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Man At Arms: Art Of War - Episode 2, Weapons Of The Gods

Danny Trejo and his friends took us to ancient India in last night′s Episode 2 of ″Man At Arms: Art Of War″ on the El Rey Network. India has a long and bloody history of warfare going back thousands of years. Their own styles of martial arts often incorporates yoga forms. Their weapons are often designed for intimidation more so than for practicality on a battlefield, and can be seen in ′Ballywood′ films like ″Magadheera″ from 2009. Trejo and his team of experts focus on two such weapons. The three-bladed dagger known as the Haladie, and the flexible, ′belt sword′, the Urumi. The Urumi is like a razor-sharp, metallic whip, 30 inches or more in length. Some hilts of this weapon held up to 32 separate ′blades′ of deadly steel.

 

 

 

Ilya Alekseyev is given the task of forging the Haladie blades from crucible or wootz steel. Developed in India around 300BC, this high-carbon steel will form a complex, crystaline lattice pattern, when produced correctly, making it very hard. However, it is also risky when forging, as it can become too brittle if over heated. Ilya gets some help from Ellen Durkan, a blacksmith who is famous for her corset art. She will craft the buckle guard, which covers the handle of the weapon and on top of which is welded the third, push-dagger blade. Ilya forges the main piece, which consists of the two primary blades and the center handle, all from a single piece of crucible steel. The push dagger is forged separately by Durkan.

 

Kerry Stagmer, owner and chief blacksmith of the Baltimore Knife Company, starts work on the Urumi. He chooses to make two blades from used band saw blades. To make them flexible, he carefully grinds them down to a thickness of less than 1 millimeter. Kerry makes two blades, one short, about a yard in length and another almost twice as long. The handle will be constructed from a hollow piece of steel, wrapped and tack welded about a conical mandrel. The pummel will consist of two parts, the main, thick circular piece and a thinner, round piece cut from a sheet of steel. Kerry bangs out a dome in the center of the thinner piece. He then hands it over to Durkan to cut out small triangles along the edge and prep those for mounting garnet gemstones, which will be set by Lauren Scott.

 

After Durkan finishes the push-dagger for the Haladie, Matt Stagmer and Bill Collison complete grinding the basic shapes of the dagger and of the main, double-bladed piece. Matt also grinds fullers in the double blades and gives all 3 blades a rough edge. Ilya then quenches each blade separately. Matt then finishes grinding the blades, including giving the double-blades serrated edges. After treating with a ferrite-Chloride solution to bring out the lattice structure of the steel, shop foreman John Mitchell tack welds the buckle guard and bolsters to the main piece, then welds the push dagger to the top. The Haladie is ready for testing.

 

Danny Trejo is first to slice some fruit with the Haladie, followed by stunt woman Crystal Santos. Even Matt gets to whack away at some fruit tossed at him in mid-air. Then, martial arts expert Da′Mon Stith demostrates the Haladie on several bags of sand suspended by ropes. He rips them up very nicely! Back at the workshop, Ellen enhances the Urumi pummel by plating it in 24-karat gold. Kerry completes assembly on the handle, machining in a nice screw such that the pummel locks down the rest of the handle. He decides, probably for safety reasons, to place the shorter blade on the hilt.

 

We then meet Kamaljit Singh, a Sikh weapons master who has been training with the Urumi since the age of 11. He demonstrates the whipping method used to get the flexible blade in motion. Singh tells Trejo that the Urumi was indeed used in large scale battles by experienced soldiers when they wound find themselves surrounded by multiple enemies. The 2011 ′Ballywood′ movie, ″Urumi″ featured this weapon. Although they had several ballistic dummy torsos with heads set up, for safety reasons, Singh only uses the Urumi on one target. The tip of the blade whips around at a clocked speed of 95.5 MPH as it rips the top half of a dummy head cleanly off! Since nobody else has Singh′s experience, none of the others handle the Urumi for is just too dangerous. Next week on the El Rey Network, ″Man At Arms: Art Of War″ looks at the weapons of Africa.

 

For more REAL NEWS and views, follow Andrew Zarowny on Facebook, and on Twitter @mrcapitalist.

 

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