Follow TV Tropes


Kukris Are Kool

Go To
Good for chopping.

"A lil' of the ol' chop-chop!"
The Sniper, Team Fortress 2

A Kukri (or khukuri) is a heavy Nepalese knife used both as a tool and as a weapon. The most distinctive feature of this weapon is that the blade has a deflected angle with a thick spine and a single sharp cutting edge; this causes the end section of the blade to strike square on, greatly increasing chopping effectiveness. To put it succinctly, a kukri is a knife that thinks it's a hatchet. It is most famously known as a part of the regimental weaponry and heraldry of Gurkha fighters. Forming part of the survival equipment carried by airmen during the early 1940s conflict in Burma, the Kukri is an essential item equally effective at hacking through jungle brush as it is through limbs.

For a relatively obscure weapon from Nepal, they feature quite frequently in the media, easily spotted because of their distinctive (and threatening) shape. As an interesting side note, it possibly wasn't actually invented in Nepal, but in Greece of all places. The current consensus is that the kukri is a (somewhat shrunken) descendant of a Greek cavalry saber, machaira. Machaira itself was a modification of a previous infantry sword called kopis (literally, "chopper"), just one of the large family of recurved sabers used throughout the Mediterranean. The troops of Alexander the Great brought it to India during his expedition there, and the locals loved the design. A similar phenomenon possibly happened with the popular ancient Iberian saber called falcata.


As with katana, there is a persistent myth that the blade must 'taste blood' before it is sheathed. This is untrue, as a Kukri is useful for far more than just violence. However there have been instances of Gurkhas slicing their fingers with it as a practical joke to impress outsiders with their ferocity. It's also been theorized that the "must taste blood" was something that annoyed Gurkhas started telling tourists, to make them stop asking to see the kukris.

See also Machete Mayhem and Knife Nut, as well as Sinister Scythe, another repurposed agricultural weapon disproportionately popular in media for its sinister, exotic inward-curved blade. Also National Weapon and Nepali With Nasty Knives.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Aging from Baccano! uses an extra large Kukri as one of her weapons of choice. (Dual-wielded opposite to a modified Mini-gun).
  • Shenhua from Black Lagoon fights with a much more practical version of a Whip Sword: twin whip kukri. She's good enough to behead people with them from 30 feet away.
  • One Piece:
    • Helmeppo fights with two kukris.
    • Bellamy's first mate "Big Knife" Sarquiss uses one. It's where he gets his nickname.
  • In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig, in the episode where Pazu's ex decides to become exactly like him (down to the DNA of his cybernetic body). The real and fake Pazus then duel with folding, forward swept kukris.
  • Two appear in Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid albeit as upscaled monomolecular cutters shaped to look like kukris; one is the standard melee weapon for Belfaghn's M9D Falke, the other is a massive one used by Gates for his Codarl I in the last episode, which he promptly uses to kill Yu Lan by slicing her Codarl's limbs off and then impaling her through the Codarl's torso.
    • Sosuke also brings one out in an episode of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, where he tries to show a young man (who is armed with a nail-bat) what a real weapon looks like.
  • Doug from Gangsta. uses one. His kukris is apparently sharp enough to slice through guns.
  • In Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, Tione wields a pair of kukri as her usual weapon.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In the Ah! My Goddess story Ah! Archfall!, Jago uses a khukuri as his primary weapon, with all others (including a claymore!) being optional extras for use as the situation dictates.
  • Sunset's apprentice in Freeport Venture is actually named Kukri. It's a subversion, since Kukri is a mage's apprentice, and prefers magic above knives.

  • In Waterworld, Kevin Costner's character is briefly seen using a kukri.
  • In Resident Evil: Extinction, Alice wields two kukri blades.
  • Major Payne used one to scratch his noggin while reading a self-help book.
  • Used by the Three Storms in the beginning of Big Trouble in Little China, as throwing weapons. Whether or not they're any good for this is debatable.
  • In Troma's War, Oliver Stone expy Parker carries a kukri, which he uses to cut off his enemies' ears, and make a necklace out of them. Yeah.
  • The Hero from Cyborg (1989) was a major Knife Nut, having at least a dozen hidden on his body. This included several kukris.
  • Austin Powers: KUKRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII! Powers was not fazed in the slightest.
  • The thrown knives in House of Flying Daggers resemble kukris.
  • The killer in the early '80s slasher Night School wields a kukri.
  • In the 1849 segment of Cloud Atlas Autua has one has one in the scene where he asks Adam to kill him, rather than turn him over to the Captain.
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula: Abraham Van Helsing wields one, which he uses to slay Dracula's brides.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: Max grabs a kukri and a jerry can of guzzolene before going to stop the Bullet Farmer's pursuit. One distant explosion later, Max returns covered in blood.
    "That's not his blood."
  • The pig-cult leader in Pig Hunt wields one of these, and uses it to decapitate one of the rednecks.
  • Nyx Ulric in Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV wields twin kukris. They can be obtained in Final Fantasy XV proper for Noctis or Ignis to wield.
  • The killer in Night School (1981) wields a kukri; using to decapitate their victims with a single stroke.

  • Jonathan Harker wielded a kukri in Dracula. And attacked with enough ferocity to force Dracula to retreat. Then decapitated the Count with it after Quincey Morris stabbed him in the heart with a Bowie knife.
  • White Court Vampire Thomas Raith in The Dresden Files uses a kukri in battle in White Night and Changes. In the former, Harry refers to it in narration as "some kind of curved knife" for most of the book, before finally just calling it a kukri, and pausing his narration to add that he knew he'd remember the name eventually.
  • The Drow Ranger Valas Hune dual wields them in War of the Spider Queen.
  • In Sten, the Gurkha mercenaries who guard the Emperor carry these. In later books, Sten carries one as a memento from his time as their commander.
  • In Monster Hunter International, The main character Owen Pitt carries a kukri as his primary melee weapon.

    Live Action TV 
  • In Heroes, Edgar wields two kukri blades.
  • In Angel, Wesley is killed with one of these.
    • Gunn got one as a cursed gift in one of the novels. It grew wires of a sort that embedded themselves into his arm and were tough to get loose.
  • For a while Spike had one on Buffy. If memory serves, he kept it tucked into the back of his pants under the Badass Longcoat.
  • In Kindred: The Embraced Julian Luna, the Venture Prince of San Francisco, uses a kukri in battle.
  • Auggie had a Kukri in his bag in Covert Affairs.
  • In Game of Thrones, Bronn has one strapped to his back that he occasionally whips out as a off-hand weapon.
  • Demonstrated in an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles featuring gurkhas, one of whom is Blood Brothers with Deeks.
  • In Forged in Fire, several contestants make kukris for the first two challenges, and one episode's final challenge is to make a kukri.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • Leva Bates, as Indiana Jones, carries a kukri. Usually as a prop, though she's threatened to use it on some miscreants who have tried to steal it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Kingdom Of Champions supplement for the Champions roleplaying game, one of the members of the United Kingdom's national superhero team 'The New Knights' is called Gurkha and wields kukris.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition and 3.5, Kukris are martial melee weapons; although they don't do much damage, they're one of the few non-exotic weapons to threaten a critical hit on a roll of 18. However, this becomes less impressive when you remember that many monster types are immune to criticals.
    • Of course, many more aren't immune to criticals. As a melee weapon, the kukri is strictly better than a dagger and is a good choice for an off-hand weapon.
      • A number of special abilities also trigger any time a weapon "threatens" a critical hit whether or not it actually lands, and so work very well with the kukri.
      • Made even nastier by the fact that the Improved Criticals feat or the Keen special weapon property doubles the threat range. A character that has applied this to a kukri threatens on a 15-20.
      • And if you have Improved Critical and gain 7th level of Weapon Master prestige class (weapon of choice being kukri), you get +2 to threat range getting it to 13-20.
    • In 4th Edition, they're one of a small selection of weapons with the "Brutal 1" trait, meaning that they always do at least two points of damage on a hit.
    • Everything that applies to D&D 3.5 applies to Pathfinder...except a lot of monsters are no longer immune to crits.
      • Kukris are even the favored weapon of certain deities... most prominently, however, the Chaotic Evil Queen of Demons, Lamashtu, a divinely ascended Demon Prince whose portfolio covers stillbirths, nightmares, miscegenation, miscarriage, mutation, madness and monsters.
  • GURPS: Fantasy Tech has the "ethnic cool" version of a kukri. It does damage on par with a broadsword.
    • Martial Arts has the realistic version. It's still a very effective knife. It is also possible to have a sword-size kukri.
  • The Dracula Dossier: Edom issues carbon-fiber kukris to field agents. They aren't quite as sharp as a steel one, but still sharp enough to decapitate a vampire, and can be carried through metal detectors without tripping the alarm.

    Video Games 
  • In Dark Souls III, kukris are essentially throwing knives which can inflict bleed, and you can only throw them instead of wielding them.
  • In RAGE, several melee focused enemies, especially Ghosts, use kukri. Just before the self-revival tutorial, you get a very close look at one.
  • Warrant Officer Emile-A239, one of the SPARTAN-III teammates in Halo: Reach, is often seen sharpening the kukri he keeps sheathed on his shoulder. He finally gets to use it on the Elite Zealot that just impaled him on an energy sword.
    • A player of sufficiently high rank can purchase Emile's right shoulder piece, which carries a kukri, for his/her custom Noble Six. The player can't use it, though, sticking to the combat knife mounted on his/her chest armor.
  • The melee weapon of the Sniper class in Team Fortress 2.
    • He later received the Tribalman's Shiv, which is an even nastier looking kukri made entirely out of wood. It only does half the immediate damage of the kukri, but causes bleeding, lowering health over time and preventing Spies from cloaking properly.
  • An exotic melee weapon in Neverwinter Nights, based on the rules of Dungeons and Dragons.
    • The kukri is the main melee weapon of Tomi Undergallows, the rogue hireling in the main campaign.
  • The 'Boa Kukri' is one of the melee weapons players in Alliance of Valiant Arms can purchase from the in-game store.
  • Kukris are available for your use in Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard, although they are quickly outclassed. One NPC in the same game has one attached to the end of her staff.
  • Seen in Soul Nomad & the World Eaters.
  • In Resident Evil 5, Sheva uses a Kukri.
  • Kukris are used by Ellia and Dr. Lindsey from Eternal Darkness.
  • In Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, the character Tenzin carries a kukri.
  • A melee weapon in Combat Arms.
  • The Wretcher's Blade in Fable II is a very large version of a kukri.
  • In Mortal Kombat 4, Kai uses the "Gurkha Knife" or kukri as his weapon of choice.
  • In Jumper: Griffin's Story, Griffin can use a kukri.
  • Castlevania
  • In the official art of WarCraft III, trolls shadow hunters use kukris. In the game, they seem to be using a Double Weapon version.
  • In The Last Remnant, Kukris are wielded by Qsiti (small frog-rabbit people) warriors as swords.
  • The Kukri appears as a knife-class weapon in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics A2. Somehow, they teach Jugglers how to throw Molotov cocktails.
    • They are also common dagger-type weapons in Final Fantasy XI, and many kukri tend to be Dancer's better early to mid-game weapons.
  • Bill of The Last of Us carries a Kukri as his melee weapon. He's fairly proficient in gutting and decapitating Infected with it.
  • Owing to the game taking place in a fictional country that borders Nepal, this is Ajay's melee weapon in Far Cry 4, replacing the machete from the previous games.
  • Kukris are available in Dying Light as a mid- or high-level weapon.
  • The Antiquarian uses a kukri for her "Nervous Stab" attack in Darkest Dungeon. It mainly implies that the Antiquarian has been to lands far away from the vaguely medieval-European hamlet in which the game takes place. As an actual attack, it's weak but can hit any enemy position, reserving it mostly for clean-up duty.
  • Both Jacob and Evie Frye in Assassin's Creed: Syndicate favor these as a short range weapon.
  • This is the melee weapon for the Sharpshooter class in Killing Floor 2, possibly as a Shout-Out to Team Fortress 2 given the Sharpshooter's focus on long-range attacks with scoped weapons.
  • Colbjorn, a massive Northerner and one of the companions in Hand of Fate 2 fights with a pair of oversized kukris, and carries about six or seven more.
  • In Freedom Wars, the Player Character starts off with a technologically-advanced kukri called the Murasame Mk. 9, along with a sub-machine gun called the EZ-Katze, and a Binding Thorn.
  • Armory & Machine has a Hunter class skill called Kukri. It has a relatively short cooldown and deals regular damage along with a good amount of penetrating damage which bypasses enemy shielding. However, it also costs 2 Steel Blades as "ammo" to use.
  • Genma General Gargant from Onimusha 3: Demon Siege summons a blue, flaming kukri with a nasty guthook on the tip to duel with Samanosuke in the intro, and manages to kick his ass with ease. In Shin Onimusha, Gargant is actually invulnerable as long as his sword is intact. In order to actually wound him, you have to smash his kukri first before being able to land some damage.

    Web Original 

    Real Life 
  • Famously used by the Gurkha soldiers of Nepal, who traditionally serve in the British Army. The knives are often called "Gurkha knives" for this reason. George MacDonald Fraser claimed that during World War II, Gurkha soldiers had a habit of dropping their rifles and charging at nearby enemies with their knives. After each battle, they had to go back and find their rifles.
    • Fraser himself carried one throughout the Burma campaign during the war, saying that he preferred it to a machete.
  • Kukris are used by British Special Forces for jungle warfare, and standard issue in the Australian Army.
  • The kukri is in fact the only surviving member of an entire sword family: the recurve sabres, single-edged hacking weapons that curve away from the wielder. The concept has been around since the ancient Egyptians, whose khopesh was essentially a militarised farming sickle. The Greek kopis or machaira (the first name meaning "chopper") was a common sidearm for Greek infantry and a standard weapon for Persian cavalry. It was used across the entire Mediterranean and became a bane of the Roman legions when wielded by Iberian infantry, and its big two-handed brother, the falx, made them upgrade their Armour when wielded by the Dacians. The Medieval Turkish yatagan is a late example of a recurve sabre. All of the examples mentioned here are significantly bigger than the kukri and are closer in size and appearance to machetes.
  • Most, if not all, Traditional Filipino Weapons with a blade have a forward curve with the blade on the inside of the curve. This also applies to neighbouring Indonesian Swords and some Malaysian. The Ginunting is the official bladed sidearm of the Filipino Marine Corp.
  • Farmers and individuals living in rural Thailand use a kukri-inspired knife called an e-nep, which depending on the maker, ranges from extremely similar to outright identical to the shape of the kukri. They use their e-neps for the same sort of outdoors tasks the kukri is used for.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: