Katāri - the art of knife-fighting
A dead foe is a harmless foe.Katāri is a martial arts popular both as a sport and for fighting. It used two long knives, utilizing both quick and deadly strike with grappling and control. Katāri practitioners make up for their lack of range with fast, agile footwork and feigns to work their way inside their opponents effective striking range before dispatching them with brutal strikes and a vicious clinch. It is particularly popular in places were it would be impractical or illegal to wield larger blades, while almost anyone can hide a knife.
Form and Function
The key to victory is keeping your enemy off-balance. Never let them know from where the blow will come. When in doubt, a swift knee to the groin tend to even the odds.Katāri is a aggressive and violent style of fighting, using one dagger in each hand to deliver strikes and to control the opponent. Grips and pulls are used to drag the for off-balance while quick foot-work is a key defense, especially against larger weapons. Kicks are never used, with practitioners preferring to keep their feet close to the ground, but knees are sometimes utilized in the clinch. The grapple and clinch are some of the most effective weapons of the Katāri. They use the daggers to create an opening, then the grappling to neutralize their opponents ability to strike back. Once in the grip of a Katāri, the smaller blades are much more effective in creating short and brutal stabs. Katāri practitioners are equally comfortable at the ground or standing. They use their knives to snag clothing or limbs in either position, and the other to deliver blows. Some Katāri use serreted or hooked knife to make such maneuvers even more effective, while traditionalists prefer the simple, double-edged dagger. The viciousness with which Katāri can deliver punishment has earned the art a reputation for savagery and uncivilized conduct. Masters of the art maintain that it is preferable to be rude and alive rather than polite and dead.
Ceremony and Sport
Dagger-DanceThe Dagger-Dance is a form of ritualized combat, initiated by challenge and fought as a duel between two master Katāri. It takes places in an shrinking platforms, usually with students of either master removing chairs or tables, testing the fighters footwork and agility. It is usually fought to first blood or until one or another fell from the platform. Duels to the death do happen, in which case the battle simply continue once off of the platform.
Styles of KatāriKatāri come in several different variants, with different approaches or equipment. While all are broadly the same, suggesting as much to its practitioners is generally a bad idea. Below are some common variants: Katāri-Ka trades always use one long dagger and one forked dagger. They focus on less on blitzing strikes and more on measured counters to initiate their grappling exchanges. Katāri-Sah feature by far the most controversial of additions in the view of other Katāri, that of throwing their daggers. Wise Sah carry spares, in case one should miss. Katāri-Kata is the most common sports version. They do not train to kill, but only to hit. Wrist-control and clinches that neutralize are defensive techniques, while learning a clinch-guard that keep them safe while on the receiving end. They train exclusively to fight other Katāri.
TrainingKatāri practice are generally divided into two: striking and grappling. Strikes are practiced first against static targets or dummies with protusions that move on a hinge. Katāri always practice this with wooden clubs rather than knives and to bring metal to practice is akin to announcing a challenge, which is why rivals frequently do so. Grappling take place on hattick and weave mats, focusing on technique first and strength second. Either training can be grueling and serious Katāri are always fit. When they are not practicing, they are sparring. Katāri of the traditionalist bent tend to go hard during spars and injuries are common. Others, particularly those with students that are the children of wealthy merchants or powerful nobles, have learned the value of restraint.
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