Posts Tagged ‘Whip’

A Knife On A Rope…

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

A long while back, Sinza, a friend of mine who I admin the Exotic Automatic Forums with, suggested I look at on one of the weapons used in the movie Blade Trinity. Specifically Blades Chain Saber. At the time I wasn’t too keen on posting about it because, from my perspective, it was an Epic Phail of a weapon.

However in retrospect, I probably should have done it, because I do just as much griping about flawed weapons on this blog as I slobber over the cool ones. (My bad, man, my bad… 🙂 ) So when I happened to run across it again, I thought it would be a good time to rectify my mistake. And also point out why I didn’t like it.

Chain Saber

Blade Trinity: Chain Saber

[click image to view full size]

So what we have here is a knife on a rope. Kinda like a Soap on a Rope, but not quite as useful. Essentially what is a wide split blade with a rat tail tang, attached to a length of black elastic, that is connected to a black and chrome grip.

When retracted, the blade locks to the handle/grip. The grip has a set of buttons, one cosmetic, and the other functional which releases the blade.

Now this is certainly an interesting design, with lots of potential. I cannot argue that. A blade swinging around at the kind of velocities you could generate with something like this would be quite the formidable weapon. The only problem I have is that this replica gets all the important parts horribly, horribly, wrong.

Take the elastic band, for instance. Mating a piece of steel to some fabric covered rubber is never a good idea, expecially in a high stress environment. Mr. little rubber bungie cord is really is not a particularly tough fellow, and when made to rub elbows with Mr. Steel, a rather notoriously hardened chap, well… Bad things can happen.

Just picture a Wiimote going airborne and becoming embedded in wide screen TV. Except with a hunk of sharp steel instead of a small plastic brick. You get the idea. Not good. especially if you like wide screen TVs. Mr. Bungie was a good man. Pity he just snapped like that. Please do accept our condolences Mrs. Bungie… A moment of silence please… Ok… I’m rambling aren’t I… Right. Back on topic.

In fact, the weapon used in the movie employed a chain with a retraction mechanism in the handle. A much more sensible implementation. But it too, suffers from a rather insidious design flaw. Have you ever tried to swing a blade on the end of a chain? I have. Really fun. Except for one thing.

Unless you are using a quad edged blade, your chances of hitting anything with the *edge* of your blade are about 50/50. If you are good, you can get the point to bear fairly reliably, but edgewise strikes… Meh. So the way it is used in the movie is… You guessed it! Magic!

If I were designing such a blade, I would do one of two things. Either use a chain that is rotationally stable about the lengthwise axis of it’s links (like a bicycle chain), or use a bade that will cut no matter what  side it hits. IE use a quadruple, quintuple or sextuple edged blade.

Personally I think a fine, highly flexible, high tensile cable attached via a freely articulating joint to a quadruple edged blade would be the best design solution for a weapon of this nature. Especially given the design challenge of fitting a retraction mechanism into the handle. But that’s just the design nerd in my head talking.

What’s funny is the site I found this on touts the replica as an “exact” replica of the original. huh? *Exact*? Are you saying a fixed bungie cord is *exactly* the same as a chain attached to a button activated retraction mechanism?!? I think not.

Either way, great concept, not so good implementation, and total humiliation on the replica. Certainly cool to look at, but I really wouldn’t try to swing it any harder than you would an ostrich feather…

“Exact” replica… Pfft.

<Inigo Montoya>This word. I do not think it means what you think it means…</Inigo Montoya>

Blade Chain Saber – [SouthWest Blades]

Another Whip Sword…

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Today I’ll be introducing you to a new kind of whip sword which, unlike the ninja blade whip I blogged about earlier, is actually much, much closer to a real whip in it’s design. This is a weapon of the Indian martial art Kalarippayattu, which is said by some to be one of the oldest. However our interest for today is not the etymology of Kalarippayattu, but rather a very unique weapon used in the art. Say hi to the wicked Urumi/Chuttuval:

Urumi/Chuttuval Battle

Urumi/Chuttuval Battle

This ultra-flexible sword is called the Urumi in the Northern System of Kalarippayattu and Chuttuval in the Southern System. It is little more than a long strip of flexible steel, usually about four or five feet long, and between three quarters of an inch to an inch thick. As you can see, this sword could easily qualify for bull whip duty, and being made of steel, would probably be a good sight more lethal too. As if that weren’t enough, there are varieties of this weapon that incorporate multiple blades, like a cat-o’-nine-tails, for added lethality.

Multi Bladed Urumi

Multi Bladed Urumi

Now my admittedly calculated guess would be that this is probably a very difficult weapon to learn to use correctly (read safely but effectively), likely many times more so than a whip. I suppose it goes without saying that mistakes with this weapon could be very costly to, for instance, a practitioners calves, eyes, ears, nose or other valuable extremities.

Practicing with two multi-bladed Urumi

Dual Wielding Urumi

Dual Wielding Urumi


To my untrained eye, it looks to me like the guy in the little movie above seems a little scared of his own Urumi. 🙂 But apparently even seasoned professionals still have to be very careful with it. Me personally, I would constantly be worried about the blade fatiguing at the point where it is attached to the handle, as that would most likely be the area that would experience the most frequent of high angle flexing during daily use. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take much to see that a seasoned Kalarippayattu practitioner equipped with a pair of multi-bladed urumi would make a formidable opponent, even against multiple opponents. Unless they all also had urumi. Then it might suck to be you.

Sparring with Urumi

Sparring with Urumi

But I’m sure it’s disadvantages become moot once you’ve mastered it and can swing it around effortlessly like an evil steel bull whip of death… Add to that the fact that it can be coiled and worn like a belt, and its like the ultimate stealth weapon!! You know, the kind of weapon that would elicit an aghast “What the…” from an unfortunate would-be opponent as you slowly uncoiled it from your waist, swinging it to the side with an ominous, resonant, pinging “WHAP” to straighten it out…

A different kind of Wiper Blade…

Friday, May 11th, 2007

OOOOKKKK…. I ran into this little gem while looking at some other ninja swords. And boy, this is an unusual one. Now if the title of this post confuses you, there is a reason; it is actually in homage to the typo that exists on the product page of the website I found this on, describing it as a “Ninja Blade Wipe” instead of a “Ninja Blade Whip”, but although I subsequently corrected all of the references in this post to correctly describe the weapon, in the interest of humor, I decided to leave the heading as is.

(OK. This would be an appropriate point for a chuckle. If you don’t you are a cold hearted fish. And you live in a dark muddy pond. With mutant bull frogs. Fine. Be that way.) I’ve seen similar weapons twice, once in a move and once in a video game, just never in real life. But in essence, somewhere between the vast expanse that should theoretically exist between the designs for a whip and a sword, you may run across this:

Ninja Blade Whip

Ninja Blade Whip

Now to be honest, I’m not quite sure what to make of this. The idea is certainly compelling in theory though. Basically, chain a bunch of smaller blades together into a freakishly long whip of blades. Got it. Only thing is, this freak of weapon nature is 46.5″ all told, and it seems like the hinges, and attachment point reinforcement, etc. would add all kinds of weight to the blade. A regular 46″ sword would probably weigh considerably less that this. It’s weight is not listed so I can’t be sure.

A 96″ or even 120″ weighted whip would almost certainly be lighter. But unless it weighs a lot less than it looks, this is not something that a ninja would want to lug around all the time. A kusarigama or manrikigusari would give a ninja the same reach without all the extra weight. Yet Another victim of over-enthusiastic weapons marketing.

But over optimistic ninja labeling aside, you could probably get some great velocity and power out of that, and with the sheer number of cutting edges on it, you could probably do a lot of damage. So from an intimidation and effectiveness standpoint, this might make for a great weapon for a person trained to use heavy/long swords or whips. Oh, and don’t get me wrong, I’m sure a ninja could use one quite effectively. They are masters of all weapons after all.

It just probably wouldn’t be the first weapon they’d pick up going out the door…

Ninja Blade Whip – [True Swords]

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