A classic weapon of the early American frontier, the tomahawk has seen a major revival during the current two-front war on terrorism. In pioneer days, tomahawks and belt axes made highly practical combination wilderness survival tools and close-combat weapons. While the need for its use in hand-to-hand fighting may have lessened in modern times, the tomahawk is still a very useful all-purpose utility tool in the field. Dwight McLenmore has taken the painstaking research that went into his earlier Paladin Press book on tomahawks and adapted it to a series of training videos
In addition to the hard and fast tactics of tomahawk fighting, the author takes the reader through the history of the weapon from the Indian ball-headed war club up through the modern tactical hawk. Fighting techniques include basic grips, footwork, and angles of attack. I always find it interesting how little the standard angles of attack taught with edged weapons vary around the world. Japanese katana, German long sword or Indian tomahawk, ultimately, it all tends to be very similar.

There is also a practical section on throwing the tomahawk. This is where the weapon really comes into its own, as a hawk is far easier to throw than a knife. Practically anyone can be taught to throw one in a very short period of time and, in a fight, a hit with the handle or poll of the axe can be equally affective. I do have one complaint, though, about the throwing section. As an ex-forester, I really hate seeing people use living trees as targets! A flat section of log would have been much better.
Good training video that anybody with a “tac hawk” should watch.

The Fighting Tomahawk
By Dwight C. Mclemore

DVD, 3 disks, 250 minutes, 59.95
Paladin Press
Gunbarrel Tech Center
7077 Winchester Circle, Dept. TK
Boulder, CO, 80301; 800-392-2400

hankbookofswordsWhen it came to edged weapons, the late Hank Reinhardt was one of the most knowledgeable people I’ve ever met. While he was best known for his sword and kukri fighting demonstrations, there were few things with a blade that he hadn’t mastered. His first rule of cold steel combat was the only point is to win! His sparring partners constantly complained that he was cheating, but in a real engagement, they would be the ones missing an arm or a leg. Not Hank.
One of Hank’s favorite pastimes was debunking the myths that surround swords and their use. This book, written shortly before his death, is an assemblage of that research and practical experience. Chapters include ones on the “Wounds and Effects of Swords,” “The Viking Sword,” “European Sabers,” “Rapiers and Small Swords,” “The Katana,” and “The Kukri and it Origins.” The chapter on “The Basics of Cutting” should be required reading for anyone trying to understand how swords were actually used in the past. His section on sword wounds, both from the point and edge, is equally informative. Those of us who considered Hank a friend greatly miss him and this book is a fitting memorial to a true expert in the field.

The Book of Swords
By Hank Reinhardt

Soft cover, 205 pages, $35
Baen Books
P.O. Box 1403, Dept. TK
Riverdale, NY 10471 800-ITS-BAEN

caseIt is probably no big secret that more pocketknife collectors specialize in Case folders than any other brand. Case knives have always been known for their high quality, the company has produced literally hundreds of different patterns over the years and most can be relatively closely dated by tang stampings. There have probably been more collector price guides published for this brand than any other. As someone who has read practically all of them, I can say I have been left a little disappointed in most. The standard format seems to be to reprint a series of old catalog pages and simply add the author’s personal opinion of the value of each model. Pfeiffer’s new guide has taken a completely different path by actually giving the reader a detailed history of the company and each of its models.
Rather than ancient black and white catalog pages, the book used current color photos of hundreds of Case variations. This certainly makes it much easier to tell “green bone” from “red bone” and all the other subtle differences in the company’s collectable models. While not all of the knives in the photos are in mint condition (I doubt it is even possible to find every variation in mint condition), the collector prices are still quoted for factory new. In my experience, the average flea market/antique shop dealer always uses these “book” prices as their starting point no matter what the actual condition of the knife is. As any longtime knife collector will tell you, there is a world of difference between the value of a knife in factory mint condition and simply “very good,” so don’t let that appraisal throw you. A must read for all pocketknife collectors.

Collecting Case Knives, Identification and Price Guide
By Steve Pfeiffer

Soft cover, 303 pages, $29.99
Krause Publications
700 East State St., Dept. TK
Iola, WI 54990; 714-445-2214

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