What’s your life game? I discovered long ago my life plan involves knives. Folding knives, fixed blades, pocket knives, survival knives, tactical knives, it doesn’t matter to me. As long as it has an edge, I’m interested. Join me as I write about life, knives and the things seen from the knife edge.
Karambits are popular right now for a variety of
reasons. Like so many weapons from South
East Asia, they trace their origin to some animal attribute or farm implement.
And why not? Nature
shaped a bears claws for specific purposes, just like the teeth of a
shark. If you need to accomplish a
similar purpose, starting with successful examples is not a bad idea.
It should be self-evident that all invaders strip the conquered
of their weapons. What does the
resourceful farmer do? He learns to
defend myself with farm tools and everyday objects.
I can almost hear the conversation: “Oh no Master, Officer,
Governor, Police, that’s not a weapon, but two sticks chained together that I
use to thresh grain so I can pay my taxes.
I’d never think of breaking bones and heads with it….”
The karambit or kerambit as it’s known in Indonesia, comes
from humble beginnings as well. It was an
agricultural implement used to rake roots, thresh grain and plant rice. Folklore claims it was inspired by the claws
of a tiger.
Slip your little finger in the hole and slash. Most of the blocks I know work really well with a karambit in one hand!
Wikipedia has a romantic tale of Indonesian women who would
tie a karambit in their hair for self-protection. I like this tale as a karambit has been
described as an instinctual weapon. More
than 15 years ago a self-defense instructor told me “…put your thumb on the
back of the blade and simply wipe your thumb on your target.” He was talking about a classic straight blade;
the same applies to the karambit.
I recently got my hands on a karambit from the We Knife Co. We is a Chinese company that has been making
knives for the last 10 years under the name Wayeahknife. In 2014 they had the opportunity to expand
and changed their name to We Knife Company.
Their mission statement?
"Building the highest quality knives and tools and giving you plenty
of choices in our products." Sounds
pretty good. They’re using equipment
like CNC machines, CNC grinding machines, precision stamping machines, as well
as EDM machines to produce high quality knives which they sell in the US and
Europe. These knives aren’t aimed at the
Chinese market, as locking blades are illegal.
My karambit is model 708A and the specs are pretty
The blade has a linear measurement of 2.8 inches, but the
curved edge gives you more cutting surface.
The steel used is CPM S35VN with a Rockwell hardness of 59-61. The blade rolls open on ceramic ball
We claims the blade is flat grind, but I believe it is
better described as a saber grind. The
knife is a frame lock and the locking bar has what appears to be a small steel
insert that wedges against the steel blade when open. Many of the better aluminum and titanium
knives utilize a steel insert to protect the softer metal of the locking bar
from excessive wear from the back of the blade.
It’s a nice touch.
The handle, metal clip, metal screws and cap are all TI6Al4V. This alloy is the most commonly used titanium
alloy used outside of the aerospace industries.
Wikipedia claims “…. It has a chemical composition of:
0.25% (maximum) iron,
0.2% (maximum) oxygen,
It is significantly stronger than commercially pure titanium
while having the same stiffness and thermal properties. Among its many advantages, it is heat
treatable. This grade is an excellent
combination of strength, corrosion resistance, weld and fabricability.”
I like the flipper on the blade. It really pops the knife open and serves as guard
to prevent you sliding onto the blade. I
would have preferred the flipper to be used as an assist to open the knife as
you draw it from your pocket. I’m also
disappointed the clip isn’t reversible. The
knife is set up for right hand, tip up carry.
It’s my favorite carry mode, but in everyday life the karambit might
best be, as Doug Marcaida described it, as a “back-up weapon”. The ability to adjust clip for your carry
mode would have made this knife a much better product.
I know very little about fighting with a knife. Watching someone who knows how to use a knife
sends shivers down my spine. But if you
are like so many people who look at a knife and ask “Could I defend myself with
that knife?” you should take a look at We’s karambit. The answer is yes!