How To Handle a Military Kukri 

The military kukri is a Nepalese knife with a machete-like inwardly curved blade. It’s a versatile blade which doesn’t need much practice or skill to handle. With so much to do with a kukri, here are some tips on how to handle a military kukri.


Holding The Kukri

kukri basic grip


The normal hold involves extending the thumb atop the index finger with a closed-tight fist grip around the handle. It’s recommended for exercising, training, during combat, and for close encounters.





kukri improvised grip


The improvised hold has the thumb slightly bent on the blade’s spine with the fist closed tightly around the handle. This gives pressure to effectively and tirelessly throw, swing or force the kukri against any surface.

It is an ideal position while using the kukri for cutting, striking, slicing and peeling off objects or doing any domestic or outdoor work. While the normal hold is advised for above waist level movements, the improvised hold is better for below waist movements.

Carrying Or Wearing The Kukri

Carry and Drawing a kukri

People carry kukris based on their comfort. The most common method of carrying the kukri is at waist level on one side, with the kukri facing straight opposite of the free hand.

As villagers and farmers don’t wear belts, they wear a sash around their waist and use it to carry the kukri, facing downwards at about a 60-degree angle parallel to their stomach region. Soldiers on duty wear it on the right side of their belt while they wear the kukri in the center of the backside during parades.

Drawing In and Out

unsheath kukriRight-handed people must firmly hold the back side of the scabbard while their left palm grips the handle. The right hand then gently draws the kukri out. Make sure your left-hand doesn’t overlap the scabbard’s front edge to avoid injuries while drawing the kukri.

It’s easier pulling the kukri if the scabbard is moved slightly downwards while drawing. The blade’s spine should always touch the scabbard’s inner back side while drawing the kukri out. Similarly, follow the scabbard’s curve while inserting it in. If the scabbard gets loose and opens a bit with extensive use, push the handle against the scabbard’s edge after tucking the kukri into it. This locks and tightens the kukri between the scabbard’s inner walls. If the kukri is too tight, apply some oil to both its sides before tucking into the scabbard. Leave the kukri in the scabbard somewhere cool and dry for a few days to let the leather stretch and accommodate the kukri.


Swinging The Blade

The kukri has to be swung in a slightly angular movement with the edge hitting the target at about a 75-degree angle. Avoid hitting the target at a straight, 90-degree angle because it pressurizes and rattles the blade to make cutting difficult.

Swing the blade at an angle for targets that are not positioned and swing it straight for fixed targets. Make sure you are about a foot or two away from the object so that there’s enough space to freely and forcefully swing your hands.



Position yourself at an elevated level than the target. Stand slightly sideward with feet stretched 2 feet apart and body weight resting on the back foot. Keep the free hand stretched out to aim at the target while the striking hand is bent with elbow parallel to shoulder.

Quickly lean towards the target to transfer your weight from the back foot to the striking hand and release the stroke. Bring your free hand aside and back while your striking hand comes in full strength for optimal balanced action and a clean lethal blow.



Stand to the target’s side with knees slightly bent and feet stretched apart. Keep the free hand stretched forwards towards the target and the kukri hand backward at waist level. Execute the stroke by pulling back the freehand out of the way while the striking hand comes in.

Leaning towards the target generates more power by transferring the body weight from the back to the front foot. Proper timing and movement guarantee swift and efficient stabbing.


Remember, a kukri handling technique is not necessarily a fighting technique. However, once you learn how to handle a military kukri, you can easily, confidently and responsibly use it as a fighting tool for self-defense purposes and not as an actual fighting weapon.