These Aztec Wooden ‘Paddles’ Are Actually Vicious Obsidian Swords–and They’re Sharper Than Steel

June 17, 2019 Updated: July 26, 2019

The Spanish conquerors of the 16th century were met by the sophisticated Aztec culture when they first landed on the shores of Mexico. The Europeans’ steel weapons and armor and their horses allowed them to dominate the natives. Yet, the Aztec warrior culture wielded a unique weapon of their own that struck fear in the hearts of the conquistadors: the macahuitl.

The Spanish were familiar with some of the natives’ implements of war: bows and arrows, spears, clubs, and shields. The macahuitl delivered a shock to the Europeans.

Illustration – Shutterstock | delcarmat

A simple piece of wood in the shape of a cricket bat—flat and wide on one side, a slender, long hilt on the other—the macahuitl came to be an icon of the Central American warriors. Carved out of oak or pine, the wood was decorated in intricate designs. The macahuitl was 1.6 to 3.2 feet in length, ThoughtCo reported.

What made this weapon so ferocious was its razor-sharp pieces of obsidian (volcanic glass), which were fitted into a groove along its edges and affixed there with bitumen—a natural glue. Each piece of obsidian was about 1.125 inches long, according to historian Marco Cervera Obregón, via The Vintage News.

Illustration – The Epoch Times
Illustration – The Epoch Times

According to a comrade of the greatest of the conquistadors, Hernán Cortés, the macahuitl was capable of delivering horrific damage to foes. He described how the natives were able to slay Spanish horses with a single blow:

They have swords of this kind—of wood made like a two-handed sword, but with the hilt not so long; about three fingers in breadth. The edges are grooved, and in the grooves they insert stone knives, that cut like a Toledo blade. I saw one day an Indian fighting with a mounted man, and the Indian gave the horse of his antagonist such a blow in the breast that he opened it to the entrails, and it fell dead on the spot. And the same day I saw another Indian give another horse a blow in the neck, that stretched it dead at his feet.

Illustration – Shutterstock | Jef Thompson

Another man is said to have witnessed the weapon dent the Spaniards’ armor. Modern anthropologists are skeptical, however, according to The Vintage News. It’s believed that they could deliver considerable damage but are not designed to kill, as the blade would not penetrate deep enough.

The flat side of the wooden weapon would also serve to deliver non-lethal blows. The Aztecs were known for taking prisoners alive to be used as human sacrifices to appease their gods at their temples. Terrifying rituals were performed where priests would literally cut out the still-beating hearts of their offerings, blood would literally be pouring down the steps of the temple.

(Read on after this story for a similar modern account of “live organ harvesting” taking place under the authoritarian Chinese communist government today).

Illustration – Shutterstock | Jef Thompson

From a tactical standpoint, they were designed for close range; once an enemy had closed too close for archers or spears, the macahuitl could be employed at short-range even when confined in dense jungle.

The Aztecs quarried the obsidian and created a razor-sharp edge using a technique called knapping.

Watch a demonstration of this technique in the video below, which shows a modern attempt at reconstructing a macahuitl from scratch using similar materials:

It is said that Christopher Columbus was also fascinated by this iconic implement of war and that he took examples of Aztec weapons back to Spain with him. One macahuitl was to have survived and was placed in the Royal Armory in Madrid. Sadly, it was lost in a fire that broke out in 1884, The Vintage News reported.

Chinese doctors carry fresh organs for transplant at a hospital in Henan Province on Aug. 16, 2012. (Screenshot/

Doctor Reveals Details of Forced Organ Harvesting in Military Concentration Camps

Around the same time the first report on forced organ harvesting in China was released in March 2006, a senior military doctor contacted The Epoch Times and outlined some shocking details about how the practice was being carried out—and on whom.

The veteran doctor, who wished to remain anonymous for safety reasons but said he’s with the General Logistics Department of the Shenyang Military Command, explained that the organ harvesting is orchestrated by the military and the victims are convicted felons and Falun Gong practitioners detained for their beliefs.

“The military acts as the organ transplantation management system,” he said. “There is a huge source of living organs, and many hospitals with military background report their transplants to their supervising authorities. At the same time, they also carry out organ transplants on a large scale in private. In fact, the number of underground, unofficial organ transplants in China is several times higher than the official figures.”

The General Hospital of Shenyang Military Region in Liaoning Province, China. (

The doctor said he knew of at least 36 “secret detention facilities”—which he called concentration camps—some of which held staggering numbers of Falun Gong practitioners.

“The concentration camp in Jiutai Area, Jilin Province, is the 5th-largest camp imprisoning Falun Gong practitioners in China. This camp alone detains over 14,000 Falun Gong practitioners,” he said.

“Based on information I have access to, the largest concentration camp is also in Jilin Province. This concentration camp, codenamed 672-S, imprisons over 120,000 people. A large number of Falun Dafa practitioners, felons, and political prisoners from all over China are there, but I do not know its address.”

“We must shift some attention to many of the military facilities. Those are the true concentration camps,” he added.

Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, is a traditional spiritual discipline based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance. Hundreds of thousands of its adherents ended up in China’s vast prison system after the communist regime launched a nationwide campaign of persecution against them in 1999. At that time, there were an estimated 70-100 million practitioners.

Forged Donor Names

The doctor  said that at the point when Falun Gong practitioners were taken away from prisons, forced labour camps, detention centres, and secret camps to have their organs extracted, their real name would be replaced with a code corresponding to a forged voluntary organ donor’s name.

"Organ Crimes"
“Organ Crimes,” an oil painting by Xiqiang Dong depicting the seizure of organs from a living Falun Dafa practitioner in China. (Courtesy of Xiqiang Dong)

“There was also a signature on the voluntary organ donation form, but of course it was signed by someone else. I have seen more than 60,000 such counterfeit forms. Basically, it says that the person voluntarily donates the organ and bears all the consequences. Many signatures were from same person’s handwriting,” he said.

“These materials will be kept for 18 months and be destroyed afterwards. They are kept at the provincial level of military commands and can be accessed only with approval from the commissioner of the Central Military Commission.”

The victim is told that he or she will go through a physical examination. The exam is followed by local anesthetic, then the organ or organs are removed from the live body.

The Falun Gong practitioners held in the military facilities could be transferred elsewhere on a large scale very efficiently, he noted.

“I have witnessed a specially dispatched freight train transferring over 7,000 people in one trip from Tianjin to the Jilin area. It ran at night, guarded by the Chinese army. Everyone on the train was handcuffed to specially designed handrails on top of the ceiling like rotisserie chickens.”

‘They Became a Commodity’

The doctor said when it comes to the point that the organs are to be extracted, the victim “is no longer seen as a human being, but an animal. [Doctors] who have performed one or two cases may still have some lingering fear, but after tens of thousands of live transplants and destroying the bodies, one becomes numb.”

Not only are the organs sold for high prices, but the bodies are as well. He said that after 1992, when the cost of industrial raw materials rose as a result of rapid industrial development, human bodies were officially deemed a valuable raw material.

A young Falun Dafa adherent holds a sign
A young Falun Dafa adherent holds a sign asking for China to stop killing prisoners of conscience for their organs in a parade in Washington on July 20, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

“Living human beings, as well as dead bodies, have become industrial raw materials,” he said.

“The actual bodies are sold at high prices to many different types of state-owned factories as raw materials for different products via many different channels. Nearly all the large crematoriums in China are engaged in such underground businesses.”

He said the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee defines Falun Gong practitioners as “class enemies,” meaning they can be handled in any economically beneficial manner without having to report to higher authorities.

“In other words, like serious offenders in China, Falun Gong practitioners are no longer regarded as human beings but as raw materials for commercial products. They have become commodities.”

He added that China’s booming transplantation industry has made it “the centre of international live organ trading.”

“China has accounted for more than 85 percent of the total number of live organ transplants in the world since 2000. According to the data reported to the Central Military Commission, a few people have been promoted and became generals due to their ‘achievements’ in this field. ”

The doctor apologized for not being able to elaborate on the details. He said the entire operation is classified, and once something becomes classified information in the military, it is impossible to obtain any more information. In addition, divulging such information is extremely dangerous.

“Personnel responsible for military control have the authority to arrest, detain, or execute any doctors, police, armed police, and researchers who leak information,” he said.