Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Sirau and their use (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=5423)

Lew 27th October 2007 08:45 PM

Siraui and their use
 
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Hi All

Here are two siraui for comment. My main question is how were they used in combat? They seem to be more a thrusting type weapon similar to the Moro gunong. Any thoughts on this?

Lew

kai 27th October 2007 11:33 PM

Hello Lew,

The smaller one is sweet! The larger blade looks like it could have been refitted on Java? (I recently saw one offered from Java which had similar non-original fittings in Javanese style.)

Perhaps try to etch the blades?


Quote:
how were they used in combat? They seem to be more a thrusting type weapon similar to the Moro gunong.

Sorrily, I haven't come across any knowledge from inside the culture. I think the closest match judging from the blade/hilt configuration is the Rencong (especially with hulu puntung). Barring any other relevations, I'd extrapolate from there...

Regards,
Kai

KuKulzA28 25th December 2011 03:10 PM

Perhaps it is unheard of, digging up an old old thread such as this...
But I'm also pretty curious about the method of use, and I don't think it's been answered.

But maybe the answer is looking at the ergonomics of the handle. There's 6 major ways to grip a knife if you think about it. They go something like this:
  • Forward grip, edge down
  • Forward grip, edge up
  • Reverse grip, edge out
  • Reverse grip, edge in
  • Pinch/palm/ricasso grip
  • Pistol grip for punch knives

From the look of it, it would seem to be awkward fighting with a Siraui in forward grip, edge up or down.

Maybe it was used in reverse grip, or ice-pick grip. Either edge-out and relying on slicing to get the job done..... Or perhaps a ricasso grip for stabs and horizontal slashes?

:shrug: Perhaps someone who owns a Siraui can take it in hand and play with different grips to come to a more conclusive conclusion. Or perhaps speak to Gurus of Minangkabu silat...


David 26th December 2011 03:55 AM

hmmm....perhaps they are simply utility knives. From their shape and form and usual size (large ones can be found, but they are generally smaller blades) i don't get the impression that these are made to be fighting knives at all. Of course, any sharp edge in a jam i suppose, but i wouldn't search too long or hard for some kind of martial art form attached to these blades... :shrug:

Gavin Nugent 26th December 2011 05:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by David
hmmm....perhaps they are simply utility knives. From their shape and form and usual size (large ones can be found, but they are generally smaller blades) i don't get the impression that these are made to be fighting knives at all. Of course, any sharp edge in a jam i suppose, but i wouldn't search too long or hard for some kind of martial art form attached to these blades... :shrug:


I too tend to think they are utility knives or were originally. To me they have a feel of a very quick and easy rice cutter with good ergonomics, however like all utility items, I am sure they have at one time or another been used for other needs and likely saw some martial development at some time :shrug:

From the one with me, there is only one grip that feels comfortable or natural and that is the pommel in the palm of my hand and my thumb and forefinger gripping the forte. It is a strong grip that offers the point at mid knuckle level and seems very capable of deep puncture. A back hand would rip the skin deep as the point is very robust but it is a rip as there is no edge on the inisde as is known. Should you end up behind someone, drawn across the throat is game over, the power of the grip and curve of the blade would show no remorse.

Zonneveld refer to Fischer 1918, does Fischers work/s nominate any further details?

VVV 26th December 2011 09:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by freebooter
Zonneveld refer to Fischer 1918, does Fischers work/s nominate any further details?


Gavin, if you give me the exact reference I can maybe look it up. I am traveling so I don't have van Z with me but I do have a copy of Fischer on my computer.
The Siraui is a utility knife and with small adaptions (like the way the knife is shifted in for instance Silat Bondawasa, for those of you who have trained with Uncle Bill) all the 6 listed grips are possible. I suspect that they were intended to be used, utility-wise, in a forward grip with edge down.

Michael

Gavin Nugent 27th December 2011 09:38 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by VVV
Gavin, if you give me the exact reference I can maybe look it up. I am traveling so I don't have van Z with me but I do have a copy of Fischer on my computer.
The Siraui is a utility knife and with small adaptions (like the way the knife is shifted in for instance Silat Bondawasa, for those of you who have trained with Uncle Bill) all the 6 listed grips are possible. I suspect that they were intended to be used, utility-wise, in a forward grip with edge down.

Michael


Michael, no exact reference is given other than the date :shrug:

I am not familiar with the art of or grips of the Siraui, perhaps someone can show this style of knife in these grips :shrug:

Gavin

David 27th December 2011 09:48 PM

It seems to me that the grip would be somewhat determined by what task you were applying the utility knife to.... :shrug: :)

Lew 27th December 2011 10:06 PM

The only way to really use this style knife is pistol type forward grip edge up. Any other grip would seem too awkward to me.

Rick 27th December 2011 11:53 PM

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lew
The only way to really use this style knife is pistol type forward grip edge up. Any other grip would seem too awkward to me.


Unless for utilitarian use, Lew .
I think this is a non-combat oriented form . :shrug:
Reminds me of the 'Moro/Bagobo Women's Knife' configuration .

Sajen 28th December 2011 12:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Unless for utilitarian use, Lew .
I think this is a non-combat oriented form . :shrug:
Reminds me of the 'Moro/Bagobo Women's Knife' configuration .


Agree with you that this are mainly utility knifes and when used in combat the only way which make sense is the one Lew described.
I have had the same thoughts in this thread, post #8: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=siraui

Lew 28th December 2011 02:48 AM

I just had the siraui in my hand and tried all the grips and the only that makes sense is the pistol forward grip.

David 28th December 2011 02:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Agree with you that this are mainly utility knifes and when used in combat the only way which make sense is the one Lew described.
I have had the same thoughts in this thread, post #8: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=siraui

Can anyone show any references, either written or photographic that these knives have ever been used as a combat blade? :shrug:

Rick 28th December 2011 03:36 AM

This weapon form 'Siraui' is found nowhere in my copy of Draeger's 'Fighting Arts' FWIW . :shrug:

VVV 28th December 2011 10:05 AM

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I don't have any of the two variations of Siraui around so I can't try out the grip again. For fighting however, especially adapted for Sumatran conditions with light clothing, you don't need to have a five or four finger grip. That's the reason you can use several different grips for cutting and thrusting if you do it with a Silat flavor. For FMA however the gripping is more like the western way (except maybe when you are guiding after contact with your index finger and thumb when doing simultaneously sword and knife?).

In Fischer 1918 I didn't find the term siraui. For the variation I (attached) there was no name. For the variation II it was described as a "pisaw" (= knife in general). Fischer doesn't say anything about it's main use.

I also suspect that both mine, and the two pictured in Fischer (see below), are larger (handle + blade) than the ones Lew originally showed (22 - 27 cm or 8 1/2 - 10 1/2" )?
What is the size of yours, Lew?

Michael

David 28th December 2011 03:43 PM

I have noticed that when we talk about Siraui we seem to be talking about what appear to me to be two completely different forms of knife. The first one you show here, Michael, is similar to Lew's examples and to my eyes looks more like a utility knife than a fighter. The second blade you show with the fuller has a different blade form and sheath form and does have the look of a fighting knife. This is the same blade that Zonneveld identifies as a Siraui. Unless the word Siraui can also be translated as "knife" like pisaw it seems to me that someone has gotten something wrong somewhere. :shrug:

VVV 28th December 2011 04:07 PM

David that's an interesting observation. The curved form of variation II is found on several agricultural knives too from this region.
Could you please enclose a snapshot of the text and pictures from van Z so all the source material is in this thread? I thought both versions were described in his book but I don't have it around?

Michael

Sajen 28th December 2011 04:25 PM

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Not the best quality photo but all is to seen what we need.

Sajen 28th December 2011 04:29 PM

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And here the two examples Charles showed us in a other thread.

Sajen 28th December 2011 04:45 PM

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And here a picture from my maybe wrong attributed Siraui with a Bagobo Sangi. Like Rick pointed out the shape is similar and let me think that both are utility knifes.

VVV 28th December 2011 05:12 PM

Thanks Detlef for the copy from van Z.
I hope that Albert is reading this thread so he can share where he found the name siraui and how his source defines it.
Is the "variation I" pictured somewhere else in van Z? If you google it you will find several other like this described as a siraui?

Michael

David 28th December 2011 06:00 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by VVV
Thanks Detlef for the copy from van Z.
I hope that Albert is reading this thread so he can share where he found the name siraui and how his source defines it.
Is the "variation I" pictured somewhere else in van Z? If you google it you will find several other like this described as a siraui?

Michael

I may have missed it Michael, but i took a good look through Zonneveld last night for "type I" and couldn't find any similar knives with this keris-like dress.
:shrug:

VVV 28th December 2011 06:42 PM

Thanks David,

Then I don't know how to proceed being away from my main reference books for another 1,5 week. Let's hope Albert or someone else who have them available can jump in.

Michael

KuKulzA28 29th December 2011 12:56 AM

I'm glad my thread-resurrection has stimulated some good discussion on the use of siraui... :)

I wonder though, why are there such fine examples, and some of them dressed like keris, if it was simply a utility knife?

The possibility of two forms, the often fullered ones and the ones with a choil(?) due to the edge dropping a lil from the tang... is intriguing. Maybe the siraui form was taken in a martial direction from the utility origins... ? :shrug:


Someday I'd love to own a few, if only for a little bit... Sumatran weapons just don't cease on seizing my attention.

VVV 29th December 2011 09:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by KuKulzA28
I'm glad my thread-resurrection has stimulated some good discussion on the use of siraui... :)

I wonder though, why are there such fine examples, and some of them dressed like keris, if it was simply a utility knife? [snip]


When I am back home I will try to add some more information on this. I checked when the "variation I" first appeared on the forum and it seems to be in this thread.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1897

Somehow several sources named it a siraui at that time.

Michael

KuKulzA28 20th January 2012 07:53 PM

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Well, while waiting for an update on this matter, I went ahead and got myself a modern made pisau that appears to be the same blade-style as one of the two types of siraui.

What do you guys think?

Rick 21st January 2012 01:28 AM

The form looks the same, just smaller; more like the size I would expect to see in a korambit .

Would size be a factor with this weapon ?

KuKulzA28 21st January 2012 06:32 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
The form looks the same, just smaller; more like the size I would expect to see in a korambit .

Would size be a factor with this weapon ?


I agree it does seem pretty small (but very handy). I think maybe blade length would matter since it feels like a slicer... and if one is to slice with a knife, a longer blade edge would definitely help. Whether or not it is a utility knife that can be easily used to fight with, or a fighting knife of a less-than-conventional style, or even two distinct types of knives, one for martial use and the other for mundane tasks... it seems like this is definitely a slicer if held conventionally...

However in pistol grip-like hold (like a badik) it punctures quite well without slipping (at least vs cardboard). Edge-up pistol grip feels odd to me... but maybe that is how it's meant to be used? Or maybe as a precision slicer.... I don't know.

I eagerly await a larger example to play with.

:shrug:

VVV 21st January 2012 08:41 AM

The (Javanese) knife you tried is similar, but as Rick pointed out much smaller, which limits the comparison for the different grips.
I am back home again and I just played with my full size knife, the version not pictured in van Z, trying out:

1) Hammer edge down.
2) Hammer edge up.
3) Icepick edge out.
4) Icepick edge in.
5) Pommel in palm push dagger style.
6) Pencil grip edge out.
7) Pencil grip edge in.

The most comfortable grip (for me with the design of my knife's blade) is 1) followed by 3), which is the same grips that are shown with the small (Javanese) knife in the post above. The least comfortable grips are 4) followed by 7) and 2). The reason for this is that the underside of the blade, closest to the handle, cuts in to my palm when I am holding it in those grips. For 2) I can adapt it by holding it lower on the handle and sliding in my thumb at the uncomfortable 90 degree blade point. For 4) I cannot do this.

My conclusion is that utility wise it is most comfortable in 1), with the thumb resting on the back of the blade.

Sajen 21st January 2012 10:13 AM

Hello Michael,

agree complete!

Regards,

Detlef


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