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Igorot Headhunter Ax featured on Forged In Fire

The Igorot Headhunter Ax was featured on the final round of History's Forged in Fire.

 |  2 min read

Igorot Headhunter Ax featured on History's Forged In Fire.
Igorot Headhunter Ax featured on History's Forged In Fire.

"It will KEAL" - In the final round of History Channel's Forged in Fire (Season 8) "Headhunter's Revenge" episode, two bladesmiths were sent back to their home forges to recreate a working version of an iconic weapon from history, the Igorot Headhunter Axe, locally called "wasay".

Igorot headhunter ax; wasay
Igorot headhunter ax; wasay

In three days, the two bladesmiths must forge an Igorot Headhunter Axe that is strong enough, lethal enough, and powerful enough to destroy the competition.

Dave Baker, Forged in Fire judge | History
Dave Baker, Forged in Fire judge History

In this clip, Dave Baker, one of the judges, narrates the headhunter ax as both a tool and a weapon of the Igorot tribe who hail from the mountains of the Philippines.

The headhunter ax is both a tool and a weapon of the native Igorot tribe who hail from the mountains of the Philippines.

Featuring a sharp spike on one side that is used to pierce shields and armor, it also contained a wide lethal ax head on the other side designed to swiftly decapitate enemies in the heat of battle.

An intimidating weapon, tribes would display the heads of their victims to strike fear into their enemies.

The legacy of this deadly act lives on today and can be seen in the video game State of Decay: Breakdown.

Editor's Note: The Igorot is not a tribe but a collective term for the indigenous peoples from the Cordillera region in the Philippines.

It is said that during tribal wars in the Cordilleras before the 20th Century, the Igorot headhunting axes were once used as a standard battle weapon for killing their enemies.

The Igorot headhunting axes come in many different designs. Each one is an extraordinary work of art and at the same time, it is a very lethal weapon.

This is due to the fact that the Igorots in actuality are very good craftsmen and artists. Their weapons are works of art as well as functional tools.

It was also said a blow to the neck with this ax means instant decapitation.

Doug Marcaida, Forged in Fire judge | History
Doug Marcaida, Forged in Fire judge History

Doug Marcaida, a Filipino edged weapon combat specialist and a judge of the competition, also expressed his fascination with the Igorot headhunter ax:

The Igorot headhunter's ax is a weapon that I've always fantasized about because it's very close to my Filipino heritage," Marcaida said before executing the "KEAL" test.

Watch how lethal this deadly-looking Igorot headhunter ax performs on the "KEAL" and sharpness tests below:

"Forged in Fire" features world-class bladesmiths competing against each other to create some of history's most iconic edged weapons.

HISTORY® is the leading destination for award-winning original series and specials that connect viewers with history in an informative, immersive, and entertaining manner across all platforms. The network's all-original programming slate features a roster of hit series, premium documentaries, and scripted event programming.

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