An axe is a tool that every house has. It is used to cut the bones and meats, woods, coconuts and even to replace a task of a hammer. In history proves that axe and hammer was used widely in the war. Since the creation of armor and shield, the need to used the "protector-breaker" was high. In Malay tradition, a weapon like Cokmar or war hammer is known to be used to hit the soldier with the shield.
There are many variation of axe, depending on the culture and the civilization. Single axe, or double head axe exists, or even long shaft axe and it's family (halberd, Bill, Bisento, Dagger-axe, Guan Dao, Lochaber axe (Jeddart axe), Naginata, Poleaxe etc.
When the legendary Hang Tuah was still really young, there was an incident where a man ran amok in the village with his machete. Her mother called him to come inside their house, but Hang Tuah,as brave as a lion, took his axe which he used to chop down the trees.He walked towards the man and defeated the man by using the Kapak. The historians said that, there are some indications in this story. First: An axe, is a villager's tool. 2nd: Hang Tuah was already talented in Silat even before he started learning it from Adiputra in the cave. 3rd: Defeat a "normal" enemy, one doesn't use the Keris. Keris normally used during a duel face to face with a Panglima or a strong Pendekar.
Kapak also one of the regular weapons that Kelantanese always bring. Kapak Binjai, a small size Kapak was kept at the one's waist. Kapak is used to attack the hard part of human body, while a sword or a machete were used only to cut the softer parts like meat and muscles. The head, vertebrate, tibia, and all bones are the target of Kapak's attack.
Blocking, striking, turning, hitting and "stabbing" is easy using the Kapak. But the more difficult is to throw it to the target correctly, and the most difficult is to "grab" the flying Kapak thrown towards us. I personally had a really hard days to train this (when I was in Malaysia), but finally in France, I found a Kapak specially made for throwing. It is made totally based on the axe of the American Indian, and it is light too!
Seems this kind of weapon generates much damage when accidentally fall on the Dojo's tatami or wood parquet, we practice it rarely. However, the Pentas, the Kuncian or the Asas are those movements that suitable to do inside the Dojo (Gelanggang).
There are many others war weapons that I'm interested with to integrate inside our training. We have ordered some traditional shields (perisai), flail (belantan berantai) and also manriki (gada-gada). Eagerly waiting to receive it as soon as possible! ;) They will be my new toys for the coming months! ;)
Cokmar (maces) is one of the Royal weapons in Malaysia