Butterfly Knives: History, Legality & Uses

Butterfly Knives: History, Legality & Uses

The butterfly knife, also known as a balisong, has a past as intriguing as its rapid deployment. Knife enthusiasts have been engaged in a heated debate for years over the origin of the active vise. Some believe it sprouted from the Philippines, where it became a popular tool and weapon. Others point to a possible European origin. Adding to the mystique, even the meaning of the word “balisong” itself is shrouded in mystery. Despite its unclear beginnings, the balisong has become a well-known symbol of the Philippines, its unique design and functionality.

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The word “balisong” sparks debate among experts. Various authors offer different explanations for its origin. Jeff Imada, in “The Balisong Manual,” proposes it derives from “Bali” meaning “break” and “sung” meaning “horn,” possibly referring to the traditional use of animal horns for handles. Tai Jo, in “Balisong Knife,” supports this interpretation. Conversely, Tom Wei Ding and Tom Wei Toi, in “The Manipulation Manual for the Balisong Knife,” argue it signifies a “sharp knife”. Despite differing interpretations, there’s a consensus that the term originated in the Philippines, distinct from the trademarked “Bali-song.”

Theories And Deabts:

The origin story of the butterfly knife, also called a balisong, is a bit fuzzy. Some stories claim the Philippines made them in 800 AD, but there’s no solid evidence. However, the Philippines is credited for refining the modern balisong.  Talented Filipino craftsmen started crafting many of these knives in the early 1900s. They transformed them from tools into beloved possessions and even inspired a unique martial art.

Introduction to The US:

Butterfly knives, also known as balisongs, have mysteriously fluttered into the US, and the story of their arrival remains shrouded in mystery… Some theories point to the 18th or 19th century, suggesting they might be related to French measuring tools. Others whisper of Filipino immigrants or European travelers bringing their own folding knives that eventually morphed into the modern balisong

No matter where they really came from, World War II changed things. American soldiers who came home from the Philippines brought back balisongs as special souvenirs, making them really popular. This made a lot of people interested in them. In America, they started making them a lot, especially the Benchmade 1980 Model 68, which was a big deal for high-quality American balisongs.

But not everything was good for butterfly knives. Movies and TV often showed them with bad guys, making people think they were bad. Because of this, many places ended up banning them.

The Modren Balisong:

The butterfly knife often called a balisong, is now a common type of knife, valued for both cutting and entertainment. Its distinct design features two handles that rotate around the sharp edge, allowing for smooth and intricate flipping movements. It is well-liked by both collectors and fans of knives because of its design.
The butterfly knife’s versatility makes it fascinating. Knife flippers frequently become part of a vibrant community of “flippers.” These fans spend many hours honing their skills and learning a variety of tricks and moves, ranging from simple opens and closings to advanced aerials and acrobatics.

In some places, butterfly knives, or balisongs, are heavily regulated or banned outright. It’s crucial to know the laws regarding their possession and use.

Above all, always handle a butterfly knife with the respect it deserves as it can be potentially dangerous. Before attempting any flipping maneuvers, take the time to familiarize yourself with the knife’s mechanisms and ensure it is in proper working order.

When practicing flipping techniques, do it in a controlled environment without distractions or spectators. A spacious area with a delicate surface, like grass or covering, can assist with limiting the gamble of injury if the knife is dropped or misused.