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Thread: First thoughts about my first HI khukuri

  1. #1
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    First thoughts about my first HI khukuri


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    I've had my 20" Sirupati "#204" for about a week now, and would like to share some early impressions with the membership, especially the silent ones who read but don't post, and don't own an HI khuk yet. Old-timers will probably just nod and say 'So what's new about that?'
    Any previous knife experience you have had is put into a whole new perspective when you handle one of 'the real thing'. #204 is a true short sword, a 'saber', not an 'epee'. Five minutes of exercise with it will convince you of this. Moulinets with this 7/16" blade are a new experience!
    I find the blade 'teaches' me how to manage it...the balance and geometry require a drill which is self-unfolding. For instance, I have seen photos of Ghorka GI's holding their knives blade-up at the left shoulder in a sort of 'present khukuri' posture. I have now realized that this is the best guard posture for these big knives. As a long-time student of the Styers (USMC 1950's) doctrine, I am learning many new things: like how to stand up!
    After a workout with the sirupati, I am very much reminded that I have forearm muscles (I have ignored their whimpering, and told them to get used to the new regime, the whispy Randall Bowie at 18" and 1 lb 12 oz has spoiled them.)
    I am amazed at the skill of the kamis. My knife comes up shaving sharp with such a thick blade. What many in the knife world call the Moran rolled edge would seem to be a much older, and non-Western, discovery.
    We owe an enormous debt to Bill for making it possible for us to cross over into another culture, and enjoy one of its finest products.
    And the discoveries continue...

  2. #2
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    Just for whatever it is worth, the first I ever heard of a rolled/convex edge was on an axe - and they called it a "cannelled" edge.

  3. #3
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    Gunhou, my piece is an inch longer and maybe a hair lighter so my experiences should be similar. Try doing a 45-degree backstep-to-the-right while cutting "upwards" diagonally...try various types of cuts while doing dodging footwork at 45degree angles to the rear. You should feel a "tailgunner" feeling, like you're dodging an incoming attack while counter-attacking at the same time. If your cut doesn't work out, at least you've gotten the hell out of the way!

    When the footwork is timed with the bladework you get "extra power" from the drawing force from the footwork. This kind of thinking is common to the FMAs with some variations, the Bando guys seem to use "some sort of variant" of it from the sketchy writings I can find and the Bujinkan/Genbujan/Jinenkan crowds do it. There are also "advancing off-angle stuff" that I'm not qualified to discuss. For that matter, I'm really not qualified to discuss any of it except that the retreating-while-cutting versions feels so GOOD with these blades!

    Jim

  4. #4
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    I saw Jim March do a demo and it looked pretty impressive to me. I was also quite surprised at just how expansive Jim's expertise of blades was. He really does know what he is talking about.

    ------------------
    Uncle Bill
    Himalayan Imports Website
    Khukuri FAQ


  5. #5
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    You're right on target, gunhou. Uncle Bill has introduced many of us to a whole new world: the world of the khukuri and the craftsmen, religion, philosophy, and culture behind the blade.

  6. #6
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    Thanks, Bill. I'm still just a beginner!

    Gunhou, the physics behind the "extra cutting power in retreating" is easy to understand. Put a pencil, pen or whatever on a flat desk at a 45degree angle, say running top-left to bottom-right. Now gently grab the bottom-right end and pull it straight to the right.

    What happens to the other end? It drops.

    Now chop downwards while taking a step back - same thing, you've increased the "dropping power" of the swing. And if you do it at an oddball angle somewhere near 45degrees, you've lined up their attacking limb hand/forearm perfectly for a chop, PLUS you've gotten yourself the hell out of the way.

    This is very basic white-belt stuff which is ALL I AM, OK? But by GOD it feels good with a khukuri; the heft of the piece is strongly affected by your motion, far more so than something like a "light Bowie" class. A "light Bowie" like the Mad Dog Panther, Bagwell Hell's Belle or similar can operate at "higher tip speeds on short motion on the inside" but by moving out and away from the "inside speed zone" you can partially or completely negate that advantage.

    If my understanding of some of the Dog Brothers FMA picture sequence are correct, they'll do this same gag in "low fashion", nailing the hamstrings by crouching while doing the same "cut while dodging" sequence. That would keep them out of a light fast blade's "red zone" at the center. If you've got a Khuk and they've got something light and fast, be real careful about getting nailed in the wrist on the "inside" somewhere, meaning in front of his torso between waist and neck area.

    He can out-speed you there. The answer is to MOVE.

    Jim

  7. #7
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    Many thanks, gunhou, for that somewhat different but excellent review. All the old hands will know exactly what you are saying and as you suggested they will probably just nod their heads in agreement.

    Every review, good or bad, is valued information not just to me but to everybody and many thanks again.

    ------------------
    Uncle Bill
    Himalayan Imports Website
    Khukuri FAQ


  8. #8
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    Jim: Thanks for the insights offered in your posts above. Techniques coming out of the Filipino disciplines are mostly terra incognita for me...seems like there's always something new to learn. The sidestep-crouch-cut does remind me strongly of the 'in-quartatta' of the Styers 'Saber Dancing', though. What I need to get used to the most on the khuk is the lack of a back edge, since so much of what I know involves back cuts and snapping double cuts. New tools, new lessons. I think that moves based on medieval broadsword technique might work very well with the khuk: all that mass can be a great help in movement as well as a hinderance if not managed well.

  9. #9
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    Gunhou, all of your "backcuts" will STILL work as blunt-trauma moves! It's actually cool in that you have a non-lethal alternative if desired.

    I was pondering a back edge on a Khuk at first too. Bad idea. The heft is wrong for a "fast inside" game.

    Jim

  10. #10
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    Interesting stuff but I fear it is beyond the capability of this old body I now live in.

    ------------------
    Uncle Bill
    Himalayan Imports Website
    Khukuri FAQ


  11. #11
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    Alhamdu-li-(A)llaah! Thanks for your tip Jim.

    The 1st tip was from Pala in one of his posting. We rarely get that type of tip without paying bucks! Sometimes we have to join certain club just to get that type of tip.

    I personally appreciate your kindness to share that sort of tip with all of us. Thank you again Jim.

  12. #12
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    Two quick things: I'm NOT all that experienced; NONE of this should substitute for training. It should be viewed as "neat stuff to play with at best".

    I *was* a student of a Japanese art that had similarities to the FMAs, noted both by myself and many others. I've seen FMA-based demos that were extremely similar and I've read other reports of similarities and had them discussed by my former teacher. Any system that retains these patterns of "off-angle tactical movement" is worthy of respect, these include the Japanese Bujinkan, Genbukan, Jinenkan and many Koryus, most of the FMAs, Indonesian stuff and Bando. That's what I know of more-or-less for sure. There's almost *certainly* others.

    For god's sake don't think of me as a sensei! I'm not kidding here.

    Jim

  13. #13
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    How about a renegade sensei?

    ------------------
    Uncle Bill
    Himalayan Imports Website
    Khukuri FAQ


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