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Old 22nd November 2017, 09:12 PM   #1
shayde78
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Default Were S. Asian weapons designed to be used together?

I was flipping through my old copy of Stone's 'Construction, Decoration, Use of Arms'', and noticed the image (#1) listed below of a katar with an additional blade at a right angle to the main blade. This made me think about the design of a bichwa I own, specifically the grip.
The Indians understood ergonomics, so the very flat grip has puzzled me. The hilt is clearly designed to fit the hand around the palm, rather than the fingers. This allows the fingers to be free to grasp something else. I have toyed with the idea that the feature may have allowed archers to draw their bow, but still keep a close-quarters weapon on hand (literally!). I have not been able to find any representations of such a use, though.
However, this image in Stone made me think about how well a katar and bichwa might pair. Below are images of what I have at my disposal to test the theory that these may work well together. Indeed, the two examples pictured pair together VERY well. The thin bar of the bichwa hilt fits flat and snug against the cross bars of the katar. Amazingly, my hand seems to fit much better on the otherwise cramped katar hilt because the bichwa grip serves as a spacer so the less meaty part of my fingers are actually gripping the hilt. Also, the guard of the bichwa provides nice additional protection for wielding the katar. Altogether, they make a very comfortable and probably effective weapons system.
I'd love to hear from others who have access to additional forms of these two types to see if they agree with this assessment. Apologies if this has been discussed already, but I was unable to find a similar thread.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 10:31 PM   #2
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They were not designed for a combined use: they just happened to employ a similar engineering principle that was peculiar to the locality. Bichhwa was originally an improvised , low-class weapon: a cow horn with a longitudinal slit in the wider end. It always had a shady reputation:-)
The “paired” weapons usually included a long -bladed one in the dominant arm and a short-bladed one in the other one ( recall european Maine Gauche) that served as an analog of a shield and was very useful in close contact. Two short ones make very little practical sense.

IMHO.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 01:11 AM   #3
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I think it's the other way round.
Your first example is a combinaison of 2 weapons.
Like some Indian axes with matchlocks.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 11:38 AM   #4
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Some katars had additional side “wing-like” blades. But this not the case with the above example. One can hold simple katars and bichhwas together in one hand, but they were not intended for that purpose.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 02:22 PM   #5
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The question is about multiple weapon use..for which there is no set answer since they used what they had ..but thinking through the idea that arms workshops had been building up the weaponry available for a long time before any big battle... and warriors went in with quite a few arms about them... as in the picture below they were mob handed when it came to selection of weaponry. In addition several sword types could be on their choice list as well as Quoits firearms daggers... or they could use one main weapon and a variety of others...or any combination. Weapons use depended on the flowing situation and could involve sword and Katar as in the black and white sketch of the Maharathas below...or in the case of cavalry switching lance for bow then sword or dagger ....Very much horses for courses... and no holds barred.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 03:18 PM   #6
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Hello,

if you hold both of the blades, your forearm is not longer perfectly aligned with the Katar. This means, you will either hurt your wrist or you make the katar quite useless.


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Old 23rd November 2017, 09:33 PM   #7
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Yes many weapons are meant to be used in conjunction with each other. Pesh kabz katar. Small shield katar and short sword left hand, big sword in right. Bichwa and katar with a long axe/staff. Khanda katar in one hand. Katar bicwa in another.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 11:58 PM   #8
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I've been watching and reading this thread. I guess it is possible, but Roland brings up a good point. I want to add to his argument with the force of impact.

If the grip is not tight then the force of impact can either make the weapon ineffective at best or at worst cripple the hand or arm. If struck at right angles, the other weapon can become a liability.

Now if both weapons or blades are integrated into one single strong piece, then these issues are lessoned.
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Old 24th November 2017, 03:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland_M
Hello,

if you hold both of the blades, your forearm is not longer perfectly aligned with the Katar. This means, you will either hurt your wrist or you make the katar quite useless.


Roland


Thank you everyone for your thoughts on this question so far. I appreciate the dialogue.

Roland and Battara,

You make good points, and surely the ergonomics must be considered. However, the bichwa's design is to fit below the fingers and around the palm, leaving the fingers free. With the hilt of the example pictured, it marries nicely against the cross bars of the katar. The alignment for the thrust is not affected, and may even be improved (granted, that could just be a function of my larger hands). I've added some more pics to show better angles of how the simultaneous grasping doesn't seem to impede the ability to wield and engage either weapon.

Also, since posting this, it occurred to me that the allusion to a scorpion's stinger is strengthened when hold these weapons together in this configuration. I know I have never seen this suggested before, so I get that my suggestion is probably a bit far fetched, but I'd still love to see more examples put together in such a manner to see if they generally pair so well, or are my two examples just strangely well suited to one another. Heck, I met my wife and she is tolerates me well enough, so I guess anything is possible!
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Old 24th November 2017, 12:37 PM   #10
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Very interesting. But in reality used only tulvar and shield without any fantasies and such modern perversions
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Old 24th November 2017, 07:27 PM   #11
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Two knifes in one hand might be unusual. One needs full control over both blades with one hand. If this is given, why not.

But I think a combination of a light and long knife and a small shield truly make sense. This would turn the shield hand into a powerfull weapon.
And here is the possible combination. The blade measures 37 cm (49 cm total) and weighs only 316 grams.

At least there are existing examples of renaissance Italian shield-sword combinations with multiple blades fixed on the shield.


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Old 25th November 2017, 08:45 AM   #12
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And not only Italian.
Closer to the topic, see shields with built-in blades of the North-East Indian Santal tribe.
I am with Battara and Roland.
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Old 25th November 2017, 01:48 PM   #13
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Now we need to take an Indian fist shield as it kept actually (not like in the picture), take a chilanum or a straight katari (the usual weapons of the Indian warriors instead of peshkabz) and get on it a nice blow of heavy sword. It will be interesting. Also we can still read the memories of British and French officers of the 18th and 19th centuries and learn what kind of weapons and in what ways were used by Indians in real battles

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Old 25th November 2017, 02:19 PM   #14
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to shayde78
The most part of bichua-daggers were made for right hand. So someone needs a long time to put a bichua on his right hand then take a kutar and where he should go after? Dagger in right hand it is needed only for surprise attack or for cutting head off. Against the opponent with a sword someone needs only a sword. And shield. And dagger on his waist as a last implement. Or we are discussing the Indian ninjas instead of real history and historical weapons?

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Old 25th November 2017, 02:42 PM   #15
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Your pictures seem to further illustrate the misalignment of the Katar to your forearm with the Bitchwa crossing over the side bars like that? If you are comfortable doing so I wonder what would happen if you were to punch a solid target with your Katar, besides being misaligned looks like a possibility of a couple of bruised middle fingers at the very least the way your hand is crowded against the base of the blade with that grip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shayde78
Thank you everyone for your thoughts on this question so far. I appreciate the dialogue.

Roland and Battara,

You make good points, and surely the ergonomics must be considered. However, the bichwa's design is to fit below the fingers and around the palm, leaving the fingers free. With the hilt of the example pictured, it marries nicely against the cross bars of the katar. The alignment for the thrust is not affected, and may even be improved (granted, that could just be a function of my larger hands). I've added some more pics to show better angles of how the simultaneous grasping doesn't seem to impede the ability to wield and engage either weapon.

Also, since posting this, it occurred to me that the allusion to a scorpion's stinger is strengthened when hold these weapons together in this configuration. I know I have never seen this suggested before, so I get that my suggestion is probably a bit far fetched, but I'd still love to see more examples put together in such a manner to see if they generally pair so well, or are my two examples just strangely well suited to one another. Heck, I met my wife and she is tolerates me well enough, so I guess anything is possible!
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Old 26th November 2017, 01:53 AM   #16
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The bichwa hilt does appear to be deliberately designed to let you keep holding the weapon while using your hand for something else. I've seen the suggestion that this would be useful for wrestling. If nothing else, I think the hilt might be good for weapon retention during wrestling.

They might be good archer's daggers, along the lines of African loop daggers: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1882
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Old 26th November 2017, 02:33 PM   #17
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It is always possible to mix soup, salad, main course and dessert in one bowl.
Calorie-wise it will be as nutritious, but at the expense of quality of each separate dish.

This is likely why combination weapons ( sword / pistol etc) never became popular and were always made just for show.
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Old 26th November 2017, 05:42 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
It is always possible to mix soup, salad, main course and dessert in one bowl.
Calorie-wise it will be as nutritious, but at the expense of quality of each separate dish.

This is likely why combination weapons ( sword / pistol etc) never became popular and were always made just for show.

Ariel, I am with you.

There were combination weapons. Also it is possible to keep two or three swords or daggers in each hand and one more in each foot and in mouth. It was usefull? Historically? For this we need to study the history. Or practice very hard in circus juggling.
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Old 26th November 2017, 09:34 PM   #19
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The combined use of more bladed weapons is well known and documented throughout history.

Just remember the famous Miyamoto Musashi who was famous for his fighting style using both the Katana in one hand and the Wakizashi in the other.

Also, there are many Chinese styles of fighting with two swords or two daggers.

Last but not least, just remember the European fighting styles with Rapier and Left Hand Dagger.

However, all these employ one single-bladed weapon in each hand.

Had the one-handed use of more bladed weapons (or a weapon with multiple blades) been of practical use, it would certainly have developed and became extensively used at some point in history. The fact that no such fighting style developed and evolved, demonstrates it has no practical use.
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Old 26th November 2017, 11:43 PM   #20
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Perfectly correct.
Two weapons, - one in each hand, - was widely used all over the world.
Holding two things in one hand ls , quoting Talleyrand, worse than a crime, it is a mistake.
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Old 27th November 2017, 02:42 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Holding two things in one hand ls , quoting Talleyrand, worse than a crime, it is a mistake.



I'm sorry but this was a common practise for high skilled archers and here we see seven things in one hand.
The combination of a small shield and a dagger is more than just a guess, but I unfortunately forgot the source. Please search for "Indian Madu", this is very similar, a small shield with sharp elongations.


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Old 27th November 2017, 03:40 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland_M
The combination of a small shield and a dagger is more than just a guess, but I unfortunately forgot the source. Please search for "Indian Madu", this is very similar, a small shield with sharp elongations.

Madu, maru etc it is not a shield with additional blades. It is two-sided dagger with additional shield or without it. In origin it is weapon of Hindu ascetics made from two horns. And it is one special weapon which itself and its use very good described in historical sources.

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Old 27th November 2017, 10:21 PM   #23
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Roland,
Madu, Sainti ( Haladie) and Sentali shield are not "two things in one hand": they are shields with deliberately attached blades. The difference is that the single hand is gripping only one "handle". They are multi-purpose units.

Some shields have umbo ( often with a spike), that can be used to smash or stab the opponent: two purposes, but a single unit with a single grip. Does it mean that operating a shield with umbo means holding 2 items in one hand?

Old Circassian Jateh was a saber with bayonet tip. Its use was described as " first stabbing enemies, then slashing them". But the handle was the same.

There is a difference between a multipurpose weapon and two ( even 7!) separate weapons held in one hand, each semi-separately.
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Old 27th November 2017, 11:45 PM   #24
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I will admit that there are some exceptions, ie. the old Scottish targe shield and dirk. While holding the targe the hand could also have a dirk in hand pointing downward.

(Though I guess technically one is a shield and the other a weapon, so...... )
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Old 30th November 2017, 07:50 PM   #25
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The title of this thread is misleading, and I apologize for that. Per my first post, my intent was to ask about using two arms in the same hand (i.e., katar/bichwa or dhal/bichwa).

While I appreciate the spirited debate, I think a couple things are not being fully considered.
- Studying various forms of martial arts, it seems the purists are the one's engaging in fantasy. As an admittedly extreme example, if a modern sport fencer were to find her/himself in actual combat, they would likely not fare so well. The arms we all study on this site were used by both well-trained experts, and lay-people just trying to defend their lives. If there was any thought that holding two knives in one hand would give an advantage, then people did it.
I think the original point about looking at combined arms for hints at what weapons people were trying to wield simultaneously is a sound approach. We do have examples of combined arms that were so successful, we don't even think of them as such (the halberd is a combined pike/axe, for example).

- Secondly, the design of the bichwa specifically is being disregarded. It is intended to allow the fingers to be free to grasp any other object without impediment. Given this design, what else would be grasped. The best (perhaps only) suggestion in this thread is to allow for wrestling. that may well be. I have seen sources that claim it allowed for folks to claim walls and act like Indian ninjas. This seems unlikely.

I can have the bichwa on my hand and still use chopsticks (just as an example of the level of dexterity allowed; see image below). Use with a shield/dhal or katar should not be dismissed simply because it feels unconventional. If two weapons can be wielded effectively with one hand, I am certain folks would have done so (even if scoffed at by the professional soldiers). I hike/camp a lot, and you always see more novice people carrying WAY too much gear. It isn't practical, but they want to be sure they have everything they need. I feel the same mentality would apply.

Again, I appreciate the debate. My thoughts are offered with great respect for the expertise of this community.

As promise, the ancient art of wielding chopsticks and bichwa!
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