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Registration date : 2007-06-27

PostSubject: DANGEROUS CURVES: THE KARAMBIT   Mon 13 Jul 2015, 10:32


One of the highlights of my stay in Japan in 1973 was the opportunity to have a series of meetings with Donn Draeger. Donn, who held senior grades in numerous Japanese martial arts, had made a series of research experditions to SE Asia, notably, Indonesia. While showing us films of the various fighting systems he had encountered I noticed several unsusual weapons, including a knife with a wicked curved blade. Donn put the fruits of his extensive research into his classic book Weapons+and+Fighting+Arts+of+indonesia]Weapons & Fighting Arts of Indonesia, in which he described the knife as follows:
"…Known as the karambit, it is a curving knife modeled after the Arab Jambia. It is gripped with the hilt perpendicular to the ground , thumb over the cap. The forefinger is inserted in a hole in the head of the hilt. The blade extends outward, convex surface to the right when held in the right hand. The karambit is used in an upward, ripping manner into the bowels of the victim.."
I forgot about the Karambit for several years, until the design started becoming popular here in the West. In this short article I’ll discuss the main features of the knife and it’s use.


The Karambit, also spelled Kerambit was originally a fixed blade weapon, of varying size. Current offerings include the model crafted for blade master Ray Dionaldo by Jerry Hossom...

There is also a version from Cold Steel made from a plastic material, which has a decent point....

Since folding knives have become very popular it wasn’t long before folding versions of the Karambit appeared, like this Spyderco..

Ernie Emerson also produced a folder, and it his his design which I own...

You will have noticed the trainer in the above picture. It’s essential to have a dedicated training version of the live blade, for really realistic training.
I use an inexpensive plastic trainer for fixed-blade drills too...



[Forward grip]

The knife can be utilised in either Forward Grip, or, Reverse Grip, and lends itself well to the techniques from Escrima, as well as the original Pentjac-silat methods
The ring acts as an anchor for the grip, and can also be used as a fulcrum for a spin-strike.
Some designs have a “brake” built into the ring, to aide control when performing this spin...

The main spin is an upwards ripping strike...

The hooked blade lends itself well to various “can-opener” type stabs..

Additionally, it can hook a limb...

Compared to similar overall sized knives, the Karambit has a fairly short blade...

Also, the ring can be a giveaway on the folder when carried clipped to the pocket..

The best source of training is Ray Dionaldo

Training Karambit available from Playwell

Thanks to Steve Callaghan and Sue King for help with the photography.

Check Six,
Dennis Martin
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