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Tekpi / Tjabang
2 sai.JPG
Two antique truncheons. Below is the smaller Indonesian Tekpi and above is the Okinawan Sai.
Type Impact weapon
Place of origin Disputed/Unknown (China, India, Indonesian archipelago/Malay archipelago)

The Tekpi[1] is a three-pronged truncheon from Southeast Asia. Known as tekpi in Malay, it is called cabang (Dutch spelling: tjabang, meaning "branch") in Indonesian,[2] siang té pi (雙短鞭, meaning "double short whip") in Hokkien dialect and trisoon (meaning "trident") in Thai.

The tekpi is believed to have been derived from the Indian trishula. More than a weapon, it was also important as a Hindu-Buddhist symbol. Use of the tekpi probably spread with the influence of Indian religion and eventually reached Malaysia, Indonesia, Okinawa, China, Thailand, and other parts of Indochina. It is unknown whether the tekpi was brought to the Malay Archipelago directly from India or from several places simultaneously. The earliest evidence of the tekpi outside India suggests that it spread from Indonesia.[3] Other sources propose that the tekpi was brought to Southeast Asia from China,[4] but it seems unlikely for the Chinese to introduce an Indian weapon to a region already heavily influenced by the culture of India.


A Tekpi / Tjabang
A side view of the Tekpi/Tjabang's pommel
A front view of the Tekpi/Tjabang's pommel

The tekpi is made of iron or steel, the basic form of the weapon is that of a pointed, dagger-shaped metal truncheon, with two curved prongs projecting from the handle. The prongs extend from the hilt and are useful for grabbing away an opponent's weapon.


Tekpi are generally wielded in pairs, favouring short, quick stabbing movements similar to a knife or a kris. Defensively, the tekpi is effective for guarding against bladed weapons. The outer prongs are meant for catching the opponent's weapon, allowing for a disarm or deflection of the attack. When rotated so that the blade is pointing towards the user's elbow, the hilt could be used in a thrusting blow while the blade blocks attacks to the forearm. When not in use, the tekpi are hung at the waist.


See also[edit]