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Sikhs with chakrams, inscribed "Nihang Abchal Nagar" (Nihang from Hazur Sahib), 1844
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The chakram (Sanskrit : cakram; Punjabi : chakkar; Malay : cakeram) is a throwing weapon from the Indian subcontinent. It is circular with a sharpened outer edge and a diameter of 12–30 centimetres (4.7–11.8 in). It is also known as chalikar meaning "circle", and was sometimes referred to in English writings as a "war-quoit". The chakram is primarily a throwing weapon but can also be used hand-to-hand. A smaller variant called chakri was worn on the wrist. A related weapon is the chakri dang, a bamboo staff with a chakri attached at one end.
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language with more than 100 million native speakers in the Indian subcontinent and around the world. It is the native language of the Punjabi people, an ethnic group of the cultural region called the Punjab, which encompasses northwest India and eastern Pakistan.
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family spoken in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, as well as parts of Thailand. A language of the Malays, it is spoken by 290 million people across the Strait of Malacca, including the coasts of the Malay Peninsula of Malaysia and the eastern coast of Sumatra in Indonesia and has been established as a native language of part of western coastal Sarawak and West Kalimantan in Borneo. It is also used as a trading language in the southern Philippines, including the southern parts of the Zamboanga Peninsula, the Sulu Archipelago and the southern predominantly Muslim-inhabited municipalities of Bataraza and Balabac in Palawan.
The Indian subcontinent, is a southern region and peninsula of Asia, mostly situated on the Indian Plate and projecting southwards into the Indian Ocean from the Himalayas. Geologically, the Indian subcontinent is related to the land mass that rifted from Gondwana and merged with the Eurasian plate nearly 55 million years ago. Geographically, it is the peninsular region in south-central Asia delineated by the Himalayas in the north, the Hindu Kush in the west, and the Arakanese in the east. Politically, the Indian subcontinent includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Javanese Chakram can take a different form. It has four cross iron on centre to joint a hole in centre with shape on edge. Each tip of the crossed iron had a shape like arrow tip. Between the two iron cross it carved with fire ball, and the tip of fire ball had a smaller arrow tip. so it had 4 larger arrow tip and 4 smaller arrow tip on blade. Another parts from bronze; diameter about 17 cm (6.7 in). It had a small (1⁄2-inch (13 mm) diameter) hole in the centre to rotate the chakram before launches. Outside this small hole it carved with 8 petal lotus in close form and 4 petal lotus outside.
The earliest references to the chakram come from the Indian epics Mahabharata and Ramayana where the Sudarshana Chakra is the weapon of the god Vishnu. Contemporaneous Tamil poems from the 2nd century BC record it as thikiri (திகிரி). Chakra-dhāri ("chakram-wielder" or "disc-bearer") is a name for Krishna. The chakram was later used extensively by the Sikhs at least until the days of Ranjit Singh. It came to be associated with Sikhs because of the Nihang practice of wearing chakram on their arms, around the neck and even tied in tiers on high turbans. The Portuguese chronicler Duarte Barbosa writes (c. 1516) of the chakram being used in the Delhi Sultanate.
Indian epic poetry is the epic poetry written in the Indian subcontinent, traditionally called Kavya. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata, which were originally composed in Sanskrit and later translated into many other Indian languages, and The Five Great Epics of Tamil Literature and Sangam literature are some of the oldest surviving epic poems ever written.
The Mahābhārata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Rāmāyaṇa. It narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes and their succession. Along with the Rāmāyaṇa, it forms the Hindu Itihasa.
Ramayana is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Mahābhārata. Along with the Mahābhārata, it forms the Hindu Itihasa.
The people of the kingdom ... are very good fighting men and good knights, armed with many kinds of weapons; they are great bowmen, and very strong men; they have very good lances, swords, daggers, steel maces, and battle-axes, with which they fight; and they have some steel wheels, which they call chakarani, two fingers broad, sharp outside like knives, and without edge inside; and the surface of these is of the size of a small plate. And they carry seven or eight of these each, put on the left arm; and they take one and put it on the finger of the right hand, and make it spin round many times, and so they hurl it at their enemies, and if they hit anyone on the arm or leg or neck, it cuts through all. And with these they carry on much fighting, and are very dexterous with them.
From its native India, variations of the chakram spread to other Asian countries. In Tibet, Malaysia, and Indonesia, the chakram was not flat but torus-like. Mongol cavalry used a similar throwing weapon with spiked edges.[ citation needed ]
Tibet is a region covering much of the Tibetan Plateau in modern-day China. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpa, Tamang, Qiang, Sherpa, and Lhoba peoples and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han Chinese and Hui people. Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 5,000 m (16,000 ft). The highest elevation in Tibet is Mount Everest, Earth's highest mountain, rising 8,848 m (29,029 ft) above sea level.
Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of 13 states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two similarly sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand and maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and a maritime border with the Philippines and Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital and largest city while Putrajaya is the seat of federal government. With a population of over 30 million, Malaysia is the world's 44th most populous country. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia, Tanjung Piai, is in Malaysia. In the tropics, Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries, with large numbers of endemic species.
Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the world's largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands, and at 1,904,569 square kilometres, the 14th largest by land area and the 7th largest in combined sea and land area. With over 261 million people, it is the world's 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world's most populous island, is home to more than half of the country's population.
Chakram are traditionally made from steel or brass which is beaten into a circular shape against an anvil with an indentation for the curvature. Two ends are connected with a piece of brass and then heated, forming a complete circle before the brass is removed. Some chakram, even those used in combat, were ornately engraved, or inlaid with brass, silver or gold.
The chakram is 0.5–1.0 in (13–25 mm) wide and is typically 5–12 in (130–300 mm) in diameter. The smaller variations are known as chakri while the larger ones are called vada chakra which were as large as a shield.
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The chakram's combat application is largely dependent on its size. Regular-sized (diameter of 15 cm (5.9 in) or more) steel chakram could be thrown 40–60 m (130–200 ft), while brass chakram, due to their better airfoil design, could be thrown in excess of 100 m (330 ft). If properly constructed, it should be a perfect circle. Warriors trained by throwing chakram at lengths of green bamboo. In single combat, the chakram could be thrown underarm like a modern Aerobie.[ citation needed ] In battles, it was usually thrown vertically so as to avoid accidentally hitting an ally on the left or right side. A stack of chakram could be quickly thrown one at a time like shuriken. On elephant or horseback, chakram could be more easily thrown than spears or arrows. Because of its aerodynamic circular shape it is not easily deflected by wind.
The bamboos are evergreen perennial flowering plants in the subfamily Bambusoideae of the grass family Poaceae. The word "bamboo" comes from the Dutch and/or Portuguese languages, which probably borrowed it from Malay, and some suspect that Malay borrowed it from Kannada.
An Aerobie is a flying ring used in a manner similar to a chakram or flying disc (Frisbee), for recreational catches between two or more individuals. Its ring shape of only about 3 mm (0.12 in) thickness makes the Aerobie lighter and more stable in flight than a disc. It can be bent to tune it for straighter flight. Since it has very low drag and good stability, it can be thrown much farther than a flying disc. The Aerobie was used to set two former world records for thrown objects.
The most iconic method of throwing a chakram is tajani, wherein the weapon is twirled on the index finger of an upraised hand and thrown with a timed flick of the wrist. The spin is meant to add power and range to the throw, while also avoiding the risk of cutting oneself on the sharp outer edge. An adept user can twirl the chakram while using another weapon with the other hand. The use of tajani in battle was perfected by the Nihang who employed a particular formation to protect the chakram-wielder from harm. Although variants of the chakram would make their way to neighbouring parts of the region, the tajani technique appears to have remained unique to Indian martial arts.
The Nihang are an armed Sikh warrior order originating in the Indian subcontinent. They are also referred to as Akali. Nihang are believed to have originated either from Fateh Singh and the attire he wore or from the "Akal Sena" started by Guru Hargobind. Early Sikh military history was dominated by the Nihang, known for their victories where they were heavily outnumbered. Traditionally known for their bravery and ruthlessness in the battlefield, the Nihang once formed the irregular guerrilla squads of the armed forces of the Sikh Empire, the Sikh Khalsa Army.
Indian martial arts refers to the fighting systems of the Indian subcontinent. A variety of terms are used for the English phrases “Indian martial arts”, usually deriving from Dravidian sources. While they may seem to imply specific disciplines, by Classical times they were used generically for all fighting systems.
The smaller chakri could also be worn on the arms or wrists and used like knuckledusters. When worn on the arms the chakri could be used to break or cut the opponent's arms while grappling. The larger vada chakra were worn around the neck and thrown or dropped down on the opponent vertically. In the turban, it could be raked across an enemy's face or eyes while fighting.
In the 1970s, the American inventor Alan Adler began attempting to improve upon a flying toy disc by considering its design characteristics. He tried streamlining the shape of the disc to reduce drag, but this resulted in a disc that was more unstable in flight. Eventually, inspired by British accounts of deadly Indian weaponry and martial arts, he turned his attention to the ring shape of the chakram. This led to the development of the predecessor of the Aerobie, which was called the "Skyro".
A boomerang is a thrown tool, typically constructed as a flat airfoil, that is designed to spin about an axis perpendicular to the direction of its flight. A returning boomerang is designed to return to the thrower. It is well known as a weapon used by Indigenous Australians for hunting.
A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head. The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with fire hardened spears, or it may be made of a more durable material fastened to the shaft, such as flint, obsidian, iron, steel or bronze. The most common design for hunting or combat spears since ancient times has incorporated a metal spearhead shaped like a triangle, lozenge, or leaf. The heads of fishing spears usually feature barbs or serrated edges.
A shuriken is a Japanese concealed weapon that was used as a hidden dagger or metsubushi to distract or misdirect.
The kukri or khukuri is a knife, originating from the Indian subcontinent, associated with the Nepali speaking Gurkhas of Nepal and India. The knife has a distinct recurve in the blade. Used as both a tool and as a weapon in the Indian subcontinent. Traditionally, it was, and in many cases still is, the basic utility knife of the Gurkha. It is a characteristic weapon of the Nepalese Army, the Royal Gurkha Rifles of the British Army, the Assam Rifles, the Assam Regiment, the Garhwal Rifles, the Gorkha regiments of the Indian Army, and of all Gurkha regiments throughout the world, so much so that some English-speakers refer to the weapon as a "Gurkha blade" or "Gurkha knife". The kukri often appears in Nepalese and Indian Gorkha heraldry and is used in many traditional rites such as wedding ceremonies.
Shurikenjutsu (手裏剣術) is a general term describing the traditional Japanese martial arts of throwing shuriken, which are small, hand-held weapons used primarily by the Samurai in feudal Japan, such as metal spikes bō shuriken, circular plates of metal known as hira shuriken, and knives (tantō).
A kunai is a Japanese tool thought to be originally derived from the masonry trowel. The two widely-recognized variations of the kunai are short kunai and the big kunai. Although a basic tool, in the hands of a martial arts expert, the kunai could be used as a multi-functional weapon. The kunai is commonly associated with the ninja, who used it to gouge holes in walls. Many popular manga and ninjutsu characters use kunai as both their primary and secondary weapons.
An arrowhead is a tip, usually sharpened, added to an arrow to make it more deadly or to fulfill some special purpose. The earliest arrowheads were made of stone and of organic materials; as human civilization progressed other materials were used. Arrowheads are important archaeological artifacts; they are a subclass of projectile points. Modern enthusiasts still "produce over one million brand-new spear and arrow points per year". One who manufactures metal arrowheads is an arrowsmith.
Knowledge about military technology of the Viking Age is based on relatively sparse archaeological finds, pictorial representation, and to some extent on the accounts in the Norse sagas and laws recorded in the 14th century.
A bindi is a coloured dot worn on the centre of the forehead, originally by Hindus and Jains from the Indian subcontinent. The word bindu dates back to the hymn of creation known as Nasadiya Sukta in the Rigveda. Bindu is considered the point at which creation begins and may become unity. It is also described as "the sacred symbol of the cosmos in its unmanifested state".
A ranged weapon is any weapon that can engage targets beyond hand-to-hand distance, i.e. at distances greater than the physical reach of the weapon itself. It is sometimes also called projectile weapon or missile weapon because it typically works by launching projectiles, though technically a directed-energy weapon is also a ranged weapon. In contrast, a weapon intended to be used in hand-to-hand combat is called a melee weapon.
The talwar, also spelled talwaar and tulwar, is a type of curved sword or sabre from the Indian subcontinent.
The throwing stick or throwing club is a wooden rod with either a pointed tip or a spearhead attached to one end, intended for use as a weapon. A throwing stick can be either straight or roughly boomerang-shaped, and is much shorter than the javelin. It became obsolete as slings and bows became more prevalent, except on the Australian continent, where the native people continued refining the basic design. Throwing sticks shaped like returning boomerangs are designed to fly straight to a target at long ranges, their surfaces acting as airfoils. When tuned correctly they do not exhibit curved flight, but rather they fly on an extended straight flight path. Straight flight ranges greater than 100 meters have been reported by historical sources as well as in recent research.
Listed here are the weapons of silat. The most common are the machete, staff, kris, sickle, spear, and kerambit. Because Southeast Asian society was traditionally based around agriculture, many of these weapons were originally farming tools.
Mughal weapons significantly evolved during the ruling periods of Babur, Akbar, Aurangzeb and Tipu Sultan. During its conquests throughout the centuries, the military of the Mughal Empire used a variety of weapons including swords, bows and arrows, horses, camels, elephants, some of the world's largest cannons, muskets and flintlock blunderbusses.
Native American weaponry was used by Native Americans to hunt and to do battle with other Native American tribes. Native American weaponry can be grouped into five types of weapons: striking weapons, cutting weapons, piercing weapons, defensive weapons, and symbolic weapons.
Dastar bunga, or "towering fortress", is a style of turban used by a specific sect within the Sikhs, the Akali Nihangs. As an essential part of their faith the warriors used the turban as a store for their expansive range of weapons.
The bagh nakh, vagh nakh, or vagh nakhya is a claw-like weapon, originating from the Indian subcontinent, designed to fit over the knuckles or be concealed under and against the palm. It consists of four or five curved blades affixed to a crossbar or glove, and is designed to slash through skin and muscle. It is believed to have been inspired by the armament of big cats, and the term bagh nakh itself means tiger's claw in Hindi.
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