Showing posts with label karambit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label karambit. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tiger, tiger....

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 impressive.

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 bearings.

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:
  • 6% aluminum,
  • 4% vanadium,
  • 0.25% (maximum) iron,
  • 0.2% (maximum) oxygen,
  • remainder titanium.  


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!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Shadow Tech’s Claw


ST Folding Karambit
The large prototype folding Karambit
Originally, like so many martial art weapons, the karambit originated in southeast Asia. Inspired by the claws of big cats, the natives initially used this design for mundane activities, like raking roots, gathering threshing and planting rice.  Over time. circumstances forced the development of farm and every day implements into weapons of self-defense.


“The karambit is held with the blade pointing downward from the bottom of the fist, usually curving forwards however occasionally backwards. While it is primarily used in a slashing or hooking motion, karambit with a finger ring are also used in a punching motion hitting the opponent with the finger ring. Some karambit are designed to be used in a hammering motion. This flexibility of striking methods is what makes it so useful in self-defense situations. The finger guard makes it difficult to disarm and allows the knife to be maneuvered in the fingers without losing one's grip.
The short Filipino karambit has found some favor in the West because such proponents allege the biomehanics of the weapon allow for more powerful cutting strokes and painful "ripping" wounds, and because its usability is hypothesized as more intuitive, though there continues to be debate about this matter.”
It takes hardly any effort to find self-promoting YouTube videos of how to use a fightin’ karambit.  Any of these complete videos can be purchased, …our operators are standing by…

The problem with fixed knives is they are not easy to conceal, a necessary condition of modern society.  Shadow Tech has been making fixed blade karambits for some time now.  They are currently, in a secret laboratory/dojo, developing two folding karambits.  And joking aside, they look pretty great.  I’ve only seen prototypes but they were very close to production models. 

Two almost ready for manufacturing prototypes
Make that 2 to go, please.
I expect a there will be a little tweeking before and possible after release.  After all it is only mythology in which Venus springs forth from the ocean in all her perfection.  I do know the knives will be made from Crucible’s 154CM steel.  Some of the best knife companies use 154CM steel for their blades.  ST is using it for liners, liner lock and clips also.  The clip will be reversible and the knife rides tip up.  At least that was the plan when John and I talked about it.


liner lock has full thickness of lock behind the blade
Many knives, many fine knives have only a portion of the liner lock behind the blade

The liner lock will throw its complete thickness behind the blade spreading out the force of folding over a wide surface.  My limited experience suggests that may require a little more effort on your part to unlock the knife.  Pushing the liner lock over may require you to dig your thumb a little deeper in the lock, but you can image the painful consequences of having the lock fail.

ST tells me they will have two sizes, a large aggressive blade,
Large size

And a smaller blade. 

The small size

John tells me there will be several ways of snagging the blade’s opening stud and/or geometry to open the blade as you draw it from your pocket.  That’s very cool.  

Still remember what one veteran told me:
“I carry in my pocket.  If there could be trouble I move the knife from my pocket to behind my belt.  If I think there is going to be trouble, the unopened knife is carried in my hand.”

A karambit has the potential to increase even an unskilled person’s survival potential.  Give that and Shadow Tech some consideration.