Posts Tagged ‘Blunt’

Walk Softly… And carry a Sharp stick…

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

In a previous post, I made reference to a weapon called the Jitte, that is similar in many respects to an iron club. It is essentially a short iron or steel rod, with a guard, used by police in feudal Japan, in much the same way that a nightstick is used by law enforcement officers today. Except against swords. Yeah. I’m betting police work may probably have been a bit more nerve wracking back then….

Of course nowadays people have guns… Hmmm… Kinda begs the question: Which would you prefer: To be attacked by a sword and have defend yourself with a Jitte? Or be attacked by a gunman and draw your own gun in defense… Something to think about. Though I’m betting I know how most people will respond… 😀 But as usual I digress.

The reason this subject came up is because I thought I’d do a post on something that combines two of my favorite weapons into a single one. And is still somewhat practical for say… Home defense…?

Night Guardian Ninja Baton

Night Guardian Ninja Baton

[view full size]

Of course, as all good marketing folk are wont to do, the word “Ninja” had to find it’s way into the name for this weapon, as it’s a great selling buzz word these days. Not that a Ninja would never use something like this, but it’s just so… Unnecessary… *sigh*

But anyway, back to my review of the weapon… In case it isn’t clear what you are looking at here, I’ll spell it out for ya. It’s essentially a short narrow sword, looks almost like a bayonet in design, with a black blade, set in a knurled cylindrical brass (or copper colored alloy of unspecified origin) grip.

Now what is cool about this is that the sheath for this thing is actually also made of the same metal as the grip, and is threaded at the opening. The hilt of this weapon is also threaded, both at the transition from the ricasso to the (very small) circular guard (if it can even be called that), and also at the pommel.

This design allows the metal sheath to be screwed securely to the grip when closed, making it in effect a solid metal truncheon! Very cool stuff. In addition, the threads at the pommel allows you to screw the sheath in at the base of the sword, making a kind of extended grip bayonet.

So it’s kind of like a truncheon, with a little extra surprise for when a club just isn’t enough. Which is why I have two. Actually I got them a looong time ago when they first came out, but when I recently ran into some pics of them I had to post about it because I just love these things.

Of course they aren’t perfect. My one peeve with these is that, when closed you can hear the blade hitting the sheath when it is swung with any vigor. This kinda kills the stealth factor of it, and may be a by product of a rat tail tang construction. Which is a downer, because there really would be no reason to not make this a full tang blade. Except for cost, I suppose… But that is perhaps the only major flaw in the design.

But ultimately, I’ve always been a big fan of stick weapons, and swords, and with the metal sheath screwed on, this thing makes for a pretty mean and hefty truncheon. WITH a hidden sword. ALL in a glorious black finish. What’s not to love in a combination like that?

Night Guardian Ninja Baton – True Swords

Walk softly. And carry a big stick.

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Today I thought I’d talk about a very old weapon. The good old stick. Yes. You know, your basic tree branch. Club. Truncheon. Baton. Night stick. Yep. A blunt impact weapon. Yes, yes, yes, I know its not a bladed weapon. But I thought it was worth a post, especially since I recently ran across a reproduction of an interesting feudal Japanese variation of the ubiquitous stick, in the form of a class of weapons called Jutte.

Ikkakuryu Jitte (Wrapped Steel Grip)

Ikkakuryu Jitte (Wrapped Steel Grip)

Jutte or Jitte (ten-hand) are, for all intents and purposes, short steel clubs. But they are very special clubs. They are the medieval Japanese equivalent to the modern day billy club, or night stick. And they were engineered to be used defensively against one of the more lethal weapons of the era, the equally ubiquitous sword.

Ikkakuryu Jitte (Wood Grip)

Ikkakuryu Jitte (Wood Grip)

As you can see, the Jutte (or Jitte) is basically a steel club with a single, forward facing prong, called a Kagi. Much like a Sai, except with only one prong. Incidentally, a Sai is also a form of club. Not a dagger. But I’ll reserve that discussion for another post. Back to Jutte. The kagi on the wooden handled jitte above is oversized, as it was designed for sword catching practice with thick bladed wooden swords called boken. In essence a Jutte could be used to block or parry a sword strike, and then the prong could be used to trap, or even break, an attackers sword.

The beauty of the Jutte was that it could be used to subdue both armed and unarmed attackers in a nonlethal way. You could say it was one of the first nonlethal tactical police weapons. (Heh.) It was a versatile and effective. I daresay they would be as effective today (if not a little more intimidating) as it was back in feudal Japan, if our modern police force were of a mind to use them.

Something Orcish This Way Comes…

Friday, April 13th, 2007

And now for something… Different. Having recently watched the final episode of the Lord Of The Rings, I was reminded of a rather crude weapon that had been prominently featured in an earlier installment of the series. I speak of none other than the “scimitar” of the Uruk-Hai, the Great Black Orc.

Uruk-Hai Scimitar

Uruk-Hai Scimitar

The first thing that struck me was it’s deceptive apparent simplicity. At first glance you might think that this was a easy weapon to make, easily mass produced. And compared to pretty much every other sword in the movie, it certainly would be. But closer inspection reveals that it is not as simple as it appears. Nor is it a scimitar. Intrigued? Read on.

First look at the handle. The inside edge is semi-elliptical, with a secondary partial ellipse cut out of top to form a crude hilt. That alone would require more skill than I imagine your average orc could muster, and would be unnecessary anyway, since it was going to be wrapped, and issued to Uruk-Hai, who’s hands, I’m fairly certain, would not require any such coddling. Then there’s that weird reverse spike. Also unnecessary, in my oh, so humble opinion. I’m sure it was great for armor piercing, but given the strength of the blade and of the Uruk-Hai wielding it, I doubt they would have had any problems doing damage to, (or even through) armor with a few well-placed “Louisville slugger” type swings.

For it’s intended use, this “scimitar” could simply have been a straight slab of steel with one sharp chisel edge and a narrow, leather wrapped section at the base for a handle. But whoah! What’s this! It doesn’t really even have an edge! Gasp! What? They can make elliptical recesses, but can’t even put a working edge on the thing? And a Scimitar is supposed to have a curved blade. Do you see a curve in that blade? No. Ok, I get it now. A straight bar of unfinished steel, no edge, and a spike on the end. This isn’t a scimitar. ITS A SPIKED STEEL CLUB! LOL : )

I realize that I’m arguing the fine design points of a fictional blade designed to be wielded by a fictional creature and this is a movie prop after all. Whoever designed it was trying to design something primitive, brutal, dark and sinister, and though they took a step away from an entirely primitive theme and added some contemporary touches purely for marketing reasons, I still love the design. But there is a lesson to be learned here…

A scimitar, or, for that matter, any bladed weapon, is a much more complex tool than most realize. It is not enough that a weapon look like a weapon. They must be designed to meet the needs of the environment or task they will be faced with. This is often what separates a barely functional $100 blade from a quality $1000 blade. Of course I can’t afford a $1000 blade. Or I’m cheap. OK, just gimme the freakin’ club. Breathe a word about this to anyone and I’ll club ya…

Uruk-Hai Scimitar

A sword by any other name…

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

OK, so does anyone else name their favorite weapons? My family and friends have been known, on occasion, to ridicule me for naming some of my favorite weapons, (actually my car has a name also, but never mind all that : P) but is it really all that outrageous an idea?

Many cultures have named weapons of great cultural significance. It is an integral part of their cultural history and folklore. As An interesting side note, the swords of pretty much every major character in JRR Tolkiens Lord of the Rings had a name. If you’ve only watched the movie, you might have picked up on the major players, weapons wise, such as Narsil and, of course, Sting, however the list of named weapons of Middle-Earth is much longer than originally imagined.

Named weapons have actually been culturally defining, being characters in their own right. You have King Arthurs Excalibur. Thors hammer Mjolnir. The famous and infamous swords of Japans Masamune and Muramasa are well known to most sword aficionados and, not surprisingly, Many video game enthusiasts, as they have adopted many of these names. The list goes on, and on, and on, but I think you get the point. So take that ye naysayers!! Dunno if I’ve convinced anyone of my normalcy, (I’m prolly just wasting my time) but I kinda feel better about naming my blades… ; )

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