Kapatiran Suntukan Martial Arts


Sunday, December 13, 2009

speaking of knives...

I was asked to provide my thoughts on the Boker Plus Chad Los Banos (CLB) Karambit by my good friend, Terry.

Like other blades in the Boker Plus line, it is reasonably priced and well made. It has a nice heft that helps it feel like a lot of knife. The frame lock is thick and holds the blade well. The clip can be set into four positions and I settled on tip up carry to have the option to deploy the blade upon removal from my pocket and have it in a tip-down, edge-out position with my index finger in the retention ring.

The blade has a tanto style tip with a recurve toward the handle starting halfway along the edge. It is Chinese 440 stainless steel with a titanium black matte coating. The edge is what I would call “factory” and could use a sharpening. The handle is G-10. It also has a carabiner in the retention ring yet am not keen on the precise use for that as most users would most likely want different access to the tool.

Holding and using the blade does feel like an extension of my body and I never felt as if I had to lay it down to continue what I was doing.

As for calling it a karambit, I am a bit confused. Traditional design of a karambit has a more obtuse angle of blade to handle ranging from something like 45 degrees to up to 90 – think a mini sickle. This blade comes off feeling and looking more as a straight blade with a retention ring. The overall deployed shape has a pleasant curve to it. However, I am not saying the design is bad by any means. I have a blade that Chuck Pippin and I made which was inspired by the design of the karambit and has a retention ring, but I wouldn’t called it a karambit because of the retention ring.

The CLB Karambit has it’s pros and cons like all blades and I recommend at least holding it to see if it is one you could use as an Every Day Carry blade.


  1. That gap in the ring makes me nervous. Can't see any reason for it that makes it better than a full circle.

  2. I don't understand the blade shape, just as I don't understand other non-hooked karambits like the "bull-nose" Emerson.

    In my opinion (which can be a bit jaded at times) these karambits are designed by people who don't have much exposure to silat. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, I just think they'd be better off with a more conventional knife design. The karambit excels at certain things but is also extremely limiting when it comes to others. I don't see the point of designing out its strong points.

  3. From a silat point of view, which karambit models would you guys recommend?

  4. Fixed blades are best, and there are a bunch of those around. Folders have that hinge-post as a weak point. Probably a frame-lock is better than a liner-lock, but I defer to folks like Jay and Terry and Chuck on this.

  5. @AF1-
    I would say a fixed blade is the way to go personally.
    Chuck makes some very nice blades and I have one of the first kerambits they made a couple years ago and i dig it.
    those - along with this review - are the ones I am familiar with. I have one from valiantco that is nice but not practical to carry, but most of them are custom jobs.
    If you work with Chuck, he can make a sheath to suit your preferred way to carry it.

  6. Seems like anyone that makes a blade designed for the reverse grip is calling it a kerambit. It's all just labels "There are many regional variants of kerambit. The length of the blade, for example, could vary from one village or blacksmith to another. Some have no finger guard and some feature two blades, one on each side of the handle." (, but it'd be nice to have some consistency for google searching :)

    I do like a straighter blade, only because it seems to fit in my pocket better.

  7. Kerambits can be a limiting tool and must be practiced with as with straight blades.
    It really comes down to personal choice and daily usage.
    Terry recently updated one of his post regarding choosing a blade: ""

  8. Fixed blade better than a folder...check.

    Does double-edged blade vs. single-edged make much of a difference to silat players, stylistically? (leaving the issues of legality aside)

  9. The traditional kerambits I have are double-edged, and since most places frown on daggers, you can't haul one around, since they fall under that heading. I haven't spent any quality time training with them due to this. I think I own one boot knife that's double-edged, and I don't carry it.

    It does makes a difference in how you deploy a knife if both edges are sharp. I can, for instance, with minimal alteration, do our djurus with a pair of single-edged knives held in icepick grip, edge out. Sharping the other edge makes this a bit trickier, though it is doable.

    The dagger has some advantages, to be sure, but also some dangers to the user.

    Kerambits are in-fighting weapons and -- generally -- better used in the hands of experts. They are hooks and slashers, and they make good handles. They work much better in pairs than as a single. In a knife-fight, longer is better in a lot of cases, and a straight blade gives you more options than a short hooked claw.


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