Knives have been used as weapons and tools for thousands of years and are some of the oldest that human society has ever seen. Not all knives were created equal, though.
Originally known as the ‘Balisong,’ the butterfly knife is a Filipino tool that was originally designed for both self-defense and basic utility. Today, though, they’re a popular choice among collectors due to the number of tricks you can perform.
While these may seem impossible at first, they’re entirely doable with enough practice.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about butterfly knife tricks.
Before You Begin…
It’s likely that you’re going to fail tricks numerous times while learning them. Unfortunately, failing with a butterfly knife doesn’t always mean dropping the blade or performing the trick slowly/incorrectly.
It’s relatively easy (and common) for beginners to fold the blade onto their hand or finger. Depending on the sharpness of the blade, this could either be a minor knick or a trip to the emergency room.
So, consider taping the edges of your knife in order to dull the surface while you’re practicing. Alternatively, there are butterfly knives designed with safety in mind that you can use to practice with.
Once you’ve decided which safety precaution is right for you, you’re ready to move onto learning a few basic tricks.
This is likely the first trick you’ll attempt to learn (as you should since it allows you to open the knife!) Although the end result of a flip opening is holding the knife stationary in your hand, the actual process is often mesmerizing for onlookers.
To begin, hold the closed knife in your dominant hand. Your grip should be loose, and your focus should be on the handle that the back of the blade points to.
Swing the knife open until the other handle touches the back of your hand. It should look like an arcing motion. Then, rotate the handle so that the blade is pointing the same direction as your thumb.
Complete the same motion again (which is similar to casting a fishing line in reverse). Afterward, ‘cast’ the knife forward and it should be fully open. Then, place your thumb around both handles to secure your grip.
This will likely seem confusing at first. But, you can practice each segment of the move in slow motion until you master the basics.
As the name implies, this is the same concept as flipping the knife open (but in reverse).
Once you’ve mastered the open flip technique, you’ll have an understanding of how to perform this one. It’s important, though, to remember to keep your palms open wide enough to hold both handles when you flip it closed.
Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of injuring your fingers when you begin to perform the trick with a sharp-bladed butterfly knife.
This will likely come as a big jump from a conventional flip open. The good news is, though, is that mastering a flip open/close will familiarize you with the mechanics of your knife. This will allow you to manipulate it at a more proficient level.
To begin, hold the opposite handle as you would for a flip open. This is the same handle that would let the blade cut you if it closed on you.
Point the knife straight outward so that the knife could open on its own if you let go due to gravity. This is where the move gets complicated.
Perform an upward motion with your wrist as you drop the second handle (the one that is currently holding the knife closed) and let go of the knife. the leverage and momentum of the swinging handle will cause the knife to rotate in midair.
After a full rotation, you can catch the knife in its open position.
Not only is this move far flashier than a flip open, but it’s also much quicker to perform.
This knife move is notorious for being portrayed in media. If you’ve ever seen a film where an antagonist brandishes a butterfly knife before combat, you’ve more than likely seen a pinwheel performed.
The backhand variant of the pinwheel, in particular, is rather intimidating, so it makes sense as to why they would write this action into a movie.
For the sake of simplicity, though, we’ll focus on the forehand pinwheel.
Hold the knife as you would if you were beginning to perform an aerial. Let the knife open on its own, but don’t let go.
With an upward flick of the wrist, use the momentum to swing the open handle over to the back of the handle you’re holding. As you do this, point your thumb and index finger outward so that the handles can touch freely.
Now, perform the same motion again. The thing to watch out for here, though, is that the sharp side of the blade will be flipping toward your hand. So, it’s imperative that you ensure your fingers aren’t in the way.
Over time, you’ll be able to perform this movement quickly and repeatedly (which is what makes it appear so intimidating).
Learning Butterfly Knife Tricks Can Seem Intimidating
It may seem hard to get started and learn what you need to know for these tricks, but it doesn’t have to be.
With the above information about butterfly knife tricks in mind, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the basics and moving on toward advanced techniques.
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