Spartan Training Center
While I have gone through this familiarization process, this morning, for the first time, Shawn and I put the blade through some simple thrust penetration tests against a handy straw bale, t-shirt, and flack jacket.
We did not test the cutting capability, for two reasons: 1) I am more interested in the blade’s combat functionality at thrusting penetration than I am in its ability for slicing and dicing; 2) the materials at hand would be a poor test of the blade’s combat cutting capability. (I suppose I could have hacked away at some plastic water bottles, but while they’re apparently popular for cutting on social media, they provide no useful information about how a percussion-cutting blade would function against an organic target in combat.)
In September, I posted about a kukri inspired blade that knife maker Wes Adkins was in the process of making. I received the blade from Wes just a bit over two weeks ago. Since getting my hands on it, I have been doing some training with it, and just getting a feel for it, carrying and wearing.
In looking at a blade’s functionality in thrusting, we need to look at a few factors including point morphology. Aside from point shape, though, what really makes a blade a good one for thrusting is the ergonomics of the entire blade, that is, how well the overall blade suits the hand-and-body actions of the wielder, particularly in the intense stress environment of close combat.
For comparison purposes in this morning’s testing, we also tested a traditional kukri made in Nepal. This particular kukri is almost 8 cm (3.5 in) longer than our test blade and considerably heavier.
Long story short, the blade made by Wes Adkins did far better in the thrust than the traditional kukri in spite of the fact that the kukri was longer and of greater mass. This was primarily due to the fact that the point section on the Adkins blade is specifically shaped for better penetration. In a side profile comparison, it is readily apparent that the traditional kukri has a much deeper belly and more obtuse point section than the Adkins blade. As well, from the top you can see that the spine of the traditional kukri is considerably thicker than the Adkins blade well into the point area. This thickness results in a strong spine, which is important for chopping brush, but this also significantly increases the resistance factor for penetration. Wes’ blade point is both thinner and has a more acute point angle. Partly because of the relatively thin point section, Wes strengthened the point area with an angular, diamond shaped spine, which extends from the top down into the centerline axis of the blade. This diamond shape is a fairly traditional approach for strengthening blade points for penetrating hard material such as ribs and even some types of armor.
My final conclusion from our simple thrusting exercise is that for a “knife sized” blade, this is one of the best combat thrusting blades I’ve run into.
Overall, I’m very impressed with what Wes had done with this blade. The overall shape of the blade is curved much like a kukri, but without the heft of a ‘brush-cutter.’ As a result the blade is considerably more responsive and livelier in action than the traditional kukri. With the traditional kukri, the heavy forward weight of the blade, can make it a bit slow in recovery from a hard strike, making follow-up strikes rather ponderous. Wes’ blade has a similar downward curve, but less mass in the forward end of the blade, thus it can still make strong strikes, but is much quicker to turn into a follow-up thrust or secondary strike.
As I’ve mentioned previously, this shape is about as close as one can get to a biomechanical ideal for thrusting… my primary intended use in a combat blade. The curve puts the point axis just about online with the axis of the arm-and-wrist structure. This makes the blade equally effective even when thrusting with the blade inverted (cutting-edge up) .
As for the cutting-edge, being a professional blade maker, Wes of course put a very fine edge on the blade. However, the shape of the blade is not really designed for fine cutting, but more for what downward curved blades have always been noted for, a devastating percussive chop-cut. While I doubt that this blade would be as effective at brush cutting as the traditional kukri, it should be more than sufficient for tissue, muscle, and bone.
Another very effective addition to Wes’ blade: the main portion of the back of the blade has a secondary cutting-edge. This significantly enhances the overall striking effectiveness in this very responsive blade.
To conclude here, I am looking forward to working more with this blade, and with Wes in seeing if we can’t further enhance the overall combat effectiveness of the blade. He is off to a great start with this “first edition.”In September, I posted about a kukri inspired blade that knife maker Wes Adkins was in the process of making. I received the blade from Wes just a bit over two weeks ago. Since getting my hands on it, I have been doing some training with it, and just getting a feel for it, carrying and wearing.