Club (weapon)


A club (also known as cudgel, baton, truncheon, nightstick or bludgeon) is among the simplest of all weapons. A club is essentially a short staff, or stick, usually made of wood, and wielded as a weapon since prehistoric times.

Most clubs are small enough to be swung in one hand although two-handed variants are known. Various kinds of clubs are used in martial arts and other specialized fields, including the law-enforcement baton. The military mace is a more sophisticated descendant of the club, typically made of metal and featuring a spiked, knobbed or flanged head attached to a haft.

The wounds inflicted by a club are generally known as bludgeoning or blunt-force trauma injuries.


Law enforcement

Police forces and their predecessors have traditionally favored the use, whenever possible, of less-lethal weapons than guns or blades to impose public order or to subdue and apprehend law-breakers. Until recent times, when alternatives such as tasers and capsicum spray became available, this category of policing weapon has generally been filled by some form of wooden club variously termed a truncheon, baton, nightstick or lathi.

Conversely, criminals have been known to arm themselves with an array of homemade and often easily concealed bashing implements known colloquially as blackjacks, "saps" or coshes.

In addition, Shaolin monks and members of other religious orders around the world have employed cudgels from time to time as defensive weapons.

Some types

Although perhaps the simplest of all weapons there are many varieties of club, including:

  • Aklys – The Aklys is a club with an integrated leather thong, used to return it to the hand after snapping it at an opponent. Its origin is unclear.
  • Baseball and T-ball bats – The baseball bat is often used as an improvised weapon, much like the pickaxe handle. In countries where baseball is not commonly played, baseball bats are often first thought of as weapons, and in Poland, baseball bats have been made illegal to possess without a licence[citation needed]. Tee ball bats are also used in this manner. Their smaller size and lighter weight make the bat easier to handle in one hand than a baseball bat.
  • Cudgel – A stout stick carried by peasants during the Middle Ages. It functioned as a walking staff and a weapon for both self defence and in wartime. Regiments of Clubmen were raised as late as the English Civil War. The cudgel is also known as the Singlestick.
  • Crowbar- The crowbar is a commonly used improvised weapon, although some examples are too large to be wielded with a single hand, and therefore should be classified as staves.
  • Flashlights – Large metal flashlights such as Maglites, can make a very effective improvised club. As they are not specifically classed as weapons, they are often carried for self defence by security guards, bouncers and civilians, especially in countries where carrying weapons is restricted.
  • Gunstock war club – The wooden stocks of firearms introduced during the European colonization of the Americas were reportedly re-used by First Nations as improvised weapons; however, other sources claim that the club was an indigenous weapon before European contact, and acquired the term "gunstock" from the similarity of its shape. Regardless, the gunstock is an essential part of firearms, but it was stylized as a war club made famous by the Native American Indians as the Gunstock War Club. The Cold steel company, famous for their knives, has their own interpretation of a Gunstock War Club. Another more modern idea of this kind of war club would be the combat skill of bayonet usage. Even without a knife or blade type attachment, the rifle's body itself is of use for CQC (Close Quarters Combat).
  • Jutte – One of the more distinctive weapons of the samurai police (dōshin) was the Jutte. Basically an iron rod, the Jutte was popular because it could parry the slash of a sword and disarm an assailant without serious injury. Essentially a defensive or restraining weapon, the length of the Jutte requires the user to get extremely close to those being apprehended. A single hook or fork, called a Kagi, on the side near the handle allowed the Jutte to be used for trapping or even breaking the blades of edged weapons, as well as for jabbing and striking. The Kagi could also be used to entangle the clothes or fingers of an opponent. Thus, feudal Japanese police used the jutte to disarm and arrest subjects without serious bloodshed. Eventually, the Jutte also came to be considered a symbol of official status.[1]
  • Kanabō (nyoibo, konsaibo, tetsubō, ararebo). – Various types of different sized Japanese clubs made of wood and or iron, usually with iron spikes or studs.[2] [3][4][5]
  • Knobkierrie, occasionally spelled knopkierie or knobkerry, is a strong, short wooden club with a heavy rounded knob or head on one end, traditionally used by Southern African ethnic groups including the Zulu, as a weapon in warfare and the chase. The word Knobkierrie derives from the Dutch knop (knob or button), and the Bushman and Hottentot kerrie or kirri (stick).The weapon is employed at close quarters, or as a missile, and in time of peace may serve as a walking-stick. The head, or knob, is often ornately carved with faces or shapes that have symbolic meaning. The knobkierrie itself serves this function in the crest of the coat of Arms of South Africa.The name has been extended to similar weapons used by the natives of Australia, the Pacific islands and other places.
  • Life Preserver (sometimes hyphenated Life-preserver), a short, often weighted club intended for self-defense. Mentioned in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance and several Sherlock Holmes stories.[6]
  • Mace – A mace is a metal club with a heavy head on the end, designed to deliver very powerful blows. The head of a mace may also have small studs forged into it. The mace is often confused with the spiked morning star.
  • Mere – a mere is a type of short, broad-bladed club (patu), usually made from Nephrite jade (Pounamu or greenstone). A mere is one of the traditional, close combat, one-handed weapons of the indigenous Māori, of New Zealand. The designed use of the mere for forward striking thrusts is an unusual characteristic of Maori patu, where in other parts of the world, clubs are generally wielded with an ax-like downward blow.
  • Nulla-nulla - a short, curved hardwood club, used as a hunting weapon and in tribal in-fighting, by the Aboriginal people of Australia.
  • Pickaxe handlePickaxes were common tools in the United States in the early 20th century, and replacement handles were widely available. Strong and heavy, they make a formidable club and have often been used as club weapons. Pickaxe handles were handed out by segregationist Lester Maddox to the white patrons of his Pickrick Restaurant to keep that establishment from being "integrated". In the British Army pickaxe handles are or were officially used as guards' batons.
  • Rungu – A rungu (Swahili, plural marungu) is a wooden throwing club or baton bearing special symbolism and significance in certain East African tribal cultures. It is especially associated with Maasai morans (male warriors) who have traditionally used it in warfare and for hunting.
  • Slapjack – This is a variation of the blackjack. It consists of a longer strap which lets it be used flail-type, and can be used as a club or for trapping techniques as seen in the use of nunchaku and other flexible weapons. The slapjack became illegal for United States police officers to carry in the early 1980s.[citation needed]
  • Sally rod – A Sally rod is a long, thin wooden stick, generally made from willow (Latin Salix), and used chiefly in the past in Ireland as a disciplinary implement, but also sometimes used like a club (without the fencing-like technique of stick fighting) in fights and brawls. In Japan this type of stick is called the handbo meaning half stick, and in FMA (Filipino Martial Arts) it is called the Eskrima or escrima stick, often made from Rattan.
  • Shillelagh – A shillelagh is a wooden club or cudgel, typically made from a stout knotty stick with a large knob on the end, that is associated with Ireland in folklore.
  • Telescopic – Telescopic batons are rigid batons that are capable of collapsing to a shorter length for greater portability and concealability. They are illegal in England and some other countries. In Hungary these weapons are named "vipera" ("viper") and though officially illegal, they were reported as being repeatedly used by riot police units.



  1. ^ "Jutte". Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  2. ^ Tuttle dictionary of the martial arts of Korea, China & Japan – Page 168 Daniel Kogan, Sun-Jin Kim – 1996
  3. ^ Pauley's Guide – A Dictionary of Japanese Martial Arts and Culture – Page 90 Daniel C. Pauley – 2009
  4. ^ Classical weaponry of Japan: special weapons and tactics of the ... – Page 91 Serge Mol – 2003
  5. ^ Secrets of the samurai: a survey of the martial arts of feudal Japan By Oscar Ratti, Adele Westbrook p.305
  6. ^ Notes on the Sherlock Holmes story The Bruce Partington Plans

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • club — /klub/, n., v., clubbed, clubbing, adj. n. 1. a heavy stick, usually thicker at one end than at the other, suitable for use as a weapon; a cudgel. 2. a group of persons organized for a social, literary, athletic, political, or other purpose: They …   Universalium

  • Club (disambiguation) — Contents 1 In economic theory 2 Places and organizations 3 Objects 4 …   Wikipedia

  • Weapon X — Organisme de fiction apparaissant dans Weapon X Membre(s) Malcolm Colcord …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Weapon of Choice — is the other name for the signature weapon.Also Weapon of Choice may refer to:* Weapons of Choice , a novel by John Birmingham * Star 69 / Weapon of Choice , a single by Fatboy Slim * Weapon of Choice , a song by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club from… …   Wikipedia

  • Club — (kl[u^]b), n. [Cf. Icel. klubba, klumba, club, klumbuf[=o]ir a clubfoot, SW. klubba club, Dan. klump lump, klub a club, G. klumpen clump, kolben club, and E. clump.] 1. A heavy staff of wood, usually tapering, and wielded with the hand; a weapon; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Club law — Club Club (kl[u^]b), n. [Cf. Icel. klubba, klumba, club, klumbuf[=o]ir a clubfoot, SW. klubba club, Dan. klump lump, klub a club, G. klumpen clump, kolben club, and E. clump.] 1. A heavy staff of wood, usually tapering, and wielded with the hand; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Club root — Club Club (kl[u^]b), n. [Cf. Icel. klubba, klumba, club, klumbuf[=o]ir a clubfoot, SW. klubba club, Dan. klump lump, klub a club, G. klumpen clump, kolben club, and E. clump.] 1. A heavy staff of wood, usually tapering, and wielded with the hand; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Club topsail — Club Club (kl[u^]b), n. [Cf. Icel. klubba, klumba, club, klumbuf[=o]ir a clubfoot, SW. klubba club, Dan. klump lump, klub a club, G. klumpen clump, kolben club, and E. clump.] 1. A heavy staff of wood, usually tapering, and wielded with the hand; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • weapon — [n] arm, armament ammunition, anlace, arbalest, archery, arrow, assegai, atlatl, ax, axe, backsword, ballista, banderilla, barong, bat, baton, battle ax, bayonet, bazooka, billy club, blackjack, blade, blowgun, bludgeon, bomb, boomerang, bow and… …   New thesaurus

  • club — Ⅰ. club [1] ► NOUN 1) an association dedicated to a particular interest or activity. 2) an organization offering members social amenities, meals, and temporary residence. 3) a nightclub with dance music. ► VERB (clubbed, clubbing) …   English terms dictionary

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