Anyone interested in talking Karambits?

Discussion in 'Misc. Knife Arts' started by Cruentus, May 21, 2006.

  1. Cruentus

    Cruentus Tactician you like or dislike them?


    They certianly have both strengths and weaknesses....

    I am curious what others have observed and experienced, and what the opinions are of them...

  2. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I have a folding one. I enjoy playing with it. I love how it feels--it is angled to cut in line with a very natural hooking or uppercut arm motion. In terms of body movement, I prefer it to a standard knife. Also, for better or worse, if it has a finger hole it has retainability.

    On the other hand, a knife has a reach advantage, and I feel it's harder to get around it if an opponent is trying to grab my knife hand. Also, a knife can stab, which is more debilitating than a slash. I've heard it said the karambit is a less lethal weapon because while it makes ugly slashing wounds, they are only slashes and so less likely to kill than a straight knife. Since a knife can do both, it has more options.

    So, I prefer to work with the karambit from a comfort point of view, but emphasize the knife over it because it's more practical.

    See also this thread on its history.
  3. Alakd'an

    Alakd'an New Member


    We have just recently started training with kerambits, we make our own training blades including kerambits. You are correct in that thrusting is non-existant when it comes to Kerambits. But what we like about them is the trapping and locking applications. This fits well with our Modern Arnis Training. We can use them in place of the Dulo and use the same moves. Using the trapping techniques from Modern Arnis adds a different dimension than just cutting or slashing. It gives us more to "play" with. Just my 2 cents. Salamat!
  4. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I bought a cheap knife at the county fair yesterday that is shaped kind of like a kukri, which to me resembles a big kerambit in some ways.

    It was made in China but marketed as an official U.S. Army Rangers' combat knife. I wasn't fooled, but I liked it anyways.
  5. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons Member

    Personally, I do not like the blade.


    Yes, I have a problem with it. Even the larger trainers, I have problems with the finger hole being small and the edge of the blade starting in the palm of my hand.

    But that is a personal issue. ;)
  6. greg808

    greg808 PSDE Main Branch

    I think it's a cool weapon. I've recently purchased a folding one although its a one sided edge, I'm kinda leary about having to use it since I've had a folding knife aleady close on my index finger. Luckly they sewed it back on. Other then that I think a fixed blade karambit is an excellent weapon you can strike and counter at the same time. I still would use one if I had to fight.
  7. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    Glad your finger is OK! I have a folding kerambit and I like it. But, of course I would prefer a fixed blade whenever possible.
  8. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise Senior Member Supporting Member

  9. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I agree. It's more fun than practical. The best argument I've heard in its favor is th eone Imention ed above--that it may be less lethal than a straight blade as it's principally a slashing weapon. Still, I do like the "feel" of the motions one makes when using it.
  10. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise Senior Member Supporting Member

    Another big point about it is that it really has no functional value in our society other than being used in a violent situation. That being said, if you had to use it in a violent situation I can imagine that the police, prosecutor or judge would not view it in a possible light.

    Brian R. VanCise
  11. V-Rex

    V-Rex Junior Member


    I didn't appreciate the effectiveness of a Kerambit until I'd seen a member of the Sayoc organization use one in a demonstration. If you are ever fortunate enough to see one of the high-end Sayoc guys use one, check it out. It's a fantastic weapon when used to its potential, and suddenly some Silat movements seem to make more sense when done armed with one.
    I have one by Kris Cutlery, one of the Cold Steel models, and 2 inexpensive folders.
  12. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I've noticed this--like where you drop and then grab the leg at the knee to initiate a take-down, you can use the kerambit to hook instead. We practiced that with a Silat-trained FMA instructor, and it clearly works better that way...and the kerambit is better than a knife for this technique.

    Yet, I'd rather stand up and use a fixed blade, with its reach advantage! You have to get in closer with the kerambit, unless you spin it via the finger-hole, which I prefer not to do for fear of losing control of it.
  13. V-Rex

    V-Rex Junior Member

    Kerambits and Silat

    One of our jurus contains "leapord fist", three rotations inside (pulling into the body, which I understood) and three rotating outside (as if hitting with the pinky finger, which I had me confused). When done with a kerambit, the move rotates the opponent around the kerambit while the blade spins in the opposite direction... as if to peel an apple as it spins. Quite nice.
  14. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    Ah, it makes sense! In arnis we often say that if you don't understand what an empty hand is doing, put a knife in it. Perhaps in Silat, one must put a kerambit in it!
  15. James

    James Crescent City Eskrima

    This is certainly true for some Mande Muda forms as well. Although they could be done empty handed, when one puts a kerambit in hand, you certainly see the application come to light.
  16. Cruentus

    Cruentus Tactician

    Given the nature of how fights happen on the street/field as compared to dueling situtations, the devestation that a kerambit can cause can't be ignored.

    This was proven in a famous case in India that I am aware of where a government official was assasinated with a Kerambit at an event in public view. The killers concern was getting the job done rather then getting caught or killed in the process. Despite many security officials and bystanders, the mark was killed. The weapon of choice was a Kerambit because of it's ease of concealment, it's quickness of draw, and it's difficulty to be disarmed once secured in the hand. If I can find a reference to this story, I'll provide it.

    For an in-close, ruff and tumble situation (as most fights are), kerambits can be easily deployed and a great compliment to the empty hand.

    As to my dislikes...

    I am not in favor of a lot of what is taught out there for use of the weapon (outside of what we teach, anyway). I believe that emphasis should be on basic boxing skills and such with the weapon as a compliment to the empty hands rather then emphasis on elaborate trapping, flowery hand motions, and fancy stuff (like twirling the weapon around your fingers, for example).

    I am not in favor of the folding kerambits because a major benefit of the weapon is ease of deployment; this is reduced considerably with a folding weapon. The Emerson Kerambits are probably the best for folding because of the wave feature and the ergonomics; but even still I would prefer a fixed anyday.

    It also is not completely practical by legal standards; it isn't an impossible problem to overcome, but you better have your ducks in a row when it comes to proving reasonableness if you use one of these things. This can be extremely difficult to do.

    I don't consider the fact that it isn't a good deuling weapon (unlike my bowie, for example) as a negative because it isn't really meant for that.

    Well, that's my basic take on the weapon.

  17. kabaroan

    kabaroan Kabaroan

    Like anything else, a Kerambit is a tool that requires proper training in its use. Some knife techniques will transfer over but others are unique to the knife due to its design. I believe Steve Tarani is big on the kerambit.

    I have one that I bought on a whim but it really needs a kydex sheath to make it something for everyday carry.
  18. Cthulhu

    Cthulhu New Member

    My kerambit experience comes from what Tuhon Ray Dionaldo developed for his FCS Kali group and, by extension, Sayoc Kali. I feel confident enough with it to use it as a weapon, but that is the thing: it can only be used as a weapon. It is almost impossible to justify carrying a kerambit for any utility purpose.

    Another distinct disadvantage is one that arnisador mentioned: it really cuts down the range, and you have to be very aware of that if training and using the weapon.

  19. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    Kelly Worden's travel wrench is meant to be a (dull) kerambit with other applications.
  20. Silence_sucks

    Silence_sucks New Member

    Guro inosanto demonstrated this at his last seminar in sydney, when describing that certain style of silat, (panagmut?) the 'tiger' ground fighting style thats ment to mimic the tiger. Would NOT want to be on the reciving end of all those hook cuts to the groin and femoral artery!

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