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Indian 18th century katar.

A katar, also known as a Bundi dagger, is a type of short punching sword used in Persia and northern India. It is notable for its horizontal hand grip, which results in the blade of the sword sitting above the user's knuckles. Typically, katars were used in close range hand-to-hand combat, which is effective in armour piercing. The blade was often folded or corrugated for additional strength. Some katars have a mechanism responsible for making the blades split. This happens when the user pulls the hand grips together. In this variety of katar, two hand grips are used, so that the mechanism can be activated. This feature was often used to inflict a greater damage to the enemy, having the blades splitting inside of them and slashing their insides. "Hooded katars" are katars with a shield extending over the back of the user's hand. Katars ceased to be in common use in the 19th century.

The katar is unique because to stab an opponent one has to punch instead of thrust, unlike when using a regular knife or dagger. This leads to much more acrobatic fighting styles. It is more like an extension of the fist than a dagger, and it seems more natural to attack and defend with a katar.

Katars were commonly used by the members of the Kshatriya or military caste in Hinduism. Punjabis of Kshatriya descent have been known to possess names such as Katarmaar, which roughly translates to kill or hit with Katar.

Popular culture

The Katar was a type of unarmed combat (UA) weapon in Turbine's MMORPG Asheron's Call (1999). The katar and a number of variations on the weapon's basic design served as the class-specific weapons for the Assassin class of Blizzard North's computer role-playing game, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, as well as for the Assassin class of Gravity Corporation's MMORPG, Ragnarok Online. They also serve as one of the two class-specific weapons for the "Twin Blade" class in the .hack franchise.

Despite being hand-held in appearance and use they were presumably very similar to the bonded blade weapons owned by Wolverine of the X-Men, although his claws (sometimes refered to as spurs) are designed for slashing rather than stabbing. In Square Enix's video game, Final Fantasy VIII, the character Kiros uses katars, though the game spells it "katal" due to poor romanization of its Japanese language form. In Phil Foglio's Girl Genius, one character, Zeetha, is armed with a pair of katars. In the popular collection of 3D fighting games Soul Blade and Soul Calibur, and Soul Edge the blind and acrobatic Voldo wields two Jamadhar katars (katars with three blades).

The DC Comics character Hawkman utilized katars, as well as many other types of Terran and extraterrestrial weapons.

de:Katar (Dolch) ja:ジャマダハル