Apr 15, 2010

Bladed Weapons: Swords I

In the previous two posts, we have highlighted various types of swords, both from the East and the West. Today, let's have a closer look at these bladed weapons. This picture shows a Filipino Bolo and its scabbard. The blade is made curved for a number of reasons including to bring the center of gravity forward closer to the tip for chopping power, similar to how a baseball bat is fatter at the business end. In similarity with other Indonesian and Malay weapons, the handle gets an elaborate design which has a number of uses. For instance, the curve at the pommel allows the weapon to be pulled without the grip slipping easily. The lack of a hand guard reduces hand protection but allows the weapon to be handled more easily in carriage, drawing and combat. Click read more for the rest of the article.

Related Posts: Shaolin Sword vs Japanese Katana, Sabre vs Foil Sword Fight

The katana is characterized by its distinctive appearance: a curved, slender, single edged blade, circular or squared guard, and long grip to accommodate two hands.  It has historically been associated with the samurai of feudal Japan, and has become renowned for its sharpness and cutting ability. The katana's unique design and in particular its sharpness necessitate quite a few specialized precautions to handle it. Failure to observe these precautions can easily lead to severe injury.

Jian (Chinese Sword)
The blade itself is customarily divided into three sections for leverage in different offensive and defensive techniques. The tip of the blade is the meant for stabbing, slashing, and quick cuts. The middle section is is used for a variety of offensive and defensive actions: cleaving cuts, draw cuts, and deflections. The section of blade closest to the guard is used for defensive actions.

Scimitars were used in horse warfare because of its relatively light weight when compared to larger swords and it is good for slashing opponents, while riding on a horse, because of its curved design. Mongols, Rajputs and Sikhs used scimitars in warfare among many other people. Many Islamic traditions adopted scimitars, as attested by their symbolic occurrence, e.g. on the Coat of arms of Saudi Arabia.

Bolo (Modern)
Bolos are characterized by having a blade that both curves and widens, often considerably so, at its tip. This moves the centre of gravity as far forward as possible, giving the knife extra momentum for chopping vegetation. Bolos intended for combat rather than agricultural work tend to be longer and less wide at the tip. In the US military, the slang term to bolo means to fail a test, exam or evaluation, originated from the Philippine-American guerrilla forces during World War II; those guerrillas who failed to demonstrate proficiency in marksmanship were issued bolos instead of firearms so as not to waste scarce ammunition!

Source: Wikipedia
Photo Credit: Cold Steel UK

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