Knife tricks have always been popular due to the danger involved in wielding them. People develop a fetish for such weapon tricks as they make for an interesting pastime. One such popular activity is learning and demonstrating easy balisong tricks.
This is a popular and glamorized type of Filipino pocket knife. It is also known as a 'Butterfly Knife' (due to its twin handles) and 'Beinte Neuve' (Spanish for Twenty Nine) in some parts of the world. Other popular names include 'click clacks' and 'fan knives'. A typical balisong is made up from layers of aluminum or brass, connected together with pins. The two handles between which the blade is sandwiched, are often covered with scales of rosewood, horn, or other materials.
The word balisong is supposed to have been derived from a word in the Tagalog language (an Austronesian language spoken in Philippines) called baling sungay (meaning 'broken horn'). That is because the original knife was made from broken horns of animals. The first use of such a knife can be traced back to a province in Philippines called Batangas, where these knives are handmade by specialists.
If we go way back in history, the first mention of a balisong like weapon, called a 'butterfly knife', was made in a French book called 'Le Perret' in 1710. It has a detailed description of this knife and says that it was developed as a utility type of knife in the 16th century. There are two conjectures about its origin in history. One is that the knife is an invention of ancient Filipino natives and it dates back to 800 AD, being an integral part of an ancient fighting system in Philippines, called Eskrima.
The other theory is that this kind of knife was transported to Philippines by the Spanish people who ruled the country. The spread of this weapon to United States of America, occurred during the second world war. American soldiers returning to US, from the Pacific islands, brought the balisong to US and popularized it there as a pocket or utility knife. It is also used as a fighting weapon by some people and for amusement.
How to Do the Tricks?
Wear protective boots while practicing and make sure that you put thick tape over the sharp edge of the knife to prevent injury. Even with the tape on, practice carefully.
Partial Open Vertical Flip
Let us have a look at the most basic trick called the partial open flipping trick. There are many more ways to open this type of a knife, but this one's the simplest one. Open the latch of the balisong which is normally on the handle, that is other than the safety handle. Begin with the initial position. Hold only the safe handle of the balisong and let the other hang down in vertical fashion. From this position, the objective is to open the blade fully, without using hands. Make sure that your thumb is safely out of the way.
Give a slight vertical jerk through the wrist, which will make the other handle (which is hanging down) move upwards due to the jerk. It must complete a total 270 degree arc and fall upon the back of the hand to open the knife. Then you can close both the handles together. It is only a matter of judgment; as well as delicate and quick wrist movement, which will enable you to pull it off easily.
Partial Open Rotational Flip
There is one more variation of this partial open flip, that you can try. Just start with the same initial position and let the latch blade handle hang down. Then, start twisting the handle clockwise through a total of 360 degrees. As you twist it clockwise, the latch handle will fall down and the blade will open automatically. You can create more variations of these basic tricks. Once you master the basics, you can learn more. Watch balisong artists perform and learn more tricks.
I would like to warn again about the danger of cutting yourself or hurting someone while pulling off these tricks. Also, make sure that you take adequate precautions to prevent any such harm and keep these knives away from children. Perform these tricks at your own risk, with adequate safety precautions.