Learn How To Handle Kukuri
" Learn from the experts. Khukuri House Thamel teaches how"
1 - To Carry
The most common and the easiest way is to wear the kukri at waist level on one side, opposite side of the using hand. (Mostly on your left side and to pull it with your right)
Soldiers on parade, the kukri are worn on the middle/center of the backside. The idea is to get both waist sides free so that hands can be moved freely while performing. However the drawing task is more difficult because of its placement. But with practice, Gurkhas do it with no trouble.
Different people carry kukri in different style or in whatever manner that benefits them the most. Most village kukris don’t have belt loops since they don’t put on waist belts as they prefer to wear “Patuka” (a long cloth that goes around their waist circling it twice or thrice). Villagers’ use it to hold their kukri as shown in the picture.
2 - To Draw In and Out
While drawing (incase of right-handed user), left hand should first hold the back side of scabbard firmly by placing the palm around it never circling the whole case and then the right hand should come into action; grip the handle firmly with closed fist around the handle and gently draw out the kukri always making sure the back of the kukri faces back of the scabbard also following the curve. Pull the weapon slowly. Follow same process while inserting also. (As the sharp kukri blade might cut through from inside and injure the crossing fingers)
3 - To Grip
This is the basic and very simple fist position where the thumb extends/stays straight forward on top of index finger and closed-tight fist grip around the handle as shown in the picture.
4 - The Angle
In order to get the desired result while swinging a kukri it should be slightly inclined at about a 60º angle downward against the target. By doing this the edge will cut through easier and with less effort. It is recommended to find a spot on the target and swing the blade in a rhythm-tic movement always aiming at the same spot. Rhythm, aim and consistency are the keys to effective swinging
5 - To Sharpen
Almost all kukris come with these two small knives on the back portion of the scabbard. The “Karda” (one edge sharpened) is a small utility knife used to perform small tasks that the big kukri blade cannot. The “Chakmak” (Both edge dull/unsharpened) is the sharpener used to sharpen both the main blade, which is the Kukri.
To sharpen the kukri, place the blade firmly against a smooth leveled surface with the edge facing sideward resting body weight on it as shown in the picture. Applying a little force, drag the Chakmak from the tip of the kukri to the notch (notch works as a stopper) several times on one side. Make sure you maintain a certain rhythm and always start from tip to notch. Now flip the kukri to the other side and repeat the action. Repeat till you get the desired sharpness or edge. The Chakmak sharpening process is quite laborious and time consuming. Therefore, a sharpening stone is recommended for faster and better results.
6 - To Maintain
A kukri can last a life time if properly used and looked after. This house has many examples of old kukris that has lasted more than centuries in its stores. To make a kukri last that long, one needs to always check what one is using it for. The target must not be harder than the kukri. Every time after use, one needs to wipe the kukri dry with cloth. Make sure no residue, no water or even finger prints are left on the kukri as it turns into rust within a few days time. Scratches and marks are likely to appear as you work with them. One can buff them up with buffing machine.
Apply machine oil, vegetable oil, silicon oil or any other lubricants on both side of the kukri to prevent it from rusting. Remember to oil it before you store it for longer period. Keep checking; if the oil has dried then re-oil the kukri.
Just incase if the rust does take place, dust it off using fine sand paper and re-polish or use oil instantly.
To look after the scabbard, one needs to apply boot polish to keep the leather soft. Do not let direct sunrays get to the scabbard as the leather might shrink a little making the kukri tighter to draw in and out.
Brasso or silvo (if silver case) can be used to re-polish the brass if tarnished.
6 - To Lock
Sometimes scabbard may open up a little bit because of extensive use and become loose. In case like this after tucking the kukri inside push the handle down against the edge of the scabbard. The kukri will get locked and tightened between the inner wooden walls of the scabbard. Similarly, in case when kukri is too tight to operate; put heavy oil on the both surface of the blade then tuck it inside the scabbard and put the kukri along with its scabbard in a cool/cold dry place for couple of days. The leather will get stretched by doing this and will make more internal space for the kukri.