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Bennison N




Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Jul, 2008 10:55 pm    Post subject: The Wooden Weapons Thread.         Reply with quote

Whilst discussing the dussack on the other thread, it was suggested many times over that a special thread should be created for the listing and discussion of wooden weapons. There is, of course, countless examples of wooden weapons all throughout the history of the entire world, many less technological cultures historically only ever using wooden weapons.

So I will start off this thread by showing an example from the indigenous (well, having arrived by canoe at least a good 800 years before European Colonisation, anyway) people of my homeland, the Maori people of New Zealand. Very powerful physically, and with an exceptionally warlike culture, I have heard them credited with the invention of trench warfare.

This weapon is called the Taiaha, and it is still the traditional primary weapon of a Maori warrior. The use of this weapon is very highly developed, one rule of use being that one hand must be on the weapon at all times. I have seen very highly skilled kendoka with bokken easily beaten by masters of the Taiaha.

Thought I'd start it off with something obscure and different... Please feel free to carry on with examples.



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"Never give a sword to a man who can't dance" - Confucius

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Last edited by Bennison N on Thu 17 Jul, 2008 5:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Jul, 2008 11:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I moved this to the Historical Arms Talk section, since this thread is about weapons found in history.
Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


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Stephan Hall




Location: Germany
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Jul, 2008 3:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On this site you will find wooden weapons from the James Cook Collection
[url] www.nma.gov.au/cook/categories.php?category=War [/url]
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Kelly Powell




Location: lawrence, kansas
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Jul, 2008 4:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, the rattan sticks the phillapino's use in escrima(sp?) comes to mind....the tried and true staff...."rabbit" sticks and other throwing cudgels....the boomerang is the most famous.....walking sticks and canes....heck the list is fairly large.
OOOh! heres a good one...have you ever seen the musket clubs the north eastern tribes made ? Some had a flint or metal blade, but a lot were just plain wood....very odd shaped clubs(but they must of been vvery effective,will have to make one and try it out)
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Jason G. Smith




Location: Quebec
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Jul, 2008 6:31 am    Post subject: Re: The Wooden Weapons Thread.         Reply with quote

Bennison N wrote:

This weapon is called the Taiaha, and it is still the traditional primary weapon of a Maori warrior. The use of this weapon is very highly developed, one rule of use being that one hand must be on the weapon at all times. I have seen very highly skilled kendoka with bokken easily beaten by masters of the Taiaha.

Thought I'd start it off with something obscure and different... Please feel free to carry on with examples.


I've seen this before - I read an account (I'm sorry, it's far in my memory now) about a Maori warrior duelling with English swordsmen and beating them hands down. Nasty business, that...

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Chuck Wyatt





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PostPosted: Wed 16 Jul, 2008 7:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
This weapon is called the Taiaha, and it is still the traditional primary weapon of a Maori warrior. The use of this weapon is very highly developed, one rule of use being that one hand must be on the weapon at all times. I have seen very highly skilled kendoka with bokken easily beaten by masters of the Taiaha.


Paul Wagner gave me a quick Taiha 101 back at WMAW 2007 from one of his trips to New Zealand. Very dangerous at close range. Hopefully he will Chime in on the use of this wonderful weapon.

Cheers,
Chuck
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Jul, 2008 7:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chuck Wyatt wrote:
Quote:
This weapon is called the Taiaha, and it is still the traditional primary weapon of a Maori warrior. The use of this weapon is very highly developed, one rule of use being that one hand must be on the weapon at all times. I have seen very highly skilled kendoka with bokken easily beaten by masters of the Taiaha.


Paul Wagner gave me a quick Taiha 101 back at WMAW 2007 from one of his trips to New Zealand. Very dangerous at close range. Hopefully he will Chime in on the use of this wonderful weapon.

Cheers,
Chuck


Wonder how much of Taiaha technique might resemble European longsword or at least make us wonder about " options " we never thought about ?

Things developed for one martial art might be useful in understanding or re-interpreting the way some obscure techniques could be used: I only say this because no matter how different " styles " of fighting with a sword, polearm or club may be they must still be based on what the human body can do and have common elements helping in understand what might be obscure when our knowledge is based on " cryptic " descriptions of the actions done and a few drawings of beginning and ending positions.

Comparative studies of many martial arts can be productive I think.

Are there any books of available Video of of Maori martial arts ?

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Malcolm A




Location: Scotland, UK
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Jul, 2008 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all
Interesting topic this one.
Some may say I know doodle-squat about using weapons and they would be right though I do love reading about them.
The first one that came to mind when I read this topic was the quarterstaff as I remembered reading about an English soldier who was taken prisoner by the Spanish and who was granted his freedom by a bold display in the use of the quarterstaff.
I can't remember the original text that I read but a quick Google search came up with this site, including some words from Silver:
http://ejmas.com/jwma/articles/2001/jwmaart_docherty_0501.htm

You need to scroll down a bit to find the section I refer to.

I can't vouch for its veracity but if true then it would seem to suggest that the quarterstaff, which some may consider a crude club perhaps, can and should be taken seriousy as a weapon.

Just my penny's worth...

It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself
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Julian Reynolds




Location: United Kingdom
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Jul, 2008 1:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a wooden weapon with a very long history that reappears many times in the historic record. Indeed, such a weapon is currently (unofficially) known in the British Army as a 'Persuader' (for obvious reasons).

I made this one from 30 inches of quartersawn English oak, studded with 82 hand-made rosehead nails.

Below it is my current favourite for 'La Canne' stickfighting practice; the good old-fashioned self-stick. Despite its primitive nature, it still packs a mighty punch.



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Shahril Dzulkifli




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 4:56 am    Post subject: The Wooden Weapons Thread         Reply with quote


Here is an original example of a WWI trench club made from turned hardwood and pressed with hobnails. The head has been drilled out and filled with lead. Condition: in good condition except for a chip in the pommel. overall length: 17 inches (43,8cm). This club was used perhaps by British soldiers during close combat against attacking enemies when they ran out of ammunition.
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Kelly Powell




Location: lawrence, kansas
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 5:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A lot of times it would not be out of ammo....if the germans made the english trench they would be hard pressed to work the bolt of their enfields, much less reload.....It would be too tight for effective rifle/bayonet work......That is where the sharpened shovel and that brutal little morning star came into their own.....I wonder if some trooper ever got the idea to make a buckler....buckler and bayonet would be devastating down in the trenches.
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Max Chouinard




Location: Quebec, Qc
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 10:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is almost the same thing as a japanese tetsubo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanab%C5%8D

The shillelagh or the famous Irish stick. One of the few european martial living lineage (and hopefully going through somewhat of a renaissance): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_stick_fighting

Maxime Chouinard

Antrim Bata

Quebec City Kenjutsu

I don't do longsword
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 11:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Max Chouinard wrote:
It is almost the same thing as a japanese tetsubo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanab%C5%8D

The shillelagh or the famous Irish stick. One of the few european martial living lineage (and hopefully going through somewhat of a renaissance): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_stick_fighting


Hello Maxime: maybe you can add some more about your training and research about the shillelagh on this Topic or start a specific Topic about them. Wink

For those who don't know, Max has done some serious research in Ireland about the Shillelagh but I won't say much more because I don't know how much he want to say about it here at this moment: Lets just say he found rare and difficult to access sources of information and I don't know what he is free to talk about or if he is keeping this stuff for a future book, martial arts course or article.

Just saying I don't know ! Big Grin

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Justin H. Nez




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 2:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not a 100% all wooden weapon but mostly wood: the macuahuitl.

The Spanish commented on how it cut better than their swords.

"Nothing in fencing is really difficult, it just takes work." - Aldo Nadi
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Bennison N




Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 3:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recently did some research on Macahuitl for a paper at university, and there is actually accounts of an Inca warrior beheading a Spanish horse with one blow. Those obsidian blades would have held an edge forever as well...

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Regarding the Taiaha usage, I have fought literally hundreds of (mostly successful) matches against Taiaha students here in New Zealand with my Mujian (wooden jian). A very large percentage of my friends are Maori and they almost all have experience with Taiaha as kids on the Marae (sacred tribal meeting place). Any Maori guy who fancies himself as a fighter will never turn down a challenge ever. I have managed to notice a few things over the course of these matches:

1)The weapon must face the opponent at all times, but the body doesn't necessarily. They often turn and spin the weapon around the back, but when the back is turned, the weapon is behind them. Ideally, that's when YOU close the gap.
2) Attacks are generally made in a flicking motion, or in large arcing movements. They are very effective up close, so you don't ever let THEM close that gap.
3) They often kneel to take a downwards blow on the center part of the Taiaha. The most common next movement is a swing to your knee. I have developed a very good counter for this, which is better shown than described.
4) The majority of strikes are made with both hands on the weapon. Flick high, flick low, a half turn and a wide swinging shot to the stomach is a well used common Taiaha combo. The weapon is held upright, with the "tongue" or point upwards, and the "oar" roughly by the knee, and to the side of the body for a lot of the time.

It seems to me that blows considered to be a finish are generally accompanied by a "pukana", which when shown in this instance seems the basic equivalent to a maori kiai, during which the tongue is poked out and the eyes made as wide as possible. Scary if you've never seen it before, trust me.

It's a great weapon and lots of fun to experiment with counter-fighting against. It can be quite addicting.

http://www.bullshido.org/Te_Mau_Taiaha Try this link, it seems to be quite well researched.

http://www.whaleriderthemovie.com/ I would also recommend watching the film "Whale Rider", as there is some Taiaha work shown there.

"Never give a sword to a man who can't dance" - Confucius

अजयखड्गधारी


Last edited by Bennison N on Fri 18 Jul, 2008 12:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bennison N




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 5:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've never actually seen an Irish Shillelagh in action before, outside of movies. The design suggests to me a fairly brutal head-bashing type attack. I'd be interested in knowing more about it, as I've now seen it described as a martial "lineage".

And those escrima sticks pack some solid whack. I had a go at them with my mujian back in 2003. Nearly had my shoulder dislocated in close, and I wore big bruises on my thighs for about a week afterwards. Lots of fun, though...

There was a guy in my barrack in the Army who had what can be described as a "Persuader". Very nasty looking piece of gear... He had a DPM camo "sheathe" for it and all... I think he had used short square-headed screws instead of rosehead nails on his...

"Never give a sword to a man who can't dance" - Confucius

अजयखड्गधारी


Last edited by Bennison N on Fri 18 Jul, 2008 3:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bennison N




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2008 12:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Comparative studies of many martial arts can be productive I think.


Awesome. Jean says a lot of good stuff, but this is by far my favourite.

"Never give a sword to a man who can't dance" - Confucius

अजयखड्गधारी
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Julian Reynolds




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2008 12:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bennison,

Your original post has prompted me to go back to one of my favourite books, Meyer's 'Oceanic Art'. Here's a few wooden weapons from your part of the world.



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Julian Reynolds




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2008 12:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Although they are not strictly wooden, let's not forget the traditional weapons of the Hindu Fakir.

They were not permitted to carry metal weapons, so they developed the horn Bichwa (photo below is one I made a few years ago) and the formidable Madu, a kind of buckler with 2 black buck horns sticking horizontally out of either side, often with metal tips on the end. I would add the 'Fakir's Crutch' but they are usually made predominantly of iron and so don't really qualify.



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Julian Reynolds




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Jul, 2008 2:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I finally found a pic of a Madu, for those who are interested.

I made one of these many years ago, from a pair of blackbuck horns I found in an antique shop that were going very cheap because they were so 'politically incorrect' and unfashionable. I used an old tin plate for the buckler and some bodkin arrow heads on the tips of the horns. I gave it away a while back.

It's one of those projects that I would like to do again, but I doubt I could ever find blackbuck at a reasonable price.



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