Posts Tagged ‘Weapons’

Killer Karambits!

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

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.

Filipino Karambit

Filipino 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:

Parts of a Karambit

Parts of a Karambit

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.

Karambit Designs - Strider Knives

Karambit Designs - Strider Knives

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.

Undercover Karambit (Black)

Undercover Karambit (Black)

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:

Dawson Large Karambit Field & Tactical Knife

Dawson Large Karambit Field & Tactical Knife

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.

Traditional Karambit With Wood Sheath

Traditional Karambit With Wood Sheath

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…

Dragon Claw Toenail Set

Dragon Claw Toenail Set

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! 😀

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 could  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. 🙂

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… 😀

Tekko-Kagi – Matthew Wright – [Nine Directions]

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!!!!!!!! 😛

This one goes out for all the… Ladies?

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Ok. I ran across a rather unusual set of weapons a while back. Weapons designed by an enigmatic Italian designer by the name of Antonio Riello. Weapons specifically for “Ladies”. Or so the site claims. Weapons designed to look like… Ladies fashion accessories.

*shiver*

Now in all fairness, they do appear to be fully functioning weapons. It’s just that… Well… See for yourself:

Gea

Gea

Say Hello to “Gea”. Yep. That’s her name. This spiked,  leopard spotted mace with gold chain and spiked pommel, is called “Gea”. Yeeeaaaah… So… Ok. Now I will admit to being a little conflicted about Gea. On the one hand, I don’t entirely think she looks half bad. But on the other hand, it looks like she was made on a TV show that was some horrific hybrid of “Pimp My Ride” and “Lord of War”.

Now don’t get me wrong. I would be the first to admit that aesthetics are part of the charm of weapons. I constantly proclaim my love of black weapons, and specific shapes, etc.. But this, these weapons, they seem a tad… unnatural. And this is not the worst of it. As if Gea weren’t enough all by her lonesome, Gea has friends:

Ida

Ida

Yeah… Pink. A pink Morning star, and a pink chain mace, called Ida, and Zoe respectively. Ugh.

*shudder*

Zoe

Zoe

Now I’d ask that any ladies among my readership forgive my possibly sexist opinion, but I think these two cross the line somewhere/somehow. They fill me with the same kind of horror that AK-74’s decorated with “Hello Kitty” motifs do. (And, as you’ll see on his site, the venerable AK, among many others, is not immune to desecration by this guy either. Oh! The humanity!!) They almost seem like abominations of some kind. I just can’t help it.

When I look at Ida and Zoe, I can’t help but think they might look better in black. Or, perhaps stained in a deep blood red. I’ll leave it to your imaginations to figure out where I’d get the blood… err… red dye from.

Gea, Ida and Zoe – [Ladies Weapons]

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