How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

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How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Chris Parr » 2017-01-10 08:36pm

Just a question for those of you with experience with or knowledge of bladed weapons such as swords and knives and daggers and axes and such. Would you want to add one of these to your personal arsenal for a post apocalyptic zombie infested world or leave it alone to go for a better weapon? Just curious.

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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Zwinmar » 2017-01-10 11:12pm

You are better off with any bladed weapon that has a usable grip. Thing is almost as bad as a lightsaber for personal protection while wielding it while at the same time giving you no reach advantage. Hell, a gladius has better reach than that thing. Doesn't mean I don't want one though.

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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-01-10 11:24pm

It looks like shit. Those things Spock used in the pon'far, heck those ridiculous tambourines the onlookers rattled at the pon'far, are probably better weapons then the bat'leth.
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-01-10 11:42pm

Yeah. The bat'leth is one of the most wonderfully cinematic weapons ever.

It looks scary as all hell. It's got big menacing points. You can easily grip it in both hands and get into a bat'leth struggle against a similarly armed opponent where you wrestle defiantly against your opponent and spit your words of defiance in his teeth. Lots of pushing and shoving moves that actors can safely use to fight each other without anyone getting hurt. When you swing it around the room, lots of props get knocked down or slashed open .

From the point of view of a person trying to make exciting stories of melee combat, if the bat'leth did not exist, it would have been necessary to invent it.

And it didn't exist (because it's a bad idea in practice), so they did invent it (for Star Trek!)

Shroom Man 777 wrote:It looks like shit. Those things Spock used in the pon'far, heck those ridiculous tambourines the onlookers rattled at the pon'far, are probably better weapons then the bat'leth.
The things Spock used in the pon farr are basically big damn axes with a weight on the other end, so yeah. They weren't being USED the way someone might optimally use a weapon like that, but they'd make pretty good weapons, because the nasty parts are all on the end of the stick, rather than jutting out of the stick right next to your hands.

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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-01-10 11:47pm

I could imagine the bat'leth being invented by Klingoffs - who are humanoid but somehow supposed to have tougher features, different arm joints and no gaps in their rib cages (despite Worf's perpetual receiving of assbeatings...) - for ancient tunnel murder-marathons or something. Like of Quo'nos' livable sections were in these miserable Moria-like tunnels. Or if their megacities were horrible and crammed. Or if their space habitats and space ship corridors were miserable.

Just hold the bat'leth close to you and with your SUPERIOR KLINGOFF PHYSIOLOGY just roll around the tight spaces and cut up all sorts of other people. And stop PEASANT HORDES from touching you.

Maybe from behind the front-row bat'leth barrier, other Klingoffs use longer spear things or nightmare-scythes to reach out and murder the hordes of enemies too.

Maybe the inconvenient weapon was for HONORABLE ceremonial combat... and also for HONORABLE purges of poor people by nobles out for some jolly fun pogroms.

Yes. It is a pogrom weapon. By Klingoff nobles out to massacre defenseless people in ramshackle mudhut tunnel complexes.

Or some portable ritualistic barricate by Klingoff goons to prevent filthy peasants from touching the Klingoff nobles, the resplendent IMMORTANS of Klingoffopoplis!
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Formless » 2017-01-11 12:07am

There is actually a kung fu weapon that is analogous to the bat'leth, but only conceptually, and its an obscure one at that. Its called a cincada wing dao, and its basically a double saber with the same type of curved, bladed hand guards you see on the more famous hook swords. The thing to notice here is that neither are particularly practical weapons, but even then I think most fighters would prefer a cincada wing dao to a bat'leth because of ergonomics. The bat'leth curves in a way that makes it very hard to properly generate power with the damn thing and is probably uncomfortable on your wrists over time, whereas the cincada wing dao has a straight haft to grip which would not have any such issues. You just use it like a short staff, except you are relegated to using the half-staff position just like with a double bladed lightsaber. It can work, but you sacrifice all of the reach of a proper half staff or two handed sword. And one handed swords have even more reach than two handed weapons. That's why it is important that even the real chinese double-sword has blades in front of the hands so that you have something to work with as you enter close quarters. Every weapon has an ideal range it fights from, and once you have closed that distance a longer weapon can actually have problems fighting a shorter one built for the purpose. However, far more fighters preferred to have just one blade that they could point at the enemy and get extra reach with, because most of the time fighting from long distance is safer for you. With a weapon like the bat'leth or even the chinese weapon I've mentioned, you have about as much reach as someone wielding a pair of daggers; so why not just use a pair of daggers? They are lighter and easier to carry and conceal. Hell, the Chinese are pretty famous for actually carrying and using dual swords, so clearly even that practice is more practical than a bat'leth!

If you like, though, here's a video of Skallagrim Nielson talking about the bat'leth's more deserving cousin, the mekleth.
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Tribble » 2017-01-11 12:14am

Hell usability-wise I'd much rather have a baseball bat over a Bat'leth, at least it has the range advantage while still being able to cause crippling injuries.

How 'bout Bat'leth vs pointed stick? :P
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-01-11 12:46am

Tribble wrote:Hell usability-wise I'd much rather have a baseball bat over a Bat'leth, at least it has the range advantage while still being able to cause crippling injuries.

How 'bout Bat'leth vs pointed stick? :P


I would *murder* a bat'leth user with an unpointed stick.

Formless wrote:whereas the cincada wing dao has a straight haft to grip which would not have any such issues. You just use it like a short staff, except you are relegated to using the half-staff position just like with a double bladed lightsaber. It can work, but you sacrifice all of the reach of a proper half staff or two handed sword. And one handed swords have even more reach than two handed weapons. That's why it is important that even the real chinese double-sword has blades in front of the hands so that you have something to work with as you enter close quarters.


The thing with the wing dao is that it's primarily some kind of double-pointed spear-sword and the convoluted sharp curvy shit is just modified weirdo sharp curvy hand-guards that are a minor component of the dao and doesn't totally alter the dynamics of the weapon movements. The bat'leth is like ENTIRELY made out of weird sharp curvy hand-guards with no pointy spear-sword components at all!

The Cicada Wing Sword and Heaven and Earth, Sun and Moon Sword are usable in those basic spear/staff forms.

Even the preposterous Deer Antler Knives and Heaven And Earth Rings and Midnight And Noon Yue and Sun and Moon Speared Sword and Nine Teeth Hook and Ring (Huan) or Wheel of Wind & Fire and Sickle (Lian Dao) and Snake Ring weapons there in that list, they look preposterous but somehow, someway they look like they can still be used in conventional movements... their ridiculousness still has leeway for normal range of motions. Most of them can even stab and the ring-ones, at least their inward curves can allow proper stabbing.

Whereas the bat'leth adds extra curvy shit and double-handed shit that somehow impedes proper movement... it's just too bulky, the angles too shitty so stabs and thrusts AND slashes are ALL made more difficult. That's incredible! They combined all the WRONG angles for stabbing, thrusting and slashing! Wow.

They should've inverted it, placed the handles on the "back" where the "blade" doesn't curve...

Sweet shit. They should've modeled klingoffs after Kabal from MORTAL KOMBAT.

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Here. This is Kahless. With his Klingoff helm-mask. After he freed the Klingoff from their old gods and killed them... by TESTING HIS MIGHT in a tournament in OUTWORLD!

There. Ancient Klingon History crosses over with Mortal Kombat. I have made this thread not-shit.

You are all welcome.

the bat'leth's more deserving cousin, the mekleth.


Now that looks pretty OK and usable. It's just a space-kukri machete bolo.
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Formless » 2017-01-11 01:07am

Shroom man 777 wrote:The thing with the wing dao is that it's primarily some kind of double-pointed spear-sword and the convoluted sharp curvy shit is just modified weirdo sharp curvy hand-guards that are a minor component of the dao and doesn't totally alter the dynamics of the weapon movements. The bat'leth is like ENTIRELY made out of weird sharp curvy hand-guards with no pointy spear-sword components at all!

Quite true, although from the forms I've seen people do with them (example 1 and example 2) there are clear push motions that at first look like parries, but can also double as cuts depending on circumstance. Also, they are clearly throwing cuts with them, and the hand guards make it so that if a cut falls short of landing with the proper sword blade you'd still get an effective blow. You see the same kind of crescent shaped blades on Chinese halberds, so I assume they are there for a reason.

Still, clearly thrusting is the major attack even with the wing dao, and would simply not work at all with a bat'leth because of its horrible ergonomics.

Here. This is Kahless. With his Klingoff helm-mask. After he freed the Klingoff from their old gods and killed them... by TESTING HIS MIGHT in a tournament in OUTWORLD!

There. Ancient Klingon History crosses over with Mortal Kombat. I have made this thread not-shit.

You are all welcome.

In fact, for those unaware, those are hook swords. So yeah. The Chinese are more Klingon than the Klingons!

Now that looks pretty OK and usable. It's just a space-kukri machete bolo.

Pretty much. Although like the guy says, the Klingons need to learn what qualifies as an actual grip on their swords. It looks like it would cut his fingers open if he ever actually struck something with it. Their daggers don't have this problem! Just their swords! How bizarre is that?
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Lord Revan » 2017-01-11 01:32am

Actually bat'leth being weapon that was used only for honor duels actually makes sense, possibly with Bat'leth also being a symbol for status of "warrior". So when ranged weapons became more common most melee weapons stopped being used but Bat'leth remained as you can't use your disruptor in a honor duel that would a cowards way not the way of a real klingon warrior.

That would explain why bat'leth are so common in klingon use even though they have other melee weapons avaible.
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-01-11 01:35am

How often do they use those things in non-honor-duel conditions?
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-01-11 01:48am

It's worth noting that the mek'leth was made by Michael Dorn's request, as he wanted a weapon that was easier to handle than the bat'leth:

Memory Alpha
Dan Curry created the mek'leth at Michael Dorn's request when he joined Deep Space Nine in 1995. Dorn wanted a weapon that was easier to wield. The final design was based on a Himalayan blade, a Northern Tibetan cavalry sword. However, the ergonomics of the weapon were specifically designed for Dorn's mass and hand size. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion & A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager)
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Zwinmar » 2017-01-11 11:28am

now if only they knew what honor was. Cloaking device here.

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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-01-12 12:54am

Shroom Man 777 wrote:How often do they use those things in non-honor-duel conditions?


Off the top of my head, they were used in the storming of Deep Space 9 in "Way of the Warrior", although some of the boarding party (presumably the smarter and more experienced, or just less suicidal, ones) carried guns.

They were also used on Voyager in that holodeck episode where the Hirogen took over the ship and cosplayed as Nazis, I think. Though since those were holo-Klingons, it could just have been artistic licence by the programer.
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-01-12 01:12am

Hmmm... I wonder if we go super sci-fi about this, Klingon culture and society might've been super warped and twisted due to sci-fi memetic whatevers, so in this ultra-advanced society where folks have cloaking devices, atomic destabilization pew-pew pistols and teleporters, where in the future nobody has to starve because they have magic boxes that can make food, where super-elder Klingons probably have all the privileges and maybe even all the tail, you've got these young hyper-aggressive Klingoffs who've somehow regressed in some vicious cycle where they revere the pre-hypertechnological days where Klingoffs could advance by their own merits and not through NANO-STEROIDS or phased plasma weapons or cloaking fields that only the rich can get.

So they've turned into this nihilistic quasi-suicidal mega-cult of berserkers who go WITNESS ME and whenever they Keep Up With The Cardassians by stabbing reptilianoids with bat'leths or hacking Romuloids' heads off with their space-machetes, it gets them social credit points and they are seen as SHINY AND CHROME by the high ranking IMMORTAN WORFS of their society who probably encourage and channel-outwards these self-destructive impulses to preserve the upper crust of Klingoff society.

They could make Klingoffs go crazy with legends and myths of only the most badass of warriors who penetrate enemies' flesh with their blades getting the right to TRANSMIT THEIR SEEDS TO THE NEXT GENERATION... and it might not even be through literal sexing, Klingon warriors might have their DNA preserved in GENE VAULTS and if they prove themselves worthy, even if they die doing so, their GENE SEEDS can be thawed from the GENE VAULTS and propagated according to THE LAWS OF GENO-PRIMOGENITURE... female warriors having their WORTHY EGGS transplanted into the WOMBS and UTERUSES and OVARIES of the HONORED MATRES and PRIZED BEARER VALKYRIES who are old yet respected, these FURIOSAS.

While the males who are glorified, even in death, have their SPERMATOZOA implanted within the LOIN-SACS of the great IMMORTANS! These noblests who in their hallowed palaces have the great honor of carrying the glorious-seeds of the frontline warriors in the RITES OF PROPAGATION! Before the eyes of MILLIONS and MILLIONS of onlookers! In the most ELECTRIFYING MOMENT of KLINGON ULTIMATE WARRIOR WAYS! They LOAD THE SPACESHIP WITH THE ROCKET FUEL! And in THE GREATEST SHOW ON QUO'NOS, THE SHOWCASE OF THE IMMORTALS where IT ALL BEGINS... AGAIN... the countless Klingoholics can SMEEEEELLLLL-LA-LA-LA-LA WHAT THE WORF... IS COOKING!
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-01-12 02:18am

"PRIZED BEARER VALKYRIES "

Should be PRIZED BREEDER VALKYRIES
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-01-12 02:22am

Elsewhere, the pointy-eared sneaky schemers can have a grand tournament where countless combatants underhandedly toss their rivals out of the arena to be the last one left to show who is THE DIRTIEST PLAYER OF THE GAME.

THE ROMULAN RUMBLE
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-01-12 03:28am

A friend suggests that "maybe they use impractical as fuck melee weapons to demonstrate their kung fu mastery."

But that is OBVIOUSLY not the case since the Klingoffs obviously aren't masters of any martial arts. They can't even master their own faces. Or foreheads.

Like, to quote Red Letter Media, what's wrong with your faaaaaaacceeee....

My obvious and awesome rationalization for this is that MAYBE ancient masters were badass in kung-fu but it is way more likely in Star Trek lore that maybe the bat'leth are in the shape of the primordial demons whose reindeer antlers Kahless tore off all Warcraft like, or the dorsal spines of the radioactive monstrosities he had to "SORRY I'M A VEGETARIAN" in their Final Wars. Everyone forgot this though, but such is the resonance of this symbolic bat'leth form that ten million years later similarly shaped objects are still being wielded by screaming maniacs even though people are using cloaking fields, teleporting and shooting each other in the face with swordguns and plasma rifles.
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2017-01-12 06:01am

OBVIOUSLY the weapon totally wasn't designed to be something the actors could use safely to shove each other around. No sir, total combat sauce.
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-01-12 06:05am

I don't know how sarcastic that is or how many layers of compound chobham explosive reactive irony you're using there. You (possibly) objecting to posters going on about killy thinggies is hellarious though. :P

Actors have for ten thousand years safely used all sorts of less-stupid-looking prop weapons at each other, prop weapons based on total combat sauce thangs. Fuck it, why not use something like those preposterous Indian swastika-sword-daggers like the bad guys from OCTOPUSSY, along with BUZZSAW YOYOS! And a blunderbuss wielded by GOBINDA the ANGRY INDIAN.

SWORDGUNS like Final Fantasy bishies! Along with GIANT MOTORCYCLES. And lots of leather and styling gel and zippers!
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Swindle1984 » 2017-01-12 10:18am

Going from both the tv show and the novels, it's my understanding that the mythical origin of the bat'leth is that Kahless cut off a lock of his hair, dipped it in lava, and then hammered it into a sword. From that point on, it was the mythical sword of Kahless and was used for ceremonial things, such as honor duels, while more practical weapons were used for actual combat. Over time, as technology advanced and the Klingons were using firearms and later disruptors and melee weapons had less value on the battlefield, their obsession with warriors, honor, etc. led them to idolize "the ancient ways" and fetishize the bat'leth, to the point that every 'warrior' has a bat'leth hanging on their wall to show how cool they are. Sorta like modern day weeaboos all have katanas or more obscure medieval Japanese weapons (like the nodachi) hanging on their wall and make videos of themselves swinging them around, even though firearms make them entirely impractical as weapons in modern combat.

And, just as some crazed Scotsmen insisted on carrying a basket hilt claymore or longbow into WW2, some Klingons insist on trying to use their bat'leths in actual combat instead of restricting them to ceremonial use. I think the only time we see the bat'leth in use outside of a duel is a DS9 episode where Klingons are storming the station; which makes sense, you don't want to shoot vital equipment, so use a melee weapon to limit collateral damage to the station.

As far as the practically of the weapon... there is none. The reach is very limited, you can't get any power behind a swing because the grip prevents you from using your wrist effectively, it sucks as a stabbing weapon because of the shape and size of the tines on the blade (and stabbing with it, unless you were VERY lucky or very good, would basically result in a superficial flesh wound), and it sucks as a cutting weapon because of the shape of the blade and the grip; you might as well glue razor blades along the length of a broomstick, hold it in both hands, and thrust it lengthwise toward the enemy. Yeah, you may actually cut them, but it's not going to actually DO anything.

It also has no balance, and the weight is all wrong for either a slashing or a thrusting weapon. You may as well rip the spoiler off somebody's Honda and swing it around as a melee weapon. The fact that Michael Dorn was able to incorporate it into some Tai Chi movements speaks of the actor's skill and the intent of the prop designers.

In reality, the overwhelming majority of historical melee weapons are practical and designed for a specific purpose or target; a katana is a two-handed slashing weapon mainly meant for facing unarmored peasants or samurai clad in lacquered leather armor (which may or may not be reinforced with metal), and contrary to samurai movies was disdained in favor of the bow. The broadsword, on the other hand, is intended for taking on opponents wearing chain mail or plate armor and is primarily intended for thrusting (to puncture the armor) or chopping (to gouge out chunks in a shield or leather armor) rather than slashing, and has a hilt that can double as an improvised mace for caving in a guy's helmet. Weapon designs are based on the context in which they were developed, and the bat'leth, in-universe, is a mythical weapon that probably was never used in actual combat when swords were the go-to weapon of choice.

Probably the closest thing I can think of as a real-world equivalent to the bat'leth would be some of the crazier Indian weapons which, again, were almost never used in actual combat and were restricted to ceremonial use, one-on-one duels, and showing off.

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For example, the urumi, also known as the ribbon sword or whip sword. Usually had multiple blades made of metal ribbon and was flailed about in a manner similar to a cat-o-nine-tails. Anyone who mastered its use was held in awe, because it took a LOT to learn how to use the thing without slicing yourself up. And those who did master it typically ditched it for a more practical weapon when battle loomed, because in addition to being difficult to use, it was useless against someone wearing armor or carrying a large shield, a long sword could sweep it aside and then stab/slash the wielder, and a spear outranged it. I can't find a single reference to its actually being used in combat, and it basically existed for centuries solely as a means of showing off.

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I'm not even how you're supposed to hold this thing.

So I imagine the bat'leth is basically equivalent to these, or the crazy fantasy daggers you see for sale at the flea market, but with the same cultural significance/mystique as historical weapons like the katana or Excalibur.
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-01-12 10:59am

Got videos of Worf or Dorn or whoever managing to pull off a nice-looking bat'leh + Tai Chi pattern?
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Swindle1984 » 2017-01-12 12:14pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:Got videos of Worf or Dorn or whoever managing to pull off a nice-looking bat'leh + Tai Chi pattern?



He goes through a few slow, flowing movements, rolling it along his arm, in the episode that introduces Alexander. Again, it's a testament to the actor that he can pull that off with such an awkwardly shaped object.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXnzstpBEOg[/youtube]

And even that isn't all that impressive when you watch it.
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby NeoGoomba » 2017-01-12 12:35pm

Fun observation as the Bat'leth being a ceremonious, honorable kill-stick, when noble Worf goes to avenge his wife/side piece/whoever she was, he brings a Bat'leth to challenge dastardly Duras.

So noble, honorable Worf goes to Duras' ship and claims his honorable right at vengence, which Duras' crew actually allows. Dishonorable, dastardly Duras then accepts the duel by pulling a freaking Katana off the wall (noted dishonorable weapon used by the hairless ape Terrans) to fight him. So the Bat'leth having stronger symbolic, honor-bound meaning than military application seems pretty apt, whereas more jerk Klingons use whatever is actually useful.

It's like if I'm at war with my neighbors, I COULD throw a frag at them, but it would be so much more symbolic of my badass-ness if I threw the urn containing my father-in-law's ashes at them, right?
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Re: How good is the Bat'leth as a melee weapon?

Postby Khaat » 2017-01-12 12:45pm

NeoGoomba wrote:It's like if I'm at war with my neighbors, I COULD throw a frag at them, but it would be so much more symbolic of my badass-ness if I threw the urn containing my father-in-law's ashes at them, right?

More likely the head of one of their relatives, taken earlier in the blood-feud.

You wouldn't throw your father's ashes at him, though you might use those ashes in the forging of a sword to kill his killer (and other notably over-dramatic, likely ret-conned stuff.)
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