My Kukri testing and form were complemented recently by a
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).
Japanese swords, called tameshigiri, was practiced on
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
KUKRI VELOCITY EXPERIMENT 1
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.
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
"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)."
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
February 3, 2011: For the last five months, India has been celebrating
a retired Gurkha soldier (Bishnu Shrestha) who, singlehandedly killed
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
valor and prowess. The Indian Gurkha regiment he recently retired from
him to return to active duty so he could receive a cash award and a
Bishnu Shrestha father had also served with the same unit, and retired
from it 29
All this occurred because Bishnu Shrestha was on a train where about forty bandits,
pretending to be passengers, suddenly revealed themselves, and,
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
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
some of the bandits had pistols, they were either fake (a common ploy
inoperable, or handled by a man who didn't want to get too close to an
After about ten minutes of fighting in the train isles, eleven bandits
dead or wounded, and the rest of them decided to drop their loot (200
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
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,
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
When the Gurkhas caught up with the Taliban, a gun battle broke out and
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
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
scampered away to safety.
When senior British commanders heard of this, they had the Gurkha
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)
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.
accusations of Western troops disrespecting Islam as a major part of
propaganda efforts. When there are no real cases of such disrespect,
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,
horrifies Afghan warriors. That's because Gurkhas have been fighting
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
1,300 years ago, and pushing the Moslems out of Kandahar (which was
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
fought a war with the Gurkha kingdom two centuries ago, and found them
formidable opponents that they began hiring them as mercenaries, and
do so. India has even more Gurkha mercenaries than Britain, and Gurkhas
popular security operatives worldwide. Most Afghans are somewhat amused
British punishing a Gurkha for simply doing what Gurkhas have been
Afghans for a long, long time. But the Gurkhas put their skills to use
are, no matter what they are up against. Bishnu Shrestha, however, took
a step further, by defeating 40 armed bandits all by himself. That was
just a bit
unusual, even for a Gurkha. But not unexpected.