The Fighting Tomahawk, Volume II: Further Studies in the Combat Use of the Early American Tomahawk

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The blade is often flared and the sides may be decorated with spiral or angular patterns.

The palstave was mounted in the split end of a wooden handle and then tied in place with leather straps. On the way down from an Alpine peak in , two hikers found a frozen corpse. At first they thought it was the remains of an unlucky climber, but over time it became clear they had found a Stone Age man who had been murdered more than 5, years ago. Initially, the copper axe was interpreted as a sign of rank, a status symbol that belonged to a particular warrior or the ruling class.

At the beginning of the Iron Age from c. The non-shaft-hole axes disappeared and were replaced by axes with a hole for a handle. The axe heads also became larger, with broader blades. The first axes used as weapons were probably the same axes that were used as tools, since these were near at hand. An axe produced with the specific intention of being used as a weapon in combat is called a battle axe. These were being made as far back as the Stone Age and Bronze Age.

An axe intended to be thrown as a projectile is called a throwing axe. Throwing axes usually had a short handle. The Frankish throwing axes had thick but sharp axe heads and short handles. They were thrown at a distance of 10 or 12 paces from the enemy.

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Excavations of Central European graves from the period — AD uncovered a special axe that has been named the Franziska. This axe was initially used by the Franks, before spreading to the Teutons, Burgundians, Lombards and finally the Goths. The Franziska was probably used mostly as a hand weapon in close combat — it paid to keep a firm grip on your weapon at all times. It is unlikely that a warrior would throw away his prized weapon and then stand unarmed, although this is said to have happened when the Franks assaulted their enemies in Italy. However, conditions were very different when out hunting with the axe.

An axe could, though, be thrown quickly and quietly from a distance with great precision. And if it did miss the target, on the hunt there was time to recover the axe without the threat of attack from an enemy.

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The Franziska has an unusual shape and was clearly designed to be an effective throwing weapon. When correctly thrown, a Franziska rotates a number of times in the air before the axe blade hits its target. The axe will rotate once at a distance of 4—5 metres from the target, twice at a distance of 8—9 metres and three times at a distance of 12—13 metres. In Scandinavia, the battle axe rose in popularity during the Viking Age c. During this time, the Nordic smiths developed axes with longer handles and thinner blades, making the axe head extra light for use in battle.

This type of axe was very common at the Battle of Hastings in , for example, as documented in the Bayeux tapestry. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance around the 11th—16th centuries , European armies often had two different types of battle axe: a small axe with a short handle, often carried on the belt, and a larger one with a longer handle.

Out of the sky

The knights often fought on foot, when it was common to use battle axes. It was also common to find axes where the butt ended in an iron spike and the hand was protected by an iron plate on the handle. These axes were heavier, with a shorter handle and a rather blunter edge. In Central Europe, throwing axes made entirely of iron were used in the late Middle Ages.

The handle was usually 25—30 centimetres long and ended in a point. The butt also had a sharp spike and the cutting edge was around 16 centimetres long. In addition to these, there have been many other models of throwing axe. There were also large battle axes with a broad long head on a long handle. One example is the bearded axe, which often had an elongated edge with a sabre-like curve called a beard.

The lower part of the blade was fixed to the handle with a rivet. The handle was about 1. On some models, the front part of the axe blade was shaped into a hand guard. Bearded axes came in many varieties, with one or more points or hooks. These axes were common in Western and Central Europe during parts of the 14th century, before becoming more widely used, particularly in Sweden and Eastern Europe. In Europe, the axe declined in popularity as the sword was developed, but it remained a cheap and easily accessible weapon for ordinary people such as peasants at times of unrest and for self-defence against bandits.

In Europe, the broad axe gradually began to replace the sword as the tool of choice for beheadings during the latter part of the Middle Ages. In Sweden, beheading by broad axe was a method of execution used in the 18th and 19th centuries. The final execution with a broad axe in Sweden was that of murderer John Filip Nordlund.

The broad axe was then retired in favour of the guillotine for executions in Sweden, although this method was only used once, in , when the last execution took place in Sweden. Alongside its practical applications, all through history the axe has had a symbolic meaning. As an early example, we have the aforementioned boat axes from the Stone Age.

The axe was also a cult object in China, the Inca empire and ancient Greece and Rome. The Swedish History Museum in Stockholm has a double-headed axe made from clay, overlaid in gold. A clay axe could not have been a tool, only a cult object — with the double-headed axe representing the circle of life.

Like the crescent moon that waxed and waned, one can imagine that the two blades of the axe might symbolise birth and death in some form of related ritual. Knossos was probably the biggest and most powerful of several centres in the eastern Mediterranean at that time. The enormous Labyrinth palace was home to the ruling dynasty, but also the hub of political and economic life in Knossos.

Colourful religious ceremonies and ecstatic cult festivals took place here. As the name of the palace, Labyrinth meant House of the Double Axe. Images of double-headed axes have been found carved into stone in Knossos. It is known that the double-headed axe played a major role in Minoan culture and was a symbol of power. Excavations of the Knossos palace have uncovered a mural of a heavily armed woman who has a double-headed axe in each hand.

The House of the Double Axe and the woman with the double-headed axes represented just a few of the symbols and depictions in Minoan society. Religion and ritual were an integrated part of general culture. The fasces symbolised the power to punish. The bundle of rods represented the power to flog and the broad axe the power to execute. Today the fasces can still be seen in the emblem of the Swedish and Norwegian police forces and in the French national coat of arms. In the Nordic region, the battle axe became a symbol of power and rank during the Viking Age.

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The axes were ornately decorated as important status symbols. The axe has also been used as a symbol in the military. The provost marshal, a former non-commissioned officer tasked with keeping order and carrying out punishments, wore a symbolic axe on his uniform. An article on Kremlin-sponsored news outlet Sputnik described how these missile rail cars would be so hard to find that Prompt Global Strike might not be as effective as the US would like — but taken at face value, the article implies that the rest of the Russian nuclear arsenal is in fact relatively vulnerable.

These it deployed after it walked out of a treaty with Russia banning such weapons in Some Aegis anti-ballistic missiles now equip 40 US warships; in , one destroyed a satellite as it fell out of orbit. In advance of the Iraq war, various governments and onlookers cautioned the US and UK about the potential for unforeseen consequences, but the two governments were driven by a mindset impervious to criticism and misgivings.

Foreign casualties generally have little impact on domestic US politics. The hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians who died under first sanctions and then war did not negatively impact presidents Clinton or George W. And nuclear Trident offers that temptation. The control of major conventional weapons as well as WMD needs urgent attention from international civil society, media and political parties. There is still time to galvanise behind the Nobel-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the nuclear ban treaty , and to revive and globalise the decaying arms control agenda of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe , which played a vital part in bringing the Cold War to a largely peaceful end.

The history of the axe

Like the Kaiser in , perhaps Trump or one of his successors will express dismay when faced with the reality a major US offensive unleashes. But unlike the Kaiser, who saw his empire first defeated and then dismembered, perhaps a 21st-century US president might get away with it. A contemporary Robinsonade — York, York. The polar oceans and global climate — Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. But overhanging all this, of course, is the nuclear factor. The axe-arm is a difficult target — due to its shape, the axe is quite difficult to attack, disarming is even harder.

Psychology — an axe looks extremely threatening and gives its user a psychological advantage.

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The weapon is a tool which helps us to learn moves, to better understand distances, to improve our body mechanics. Any weapon has its own characteristics and appeal. This is why the axe is another facet of the martial arts, not least through its tremendous advantages over other weapons.

Principles are basic ideas and fixed rules which rank above all other procedures concepts and strategies. They are the preconditions and basics if you want to understand and apply a certain system. Principles help to understand and apply a given system-. Using all your body weapons hands, elbows, legs, knees, head in addition to the axe or tomahawk will make you an opponent to be reckoned with. Training skills, like speed, power or explosiveness is a major part of our training concept. Techniques alone will not win a fight, skills are equally important, especially in combination with the techniques.

Therefore we teach programs to improve skills. A concept is a plan how to behave in an emergency situation. Concepts are not to be confused with principles, there must always be the option to alternate between concepts.


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