Posts Tagged ‘Karambit’

Killer Karambits!

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

In a previous post, I wrote briefly about a very interesting weapon design. One that utilized a forward sweeping blade, as opposed to the traditional blade belly that curved outwards. In that post, I pointed out that there are good reasons why we generally do not generally use out ward curving blades. For one thing, a cut using an outward curving blade, would be difficult to achieve on a flat surface.

For whittling wood, it might be helpful, but because the shape of the edge would cause all of your cutting strokes would tend to want to pull the knife out of your hand, I think it would be a rather fatiguing design. However there is a specific knife style that utilizes just such a design, but in a way that makes it perfect for it’s intended use. And a wicked little knife it is. Ladies and germs, allow me to introduce you to: The Karambit.

Filipino Karambit

Filipino Karambit

Ain’t it a beaut? The Karambit (sometimes also called a Kerambit or Korambit) is of southeast Asian origin. Much like the Japanese kunai, it started off as a simple utility knife, used for household tasks, the southeast Asian equivalent of the American pocket knife, or hawkbill utility knife, and eventually ended up being used for self defense, and martial arts. However unlike these knives, the Karambit possesses a number of very interesting and unique design features.

The most noticeable feature is the large ring on the pommel of the knife, much like how many Kunai are depicted today. However that is where the similarities end. Karambits have a very pronounced reverse curve to the blade, and depending on the design, may have any number of other unique features as shown below:

Parts of a Karambit

Parts of a Karambit

Now that’s just a mean looking little knife. My kind of pocket knife. It would probably make your average pocket knife run screaming in terror. But that’s a plus in my book. Modern day Karambits come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some features are removed to meet the restrictions of local laws, and others simply a matter of tradition. Some are double edged, others are single. Some have rippers on the spine, others don’t.

Karambit Designs - Strider Knives

Karambit Designs - Strider Knives

However the things that are common to all karambits, is that characteristically curved blade, with an sharp inside edge, a grip, and the ring. And therein lies the beauty of this design. Remember before how I said that a concave blade design actually placed more drag on the knife in use? Well this design actually allows you to use that drag to your advantage.

That ring in the pommel gives the wielder a very solid purchase on the knife, allowing very strong cutting strokes, and even low pressure draw cuts, simply by laying the edge on a target and pulling the knife across by the ring. It is really quite an effective design. And, unlike like most over knives, you get a very secure forward and reverse grip.

Undercover Karambit (Black)

Undercover Karambit (Black)

Incidentally, I am not particularly impressed with those little mini blades on the spine, (aka rippers). At least the way I often seem them implemented. They are a very cool (and sinister looking) design feature, but most of them do not appear to be designed for maximum efficiency. But a properly designed set of rippers, shaped more like small sharp gut hooks, than flat chisels, could really do some damage. Kinda like this:

Dawson Large Karambit Field & Tactical Knife

Dawson Large Karambit Field & Tactical Knife

Nowadays, the Karambit is a fixture in several southeastern Asian martial arts, where it is used, with great effect, to inflict large numbers of superficial cuts, deep major artery cuts, joint or limb control, weapon defence, or any combination thereof. About the only weakness of the Karambit is that you have to learn a whole new set of techniques for fighting with it, because it does not work the same way a traditional straight bladed knife does. And there are so many more things you can do with a Karambit that you could not easily replicate with a regular knife, that you really need training in order to use it to it’s fullest potential.

Traditional Karambit With Wood Sheath

Traditional Karambit With Wood Sheath

However it is definitely a very cool tool. My kind of tool. In fact, I could see someone like… Riddick… using a karambit. It’s totally his style. I bet if we upsized the karambit to large knife proportions, this would probably be a much more effective weapon than the saber claws Riddick uses. Hmmm…

Dragon Claw Toenail Set

Dragon Claw Toenail Set

I think I’ve got an idea for this piece of steel I just so happen to have lying around. I’m off to the workshop. I have a karambit theory to test! 😀

Twin Dragon Daggers

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Double the Dragons! Double the fun!! Or so people would have you believe. Though, to be honest, I think it does depend *greatly* on the disposition of the dragons in question. But that’s just my opinion. Take it or leave it. 🙂  Back to the topic at hand.

Twin Dragons!

Draco Twin Daggers

Draco Twin Daggers

An interesting set of dragon daggers aren’t they? Though they are both a bit busy for my personal taste, I like some of the design aspects of these knives, though I will admit to being biased, as Draco is one of my favorite Dragons of all time.

We have a set of two daggers, one large and one small, both of which reside in separate pockets of the same sheath. Pretty nifty. They are essentially identical apart from the size, so I’ll just run through the design of the larger one. The hilt isn’t half bad, with a small cast polished metal pommel, with what looks like talons curving inwards at the base.

The ridged jet black grip looks equally cool, though I get the feeling it wouldn’t be too comfortable. The guard is quite the interesting bit, featuring a simple straight rear talon/spike, with the beginnings of the same spike on the front, terminating in a large, upward pointing  winglike extension. I actually liked that design feature.

The rest is a little… too much maybe. Above the guard is an extension of the cast metal hilt covering the bottom of the blade to form a short ornate ricasso with a rearwards and downwards pointing spike. Still a bit busy, though I liked the spike. The blade, however, tops the cake in terms of interesting flaws. At least in my humble opinion.

The blade has a large curving void just above the ricasso, which, as I have argued on many occasions, is generally not a good idea from a strength perspective. Above that, and compounding the problem, are a set of rearward facing spikes cut into the spine of the blade. Opposite the void on the front are a set of small divots. More unnecessary cuts. Above all of this, the blade is etched with an interesting tribal design.

To top it all off, the blade has a rather unusual contour. It appears to be double edged, but actually curves inwards. This design is unusual, though not unheard of, but is generally reserved for garden implements and specialized tools, like Karambits. The reason is that cuts using such a blade will tend to push the knife back towards the hand, or out of the hand, (depending on the direction of the cut) and this generally does not play well to the general ergonomics of knife use.

The Karambit is a general exception to this rule, as it usually incorporates a ring that makes positive retention possible, regardless of the grip. But that is a subject that deserves it’s own post. The point is, on this knife, it is just another in a long line of bad design ideas.

At least they look cool, have black grips, and are named after a cool dragon.

That’s got to count for something right?

Draco Twin Daggers – [True Swords]

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