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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old April 7 2015, 11:56 AM   #1
heavyneos
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Klingon Bat'leth useful or useless?

we see Klingon's many times in the series using the Bat'leth but how useful is the weapon, I have wielded 'modern style' one it feels heavy and cumbersome in the hand so how useful is it?

also why is Kahless style Bat'leth not used anymore what difference did taking away the spike and changing the prongs do, if they were modeled after the blade that Kahless used why change it at all?

also how come we never saw the weapon before Next Generation, surly we would have seen at least one hanging on the wall or used given how prominent it is from Next Generation forward.
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Old April 7 2015, 12:05 PM   #2
Timo
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Re: Klingon Bat'leth useful or useless?

There's an obvious advantage to having a long blade you hold with two hands from two different spots: it can stop other blades something mean!

The bat'leth is a great parrying weapon, and as such may be what the downtrodden and untrained peasant needs in order to stage a rebellion against noblemen who wield broadswords. (It's also great for arming said untrained peasants to fight in your own ranks even if you happen to be nobby - your troopers won't be great at offense, but they will be so great at defense that once all the killing is done, there are more of your troops left than those of your enemy.) So it's easy to see how the introduction of this weapon might be attributed to Kahless who seems to have risen from dirt and obscurity to leadership without losing his "common man" status. (Kahless may also have liberated the Klingons from the burden of the Hur'q, associating him with this "poor rebels defeat their superiors" thing in general even if the timeline is wobbly.)

Once the parrying gets the troops to point-blank contact, the weapon can be used for offense, without any need for finesse. It works no matter how you wield it: it's an axe, it's a spear, it's a cutting and thrusting blade of whatever length you prefer. It's not optimal for any of these uses, but when you have an army wielding these, optimal doesn't matter: the man with the broadsword goes down.

In one-on-one combat, it's the mark of a great Kahlessian warrior to win with the inferior bat'leth against the superior claymore, as happened in "Reunion". You need those fancy moves in order to be successful with the farmers' weapon!

Interestingly, in "Birthright", half a bat'leth is actually being used as a farming implement. Perhaps that's what it originally was, until Kahless (or real people collated under this mythical name) turned it into a poor Klingon's fighting tool? The swinging motion and the arrangement of the blades would seem great for harvesting wheat-like plants...

As for the "Kahless-style bat'leth" seen in "Sword of Kahless", it really looks as if it's an ornament rather than a weapon. The real Kahless might have wielded something much simpler and more akin to the modern bat'leth, but this relic is what the artisans came up with for ceremonial purposes - possibly centuries after Kahless' death, ascension or whatnot.

Why were blades not prominent in TOS? There might well have been a revival movement trying to unite the defeated and demoralized Klingon Empire under the Kahlessian religion after the humiliations of the 23rd century...

Timo Saloniemi
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Old April 7 2015, 12:30 PM   #3
HIjol
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Re: Klingon Bat'leth useful or useless?

To answer the OP question directly, I like how it feels when I wield it, like the way it looks, when people see mine in its mount, they never fail to comment positively, and I feel a pride in its ownership.

I find my Bat'leth very useful.
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Old April 7 2015, 12:55 PM   #4
2takesfrakes
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Re: Klingon Bat'leth useful or useless?

This is an unconvincing looking weapon, at best, to me. It looks rather cartoonish, in fact - almost flimsy. I remember when Worf killed Duras with it, by impaling him in the chest and it just wobbled, when he let go of it. Perhaps, if it had been ornate in some way, like with a pattern etched into it, as thick as it is and if the metal had a chrome look to it? I don't know ... I didn't care for it. The sword Worf used in the holodeck with his wife as they were killing monsters looks a lot better, as does the three-pronged knife Klingons use. I don't find the Bat'leth to be especially intimidating, at all ...
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Old April 7 2015, 01:33 PM   #5
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Re: Klingon Bat'leth useful or useless?

^ Well, nunchacks don't look all that intimidating either. If I never saw them used, I might pick one up and go wtf do I do with these?
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Old April 7 2015, 02:31 PM   #6
Timo
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Re: Klingon Bat'leth useful or useless?

And those are "a weapon used in lieu of a weapon", too - something cobbled together from inoffensive-looking components in circumstances where it's illegal to obtain an actual weapon. But they are merely better than nothing, while a bat'leth with its piercing point is a weapon to take down armor with.

That is, if there's enough mass in the blade for the "warhammer" action. Should we take the flimsiness and wobbliness of the blade literally, suggesting that the unwieldy mass of the bigger-than-necessary, bigger-than-practical blade area is being compensated for? Is that just a modern thing, for ceremonial fighting (like the flimsy dueling swords of Europe from the 1600s on, incapable of standing against a real battlefield blade)? Would the burly Klingons care for lightweight blades?

Or should we disregard the wobbling just like we disregard the occasional wobbling of the walls of a starship instead of theorizing that in the future, synthetic tri-isomorphic plywood is the ideal material for bulkheads?

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Old April 7 2015, 02:44 PM   #7
Trekker4747
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Re: Klingon Bat'leth useful or useless?

I think it really seems anymore in Klingon Culture the use of a bat'leth is more about the prestige and "theatrics" of the weapon more than any actual usefulness it may have.
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Old April 7 2015, 05:23 PM   #8
Richard Baker
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Re: Klingon Bat'leth useful or useless?

In 'The Way of the Warrior' the Klingons beamed aboard DS9 with Bat'leths instead of Disruptors which to me was a bit odd since if you want to take control sweeping a beam weapon across a crowd of people would make more sense that hand-to-hand.

Two possible reasons- no stun in disruptor weapons so would would take a chance in damaging the surrounding equipment or there is more prestige in killing your foe with a Bat'leth so more points to get into Sto'Vo'Kor with.
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Old April 7 2015, 09:56 PM   #9
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Re: Klingon Bat'leth useful or useless?

I used to collect swords. Not stainless steel wallhangers, actual swords, some custom-made, others were short run models.

I've been part of two or three communities where historical swordmaking and use would be discussed. Part of those communities were both researchers of medieval sword technigues (non are in use these days) and martial artists from several Asian arts where swords are used.
Smiths who make swords for a living were and still are part of this communities.

Bat'leths are completely inpractical as a weapon. The inward curvature makes it impossible to actually cut. You don't hack or slash with a sword. Piercing, that would be possible.

So no, it's really not a usefull weapon. Mostly, it looks bad-ass, that's it.
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Old April 7 2015, 10:31 PM   #10
2takesfrakes
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Re: Klingon Bat'leth useful or useless?

Ghrakh wrote: View Post
Well, nunchacks don't look all that intimidating either. If I never saw them used, I might pick one up and go wtf do I do with these?
Agreed about the nunchucks. But the Bat'leth does look like a giant Batarang, unfortunately, and I'm not really sure I can ever "buy" it, as far as weapons go. Honestly, it seems like it would serve better as some kind of a shield than anything.
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Old April 7 2015, 11:27 PM   #11
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Re: Klingon Bat'leth useful or useless?

heavyneos wrote: View Post
we see Klingon's many times in the series using the Bat'leth but how useful is the weapon, I have wielded 'modern style' one it feels heavy and cumbersome in the hand so how useful is it?
Klingons are significantly stronger than humans, so it probably doesn't feel as heavy to them.

As far as the design goes, it didn't just pop out of nowhere. The Bat'leth, as well as the manner of weilding it, was thoughtfully designed by visual effects producer and martial arts expert Dan Curry, with influences from real-life weapons.

also how come we never saw the weapon before Next Generation, surly we would have seen at least one hanging on the wall or used given how prominent it is from Next Generation forward.
Because it wasn't designed until TNG was in production.
Before that, we only saw disruptors and d'k-tahg knives (introduced in TSFS).

In the original series, the only times Klingons used bladed weapons, they looked like fairly "modernist" streamlined props just like everything else on the series, such as the imaginary swords in "Day of the Dove" and Kor's little dagger / letter opener in "Errand of Mercy" (undoubtedly a gift from Mrs. Kor )

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Old April 7 2015, 11:44 PM   #12
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Klingon Bat'leth useful or useless?

If weapons shaped like that were really that practical, they would have been used by real armies at some point.

It's probably one of those things that started as a ceremonial honor ritual which turned into a status symbol.
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Old April 7 2015, 11:51 PM   #13
Kor
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Re: Klingon Bat'leth useful or useless?

There have been plenty of inwardly-curved knives and swords throughout human history.

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Old April 8 2015, 12:44 PM   #14
Timo
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Re: Klingon Bat'leth useful or useless?

Klingons are significantly stronger than humans
Umm, Kruge in ST3 was significantly stronger than humans. He was also significantly stronger than Klingons, impressing his own crew with his muscular build and worm-strangling bravado.

No other Klingon has demonstrated great strength. Worf can be wrestled down easily enough, and Riker lifts heavy objects better than Worf does. There are no outlandish physical achievements attributed to Klingons - unlike all that dialogue that says Vulcans are 3-5 times stronger than humans, the TOS instances where the half-Vulcan Spock throws Kirk around like a ragdoll, or those STXI visuals that show Nero and his men leaping across great distances, lifting humans with one hand, etc.

Klingons probably thus would swing their swords only as hard as dedicated human swordfighters or axeswingers - say, the Vikings of popular entertainment. Any strength advantage would come from there being statistically fewer weaklings in the Klingon fighting force than in a comparable human unit, thanks to the nature of the warrior culture.

Regarding bat'leth practicability, a key feature of the blade is that it provides its own handguards. No Earth sword I know of has a blade with holes cut into it for handholds - the guard is always either a wholly separate construct or then at most a short cross-member near the grip. The bat'leth might be quite difficult to manufacture, actually: how do you cut those three holes into this big sheet of metal? How do you forge such a broad sheet in the first place? Or do the inner and outer arches start out as separate pieces that are then hammered together?

Yet once one has managed to manufacture that shape, it makes for very good protection for the hands holding the blade, again emphasizing how this is a good weapon for amateur defense rather than professional offense.

One may ask whether the outer arch is sharpened into a blade at all... Do we ever see it cutting anything? We see that part of the weapon being used for pushing the opponent away on several occasions, and there are no cuts in evidence as the result. The modern bat'leth might simply be a warhammer with four pointed ends for piercing the enemy armor, and the front curve would be but a dull shield for blocking enemy attacks by catching his blade.

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Old April 8 2015, 04:00 PM   #15
Mojochi
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Re: Klingon Bat'leth useful or useless?

Kor wrote: View Post
There have been plenty of inwardly-curved knives and swords throughout human history.

Kor
None of which have blades on both ends or have additional blades on the inward curve, all of which adds up to being more dangerous to the wielder than useful in combat

I especially use to hate when they would flip the thing in & out. All I'd think was "Are you trying to kill yourself?"
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