A Rich History
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.”