each end and a finger ring on a pivot attached at the center. Looky here:

Emei Piercers

Emei Piercers

Emeici are a traditional Chinese martial arts weapon, most notably practiced in Wu-Shu. The primary purpose of these weapons is obviously to speedily inflict deep puncture wounds, and in that regard, they are excellently designed.  The rods are of an extremely efficient design, in my opinion, very strong, but still extremely light and quick. I cannot fault that aspects of the design.

I’ve known of these weapons for a long time, and between the mechanical aspects of it’s design, and the rather visually impressive techniques typically used when wielding them, I cannot, argue they aren’t really, really cool. However in typical DarkBlader fashion, I cannot help but ask myself… What percentage of this kind of this “second kind” of cool is actually useful?

I have a lot of respect of traditional martial arts, the vast majority of my experience has been in TMAs, and so I see value in many of the traditional ways of doing things. *However* I have always found TMAs to have a rather unfortunate tendency towards the retention of outdated techniques and ideologies, and this weapon seems to be no exception.

[pro-player width=’320′ height=’240′ type=’video’]http://thedarkblade.com/wp-content/uploads/emeici.mp4[/pro-player]

Besides the obvious snafu of having an overenthusiastic martial artist pretty much admitting, on a nationally syndicated television series, that he is prone to the colloquial *bloodrage*, 😀  my point of contention is this: Does allowing the weapon to spin actually add any useful value to the use of the weapon besides the cool or intimidation factor? Or is it just for show?

If you ask a TMA what the practical benefits of being able to spin emeici around are, they will tell you it is helpful for confusing your opponent. They will argue that it allows quick switch ups, changes in direction, etc. And to some degree, this is true of most knives. The grip, the position of the edge or edges, the orientation of the point, etc. tell you things about how and where your opponent might strike.

But while the quick change-up explanation has merit, there are really only two grips that you can use with a set of emeici, between which you can perform any strike, to any target. So while this all sounds good in theory, I wouldn’t be looking predominantly at the position of the weapon to try and figure out where the next attack was going.

For spinning, double-ended stabbing weapons, since the spinning, by itself, does not really change any of those factors, methinks it would not matter so much. I don’t think I would be any more confused by the spinning than if it were being held still. I have yet to spar an Emeici wielding opponent, so my analysis may turn out to be entirely wrong, but…

What do you think? Anyone feel like weighing in on this one? Spinning Emeici: Mostly Show? Or Absolutely Go?

Emeici – [Chinatown Shop]

A primitive knife for the caveman in all of us…

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

SOG has built a reputation for themselves in the knife industry, and for good reason. They make a lot of good knives. They are also one of the many knife companies that subscribe to the idea of “tacticool” knife design. Meaning, they don’t just focus on making good tactical knives, but that they also try to give them some sex appeal too.

In general I cannot really complain about this way of thinking. Personally, I grade all of my blades on both functionality and aesthetics. I like knives that not only work well, but look cool. And being dead sexeh, or simply evil looking, certainly doesn’t hurt their grade in my book. 😀

However some folks occasionally tend to take it just a little bit too far…

SOG Fusion Jungle Primitive

SOG Fusion Jungle Primitive

Folks, meet Bob. Say hi Bob! My friend Bob here, is a SOG Fusion Jungle Primitive. “Wassat?” you say? Well, he’s a cave man. Or a cave knife. Actually a Cro-Magnon or prehistoric modern knife, to be exact. Yep. Prolly ought to be in a museum. With all the other primitive knives. But here he is. Looking us right in the eye, and trying to establish alpha knife dominance over the lowly pocket knives we all happen to be carrying. A modern day barbarian. Heh.

LOL OK, yes, perhaps I’m being a little mean. But it’s all in the name of a little fun. I don’t really mean anything by it. 🙂 The SOG jungle primitive is not actually a bad knife. In fact I think that, apart from one or two features that are minor pet peeves, it’s actually a great knife. I think they just kinda took the tacticool thinking to a bit of a new level. But not actually in an entirely bad way either.

Lets start with the kraton grip, which should be fairly grippy, even in adverse conditions. SOG went one better by molding an artistic faux knurling to the pattern of the kraton grip, (which they are calling a “Digi-Grip”… go figure)  that gets irregular at the top and bottom. Nice touch actually. The shape of the grip is also very nice, with a decent guard at the top, and ridges at the bottom and top of the inside curves to help increase traction. The pommel, protruding from the grip of this full tang blade has been given a small saw tooth finish. This, I am on the fence about, for reasons I’ll get to later.

The blade on the Jungle Primitive just drips with that second kind of cool (aka Tacticool). The blade is a large 9.5 in clip point, with lots of belly, a good combination for a survival blade. Just above the grip, the first inch and a half of the blade sports a serrated edge. Just above the grip, on the spine, we have a thumb recess with the same saw tooth pattern used on the pommel. Above that, a cute little divot for who knows what. And above that, we have my main pet peeve; a section of rearward facing saw teeth. Lots more on those later.

Obviously, this knife was designed with optimal grip for both gloved and bare handed users in mind. The size and the shape of the little saw teeth both on the thumb section on the spine, and on the pommel pretty much make that fairly clear. However I tend to think the design is perhaps biased a little too much towards the gloved users. The serrations seem overly large, like they would actually become tiresome against a bare thumb over long periods of use.

But that could just be me being a wuss. The other thing, is that the same pattern on the pommel makes sense if the knife is going to be used in a reverse “ice pick” grip, with the thumb over the pommel. Again, the saw teeth would provide added purchase for your gloved thumb, but would probably become very irritating against a bare thumb. Another concern would be that because a common use for the pommel is as a hammer, and there are some things that you might end up splitting instead of hammering, because those teeth would concentrate the force of each blow into a few very small points instead of  across the whole pommel.

Now as you can probably imagine, this is by no means a small knife. It is basically a knife modeled on the large, single knife only, survival role. As I’ve said in other posts, going this route is far from ideal, the ideal would be to carry a much larger heavy knife (a camp axe or a machete), and at least one small knife. However if you have to do it with just one, this would definitely fit the bill.

But now, if you all don’t mind, I’d like to vent about my one major pet peeve with this design: THOSE BLASTED SAW TEETH ON THE SPINE!!

The most hackle raising feature of this otherwise very cool knife was how the spine saw was implemented. Rather than put an actual saw blade on the spine, the folks at SOG opted for the much more difficult “dino tooth” option. They went back in time, grabbed some hapless velociraptor, performed an X-Men, Wolverine-style dental job to replace all of its teeth with steel, then pulled it’s newly transformed steel teeth out and stuck them on the back of this knife.

No. Really. That’s what they did. What? Don’t beleive me?

Ok, fine. Maybe they didn’t. But it certainly looks like it. Which wouldn’t be so bad, except that a velociraptors teeth are designed to help them catch and eat live prey. Not for SAWING WOOD. Do any of these knife makers actually ever look at a real wood saw any more? Seriously? Have you ever seen teeth like these on a wood saw? A hand saw? A folding wood saw? Branch cutting saw? Anyone? Why is it so hard for knife makers to get that oh, so simple little detail right?

I mean I can understand the cool of having the spine of your knife look like a hungry velociraptors jaw, but this knife is supposed to be a survival tool FIRST, and cool tool SECOND. Weapon/tool aesthetics aren’t called the SECOND kind of cool for nothing. Pro tip folks: Always get your basic design fully functional before you go designing in the sexy. OK?  Aaaaand… I’m done. End rant.

OK. To be fair, the knife is still quite evil. In a jungle primitive kind of way. My kind of aesthetic. And it will do most everything you might want it to do. Some things (such as sawing through wood) will require a little more effort than others. But it will get the job done. Just remember that if you are looking for a knife for survival purposes.

The way I see it, there’s the tool, and then there’s the cool. Sometimes you can have both the tool and the cool. Sometimes the cool overwhelms the tool. Me personally, especially for survival use, I prefer the tool to pwn the cool. Because if you are in a survival situation, the cool ain’t gonna get you through. It will be all about the tool… 🙂

Now say that 20 times fast. 😀

SOG Fusion Jungle Primitive – [eBladeStore]

A Combat Oriented Fighting Knife.

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Today I thought I’d talk a little about one of my favorite topics. Knife design. Specifically, knife designs for CQC purposes. In an earlier post, I spoke about one of my favorite classic fighting knife designs, the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife. The Fairbairn-Sykes knife is, in my opinion, one of the most versatile fighting knife designs ever developed.

The double edge allows for a very wide variety of grips and many more ways of cutting. The sharp, narrow point also makes it an excellent thrusting weapon, and the narrow 6 inch blade made it capable of deep organ strikes by a skilled combatant. However, as with everything, there are compromises and trade offs, and the FS fighting knife was no exception. The FS knife was made for one thing, and one thing only. Close quarters fighting.

In contrast to the vast majority of combat blades issued at the time, the FS knife was not a combat or survival knife. Compared to most other designs, it was much thinner, much lighter, and as a result much weaker. It’s point was more than enough for thrusting attacks during fights, but would never hold up to the abuse that a “combat” knife like a Ka-Bar, or a bowie, could handle.

And while the vase shaped, tapering, grip of the FS knife, with it’s circular cross section, was lighter, easier to control, and faster than other designs, it did not provide as much grip, and no real feedback about the position of the edges of the blade with respect to the grip. Certainly not show stoppers, since general purpose combat was not really what the FS knife was designed for, BUT… What if?

What if you could forge an FS style blade into something that could be taken into combat? What if you could change the design so that it was just a little more durable, maybe make it a little more suitable for general combat use, without losing all of the great things that makes it an excellent fighting blade? Well, in my humble opinion, I think you’d end up with this knife right here:

Ranger Stealth Kill - Shiva Ki Knives

Ranger Stealth Kill - Shiva Ki Knives

This is the Ranger Stealth Kill, by Shiva Ki knives. As you can see, this design has a lot in common with the traditional FS fighting knife. It is double edged, has a small but effective guard, has a vase shaped handle, and a sharp point. But that is where the similarities end.

This knife incorporates some changes to the design that, in my opinion, makes it a good compromise for a combat blade, as opposed to being simply a fighting blade. Lets start with the grip. In contrast to the FS design, the kraton grip on this knife is removable, wider, and flatter, and incorporates grooves, as well as a rounded flat pommel.

These simple design change allow for better control under hard use, and the wider, flattened grip provides much better feedback about what the knife is doing in your hand at any given point. The removable grip allows it to be cleaned or replaced quickly and easily in the field, and the flat pommel allows the knife to be used for hammering. These are all areas in which the original design was relatively deficient. But the changes don’t stop there.

The blade is also larger, at 8.75″ wider, and heavier, though perhaps not as heavy as it looks, since it also appears to be hollow ground, which would allow it to hold a rather wicked edge. And rather than the fairly sharp needle like point on the traditional FS design, this knife sports a spear point, which is considerably stronger, without giving up all that much in penetration power.

The resulting larger, heavier blade, while slower than the original, would be much more flexible as a general combat blade, and it’s added weight and size would make it capable of being used in a number of other roles, hammering, digging, punching through hard objects, light chopping duties etc. that would probably kill most of the knives that follow the original FS knife formula.

And of course, there’s one more thing. I think this knife is sexy. Perhaps not as sexy as some of the others I’ve posted about, but it certainly has a kind of rugged, no nonsense charm that I find intriguing. Now I’ll admit that for pure CQC purposes, a faster, smaller knife would be better. Thinner, lighter, blades are faster, more agile, and easier to control, while heavy knives tend to work against you.

However for a knife that you need to be a between a capable fighter, but not entirely useless as a general purpose combat knife, I think the Ranger stealth Kill is a very, very attractive design compromise. One of these days I will have to make one…

Ranger Stealth Kill – [Shiva Ki Knives]

The Most Awesomest Weapon EVAR!!

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
The Ultimate Weapon - The Spoon

The Ultimate Weapon - The Spoon

Hey. Don’t laugh. A spoon can be lethal. No really. You could cut someones heart out with a spoon… No, seriously… you could… <cough>..

Ok… I admit it. That was weak. Truth be told It’s been a long day, and I’ve not got enough juice to put together a decent post. So I’m cheating. And hoping by replacing a real post with a humorous one, you all will forget that there are supposed to be lots of long, sharp and pointy bits on the weapons I’m supposed to be posting about.

Come see me on Friday. I’ll have something better, I promise… no, really… I’m sorry… What can is say? Oh wait…

SPOOOOOOOOONN!!!!!!!! 😛

More Wolverine Claws – A Production Prop.

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Clearly, there is no lack of articles, props, models, replicas, and weapons, inspired by Wolverines infamous claws, in the world. And I will readily admit, without shame, of being guilty of adding to the never ending library of wolverine claw replica documentaries that currently exist.  In fact, you can read one of my original compendiums here.

But, as fate would have it, it does not end there. I’m about to add one more.Yes. And no. I will *nevar* tire of it. So deal. Here is yet another set of wolverine claws. But this design is actually a bit different from most of the others:

Wolverine Style Claws

Wolverine Style Claws

Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking: “Hey… hold on a second there Phyre… This looks like almost every other wolverine claw replica in existance…” Ok, yes. It does *look* like some of the others. But they are not entirely the same.

The thing is, Wolverines claws, at least as they are portrayed in the movies, have a very specific shape. So naturally, anyone who decided to make a pair based on the movie claws, would have to give the blades the same shape in order to maintain some semblance of authenticity. This is why they all look the same to some degree.

As a side note, if you were ever a fan of the X-Men, either from the comic book, or from the Saturday morning cartoons, you will remember that Wolverines claws have actually had a few different shapes, sometimes little swords, sometimes talons, sometimes simple curved reverse scimitars, to jagged bone, etc., All this in spite of the fact that they should never have changed shapes from the time they were installed. Except, of course, for the bone claws, which is canon in most Wolverine arcs. But I digress.

The point is, even though the blades are the same, the *grips* on almost every different iteration have been different. Some have been simple round bars, others have been knuckle dusters, others wooden dowels. So what makes this one special? Well no worries, I’ll tell you. Why? Because I’m helpful like that.

This one is different because this design is the first production design that I have come across that vrey closely matches the design of the prop actually used in the movies. Yep. This design looks like a much more cleanly finished version of the prop that Hugh Jackman wore in the X-Men movie:

Wolverine Claws - Bar Grip and Wire

Wolverine Claws - Bar Grip and Wire

As you can see, the original prop had the same blade basic blade profile, but had thick stiff wires that ran from each blade to a little metal bar that Hugh held in the palm of his hand. This design is almost exactly the same, except that on this replica, the grip is now a solid piece of steel, with wooden scales pinned to it, and instead of wire, it is connected as one piece to the blades via steel standoffs. All in beautifully polished steel.

But as nice as these are, this design, like many of the others, does have one major flaw. On the original prop, there were rear extensions on the blades, which were designed to fit snugly between Hugh Jackmans knuckles when he was wearing the claws, to make it look like they were coming out from between his knuckles.

Obviously this can’t be done with with mass produced reproductions, mostly because it is impossible to design a rear blade extension that would fit every hand. So replica manufacturers tend to resort to putting little nubs at the rear of each blade there instead. But the end result is always the same. They have to “stand off” the blades, in order to prevent those rear nubs from digging into the spaces between knuckles of the wearer.

However, it is largely a futile effort. For all but the smallest hands, if you ever hit anything while wearing these claws, those blade will rotated up back towards your hands, and those nubs *will* seek out, and mercilessly assault the soft and defenseless space between your knuckles. I ga-run-tee it. Those with smaller hands might be saved from the nubs attack. But you will *still* get finger wedgies from the metal blade stems. My advice? Don’t go all Wolverine crazy with these things on, bub. Your hands will thank you.

So there you have it. The first production replica of the original X-Men wolverine prop. Or as close to it as you can possibly get. Just remember. Just cause you got a set o’ claws don’t make you Wolverine, Bub.

Wolverine Style Claws – [True Swords]

Making Wolverine Claws – [Kris Abel’s Blog]

Phyreblade’s Ultimate Wolverine Claw Reference Guide – [The Dark Blade]

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