Posts Tagged ‘Claws’

Of Dragon Tails and Tigers claws

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

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 wasย  “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.

Shuko - Forging the Hand Hoop

Shuko - Forging the Hand Hoop

And here we have a couple of cool shuko just hanging out and acting all cool…

Ninja Shuko (Toger Claws) - Just Hanging Out

Ninja Shuko (Toger Claws) - Just Hanging Out

A pair of Shuko with their battle faces on… >: (

Shuko - Claws Out!

Shuko - Claws Out!

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.

Dragons Tail

Dragons Tail

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.

Dragons Tail - Edge

Dragons Tail - Edge

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!

Dragons Tail – [Nine Directions]

Ninja Shuko – [Nine Directions]

Steel Hands of Shadow… Tekko-Kagi Revisited!

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Not too long ago I posted about of my favorite Ninja tool, the Tekko-Kagi, (or Tekagi), featuring an outstanding example of workmanship by one of my readers, Matthew Wright (who posts here as Mangetsu) of NineDirections.com. I have always been particularly impressed with the authenticity of his work, however he recently put together a refreshed version of the aforementioned tool, as well as his website, and I thought I’d talk a little about my opinion of his the modifications to the traditional design.

So here it is, The Signature Tekko-Kagi from Nine Directions, which he most appropriately called “Steel Shadow”…

Signature Tekko-Kagi - by Nine Directions

Signature Tekko-Kagi - by Nine Directions

The word Tekagi (which is the abbreviated form of Tekko-Kagi) is, if memory serves, a contraction of two Japanese words, “Te”, which means “Hand”, and “Kagi” (a variation of “Kage”), which means shadow. In other words, this is the “Shadow Hand”. This makes a whole lot of sense when you consider that the Ninja (or Shinobi) were also called “Shadow Warriors”, due to their predominantly clandestine methods.

Their specialty was working from, or in, the shadows. As in, the most efficient way to plant a steel claw upside a marks head from a dark corner while their back was turned… ๐Ÿ˜›

But back to the weapon at hand. This ain’t yo grandmas Tekagi! This design, while fundamentally similar to the traditional tekagi design, differs in two very important respects. First, where there used to be a narrow forearm/wrist band, Matthew has extended the band to an almost full forearm-length leather bracer, to which the rear of the claws are riveted.

Tekko-Kagi - Arm

Tekko-Kagi - Arm

This, by itself, is perhaps the single most useful and functionally outstanding improvement I have ever seen in a tekko-kagi. It provides some additional much needed support, giving the tool much more strength, and should be significantly more comfortable than the traditional design, allowing for the wielder to use it with a lot more power.

Tekko-Kagi - Full

Tekko-Kagi - Full

The claws themselves appear to have been extended to the full length of this longer bracer, creating a full forearm cage that drastically increases the defensive capabilities of the weapon. In addition to this, he has shortened the top hoop, the hand grip, our control point, as it were, so that a much more natural, solid, closed-fist grip can be used to manipulate the claws. This is a *massive* improvement over the old large wide grip of the previous design, as your hand muscles are in a more natural and stronger position this way.

Tekko-Kagi - Grip

Tekko-Kagi - Grip

I have always held that while adherence to tradition is certainly of value, tradition should never get in the way of improvement. The old school ninjas did things the way they did because that was the best way to do them at the time. However their fundamental methodology was not one of stagnation. They constantly improved and modified their techniques and weapons, and were there not so many more effective tools of the trade to use, they would have upgraded their tekagi in much the same way Matthew has done.

Tekko-Kagi - Forge

Tekko-Kagi - Forge

So I say to Matthew, kudos for a job well done! These are perhaps the best designed Tekko-Kagi I have seen in a long time, and I doubt I will see any better. This is outstanding work folks, created with an eye to replicating the look and feel of the traditional design, except much, much better.

Tekko-Kagi - Grass

Tekko-Kagi - Grass

This Tekagi has single-handedly made NineDirections.com my next Site of the Month. If you want some truly outstanding replicas of traditional ninja gear, made with an eye for practical use, as well as authentic construction techniques, Nine Directions is the place to go…

You really can’t go wrong. ๐Ÿ˜€

Signature Tekko-Kagi – [Nine Directions]

An Evil Reptilian Bow…

Monday, September 28th, 2009

It’s been a while since I posted about any projectile weapons, so when I saw this, I thought: “Well it’s was about time!”. Allow me to present… The Deathstrike bow!

Deathstrike Medieval Bow

Deathstrike Medieval Bow

A rather ornate, interesting design, no? Now this is a bow that likes attention! This design appears to be a variation of the traditional asiatic composite bow, a form of recurve bow. When strung, the limbs curve away from the shooter towards the ends, and then back towards the shooter closer to the grip, often called the reflex-deflex design.

When traditionally made, this design is very powerful, as the more reflex (or is it deflex?) you can build into the limbs, the more energy they can store, compared to a straight bow, for a given length of limb. Most folks may be familiar with the design from Mongolian lore, as they feature prominently in movies and history books, but the design was used by many other well known cultures, such as the Chinese, the Huns, Greeks, and the Turks.

Of the lot, my personal favorite composite bow design, at least where aesthetics are concerned, comes from one of the not so well known cultures; the Scythians. But this is a topic I will have to treat in another post.

Today, however we have a replica of the venerable recurve composite bow, with a unique twist. This bow is made of a single piece of wood, as opposed to the multiple layers of wood, horn and sinew that a traditional composite bow, so it will be no where near as powerful, and probably not last very long if you tried to use it. But it certainly looks… homicidal. Methinks, especially if you break it while it’s strung ๐Ÿ™‚ Yeah. My advice? Don’t do that. With ANY bow.ย  But I digress.

This bow, unlike most others, has talons… yes, talons protruding from the back of the bow, which has then been covered in skin from some poor exotic reptile who was just minding it’s ownย  business when some heartless loon decided it’s back would look better on a poor replica of a compound bow. Such is life. Oh, and did I mention that it comes with 3 similarly finished arrows?

GASP Wow! a whole THREE ARROWS!!. I could kill an ARMY of trolls with those three arrows…! What do they expect me to do with three arrows eh? Shoot them, then run into the battlefield and retrieve them from the bodies of my victims, then run back out and shoot them again? lol… I might as well run into battle with a hearty battle cry, an arrow in each hand, and one between my teeth, and just stab peeps with the arrows as I run by… ROFLMAO…

OK, ok, I kid, I kid… ๐Ÿ˜› the arrows are obviously just accessories. I still just found it a little humorous. I mean look at the name. The DeathStrike bow! Just a wee bit over the top, no? Like you could annihilate an army of Orcs with it. But then they give you only 3 arrows…OK… I admit I am waay too easily amused… Just ignore me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, not to disparage this fine weapon, but to me, besides the fact that I cannot think of any practical advantage those talons might impart to the smooth operation of the bow itself, (besides making it look mean), I think this is a bow might just want to be something else. A lizard maybe? Perhaps a gecko? Not that it matters, it wasn’t really designed for daily use anyway.

Either way, reptilian bows are a cool idea. I’d like to see one made that would actually be fully functional. With perhaps with just a single talon at each end for stringing. In black of course. Yeah.

Deathstrike Medieval Bow – [NorthStar Collectibles]

Traditional Ninja Weapon Design – Part 3: – Tekko-Kagi

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Ohayou gozaimasu! Welcome to the next installment of my series on traditional Ninja weapon designs, featuring the work of Matthew Wright of Ninedirections.com.

I thought I’d finish off the week with a little bit about one of my favorite traditional ninja weapons, the Tekko-Kagi (aka the Tekagi or “hand claw”). Tekko-Kagi were multi purpose tools traditionally used by by Japanese ninjas for defense and offense against sword wielding opponents. The tekko-kagi design was very well suited for the purpose. The large heavy claws made it easier to deflect, block or trap swords, and in a pinch could quickly be used for offensive attacks as well.

Tekko-Kagi

Tekko-Kagi

Tekko-Kagi are one of my favorite ninja weapon designs because, as I mentioned in a previous post, it is one of the few hand claws I have come across that was designed to use both the hand and wrist muscles, in addition to the wearers fingers, (unlike many weapons from previous posts) to control the weapon. And as we can see from Matthews reproduction, you would certainly need all that strength to use it effectively.

I mentioned in my previous Ninja weapon series how traditional Japanese ninjas may not necessarily have had the resources to forge the high quality steels that the Samurai used, and would have been forced to use cheaper metals, like iron or cheap steels. In order to compensate for this, they would have made much bigger, thicker tools. Matthew has take great pains to remain as true to tradition as possible and his reproductions do capture this design philosophy very accurately.

Tekkokagi - Top

Tekkokagi - Top

However, as you can see from the pic, the hand grip is really very long, and I personally think the design couldย  have done with some major trimming in the grip area. My personal experience has been that weapons like these are much easier to use when you can wrap your entire hand around the grip. However Matthew can be commissioned to custom design the weapon to any specification you might require, so for the most part, it is a non issue

In stock form however, the thick steel had grips, thick claws, a very solid wrist hoop all combine to make each claw a whopping 5lbs each. Heavy, as hand claws go, yes. But also very, very strong, and this would have been a requirement for blocking an incoming sword strike with one of these, back in the old days. I don’t know about you, but I’d certainly be willing to sacrifice a little lightness in order to be able to use my Tekagi as a shield against multiple sword strikes. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tekkokagi - Front

Tekkokagi - Front

Overall, a great design, one of my favorites. It isn’t pretty, or flashy or covered in mirror polished gleaming stainless steel, but it is exactly the kind of weapon design I love. Dark, strong, with a wicked set of fully functional claws that quite simply mean business. A definite must-have if you are into accurate reproductions of traditional Ninja gear… ๐Ÿ˜€

Tekko-Kagi – Matthew Wright – [Nine Directions]

Another Freaky Finger Claw…

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Back again with another entry from the weird and wonderful world of finger claws:

Gothic Skull Lord Finger Armor

Gothic Skull Lord Finger Armor

Meet the Gothic Skull Lord Finger Armor. Because your fingers need armor too. ๐Ÿ™‚

So here we have another finger claw, a rather more practical version of neko-te, consisting of a regular ring with what I will assume is a likeness of our earstwhile Skull Lord emblazoned on top, to which are attached three armored articulated section, the last section terminating in a rather evil looking talon.

What to say about this. Well. I like the talon. And the armor. And the articulating design. But to be honest, unless this is all attached to a gauntlet, all I can see is pain. In the *wearers* future. Yes. I said *the wearer* The claw wielder. The finger claw sporter. Etc. Ad nauseam. Uh huh. Unless they have really strong fingers. Or like to use poison. Or maybe like to go for the eyes… Yeah… that’s a good legitimate use for something like this… Soft targets.

Not very sporting, imho, but if, for any given reason, you decided to put these on one morning when suiting up for a battle, weeeell…

Not much more I can say about that… ๐Ÿ˜€

Gothic Skull Lord Finger Armor – [NorthStar Zone]

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