Exotic Ancient Weapons VII: Patta

A sword is often said to be an extension of the fighter's arm . It isn't. It's more like a huge thumb enlargement, but we got used to not think about it this way. That's because in Europe blade weapons tend to have grip and blade on the same axis. A modern exception from this pattern is the (blunt) tonfa, a stick popular with German police, for example. Rifles and pistols tend to have grip and barrel non-aligned as well, though especially the early pistols of the 17th century had a barely angled grip.
Many European rapiers - weapons meant almost entirely for a piercing thrust attack - had two finger rings behind the handguard which allowed the fencer to come close to gripping the weapon oblique to the blade.

The patta or pata was an Indian sword type which did not align the grip with the blade. It's got a straight blade, unlike most other "Eastern" blade weapon types:

18th century patta (c) Alicia Cicon Mumford
The weapon is interesting both mechanically and regarding training:

Mechanically it does not allow to use wrist movements, which should reduce its speed and thus power of impact in slashing movements. On the other hand, it allows for a much stronger parry, and it transfers the (not very great) kinetic energy of the moving forearm during a slashing attack.

The negligible role of the wrist in the use of this weapon allows someone with an untrained (weak) or simply wounded or stiff wrist to use this weapon much easier and likely more effectively than a more typical blade weapon. A quickly trainer soldier would typically have been equipped with a shorter and cheaper weapon such as a falchion or cutlass, though.

The Katar is a type of dagger that's similar in principle, albeit without really locking the blade axis to the forearm axis that well.


No comments:

Post a Comment