What makes a good fighting khukuri?

Jay H's question about the best fighting khukuri got me thinking. What qualities make a khukuri good as a fighter? Length, weight, balance? The reason why I'm asking is because I got my 20" chiruwa Sirupati in the mail yesterday. I also have a 20" Kobra. Now you would think that the Kobra would be my preferred combat blade. Not so. Although the Kobra is a pound lighter than my Sirupati I think that my Sirupati is quicker in my hands. The balance of the chiruwa Sirupati makes it a very nimble weapon. Not only that, but its extra heft is very reassuring. When I pick it up I feel as if I can vanquish all would be bad guys and monsters in the dark.

Enough rambling. Which factors or combination of factors optimize a khukuri's potential as a weapon? Please clarify your answers if possible.
depends on terain,& situation, am I in town,
in woods etc.If he has a sword,I want what Yangdo was holding, I guaran da** t you I would make it WORK!OTHERWISE IN TOWN A 15" OR
Kam someone once said somethng like,
"Beware of a man with only one gun as he is sure to know how to use it."
I have to agree with my Bro to a point, but also have to add....
The khukuri one is most familiar with.
And even having 30 khuk's there are several that seldom get used.
The ones I favor most are my 18"AK, 18th Century, and YCS with the YCS taking preference now when I want a lighter and quicker khuk.
The smaller ones get carried on occasion, but are still seldom used and hopefully they will never be used for the self defense purposes I carry them for.
Hopefully this summer will let me determine truly which ones get the most use and then I can sharpen the others super sharp and put a nice finish on them prepareing them for long term storage and perhaps for sale later on in life.

Some were bought for investment purposes only...



Indin word for lousy hunter.
It's not just overall weight that can determine how effective a knife, sword, or khukuri is as a weapon. There are many factors involved. The most noticible in dry handling would be weight and the placement of the point of balance. With reproduction European swords you can see where placement of the center of gravity is important. Many of them feel light even though they are grossly overweight, up in the category of 5 - 10 pounds, contrary to popular belief the heaviest Viking era sword that I'm aware of weighed less than 3.5lbs and the average weighed aobut 2.5lbs. To hide this the makers will attach large weights to the end in the form of the pommel so the sword balances almost right at the guard, many historic pommels were very small and some were even hollow. Without this counter weight you would have an extremely unbalanced weapon, and you wouldn't be able to swing it easily.
The following shouldn't apply to an HI khukuri, because they're not heavy or unbalanced enough to through off their center of percussion too much, especially when you're only adding a larger tang to them. But regardless, I feel a rant coming on.
The problem with many lower end reproductions is the simple fact that they make large thick blades, usually to compensate for their lack of heat treating ability or becuase they don't understand what knives khukuris and swords were originally intended for, is the fact that they use large pieces of steel, read crowbars, with no distal taper and in some cases limited profile taper and attach a huge counter-weight to the hilt. While this does help make the blade feel lighter, it also has the effect of reducing the cutting effectiveness of the blade. Any blade has a center of percussion, and as you move the center of gravity closer to the hilt, you also move the center of percussion closer to the hilt. When this happens, the blade becomes vibration prone, and has been described by many smiths that I've talked to as being most like swinging a dumbbell around. When you strike the target with one of these lowend reproductions you will usually get a lot of blade vibrations, and the blade will feel almost like a tuning fork. Well, that energy for that vibration had to come from somewhere, right. That's right, it came from the kinetic energy of the motion of the blade. That energy could have been transmitted in two different ways. It could have gone into cutting into the target, or it could cause the blade to vibrate. When most of that energy is turned into a vibration you get very little penetration and the blade can basically just bounce off of its target harmlessly. I think that you can rest assured that people who own a Chiruwa Sirupati, the complaint that it bounced off the target harmlessly and vibrated so much that it stung their wrists will never come up. Well, maybe if they were trying to cut into a petrified stump like in the old Donald Duck cartoon that might be an issue, but.... Now, if it's a movie reproduction from some cheapo company, avoid it. If it's a Duncan Mcloed(however it spelled) dragon head katana, actually there is one good one made by the guy who actually did the props for the first season of the show, run for the hill screaming!

*****End of Rant mode*****

When you're going with something like Himalayan Imports and looking for a martial arts weapon I don't think you can go wrong as long as the khukuri feels right for whatever form of martial arts you're using.


PS, I did only a minimum of proof-reading, so if get lost, ask me about it. I typed one copy up, the forum was being upgraded so I saved what I had and put it into a text document. Well, that's what I thought I did, I only saved the first paragraph. D'Oh!!! And I'm too lazy to proofread that again.

So, some of this might be so poorly phrased that someone would need a crystal ball to figure out how I went from one topic to the next, or why I phrased something a certain way.

[This message has been edited by bobwill (edited 03-20-2001).]
Hmmm, Uncle Bill, I just happened to think. Have you ever pondered the idea of having the kamis do a garud katana??? You know, kind of a Highlander inspired katana. Then, there could be two good swords based on that sword on the market. I mean, the official sword is stainless steel, and has a welded on rat-tail tang, with a plastic tsuka, and it still sells for something like $200 - $300!

My UBE with the slab handles would make one hell of a weapon....you can CHOP with it and it also works well as a STABBER. The extra weight of this baby will alow it to carry through just about any body part you would have a chance to connect with.

Bremerton, Washington
Good stuff guys. Yvsa, I think I've heard that saying once or twice before also. It reminds me of something Howard wrote, you know, the one where he says the skill of the Gorkhaharu comes from their familiarity with the weapon, not some esoteric MA knowledge. I agree wholeheartedly. What good would a Kobra, light weight and all, do if all I did was reach for something else like the GS when the need arose?

On the other hand, I think that in a pinch any khukuri would do. I don't know about you guys but I think that I would set a new 100 m record if I ever had to face an opponent who was wielding a khukuri.

I picked up the Kesar-made 20" chiruwa Sirupati. It's a good deal lighter than yours by Uncle Bill's description. I agree with you about speed and solidity, but if I was in the soup I'd probably want my 18" sirupati made by Kumar. First off, let me say I have no experience with martial arts. Even though the balance on the 20" is closer to neutral, it feels like a sword to me, whereas the 18" moves like a knife, and it's only a little shorter. I haven't chopped anything with the 20", so it might impress me enough to change my mind. It doesn't hurt that the 18" has a much thinner handle that fits my hand better.

I have a feeling that if I had an 18" or maybe 15" chiruwa sirupati I'd probably fall in love with it.

I don't know how much you can generalize stuff like this. If I were a 6' bruiser with forearms like Popeye, or even if I had bigger hands, everything might change around.

What I would think makes a good fighter is
1. The handle. Maybe more important to me because of mutant dwarf hands.
2. Ability to recover and redirect.
3. Ability to both thrust and cut/chop so you can use all its length.

So I'd think you would want a khukuri that's as heavy as you can comfortably recover repeatedly with a handle you can get your hand around, and a point that's not too far out of line. (and I think that which khukuri that would mean to you would vary from one to another)

my (uninformed) $0.02
Although no MA expert, I believe the handle makes quite a bit difference also, along with the above postings. It needs to "feel right" besides "no slip"/solid grip/etc.

This observation comes from grinding down the "butt cap points" on 3 of my khukuris, as per Brian's previous thread. The 12" & 15" Sirupatis, & the 15" AK are much more comfortable & seem to "move" much easier. Although I haven't used the Sirupatis that much, the 15" AK is my "yard chopper", and is much easier to use now, and it "moves/flows" much better than before.

Just a personal observation, your milage may vary.
Oddly, I find that if you get a handle smaller than is optimal for the khuk's other uses, it makes it more lively and manageable.

Find one that is perfect for you, and then find one that's about 3/4th that size around the handle. You won't be able to put it down, and you can't resist changing from one to another to another grip, sabre to icepick to ...

"Find one that is perfect for you, and then find one that's about 3/4th that size around the handle." I'm sorry sir it must be too
late in the evning for me... Do you mean find
the perfect length and weight Khukuri and then get that same one with a 3/4size handle? Or are you refering to a ratio between the blade length and handle circumference?


[This message has been edited by billpaxton (edited 03-21-2001).]
Ok, Bill. Find a khukuri that feels right for you. With a handle that seems perfect for everything BUT fighting.

With any luck, the handle wood will stick out beyond the bolster by a 16th or an 8th all the way around the bolster. File it down even with the bolster, and then keep on filing. Reduce the diameter the whole length of it, carrying the reduction back to
the flare of the butt. OK, it's going to look like you took it down to fit your wife. It'll still be the same length, but smaller in diameter. Just that you have some slack inside your grip to play with your fingers and change grips. You can hold it loosely, so you can flip it around, or clamp down just about as well as a larger handle. Now it wants to be twirled like a Texas high school cheerleader with a baton.

( And now it's really late and I'll send this and proofread it in the morning. )

i would pitch this in: choose a blade form that allows the most choices as to how you can use it to cut, thrust, and hit.

"To know and to act are one."
Too Right! You'll notice that for once I refrained from mentioning the UBE by name- oops.

"To know and to act are one."