My Gurkha Kukri Mk III blade test
(note:  I am 5' 4")






My Kukri testing and form were complemented recently by a Nepalese!  Whoot!
Not only that but another Nepalese saw my Kukri practice/tests and asked if I was from Nepal which I consider flattering!

I have a love of beautifully crafted knives whether kitchen, utility or especially the old Japanese katana and short swords, this coupled with my interest of military history (including ancient military history) coupled with being raised in a Japanese tradition explains my background.  

After reading the article below about the retired Gurkha who prevented a young woman from being raped by train robbers, I got very curious about how Kukri (the Gurkha traditional utility and fighting long knife) handles and performs.

 I've read about the Nepalese Gurkha for years and have been amazed at their skill and courage in war and especially close combat.

Most well-known historic swordsmen were big for their population and era
for example, Timurlane, Vikings amd Miyamoto Musashi.
Despite the fact that the average Gurkha height is 5'2" they are universally feared in modern close combat.
I believe that in addition to their courage, their skill with their traditional blade and its design is quite an equalizer (click).

"Testing of Japanese swords, called tameshigiri, was practiced on a variety of materials (often the bodies of executed criminals) to test the sword's sharpness and practice cutting technique."
   
Old Mk III gen'l issue Kukri, one of my pair - surplus with my extra honing to a smaller angle

I do know their basic fighting kata.  Simple and effective.


testimonial by a WWII vet who fought alongside the Gurkha in the South Pacific




KUKRI VELOCITY EXPERIMENT 1

June 2, 2013

DOWNWARD STROKE
: Target clavicle, top of head or shoulder

Note:  I believe that velocity is almost irrelevant here.  My blade is honed to a finer edge than a Gurkha might since his is really an all-purpose tool.
Mine is pretty much razor sharp and I've already proven that with less effort, it will not only go through muscle tissue like butter, but
I've been able to cleave a completely rock-hard dessicated horse's thigh bone with it.
For shooters, these may seem like low velocities but again, it's a perfectly balanced, razor sharp, heavy blade which weighs many times of that
of a bullet.

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Timed Draw

August 8, 2012
(the use of the Sig Sauer P229 was not planned)



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Kukri test huge dessicated bone.  I think I actually went through on first stroke.

I'm willing to believe that it could sever a horse's thigh because I didn't realize that this bone (probably a steer femur) was absolutely dessicated and like rock unlike a fresh bone
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REMEMBER:  This is a Steer Thigh Bone which was absolutely dry and chipped the blade.  The avg diameter of a human thigh is 1.15" or so.

  

Bone so dry that it cratered the blade but it made the test much harder
I think it's a steer thigh, so the stories of dismounting knights on horses by whacking off a horses leg are probably true

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Tongue-in-cheek, but a real test.  Vertical strike (base of neck down).  The wood clamps slipped otherwise I think I would have gone through the entire rack
(a Nepalese congratulated me on my page too!)


to complement the large bone test, this shows how easily my blade goes through muscle tissue (since legs are usually covered with quads and hamstrings)



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CLAVICLE TO HIP CUT TEST

In old Japan, this test would use the katana and was called Shimotachiwari or a cut
from the clavicle straight down or the more common and practical kesa giri  袈裟切り; 袈裟斬り a diagonal cut from clavicle to hip using a large pork rib rack


Vise clamps slipped off before the end of my cut
so I didn't get all the way through
These ribs are twice as large in cross section and the bone twice as thick
as human ribs (human rib study ->
click) and it slipped out of the vise so I didn't get a complete cut
(I am certain that on a downward stroke I could go from clavicle to mid torso or horzontally a cross-section)


"In fact, in iaido, the diagonal cut (kesa giri) is one of the basic strokes, where the intention is indeed to cut from the shoulder to the opposite hip, and at more advanced levels, practitioners actually practice doing this to rolled up tatami mats and other inanimate objects.

Incidentally, a recent survey of battlefield grave sites in Japan, analyzing skeletons for cause of death, found kesa-giri to be the most common by far. There were hardly any examples of fatalities from a straight downward slash (the favoured move in Kendo)."
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Semi-Humorous free style practice with a reference to US Politicians who recommend that for self-defense women only need a whistle and to call the police.
I was using one of my Kukris, a Gerber Mark II knife and my Sig P229/.357 Sig
June 6, 2013



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One Gurkha, 40 Bandits, No Contest
(see also "Defeat in Detail" and Thermopylae )

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February 3, 2011: For the last five months, India has been celebrating and honoring
a retired Gurkha soldier (Bishnu Shrestha) who, singlehandedly killed three bandits,
wounded eight and drove off another 30.

This incident occurred five months ago, and
since then Shrestha has been given medals, cash and accolades for his outstanding
valor and prowess. The Indian Gurkha regiment he recently retired from persuaded
him to return to active duty so he could receive a cash award and a promotion.
Bishnu Shrestha father had also served with the same unit, and retired from it 29
years ago.

All this occurred because Bishnu Shrestha was on a train where about forty bandits,
pretending to be passengers, suddenly revealed themselves, and, armed with
knives, swords and pistols, stopped the train in the jungle, and proceeded to rob the
hundreds of passengers.

When the bandits reached Shrestha, he was ready to give
up his valuables, but then the 18 year old girl sitting next to him was grabbed by the
robbers, who wanted to rape her. The girl, who knew Shrestha was a retired soldier,
appealed to him for help.

So he pulled out the large, curved kukri knife that all Gurkha soldiers (and many Gurkha civilians)
carry, and went after the bandits. In the
narrow isle of the train, a trained fighter like Shrestha had the advantage. Although
some of the bandits had pistols, they were either fake (a common ploy in India),
inoperable, or handled by a man who didn't want to get too close to an angry
Gurkha.

After about ten minutes of fighting in the train isles, eleven bandits were
dead or wounded, and the rest of them decided to drop their loot (200 cell phones,
40 laptops, lots of jewelry, and nearly $10,000 in cash) and flee.

The train resumed
its journey promptly, in case the bandits came back, and to get medical aid for the
eight bandits who had been cut up by Shrestha (who was also wounded in one
hand). Shrestha required two months of medical treatment to recover the full use of
his injured hand.

Such incidents are rare, but not that unusual for Gurkha soldiers.

Two months before
Shrestha fought the 40 bandits, another Gurkha solider in Afghanistan, found himself
facing court martial for doing what Gurkha's are trained to do (beheading an enemy
in combat with his khukuri). The trouble began when the accused Gurkha's unit had
been sent in pursuit of a group of Taliban believed to contain a local Taliban leader.
When the Gurkhas caught up with the Taliban, a gun battle broke out and several of
the enemy were killed. The Gurkhas were ordered to retrieve the bodies of the dead
Taliban, to see if one of them was the wanted leader. But the Gurkhas were still
under heavy fire, and the Gurkha who reached one body realized he could not drag it
away without getting shot. Thinking fast, he cut off the dead Taliban's head and
scampered away to safety.

When senior British commanders heard of this, they had the Gurkha arrested (and
sent back to Britain for trial), and apologized to the family of the dead Taliban. The
head was returned, so that the entire body (as required by Islamic law) could be
buried. The British are very sensitive about further angering pro-Taliban Afghans, and
go out of their way to collect all body parts of dead Taliban (especially those hit with
bombs), so that the body can be buried according to Islamic law.

The Taliban use

accusations of Western troops disrespecting Islam as a major part of their
propaganda efforts. When there are no real cases of such disrespect, which is
usually the case, they make it up. British officials have said nothing about this case
since, indicating that they are waiting for the fuss to go away.

As far as beheading goes, the Taliban often do that on living victims, which even
horrifies Afghan warriors. That's because Gurkhas have been fighting Afghans for
centuries, in the service of Britain or Indian princes.

Gurkhas, who tend to be Hindus,

featured prominently in an Indian effort to stop Moslem armies from entering India
1,300 years ago, and pushing the Moslems out of Kandahar (which was then an
Indian border town).

Gurkhas are tribal people (of Tibetan and Mongol origin) from the mountains of Nepal,
and have interacted, and intermarried, with Indians for thousands of years. Britain
fought a war with the Gurkha kingdom two centuries ago, and found them such
formidable opponents that they began hiring them as mercenaries, and continue to
do so. India has even more Gurkha mercenaries than Britain, and Gurkhas are
popular security operatives worldwide. Most Afghans are somewhat amused at the
British punishing a Gurkha for simply doing what Gurkhas have been doing to
Afghans for a long, long time. But the Gurkhas put their skills to use wherever they
are, no matter what they are up against. Bishnu Shrestha, however, took the legend
a step further, by defeating 40 armed bandits all by himself. That was just a bit
unusual, even for a Gurkha. But not unexpected.