Known to be the only tribe specialized in battle, the Batavians put Kerakel as one of the best option for close-range fight. This blunt instrument is used as a fist protector which in turn increase the hit impact generated by a punch.
The History of Kerakel
According to historians, this weapon’s name literally consists of two words, which are “kerak”, which means crust, and “keling” or black. So, the name tells its own story on how it’s made. The steel used is not the main result of the entire steel melting process, but only the bottom part of the chamber which already turn to blacken crust. In that way, the weapon can be sold cheap yet strong enough to arm the Batavian fighters. The property of the blacken crust steel makes this weapon become rust-free and reliable enough for a long-term use. Because of its strength, this traditional weapon is sometimes is used as an instrument to sharpen any other traditional weapon such as the Batavian dagger or knife.
The process of making this kind of weapon is simple. It was first made after the invention of traditional molding technology. The creators made a mold by following the Batavians’ fist shape for the sake of comfort. Sometimes they made one fist only while sometimes a pair is made so that one can use it in both hands.
To gain the punch impact, this weapon is sometimes featured with sharpened metal on the tip of it. Sometimes, the creators even put a hidden folded knife inside it as the Batavian believes in fighting balance. Therefore, if their enemies are able to use a sharp instrument, so are they. Many others types of development are also made to increase the user’s comfort.
Confusion with Knuckle
The pronunciation of kerakel is almost similar to “knuckle”, a traditional weapon from Europe that has exactly the same function, which is to increase the impact of a punch. The shape of knuckle is exactly similar to the Batavian version. Many theories say that the batavian’s version is just another modification of knuckle imported to Indonesia by the Dutch colonies back in the old days.
In other countries, knuckle has been used in a wider range. In the United States, knuckle has been used during the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865. The soldiers of that war would buy or make one from wood, plastic, or iron.
By the end of 19th century, knuckle met its highest rate of development. In the United States, people sometimes modify a gun by changing the handle with a knuckle. They also added a folded knife like what the Batavians did. During the World War I, knuckle knives became really popular and it was used by British and American soldiers with many variations made in different years of development. One of the most popular design is the Mark I Trench Knife, which actually is a more advanced version of knuckle.
Many countries around the world have different regulations about knuckle. Some countries apply the prohibition of knuckle for being a dangerous blunt instrument. Here is the list of the countries that consider knuckle as illegal.
- The Republic of Ireland
Meanwhile, some other countries have special regulation for knuckle. In Canada, possessing a metal knuckle is a crime, but plastic knuckle is legal. Another special regulation is about the age of the purchaser, which mostly must be 18 years old or older. The same rule is applied by France, Italy, Mexico, and Serbia. Most of those countries legalize the purchase for regulated age but completely forbid the use of knuckle in public, including for self-defense. So, the citizens are only legal to buy it and make it a collectable stuff. The only country in which the purchase and use of knuckle are completely free is Brazil.
In Indonesia, the purchase of such a weapon is legal as long as it remains collectible. And as a original heritage of Batavia, kerakel becomes one of the most wanted traditional collectible weapon in the country.