A Rich His­tory

Knives Illustrated - - Gear Up -

The balisong, or but­ter­fly knife, is in­ex­orably con­nected to the Malaya-poly­ne­sian is­lands and the Philip­pines—filipino Mar­tial Arts in par­tic­u­lar. Most his­to­ri­ans place the ori­gins of this unique blade as early as the zenith of the T’ang Dy­nasty around 800 A.D. There is also some ev­i­dence of early Euro­pean knives with bi-fold han­dles that ap­pear sim­i­lar to what we now rec­og­nize as the balisong, but there is no ev­i­dence that it was ma­nip­u­lated or used in the same fash­ion as we see to­day.

The orig­i­nal Filipino knife de­rives its name from a small town or “bar­rio” of the Batan­gas re­gion of the Philip­pines. The town and its blade­smiths be­came renowned for pro­duc­ing these blades. The art of cre­at­ing the “Bal­isung” knife is passed down from elder blade­smith to ap­pren­tice rel­a­tives. When trans­lated, the word di­vides into “bali” which means to break and “sung” mean­ing horn, since early mod­els of the knife were made with an­i­mal horn. Hence the orig­i­nal moniker for the but­ter­fly knife was “The Bro­ken Horn Knife.”

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