In a previous post, I wrote briefly about a very interesting weapon design. One that utilized a forward sweeping blade, as opposed to the traditional blade belly that curved outwards. In that post, I pointed out that there are good reasons why we generally do not generally use out ward curving blades. For one thing, a cut using an outward curving blade, would be difficult to achieve on a flat surface.
For whittling wood, it might be helpful, but because the shape of the edge would cause all of your cutting strokes would tend to want to pull the knife out of your hand, I think it would be a rather fatiguing design. However there is a specific knife style that utilizes just such a design, but in a way that makes it perfect for it’s intended use. And a wicked little knife it is. Ladies and germs, allow me to introduce you to: The Karambit.
Ain’t it a beaut? The Karambit (sometimes also called a Kerambit or Korambit) is of southeast Asian origin. Much like the Japanese kunai, it started off as a simple utility knife, used for household tasks, the southeast Asian equivalent of the American pocket knife, or hawkbill utility knife, and eventually ended up being used for self defense, and martial arts. However unlike these knives, the Karambit possesses a number of very interesting and unique design features.
The most noticeable feature is the large ring on the pommel of the knife, much like how many Kunai are depicted today. However that is where the similarities end. Karambits have a very pronounced reverse curve to the blade, and depending on the design, may have any number of other unique features as shown below:
Now that’s just a mean looking little knife. My kind of pocket knife. It would probably make your average pocket knife run screaming in terror. But that’s a plus in my book. Modern day Karambits come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some features are removed to meet the restrictions of local laws, and others simply a matter of tradition. Some are double edged, others are single. Some have rippers on the spine, others don’t.
However the things that are common to all karambits, is that characteristically curved blade, with an sharp inside edge, a grip, and the ring. And therein lies the beauty of this design. Remember before how I said that a concave blade design actually placed more drag on the knife in use? Well this design actually allows you to use that drag to your advantage.
That ring in the pommel gives the wielder a very solid purchase on the knife, allowing very strong cutting strokes, and even low pressure draw cuts, simply by laying the edge on a target and pulling the knife across by the ring. It is really quite an effective design. And, unlike like most over knives, you get a very secure forward and reverse grip.
Incidentally, I am not particularly impressed with those little mini blades on the spine, (aka rippers). At least the way I often seem them implemented. They are a very cool (and sinister looking) design feature, but most of them do not appear to be designed for maximum efficiency. But a properly designed set of rippers, shaped more like small sharp gut hooks, than flat chisels, could really do some damage. Kinda like this:
Nowadays, the Karambit is a fixture in several southeastern Asian martial arts, where it is used, with great effect, to inflict large numbers of superficial cuts, deep major artery cuts, joint or limb control, weapon defence, or any combination thereof. About the only weakness of the Karambit is that you have to learn a whole new set of techniques for fighting with it, because it does not work the same way a traditional straight bladed knife does. And there are so many more things you can do with a Karambit that you could not easily replicate with a regular knife, that you really need training in order to use it to it’s fullest potential.
However it is definitely a very cool tool. My kind of tool. In fact, I could see someone like… Riddick… using a karambit. It’s totally his style. I bet if we upsized the karambit to large knife proportions, this would probably be a much more effective weapon than the saber claws Riddick uses. Hmmm…
I think I’ve got an idea for this piece of steel I just so happen to have lying around. I’m off to the workshop. I have a karambit theory to test! 😀
That is the question of the day. An artist might say ” Make art.” A carpenter might say, “Make tools.” A metalworker might say “Lets build something!” A sword smith would say… well, you ca probably guess what a sword smith would say. But today I ran across an interesting blade, that seemed to be what a person would make if they knew they liked sharp edges, had a large steel blank, but just didn’t know what to make:
Yep. That’s pretty much it. Here’s how it was probably made. They took a steel blank, and hammered it into a rough, long strip. Then… they sat back and had a beer. That’s it. Yeah. OK, ok, so they probably heat treated/tempered it and as well. But beyond that, wrapping some cordage around the “grip” end of this piece of steel, and grinding a basic edge on it, that was probably pretty much the whole enchilada for this thing.
And look at that curved concave tip. What’s up with that? That is about the only aesthetic bit on this blade. I like simplicity and all, but I do have a limit. It’s a pretty high limit, but this thing just kinda tippy-toed over that line… If only just a little. Really, I don’t even know why they bothered with a sheath. It’s not like this blade needs protection from anything.
Maybe it’s to protect the other swords from having to be seen with this one. Not that any sword, (or human for that matter) should judge a book by it’s cover or anything, but you know how some of these high end blades get.
Steel can be so cruel… 0_o
Wow… It’s 2010 folks… 2010!
2009 just flew away… And didn’t even look back.I, for one, would like to thank the thousands of you that read this blog on a daily basis, believe me, I never thought I was writing anything that interesting. Well at least not to anyone but me… 😀 But I can’t say it hasn’t been rewarding. And to my regulars, I say Domo Arigatou Gozaimasu. Thank you very much! I will do my level best to continue to keep you all entertained in 2010!
And 2010 looks like it will be an auspicious year. It’s a nice round number, for one thing. And It has a movie named after it… though somehow I doubt the events in the movie will actually occur in real life… 😀 But either way, I think this is going to be an amazing year… I can just feel it in my smoldering bones. I’ve got some interesting projects planned, and I think you will all like them.
This will be the year of really, really, cool stuff. And I leave you with one such piece of cool to contemplate:
Awesome to 2010 and BEYOND!!!
Best wishes for the new year, from me, your perpetually fiery host, from the Realm of the Dark Blade! 😀
So, in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m taking a break from posting over the holidays. I’ll be back in full swing after the new year, but I just thought I’d post to wish you all a happy holidays.
And in celebration, I thought I’d throw in the most Christmassy kind of blade stuff I know of…
Samurai with Light Sabers!!
Have a Merry Holidays, (whatever that holiday may be for you!) and have a Happy New year!!
Konnichiwa! So I thought I’d try and come up with some clever title for this post, since both tigers and dragons are subjects, (in a matter of speaking) of this post. But, as you may probably have guessed by now, the only thing that kept popping into my head was “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” Yes. So I took the easy route. Pathetic isn’t it? I have no imagination. *sigh*
Anyway, today I thought I’d show you more great stuff from the site of NineDirections.com, as Matthew was kind enough to send me more pictures of his work. The first item on the list today are more pics of the Ninja Shuko (Tiger Claws) from the last post on the topic. First we have a really cool pic of the Shuko hand hoop being forged.
And here we have a couple of cool shuko just hanging out and acting all cool…
A pair of Shuko with their battle faces on… >: (
Enter the Shuko! LOL… OK, ok… I get it. Enough with the Shuko.
So how about… Dragons? Specifically Dragon Tails? Yeah, I thought so… Dragon Tails, also sometimes called Rope Darts or Dragons Tongues, are basically a small blade attached to length of rope anywhere from five to who-know-how-many feet in length.
They can be spun at great speeds, and controlled via cord or chain, can be used to cut or penetrate hard targets at distance. A rather intimidating weapon, indeed. I’ve always loved the rustic feel of raw sharpened steel, and Matthew at Nine Directions has, as usual, replicated the look beautifully.
So what we have here, folks, is a heavy slab of steel, with sharp edges, on a rope. You can’t beat that with a baseball bat. Yet another example of some excellent work by NineDirections!