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Author Topic: Do Gurkhas really have to draw blood if they take out their knives?
vominator
The Red and the Green Stamps


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some folks have probably heard that the Gurkha troops have to draw blood with their knives (nasty looking knives btw) and so "lots of them have scars, because they have to draw blood even if it's their own"

anyone know if this is true?

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GI Joe
Jingle Bell Hock


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I'm no expert, but here's a quote from the "GURKHAS KHUKURI HOUSE" web site.

"In times past, it was said that once a Khukuri was drawn in battle, it had to 'taste blood' - if not, its owner had to cut himself before returning into its sheath. More than being just a revered and effective weapon, however, the Khukuri is also the peaceful all-purpose knife of the hill people of Nepal. It is a versatile working tool and therefore an indispensable possession of almost every household."
http://www.gurkhaskhukuri.com/about.html

So the legend seems to say this "must draw blood" tradition applies only when the Khurkuri is drawn in battle.

It sounds nice and warlike, but I'd question the truth to it. There are hundreds of non-battle times that you'd draw a blade, especially since the Khurkuri is also an 'indispensible household item.' Not sure of the logic in always having to draw blood in battle when you use the same blade to perfom the most mundane household chores.

You'd think such extreme martial traditions as "always draw blood" would be reserved for blades with only a warlike purpose. I'm more likely to believe this tradition where it is linked to Japanese Samuri swords.

Still, there's probably at least a germ of truth to this legend.

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Once a Warrior Prince

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Ursa Major
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Perhaps this legend grew out of a common admonishment similar to one used in firearms training, "If you pull a gun on someone, who'd better be prepared to kill them."

In Gurkha terms this might translates as, "Only pull a knife on someone if your prepared to spill blood."

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I got to chat with a bunch of Gurkhas in Belize some years ago, and saw kukris put to all sorts of use before being stowed away bloodlessly - these guys were nails, and clever enough to know that you don't inflict upon yourself even the tiniest of wounds in a jungle environment. The regiment guys use their blades for almost everything, they are practical extensions of their arms and they move through the bush like ghosts, whereas big schmos with weed-whackers like me sound like a herd of elephants.

In short, no, they do not draw blood each time they use it – they would exsanguinate before the day was out! [Wink] Other kukri ‘legends ‘ include the skill of the wielder – they are taught such skills that a blow from a kukri is said to be impossible to parry – judging by their success in hand to hand combat I wouldn’t say that was too much of an exaggeration! Also the notch low on the blade is not to drain blood, used as a sight for an about to be thrown kukri ( a Gurkha would never throw his blade) or even to deflect an enemy’s blade, it is a religious phallic symbol apparently.

quote:
In 1948 Maharaja Padma Shamser Jangbahadur Rana, Prime Minister and Supreme Commander of Nepal, wrote, “The Kukri is the national as well as the religious weapon of the Gurkhas. It is incumbent on a Gurkha to carry it while awake and to place it under the pillow when retiring. As a religious weapon it is worshipped during the Dasain (the most important Hindu festival) and other times whenever any sacrifice is to be made
.

quote:
The kukri has somehow produced a fertile crop of myths and legends in the western world; and the most impossibly wild amongst them are the most tenaciously believed. Two already mentioned are that a kukri once drawn in whatever circumstances must taste blood before it is resheathed. Also that a Gurkha, if he possibly can, will take careful aim through the symbolic “kaura” or notch and then hurl the weapon like a boomerang, snick off the enemy’s head and casually snatch the kukri out of the air as it returns. If the first of these were true no Gurkha would survive to adulthood: He would lose pints of blood every day as he chopped wood, sharpened a wooden peg, opened a tin of beans and slashed down encroaching undergrowth. After each task he would have to shed some of his own blood. The second fails to stand the test of a little thought. Much as anyone would hate to be in the path of a flung kukri, one would hate much more to oppose one in the hand of an angry Gurkha.
Nepal, the Gurkha, and the Kukri: The three of them are inseparable in reputation, and the Gurkha Soldier keeps his kukri as he keeps his honour – bright and keen.

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Felessan
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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In a book on the Falklands War (from an Argentinian perspective) I found many references to the fearsome reputation of the Ghurkhas and eye-witness accounts of their fearlessness and savagery - such as walking across minefields with walkmans blaring in their ears and oblivious to their own losses, or the fearful mutilations they inflicted on Argentine dead. The problem with these stories is that during the Falklands War the Ghurkhas never went into battle, did not suffer a single battlefield casualty, and were in no position to mutilate anyone...

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You fool! That's not a warrior, that's a banana!
- a surreal moment in a role-playing game

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Indeed, the Gurkhas didn't see concentrated action during the Falklands Conflict but they were very much involved on Mount William and Goose Green, and were in position for major assaults when the Argentinians surrendered - 7 coy Gurkas lost men to shelling, and during battlefield clearances, so yes, they were in battle.

The following picture was taken on Tumbledown with fierce fighting that would rage long into the night....

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This is where I come up with something right? Something really clever...

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