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
Katāri come in two major forms: one meant for killing and one meant for sport. While similar in broad strokes, they are very different when put to practice. The sports version of Katāri put more emphasis on foot-work and speed, with most matches being scored on points rather than finishes; a rule that the Katāri of the killing kind derisively refer to as "playing tag". When competing, sport Katāri use either blunt or wooden knives.
Sport Katāri have a mixed popularity. It is nowhere near the sensation that Saen-Kaw
is, but in the city-states where there is a strong tradition of Katāri there are matches held almost every week. Tournaments and competitions between schools and variants of the style in such places attract much attention and popular Katāri are those who know not only how to fight, but how to sell the fight.
Katāri practitioners usually form together in schools, headed by one or more masters and their paying students. Apprentice practitioners tend to double as cheap labor, tending to the school property and cleaning under the guise of training. This kind of organization is true for both forms of Katāri and form the most common base from which new practitioners are taught.
Katāri schools have a complicated relationships with one another. They are in direct competition over students, and through them money and prestige. Feuds between schools can lead to brawls in the street, though they rarely lead to actual deaths. When they do, it is never good news for either side. Arguments over which style has merit continue without end between students and masters alike.
At the same time, there is a sense of camaraderie and pride when pitted up against other martial arts or outside influences. More than once, bitter rivals have come to the others defense when one of them was handed a defeat by an outsider.