Historically, many peoples have their own, unique models of edged weapons, which have become national. For the Spaniards, this is a Navaja knife, for the Americans - bowies, for the Malays - kris, the Caucasian highlanders wear kama daggers on their belts. But among the inhabitants of Nepal - not all of Nepal, but mainly of the Gurkha people - this type of cold weapon is the kukri. Moreover, it is rather difficult to characterize the kukri, despite all its simplicity. This is a cleaver (why not?), And a machete (can be used for the same purposes), a knife (after all, it cuts, right?) And even a short sword (because how they can deliver strong chopping blows, and the length of some models are quite suitable).
Traditional kukri with all accessories. Two more small knives are inserted into his scabbard.
The traditional Nepalese kukri blade is forged from high-carbon quality zone-hardened steel similar to Japanese blades. That is, it is not hardened entirely, but mainly its cutting part, while the blade itself has a crescent shape, and is sharpened along the inner side of the blade. At the same time, the lower part of the blade expands so that the center of gravity shifts to its edge. Such an unusual shape, however, is fully justified, since it makes it possible to deliver strong chopping blows with minimal effort.
Outwardly, the kukri is very simple, but also beautiful. There is nothing superfluous in it. But then every little thing in it has a ritual meaning.
Since this weapon is local, over time, almost not a single detail remained in it, which human fantasy would not give a certain meaning, and they even have their own names. For example, at the base of the blade of a classic kukri, there is a curly cutout called a cho.
The triangular shape of the blade section is also not "just like that", but the trinity of the gods Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. The rings on the handle of the kukri, which allow you to confidently hold it even with wet hands, actually symbolize the levels of the universe, that is, they are made on it so that the owner of the knife does not forget about it!
"Cho", that is, the depression at the base of the blade, have different shapes, and it means "Shiva's trident" - the main symbol of power and the main attribute of this Hindu deity. There is a “cho” that resembles a “footprint from a cow,” and then it will already be a symbol of the goddess of death, Kali. Well, and the cow, as you know, in Hinduism is considered a sacred animal. Such "cho" are characteristic of kukri cheinpur, named after the Nepalese village of Cheinpur, in which they are produced.
This is the dove-eye kukri blade from Chitlandj.
The name in honor of the small town of Chitlunge, located in the east of Nepal, was also given to Kukri Chitlunge, a characteristic feature of which is a hole of a specific shape ("pigeon's eye") in its blade.
Another kukri of the same type with a silver handle.
In the village of Bhojpur, also in eastern Nepal, several models of kukri are produced at once. It is believed that the kukri "of Bhojpur" is, in a sense, the ancestor of all other types of kukri. Therefore, they have a special place in Nepalese culture. They are considered to be the talisman of the house that protects the dwelling and gives its owners prosperity and good luck, and they put the kukri under the pillow for a peaceful sleep, wear it during the wedding ceremony, and put it together with the deceased in the grave, because it is believed that "there" they should will play the role of a pass to the heavenly kingdom.
There are kukri varieties of sirupati. The sirupati blade is similar to the leaf of the siru plant growing in the mountains (hence the name) and it is narrower and straighter than that of other varieties of kukri, which gives it a very elegant look, and … makes it convenient for a wide variety of work …
National Archaeological Museum in Madrid. Swords are straight and with an offset center of gravity of the blade.
Where did the kukri come from and what is the history of its origin, historians still argue. It is similar to it, however, very approximately, the khopesh sword, common among the ancient Egyptians, and the characteristic form of the copis, used in ancient Greece.
Kopis is even in the Archaeological Museum of the city of Anapa, that is, swords of this type in the Attic era were widespread, and from Spain to the Northern Black Sea region.
The Greek copis is believed to be the ancestor of the Iberian sword of the Mahaira. It resembles the Ethiopian sweat, as well as the Turkish scimitars, although their blades practically do not have an extension to the point. There is an assumption that the soldiers of Alexander the Great brought it to the territory of Hindustan, using the same form of swords. Indeed, the kukri, if you look at it, looks like a reduced version of the ancient copy, although it has a very different shape of the handle.
Mahaira (or Falcata) from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Due to the fact that the dimensions of ancient swords with a shifted center of gravity with a reverse curved blade were quite large, the sword strongly "pulled" the hand forward when struck, and in order for it not to break out of it, a bend was made on it in the shape of a "bird heads ". The kukri does not have such a bend in the handle, but, nevertheless, its back part also has an extension, which helps to hold it upon impact. As for antiquity, in the museums of Nepal there are kukris made in the 15th century. Earlier samples probably existed, but they were most likely reforged as they wear out to newer ones.
The handle of the mahaira was shaped in such a way that it would not break out of the hand.
The Gurkhas themselves deify their knife and attribute the most unusual properties to it. For example, that he is "alive" and does not "like" certain influences. So, if you rotate it in your hand, then it can easily break out of your hand, because "he doesn't like it." Stabbing blows are also not very convenient for them to inflict, as well as fencing, since the kukri is intended for other purposes. So the Gurkha boys were taught how to handle him from childhood. At the same time, if we ignore the study of various specific techniques, we can see that the ergonomics of the kukri are so well thought out and perfect that it allows you to use this type of knife without any special training.
It is necessary to be able to use the kukri and, above all, to hold it correctly in the hand.
A strange belief is connected with the kukri that, once removed from its scabbard, it cannot be inserted back without letting it feel the "taste of blood." Therefore, without a very good reason, the Gurkhas never bared them. And if this happened, then before removing it, you should have cut your finger and moisten the blade with this blood. That is, just like that, in order to "scare", the gurkhas do not remove the kukri from the scabbard, this behavior is considered unworthy for a man. But if he pulled it out, then his opponent needs to be careful!
Kukri 18 inches is something!
The length of the kukri is traditionally measured in inches. Moreover, the typical length of the kukri blade is 9 inches. Different there "mini-kukri" is nonsense. Its butt can have a thickness of 8 to 12 mm. Interestingly, the kukri still continues to be used as a standard melee weapon by the police and military units of Nepal, as well as by the Gurkha mercenaries, traditionally serving in the British army.
Kukri in 30, 25 and 20 inches. It's not even a knife anymore. Companion knives are also oversized. It would be interesting to hold these "monsters" (weight 2 kg, length 75 cm!) In your hands and use them. By the way, the price of a 30-inch kukri in Nepal is $ 229. You can buy directly in Russia, but delivery will cost another 40!
Until recently, kukri were forged from parts of railway equipment and decommissioned rails. Today, craftsmen are increasingly using Swedish and German car springs, and Japanese ones are used less often.
Kukri are forged by hand, like hundreds of years ago, so even blades of the same type are still slightly different. Among the characteristic features of the kukri blade are the presence of dales (grooves on the blade) chirra and hol. The first type runs along the entire blade and can be up to 20 mm wide. There are blades with three or even five chirra valleys extending from the handle to the wider part of the blade. Such blades look very unusual and unusual. That is, in this case, it is not even, but wavy. Hol - short and narrow goes along the butt, and it starts from the handle, and ends at the bend.
Kukri with narrow bore and riveted handle.
And this is how the blade shank is riveted on the pommel.
The handle of the kukri is traditionally made from polished water buffalo horn and hard and expensive woods (for example, rosewood), and previously both the horn of the local rhinoceros and ivory were used on them. The handles are most often fitted, but there are also those that are attached to the blade shank with two copper rivets. Sometimes a kukri has a brass or copper handle (now even aluminum!). Such a handle is heavier than a wooden handle, but it is very durable and is a kind of counterweight for the blade. Handles are also made of silver.
Kukri with scabbard on a special stand.
The scabbard is usually made of wood and covered with leather, and in them (on the inside), just like in the scabbard of a Japanese sword, there are also containers for two small knives. The first knife (karda) was used for various small household needs, but the second (chakmak) was not sharpened, had a rough surface, and was intended for editing the sharpening of the main blade. As a rule, army kukris do not have such additional knives, since they appeared already by the end of the twentieth century, when the Gurkish soldiers again decided to turn to their historical and military roots and traditions.
Extremes in kukri are frowned upon, but they are. This one, for example, has some kind of clearly "curved" handle. And why is she like this?
Now a little about the legality of owning such an exotic knife as a kukri. It would seem that this is the most real melee weapon, but … according to the legislation of the Russian Federation, it is the kukri that is not considered a melee weapon! And the thing is that the bend of its butt in relation to the upper part is much more than 15 millimeters, and the angle of the blade edge is more than 70 degrees.
Kukri made in America. This is a perversion, although, of course, it is perfectly disguised. You can advertise, you can sell. But … in kukri everything has been thought over for centuries. And if there is no "Shiva's trident" on his blade, then … sooner or later a crack will form on it in this place, and this "craft" will only have to be thrown away! "The gods take revenge!"
Thus, referring to the relevant GOSTs, we see that the totality of all these signs gives the right to rightfully classify the kukri as … the category of household items, since it is very difficult to inflict a stabbing blow on them.
Kukri with 9 '' blade. From my own experience, I can say that this length is even more than enough!