The butterfly knife, a.k.a. Balisong, has been featured countless times in the movies. The most recent and arguably the most popular one to date is in the hit action movie, Kick-Ass. In one memorable scene Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) presents his daughter, Hit-Girl (Chloë Moretz), with her favorite “benchmade model 42 butterfly knife” as a birthday gift. Hit-Girl proceeds to display her deadly skills by expertly flipping the butterfly knife from one hand to the other.
The butterfly knife, also known as fan knife, balisong, or Batangas, is a pocket-sized knife that features two handles that counter-rotate around a tang. In its closed position, the blade is concealed by grooves found in the handles. To bring it to action, an expert user usually “flips” or “fans” it with one hand.
The better quality Balisongs use hardened carbon steel for the blade and a host of materials for thehandles. The Filipino-made butterfly knives typically have handles made of water buffalo (carabao) horn, ivory, bone, and synthetic materials.
To put the balisong into action, the safe handle should be grasped between thumb and palm. The free handle is released as the blade is pointed downwards. In a clockwise motion, twist the safe handle using your thumb and fingers 360 degrees.
Pull in the free handle closer to your fingers by pointing the blade upwards slightly. Grasp the free handle as it nears your hand by using your middle finger, then open the rest of the fingers to grasp the opened blade with a full hand. To close, follow the same sequence.