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Mambele (African Sickle Sword)

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    Originally posted by DdlR View Post
    Kind of. The Renaissance-era German weapon master Paulus Hector Mair detailed a large number of combat techniques for the single-handed sickle:



    Here's a video of some guys sparring with the weapon. As far as I can tell, this was a first attempt at sickle sparring, following experimentation with Mair's formal techniques (note that they're not wearing protective masks, etc.)

    That was a cool video Ddlr. I hate to say it, but it looks far more realistic in use of the weapon.

    I wonder what the background of the guy in the original sickle sword video is. I have no idea if what he is practicing is legit, as apposed to copied from other martial arts. Check out some of the other videos he has up loaded. The mambele might be one thing, but the rest of it looks more like the stuff they practice in India then it does in the Philippines. Back and forth sabre and shield with minimal closing/grappling as well as 1 vs 2 "sparring" at a fraction of realistic speed.


      Originally posted by Vieux Normand View Post
      Nope. Nothing contradictory there.
      No, nothing at all- but I do want to thank you for bringing my attention to a mistake I made.

      As anyone who has watched the video can tell, they weren't drilling. They were demonstrating techniques, not how to train those techniques or become proficient in their use. To my mind, such demonstrations are only YMAS material when they are offered as proof of the techniques' effectiveness or the ability to use them against a non-compliant opponent.

      It's too late for me to edit my post, but please don't let my sloppy use of language reflect poorly on anyone but me.


        Originally posted by Rock Ape View Post
        Judging by what I can see in that image, the blade has been folded multiple times, thus was created straight. The curve will have resulted from the quenching of the blade.
        If you're interested, this excerpt from a book titled "Spirit of the Sword" goes into a bit more detail about their sword-making process:


          Originally posted by Rock Ape View Post
          Judging by what I can see in that image, the blade has been folded multiple times, thus was created straight. The curve will have resulted from the quenching of the blade.
          I think that the layered look of the steel is caused by pattern welding not folding. Regardless, there's nothing to indicate that the curve was caused by quenching.


            Greetings to you all,

            My name is Da'Mon Stith and I am the guy in the video presenting the material. I stumbled upon your site today and wanted to clarify any questions you may have concerning our blade work. I understand that the post is an old one but if there is anyone wanting to revisit it I am willing to share.
            I will start by saying that the techniques are based upon the design of the weapon using the principle of 'The target dictates the weapons, and the weapons dictate movement' as well as colonial accounts of how the weapon in question and other weapons of similiar design were used...
            I have trained in Filipino arts as well as stick and blade arts of Africa and the African Diaspora... Which is where the free flow play/dance/sparring comes from. As a group we do spar with light to heavy equipment and have regular meet ups with a local German sword group and are willing to exchange ideas with any group.
            My goal is to recreate or reconstruction an Sahelian/African sword art based on what is available to me ie. Stick and machete fencing as well as sword and machete dances practiced on the continent and the diaspora.
            As of today there is very little sparring footage online. The material we have up are flow drills that allow us to develop our footwork and express our techniques and should be confused with actual application of our art...
            Our main weapon is the takouba braodsword and koti sabre both of which are used throughout the Western Sahel. Thank you for your time.


              Welcome to Bullshido.

              Originally posted by SilentSword7 View Post
              Our main weapon is the takouba braodsword and koti sabre both of which are used throughout the Western Sahel.
              I could find google images of the takouba broadsword, but not the koti sabre - what's it look like?


                I'm a few years late on this one, I know. I'm a bladesmith, and I was rather taken by that lovely, pattern-welded mambele. I was curious if anyone had anymore images of it.

                Also, to clear up some metallurgical misconceptions, that blade was almost certainly not curved by the quench. Some katanas are indeed curved by a water quench, but it isn't a common practice, and the direction the blade curves is determined by the bevels. If this blade were curved by a water quench, it would have curved in the opposite direction.

                In addition, pattern-welded/Damascus steel is not often literally folded. Certain makers of traditional Japanese swords, who are working with tamahagane that was smelted from iron sands do indeed hot cut and then fold and forge-weld their steel multiple times, which results in a visible, but subtle grain pattern at the end of the process. This was not done to achieve the grain pattern, but instead to remove and redistribute carbon from what started out as overly carbon-rich material, which we might call pig iron. Too little carbon leaves steel soft. Too much leaves it crumbly and weak. But, this isn't Damascus, either in traditional or modern senses. The original term refers to steels sold in Damascus, from various sources, one being Wootz steel, which had an interesting grain pattern. But, Wootz was a crucible steel, and wasn't folded or pattern welded. Modern Damascus refers to various forms of pattern welding, which might at times involve folding, but often doesn't.

                Generally it involves a high carbon steel (1075/1084/1095, etc) and thinner layers of a contrast steel, such as 15n20. These are forge welded together using a flux such as borax in billets, and drawn out. Then, you can either use it as is, or do other things to change the pattern. Sometimes layers are drawn out and twisted, or rolled up. Sometimes people do fold the steel to get finer layers. Other times, people do simpler things, like forge welding lower carbon steel layers to a core of high carbon, for San Mai blades. Sometimes more layers are forged on either side. At times the steel is hammered into wavey shapes, and is then ground flat again, exposing areas of underlying layers. For large swords, twist and straight pattern welded layers are forge-welded together for complex and beautiful patterns.

                After all of this, the blade is sanded very smooth, and then etched to show the layers, with an etchant such as ferric chloride. This is vital, if you want to see the results of your labors.

                This has turned into a bit of a novel. Hopefully it was useful to someone.


                  Welcome Hrothgar,

                  Usually this would be a post about not necromancing old dead threads but my limited knowledge of metallurgy and smithing leads me to believe you have added much and cleared up some misconceptions.

                  Thank you for posting and hope to see you around more,




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