Sparring Knives

Discussion in 'Gear Talk!' started by scubamatt, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. scubamatt

    scubamatt New Member


    I've seen and used the Cold Steel rubber training knives, as well as some assorted aluminum knives, but haven't found any that I really felt comfortable sparring with yet.

    The aluminum ones really hurt, leaving lots of bruises and even scrapes, so that tends to discourage hard sparring after a very short time. Their narrow width focuses impact energy so much that you can even break a bone with them. The rubber ones don't hurt, but they are way too flexible to perform the locks/controls that we use. I looked around on the internet and saw a few (Sharkee's, etc) that seemed like they might work, but nothing really excited me. I wanted a training knife that looked like a real knife shape.

    So I made my own at work, out of 12mm (half inch) black Sintra plastic. I made two types, a straight double edged dagger, and a single edge fighter type similar to one of my old Blackjack blades. I rounded the edges off with a router bit (and put a 'fasle edge' along 1/3 of the back of the fighter), drilled two holes in the handle in case I wanted to wrap them with cord, and sanded the sharp edges off just a bit. They came out pretty good - lightweight, they fill your grip comfortably, and they sting in sparring but do not cut or scrape. They are not unbreakable (I grabbed one at both ends, turned it flatwise and exerted myself to snap it) but I don't see them ever breaking in normal use.

    I have tried 3 different wraps for the grip: friction tape, tennis racket wrap, and nylon cord. The nylon cord looks the best, but is a real pain in the neck to secure. Friction tape offered the best grip, but leaves little smudges on my hands when I sweat (and who doesn't sweat in a knife fight, even a friendly sparring match?). The tennis wrap seems the most comfortable compromise, but I haven't found a self adhesive type yet (my wife assures me they have this at a Pro Shop, though).

    When I figure out how to upload the pictures from my camera, I'll post them here for you.

    The best part? They cost me only my time and energy to make, since my boss let me have the scrap plastic for free.:biggrinbo
  2. scubamatt

    scubamatt New Member

    OK, got the photos uploaded, lets see if I can get the links to work right.


    This is the fighter, with a ruler to show the scale. It's 11.25 inches overall.


    This shows the routered edges, and the false edge I put along the back of it. I have a knife from Blackjack that I've had for years, and it has a similar (though sharpened) 'false edge' on it.


    Slightly blurry, but this photo shows how thick the knife is in your hands. Its 12mm thick (a hair under 1/2 inch).


    This is the simple double edged dagger I made. Same overall length.

    Again, slightly blurry picture, but showing the edges and tip of the dagger. Its blunt enough that its not dangerous, but pointy enough to remind you that you just got stabbed in training.

    Sorry for the quality of the pictures, but I'm not a professional photographer!
  3. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    Hey, those look good! I like the Sharkees but they're different from what I am apt to carry soI see your motivation.
  4. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise Senior Member Supporting Member

    Nice work and I love the pictures.

    For marking knives for sparring I use the Sharkee's with VirtualBlade. Then I just wrap the handle with paracord to give it more of a true knife feel.

    I like your work though. Looks great! [​IMG]
  5. Carol

    Carol <font color = blue><b>Technical Administrator</b><

    Excellent work Matt! Those look great!

    The Cold Steel knives also tend to get a bit floppy with repeated use. :angel:
  6. artvilla2

    artvilla2 New Member

    good work matt, looking forward to trying some out this weekend at the miami training....are you planning to make a ginunting version as well ? would be interested to see some samples too.
  7. rshawtx

    rshawtx New Member


    Great workmanship Matt! Are you thinking of going commercial? It wouldn't be a bad idea.
  8. scubamatt

    scubamatt New Member

    Thanks, Art! Dino is taking some of each to the seminar in Miami, and if anyone buys them the money goes towards my training fees (thats what we call a subtle hint...hee hee). I think he's going to offer them at 5 bucks each, if anyone is interested. I made like 40 of each when I made them, since it takes only a little more effort to cut a bunch than it does to cut a few. The hand finishing is what takes time, routering and sanding, drilling, etc.

    I'm thinking of making a ginunting version, but I have to take a closer look at one to get a feel for the measurements and curves. I'm really only limited by my imagination as far as what pattern to cut (I have access to two robot routing machines - I tell them what to cut, they cut it). I can cut any material thats under 2 inches thick, too, from plastic to concrete (they are serious industrial machines).

    Sintra is pretty good material, but I'm not sure how stiff it is compared to the material that Dino's ginunting is made of. For a foot long blade, it doesn't flex much at all, but I have to test it with a 2-3 foot long version. I cut some blanks again yesterday that were 23 inches long by 2 inches wide, and they don't bend any more than the knife blanks I made, so it will probably work (the narrower blade width is althat concerns me). I just have to lay out the pattern in Illustrator, which is the graphics program I use for design patterns.

    I appreciate everyone's kind words, too! I like to make stuff, because you take something that only exists in your head (an idea) and make it into something real that you can hold in your hands. To me, thats like magic, you know?
  9. pguinto

    pguinto New Member

    Matt wasnt kidding when he said these sparring knives were $5 a piece. He even shipped me the goodies before i sent payment thru PayPal. On top, he added an extra knife as a free bonus. He be da bomb.

    Muchas gracias, 'migo!!! I cant wait to stab my friends...

    Btw, hopefully we'll see the ginunting and barong versions soon
    A spada y daga set would be sweet too
  10. scubamatt

    scubamatt New Member

    LOL (blushes) thanks for the kind words.

    I sat down on Friday and laid out a pretty good pattern for a ginunting (I think, anyway), but I didn't get a chance to cut it out of Sintra yet. I cut my prototype out of gatorboard (think styrofoam covered with hard paper), to see how it balances and looks. I'm going to improve the hilt a bit, but it feels good in my hand. I'll post pics of it once I make a full scale version.

    Edit: Added a picture of the gatorboard prototype. I intend to change the hilt (where the blade ends and the grip begins) to duplicate the heel of the weapon. But I like the overall angle/curve to the weapon. It's got a 17 inch blade, a 5.5 inch grip area and is 22.5 inches overall (considering the curve, its actually closer to 24 if it were straight). The two I have seen first hand had slightly narrower blades, but I found a few on line that have wider ones like this, too.

    Last edited: Feb 9, 2008
  11. scubamatt

    scubamatt New Member

    Update to the previous picture. Here is my working model Ginunting, made of white Sintra. I changed the pommel and added a slight crossguard at the end of the blade. Going to give it a field test this weekend to see how it holds up.


    I'll wrap the handle with cord before I use it this weekend.
  12. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise Senior Member Supporting Member

    Cool Matt that looks great!
  13. pguinto

    pguinto New Member

    how about one of these dood?
  14. pguinto

    pguinto New Member

    just got the package, these fighters feel sweet,
    hopefully i can try them out tonight

    where can i find a guide on how to tie cord around the hilt?
  15. scubamatt

    scubamatt New Member

  16. scubamatt

    scubamatt New Member

    What are the measurements on that? How long, etc?
  17. scubamatt

    scubamatt New Member

    Used my Ginunting trainers this saturday during my session with Dino, and I got to compare the ones I made with the one he already has from another source. Sintra is a little more flexible than what his is made of (some sort of shiny hard plastic). My version is also shorter in overall blade length (by about 4 inches) and a little wider, too.

    It held up well to strikes against the pell, no damage to the blade, and it handles fine. I ended up wrapping the grips with some tennis racket grip tape my wife loaned me. Soft and comfortable, but yellow (she assures me they have many other colors to choose from, lol). I wish my training Ginunting were a little heavier (closer to the weight of a live blade) but not sure how I can improve that without changing materials.

    I may get a piece of hardwood and run the pattern in wood, instead of plastic, then hand router the edges and sand it. That might increase density enough, and if I do it right I won't have to wrap the grip at all. I just gotta scrounge some wood or wood laminate from somewhere.

    There's something about the feel of wood, too...
  18. pguinto

    pguinto New Member

    barongs should be overall length of about 19" (my perfect weapon size). i think the 1st 6 inches of top end of the tip should be sharpened as well

    since it's for practice, i think the pinky guard should be less pronounced (even non-existent). however handles should retain some "cane handle" curvature as this lends to maintaining grip during a full swing

    there is something to holding wood, i think bahi or similar hardwood would be sweet

    check out this site:
    a little pricey but good looking stuff and he lets u specify the length.

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