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Old 8th June 2019, 08:28 PM   #18
Jim McDougall
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Originally Posted by Nihl
In regards to how they were used, I think there is no doubt that conventional katars are well documented as being nasty punching (stabbing) weapons. I've thrust (punched) mine into some thick foam before, just for fun, and the "wound channel" that was generated was quite impressive. Just a theory, but curved katars might have been created to capitalize on soldiers that felt more comfortable using the standard style of swinging a weapon in India; keeping the wrist stiff and slashing at an opponent instead of punching/stabbing them. No doubt a curved katar - or even a straight katar - functions (cuts) just like a really small pata. A curved katar might = a better cutting weapon, but any difference in that regard clearly wasn't important enough to create a large amount of them. It's possible that being so out of place in regular society made them not important enough to be named. Though I don't doubt that if you asked an Indian to give a name for a curved katar back in the day they would have just respond with (x) jamdadu/jamdhar. This given the whole thing that the "pattani" of pattani jamdadu - a long straight katar - comes from the (old?) root word "patta", a word used to describe a long, straight blade of grass (I believe Elgood notes this in Hindu Arms&Ritual). I think one of us really just needs to learn Hindi and then we can come up with our own specialized terms for these katars .

Regarding the actually unusual styles of katar, this is rather puzzling. Personally, I think having a multi-pointed katar (not one with multiple blades, just points cut from a single blade) is actually somewhat viable. Of course the points spread out the force, but assuming one can punch well with a regular katar, the force generated should still be sufficient enough to embed all the points into a target. To get a bit graphic, in regards to getting stuck on things (bone), a regular punch to the chest with a katar would maybe punch through bone, but more likely than not be redirected between the ribs. Depending on the angle and force applied, the widening of the blade could also push apart/cut into/crack nearby ribs, causing further damage. In regards to a katar with multiple points, just imagine the aforementioned, but the blade is wider, and (with a heavy maybe on this one) might be a bit more massive so as to do more percussive/bone-messing-up damage. I suppose realistically, my "thesis" here is just that more points should equal a more graphic, gory wound.

Multiple blades should, in theory, work the same, but with them all being so thin I can see them also being relatively easily damaged.

As a side note on the bifurcated Rajput-style katar (an example being one in Jens' catalouge, pg 134-135), I could see this one as either being an early tourist attraction kind of invention, or, again, a valid type (the construction of the blade - which splits into two only after the forte - seems relatively solid) that could create a more violent wound if used correctly.

"Scissor katars", IMO, are a total joke. Regardless of parrying possibilities, they seem to be so flimsily constructed that it seems to me a hit anywhere on the weapon would disable it's silly "amazing expanding blade action!" It also seems to me that if you want to ever actually use (punch with) a katar, you have to first squeeze the crossbars to adequately hold onto the thing, meaning the blades would always be open; ready to dent, chip, or break off as soon they get hit with an actual weapon.

Well observed Nihl, especially in the detailed and well explained martial aspects in the use of these weapons. While of course, perhaps viewed as 'grim' by some readers, I have seen many physiologically oriented reports and papers concerning the actual use of edged weapons. I think one of the most interesting was in a fencing journal which provided a dramatic perspective on the real nature of duels.

I agree that dual or multiple blades would of course be 'possible' to use as intended, but the skill and strength, not to mention proper dynamics, would be most limited.

In research on the use of notches, and serration on blades, I found that the idea of 'worsening' a wound seems an almost inviable an unnecessary aspect of weapon use. The most consistent focus on this kind of thing was probably the cut vs. thrust debate for cavalry swords in the 18th-19th c.

With notches and serrated edges it seems that the most notable result would typically be the weapon becoming lodged in the wound, and retraction being virtually impossible..much like the barbs in arrows etc. Thus the user becomes without weapon.
With the lance, typical use was to use stabbing with limited penetration rather than impalement for these reasons.

With the dual blade aspect on daggers, it is often held that this is of course toward the famed Dhul i'Faqar sword, but perhaps with that aspect being seen outside others outside the Muslim sphere culturally, the idea of 'if two, why not three, or more' blades may have been the case.
Indian armourers, always vying for patronage of royal and wealthy clients, often created many innovative designs and forms to impress.
These fall into the weapons 'curiosa' category which has given us the firearm and edged weapon combinations and many others.

As Mercenary has well noted, in many Eastern cultures, the dagger is very much a status oriented accoutrement which is worn faithful to tradition even into modern times. I think in many cases these kinds of unique or 'curiosa' weapons were more to 'impress' than as fodder for 'tourists'. These were often difficult to fashion and showed the skill of the armorer and the discerning novelty of the owner's character.

With regard to the terms again, these are simply situational and worthy of note in cross reference, footnote or any means to keep the dialogue well understood in discussion.
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