The Karambit Craze! - S2 Strategic Defense
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The Karambit Craze!

Karambit Training

20 Sep The Karambit Craze!

One of my private lesson students asked me about the Karambit style blades this morning, and was surprised that I don’t really care for them that much. I had to give him an explanation for my reasoning….so I thought I would share it with you as well.

1) The Karambit style blade hails from the Indonesian/Malaysian (SIlat) arts and has integrated with Filipino Martial Arts (Kali) where it is called “lihok.” By design, the blade was a tertiary weapon used when the primary long blade and the secondary short fixed blade were either out of the equation or not best suited close quarters combat. The Karambit augmented the hand to hand fighting method by being a well concealed blade in the palm of the hand and often unseen due to it’s shorter “claw” design. However, that same attribute is also its weakness…it doesn’t have the reach of other blade designs which means there is a heavier demand on distancing and hand to hand skills.

2) The curve design of the blade is menacing to look at, and in function. The half-moon blade is to replicate the tiger’s claw and provides great tearing ability, but lacks in slashing, stabbing, and thrusting ability when compared to a straight blade.

3) Due to the half moon curve, the Karambit design isn’t intuitive to utilize. If you watch Silat, they have a very fluid circling/scooping motion to many of their methods. The curve design commands that motion…but unless you understand that kind of movement, the Karambit is never really used to its potential.

4) Right now there is a huge influx of people buying the Karambit blade, then realizing that they don’t know what the heck to do with it. Why? Because it isn’t an intuitive design by any means! Again, it is made to augment Silat/Kali, not be a primary blade.

5) The Karambit does offer some wonderful benefits as well. Hooking, scooping, picking, and concealability to name a few. But it is also the hardest blade design to become proficient with. The flippy fancy shit people do online is just that….flippy fancy shit. They are reaping the fun side of having the finger loop….but many Karambit designs don’t even have the finger loop. Whoops….there goes the flippy fancy shit.

6) Compound Articulations. The Karambit requires additional articulations in the wrist, elbow and forearm to keep the blade in line with the fight. Straight blades do not have this motion as much.

So…there’s a snapshot of my thoughts on the Karambit. I do like them for fun, but definitely will never be my EDC choice. I have many other reasons…but wanted to give you something to consider. The Karambit can be an amazing tool for self defense, and we can certainly provide you with functional skills with the Karambit upon request.

For more info on Edged Weapons Training in Illinois, contact S2 Strategic Defense at


Nik Farooqui


  • James Lancaster
    Posted at 22:58h, 20 September Reply

    I saw your review on the black rhino holster and was impressed by your detailed thoughts. So I signed up for your newsletter but am having a difficult time finding the discount code. If you could let me know which newsletter or story it’s contained in I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks again for a great review on what looks like a great holster

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