I have been attending some silat seminars recently and, with my sensei becoming increasingly involved in learning silat, I have made myself some training knives. It seems a waste to go to a seminar and then not practise the techniques or principles learned - a waste of money, of my time and of the instructor's time.
So, at the last silat seminar we did some golok (machete) work - no "techniques" as such, just basic stances, basic cuts and some djurus/flow drills with the basic counters to the basic cuts. At the seminar I only had a stick, which is less than optimal as it is hard to get the correct feel of blade direction through the air.
So, after looking at some of the goloks that others had at the seminar, I made a couple out of 12mm plywood, with polypropelene rope handles.
They are modelled on a machete I used as a teenager to hack through blackberry and ragwort on my parents' property. The blade length is my fingertip-elbow length. They are a little lighter than a real machete, but not by much - the added thickness makes up for the less dense material.
It makes a huge difference in training having a blade-shape to swing. It moves through the air differently, and if you are off-angle, both the feel in the hand and the sound it makes through the air let you know straight away you are doing it wrong. Much better than trying to train using a stick.
The training knife I made out of one of the offcuts, and is modelled on an aluminium training knife I have. It actually sits better in the hand, even though it is lighter than the metal one.
So now, I have two training goloks and two training knives - why two? So that I can practice with the other people from my dojo the two-person drills.