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What is a karambit ?

What is a karambit ?

 The Karambits appeared on the Malaysian islands around the 14th century (the first images of this knife date from this period). Its invention is attributed to the people of Minankbau, who used knives of this shape in battles with other nations. In addition, because of its shape, karambit was ideal for removing and treating animal skins. The knife then underwent modifications and gained popularity. The karambit was not only used as a combat knife but also as a sickle or machete for pruning. A versatility that can be found in modern versions. An excellent tactical knife that you use to open boxes as well as to cut ropes and cables. Its functionality, robustness and unique appearance make it a must for knife lovers. 

Are karambits good for self defense 

The karambit is a rather remarkable all-purpose knife designed for defence, precision and user efficiency. It has a curved or hooked blade, an ergonomic handle and usually includes at least one safety ring. The knife can be with a fixed or folding blade. The Karambit is an extremely effective and interesting defence knife because its curved blade offers many combinations and possibilities of use. Its excellent grip, its short and very handy blade and its stability make the karambit almost elusive to the opponent if the user masters it. 

For the real amateurs who would like to learn defense techniques, get inspired by them or simply discover this universe I invite you to watch this Youtube video with Doug Marcaida specialist of self-defense movements with a karambit on the following link : Karambit Blade Work With Doug Marcaida.

The karambit in Indonesia or in the Philippines is the pocket knife for "daily wear" as is the Opinel knife in Europe or pocket knives in the United States.

Over the centuries and its evolution the Karambit has become a weapon of choice for defense, its safety ring or also called retention ring, placed at the end of the handle it is generalized, it is present to allow the user, when working in the corners not to slip.The ring is held by one of the fingers of the hand holding the Karambit handle. This will make it very difficult to disarm a weapon.

The curved shape of this Karambit knife makes it possible to cause impressive damage very easily and quickly. For a confirmed person, the Karambit will then be an unrivaled defensive knife that will allow them to get out of any situation. It is used in Indonesian and Filipino martial arts such as Silat or Kali, are martial arts for close combat and particularly deadly.

Karambit Professional Balisong


How to sharpen karambit  

So a karambit is a small type of blade or a pocket knife as we explained. Today, a karambit is usually an interesting and curious addition to any weapon and blade collection. Sharpening the weapon is a fairly simple process. 


  1. Prepare the blade of your karambit for the sharpening process. Check the blade for any dirt or dust and clean it carefully by wiping it with a dry cloth. If the karambit is really dirty, use hot water and liquid soap. Be sure to wipe and dry with a clean cloth afterwards. The blade must be absolutely dry and clean before the actual sharpening process.
  2. Grasp the karambit in your hand, firmly but comfortably and flexibly at the same time. As with any type of sharpening blade, note that the angle between the sharpening tool and the blade should be as small as possible. In this way, you will not damage or shorten the blade, nor change its shape.
  3. Stroke the blade of your karambit knife along a medium sharpening stone path. Keep in mind that a karambit is a small and delicate knife, so be sure to use a small but stone quality. Be very careful at this stage and run the blade gently through the stone, keeping the blade away from you.
  4. Stroke the blade of your karambit against a fine sharpening stone. Note that due to the nature of the karambit shape, there is a small gap between the stone and the blade itself. 
  5. Sharpen the karambit blade using a steel, narrow, fine sharpening file, circular or rectangular shape. Be sure to move the blade along the tool in long, continuous strokes and hold it at as small an angle as possible.
  6. Wipe off any powder residue or residue from your karambit blade with a clean dry cloth. Blow the dust away from the tools as well.
  7. Keep the karambit along a piece of leather to keep it as sharp as possible and to extend the period between sharpening.


Hoping that these explanations will help you to achieve a perfect sharpening of your favourite accessory. As you will have noticed in the previous explanations appears a link to our sharpening stone category. We also invite you to discover all our knife sharpeners on this link in order to find out who could be useful for other knives. 


Small karambit beautiful style

Are karambits illegal 

There are no laws that specially targeting the karambit knives. These knives are very close to the majority of knives and to exclude them in particular would be incomprehensible and arbitrary targeting. We also recall that the the main asset of these knives is the defense. So be careful how you use it. So being in possession of one of these knives does not represent any criminal danger and the police should not care any more than that. Of course, any careless act with one of these objects can obviously be punished severely by law and we absolutely do not encourage the unnecessary use of these knives. Please be careful.

We so hope that this blog article made you discover the karambit knives !


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