butterfly knife tricks

Butterfly knives, also known as Balisong, are a kind of folding knife that you can safely put in your pockets. They are made of two handles-a safe handle (faces the dull side of the blade) and a bite handle- enclosing the blade within them and concealing it. The rotation of the handles allows for extreme agility of butterfly knives making them a popular pick by many who want a carry knife that is safe and easy to depoy.

This artful design of the balisong reflects in its usage as not only a superb self defense weapon, but also a tool you can play around with using various ingenious tricks. The crafty construction offers enough flexibility to the user to pull out different tricks with it. But before we move onto the plethora of butterfly knife tricks you can entertain your friends with, let's look at the history of these splendidly versatile knives.

The disputed history of butterfly knives

Like much else in history, the origin of butterfly knives is disputed. The earliest appearance of a balisong is generally agreed to have occurred 800 AD in the Philippines. The fact that the etymology of the term balisong can be traced back to the roots of Filipino language, lends credibility to the origin theory that the Philippines is indeed the birthplace of these knives. In fact, most of the butterfly knife tricks can trace their lineage back to Southeast Asian martial arts. So the earliest butterfly knives can be considered to have been self defence weapons.

But the origin story of butterfly knives is still being debated. There happens to be a French connection in the story of balisong, with some historians claiming it to have been invented somewhere between the 15th and 18th centuries. It was during this time that a tool called "Pied Du Roi", which  translates to "Foot of the King", was extensively used in French territories.

This tool resembled the shape and design of a butterfly knife. It is apparent that butterfly knives were being used in France as more of a utility item than as a weapon, most probably as a tool for measurement. The story goes that hordes of merchants then introduced and popularized the butterfly knife when the great European voyages started across the Atlantic ocean- charming the Asian countries including the Philippines.

The basic construction of butterfly knife

There is a reason why you can pull out a whole range of butterfly knife tricks. The secret lies in the basic construct of the Balisong. Its extremely versatile design makes flipping, rotating, sliding, throwing a thousand times more interesting and innovative. Butterfly knife tricks are not your average run-of-the-mill quirks, but involve series craft and skill to accomplish. 

In order to find the best fit for the kinds of butterfly knife tricks you want to dazzle your friends with, it's important to take into consideration the two different builds of butterfly knives in the market and which one would be the perfect match for the skills you possess as a butterfly knife trickster. Let's look at the two types of construction that allow for amazing maneuvers to be made possible. 

Sandwich built:

The basic design is the building of layers(sandwiching) to form the handle of a butterfly knife. There are three layers formed by the scales, liners and spacers. These three pieces are joined together by pins or screws. Although some balisongs may be missing  liners, it still holds the sandwiched look in the overall design. The scale is usually made from  G10 fiberglass, although wood and titanium scales are also fairly popular.

If you want to pull butterfly knife tricks that involve taking a balisong apart, sandwich built is your best choice. This design will give you perks like a uniform weight distribution that is tremendously helpful in the manipulation involved in some butterfly knife tricks- such as the most popular butterfly knife trick- Flipping. The handles in it are thinner than that of channel balisong, which gives it a significantly different feel and mechanics.

Channel built:

When the balisong is in a folded or closed position, the area where the blade resides is called a channel. It should be pointed out that sandwich butterfly knives also have a channel.   In the channel built balisong, this particular area is composed of a solid metal or alloy. A groove or channel is then created either by casting ( filling a mold with fluid metal), by milling( using an extractor to cut out material from the handle of a balisong) or by folding (hammering the heated metal into submission).

if you are swaying towards the channel balisong, please note that it is stronger than the sandwich version. Fewer pieces mean less hassle in maintenance, like cleaning, changing the liner or apprerence when desired. It also means it's easier to grip and set the tolerance on. 

A channel balisong is your go to knife for everyday carrying because when in a fully folded position, there is no way your coins or keys will get inside to the blade, scarring or scratching it. Although sandwich built is perfect for flipping due to extra flexibility it affords to the flippers, some butterfly knife tricks are aided by block spacers found only in channel construction.

Safety Is More Important! 

Before setting out to use butterfly knives for tricks, it's important to keep your safety as well as the safety of those around you in mind. Put on protective gloves and thick rubber shoes before displaying your butterfly knife tricks. If you have an audience, keep them at least 6 feet apart from you. To make things as secure as possible, use a butterfly knife trainer instead of an actual butterfly knife. The knife trainer has a rubbed blade that shall prevent major injuries in an event where the knife hits you. 

You don't need to be cutting yourself as you refine your skills in the dominion of butterfly knife tricks. There are many tips and tricks that you should know about how to avoid getting a cut (that usually happens when you end up with a bite handle at the end of a move). We will mention some tips below as we discuss some butterfly knife tricks.

Now you are all set to practice or showcase to the world some eye-popping butterfly knife skills. Just like any other sport, butterfly knife tricks can be classified into Beginner, Intermediate and Advance level. Here are just a few of the dozens of tricks to perform at each level. When you become a pro at a basic level, feel free to venture up the ranks to do some stunning advance level butterfly knife tricks.

Butterfly knife tricks for beginners

These are some of the basic tricks you can start out with to build your butterfly knife tricks resume. Remember, you need to start with the basics and gradually make your way up the ladder.

Icepick Spin:

This cool trick gets its name from the ice climbers who use this trick to carve up rocky ice as they ascend the snowy peaks. To accomplish this simple butterfly trick, start with the balisong in an open position. Grab the safe handle and flip the knife over the back of your hand. When your knife is in this position, grab it between your thumb and middle finger as low down as possible- it would be best if you can grab it two-thirds or three-quarters of the way down the knife-keeping it pinched between the two fingers. 

Now, do a sweeping motion around, you will notice the whole knife rotate around your hand and it will wind up hitting at the bottom of your palm. At this stage, do a basic reverse spin. Start with an open knife, flip it over the back of your hand, grip it at the bottom, the knife will swing down and hit the back of your hand. After that, you rotate it around your finger and it hits you back again. Voila! You have just pulled out a deceptively simple butterfly knife trick.

Washing Machine:

The trick is as intriguing as the name suggests. You will be baffling your friends by accomplishing this cool butterfly knife trick.

To start off, hold the safe handle by grabbing it between your thumb and index finger. Take the bite handle and fling it out the back of your hand. Keep your wrist and arm in the downward pointing angle, cut the safe handle as you fling up to the bite handle one the back of your hand. Let the bite handle fall, take back the blade and fling it over the back of your hand. 

The blade will take three different positions by falling three times. You can make this trick more exciting by doing these three falls with your wrist angled upwards or facing towards you. It will hover and produce a circular motion and keep on spinning very much like the fans of a washing machine!

Intermediate butterfly knife tricks

These intermediate level tricks are a stepping stone towards mastering the most advanced butterfly knife tricks. You need to be an expert on these before moving onto the more complicated stuff. Don't worry, you can easily master these tricks with sufficient practice.

Index rollover:

This butterfly knife trick is an intermediate level trick that you can accomplish with little practice. You can carry out this move by either holding a bite handle or a safe handle. If you start with the bite handle you end up with a safe handle in the final pen-like grip. Likewise, starting with a safe handle shall result in you holding the bite handle at the end.

Grab the knife three-quarters of the way up in a standard vertical grip. Fling out the safe handle over your index finger. Just before it hits your index finger, you have to release it with the other three fingers, it will spin around and you can catch the handle that you threw out in the pen grip. A tip: whenever you throw out the knife, try doing it with an upwards motion of the arm and wrist. Your knife will end up much higher and more vertical. This little trick will give you a lot more momentum.

The knuckleduster:

This intermediate level butterfly knife trick is cool and easy to do. You can start with either the bite or safe handle and the knife in either close or open position. Let's say you start with a safe handle in an open position. Fling the bite handle over the back of your hand, take your middle finger and thumb and pinch the knife somewhere between halfway or three-quarters of the way down depending where you feel it fits. Do the full rotation to pull the knife upside down, pivoting it around your two fingers.

Just as the knife is rotating, and right before it hits your knuckles and one handle is coming up, you should release the other handle. The knife will fly through the air and you grab it by the bite handle. Here is a chance you can easily get a cut due to the bite handle. Here is a little tip to avoid that from happening. Internally rotate your hand towards your body, point the knife downwards and at the same time pull your hand downwards too.

Now the final step to this sophisticated-looking butterfly knife trick is that you grip the knife with three fingers, and then swing it up and finally catch it in an open position. That's it. You are on the fast track to pull more advanced tricks if you master this butterfly knife trick.

Advanced butterfly knife tricks

These are the most difficult, multi-level butterfly knife tricks that you can perform. Don't try these if you haven't attempted the basic and intermediate level tricks. These look deceptively easy but you need to pay close attention and get your hands on each and every move to make the final trick look effortless.

The Volpe- with reverse thumb Chaplin:

To carry out this slightly advanced butterfly knife trick, hold the safe handle in the top-down position, with thumb at the top and four fingers at the bottom and bite handle in a loose position on top of the safe handle. Fling the bite handle over at the back of your hand keeping the thumb in the top position but it would naturally switch to come on the side of the sage handle. Now, the four fingers which were pointing down, you turn them upwards by rotating your hand. At the end of these three steps, a flip happens and this is the set up for the main Volpe trick.

Now you need to perform a reverse thumb chaplin which is basically a clockwise circular motion the blade makes as you release the four fingers. There is a transition here. With the safe handle in your hand, from your elbow do a wrist flick, following this outwards flick motion is a quick backwards pull with the same elbow. It will cause the handle to fling out and the pull backwards shall bring it back. You can modify this trick a little by using your index finger instead of your thumb.

The shortstop with a half orbit:

In order to pull out this clever butterfly knife trick, you need to do a half orbit first. To carry out the half orbit, throw the knife out where it goes around your thumb, then catch it with your middle finger and thumb. The next step will take some practice to accomplish. You need to be able to catch the knife without using your thumb as you will need it to free for the next step. Instead, practice catching the knife with your middle and ring finger. If you keep these fingers half the way down, it will give you more stability and volume in order to carry out the next manoeuvre.

Now comes the time for the next move and it requires your thumb to be free. Swing the knife in mid- air, the blade will come out the front, you will use the thumb to close on the knife. This last step is quite risky to pull through as you can easily cut your hand. So if you don't feel like an expert, try doing this butterfly knife trick with a fake knife before doing it with an actual balisong.