Despite the non-lethal design of the weapon, however, the speed and mass of either end is sufficient to fracture a skull, and fatalities in challenge combat are not unknown. Challenges may take place between members of the same clan, or from different clans, depending on the nature of the conflict to be resolved. Often, challenges between leaders of opposing clans will settle a conflict without the necessity for warfare. It is not unknown for a female and male warrior to fight a challenge match, but the male Na’vi’s natural and abiding respect for the female spirit makes this somewhat unusual.
The two different striking ends are carved from the bone of a thanator. The Na'vi believe that the dead animal's spirit, strength and cunning is thus passed on to the warrior who bears the weapon. The edge on the blade-like end is ritualistic in design, blunted to leave a welt rather than a deep laceration. The hook-like opposite end is used to capture the opponents staff or hook an ankle for a tripping throw. (Read more)