How to Use and Hold a Karambit Knife: A Beginner's Guide | knife manual (2023)

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If you are new to using a karambit knife, it can seem very difficult to hold and use. So what is the right way? I've boiled it all down to the basics for beginners, so let's take a look at how you should hold and use a karambit knife.

There are three main handles on karambit knives: the forward handle, the reverse handle, and the extended handle. After practicing several holds, you can start learning transitions and attacking techniques with your karambit. You can use the transitions to switch grips, switch hands, or perform flashy tricks.

There is a lot to learn and how to use a karambit knife properly and safely, but once you take the time to learn the basics, the possibilities are almost limitless. From using your karambit in self-defense to showing off your skills in front of your friends, learning how to use a karambit is an extremely rewarding endeavor.

To ensure you start off on the right foot when learning how to use a karambit, let's take a look at basic knife handling techniques, transitions, and strikes. Learning these things gives you a solid foundation to build on and learn more advanced and flashy tricks and techniques. Let's get into that!


  • How to use a karambit knife?
  • How do you hold a karambit knife correctly?
    • Karambit knife handle forward
    • Reverse karambit knife handle
    • Extended karambit knife handle
    • Other karambit knife handles
  • Karambit Knife Transitions
    • rotating transitions
    • Change the first transitions
    • Changing hand transitions
  • Basic techniques of attacking with the karambit knife.
    • vertical punches
    • horizontal strokes
    • diagonal strokes
    • combo attacks
  • How to practice and learn a karambit knife

How to use a karambit knife?

How to Use and Hold a Karambit Knife: A Beginner's Guide | knife manual (1)

using aKarambito MesserIt's a very physically demanding skill that allows you to get up close and personal with your subject. A karambit's blade is relatively short, which means you can get very close to any object when using your blade.

For a full breakdown of what you can do with your karambit, click heremy article on the subject.

When using your karambit, everything you do can be broken down into three main categories: holds, transitions, and attacking techniques. There are some gray areas, like many karambit tricks, but generally everything you do with your knife is going to be one of three things.

Each element of using a karambit knife builds on the previous one, so take your time and get each aspect right before proceeding.

How do you hold a karambit knife correctly?

Properly holding your karambit is one of the most fundamental aspects of using a knife. So you have to learn and nail each hold to get it right later with transitions and attacking techniques. None of the karambit knife handles are particularly complicated, but you should feel comfortable with each and be able to pick up your knife in either handle.

Karambit knife handle forward

Also known as the standard grip, the Forward Karambit Knife Grip is one of the most practical and probably the one you will use the most. It's far from complicated and should be fairly easy to learn and practice. Below I give a step-by-step guide on how to shape the handle of the karambit knife forward:


Step 1:

First, turn your palm up and place the karambit grip in your hand with your spine against your thumb. The ring at the end of the handle should hang on the opposite side of your palm from your thumb.

Step 2:

Place your thumb against the spine of your knife near the spine of the blade. Wrap your remaining four fingers around the handle of the knife until you have a firm grip. Be careful not to touch any part of the blade with your hand; It must be placed out of your control and out of harm's way.

You should hold your karambit firmly with the blade down and your thumb against the spine of the knife (which is facing up) to keep it steady.

The front handle of the karambit knife is an excellent utility handle for everyday activities and tasks. It allows you to put a lot of power behind your blade as your thumb can push down and stabilize the knife. The forward grip offers a lot of control and power, but can be tricky to maneuver and prevents good reach.

Reverse karambit knife handle

Although less practical than the forward grip in everyday life, the back grip is quite useful for allowing situations. It is generally considered the "classic" handle of a karambit knife and is what most people think of when they mention a karambit knife. Let's see how to make the reverse karambit knife handle:

Step 1:

Slip your index finger through the hole in the end of your karambit's handle (or just place the handle in your hand if your knife doesn't have a ring). Let the handle of the knife hang in your palm.

Step 2:

Then place your thumb against the ring or handle of the knife. Wrap your remaining four fingers around the handle of the knife and hold it tight. Make sure the blade is completely under your wrist to ensure you don't cut yourself while holding it.

When holding your karambit in a correct inverted grip, the blade should face down with the edge of the blade facing out. Your hand should be firmly gripping the handle, with your thumb pressed against the end of the handle and your index finger through the ring (if your karambit has one).

The inverted karambit knife handle is an excellent tactical grip that allows for excellent maneuverability. Although it is a very firm and powerful grip, it does not allow very precise movements, which can be considered a negative point.

(Video) How to Use the KARAMBIT Knife! Karambit Basics

Extended karambit knife handle

The extended handle of the karambit knife is a slight variation of the inverted handle, but has completely different uses and properties. The spread grip is easy when taking a karambit from an inverted grip. Let's take a detailed look at how to shape the extended handle of the karambit knife:

Step 1:

Follow the steps above to sculpt an inverted karambit knife handle. In short, your index finger should go through the ring at the end of the handle and the blade should be pointing down and out.

Step 2:

From your downward facing position, rotate the blade of the knife 270 degrees toward your body until it is facing forward and resting on the back of your finger. Use your middle finger as a protrusion to steady the knife and keep it pointed outward. You can use your thumb to apply pressure to the tip of the knife to ensure it stays stable. The edge of the blade should face up.

If you perform the extended karambit grip correctly, the knife should be extended forward with the blade facing forward. The thumb, middle and index fingers should be used to hold the knife to ensure it stays in the correct position.

The Karambit's extended handle is far less practical than its predecessors, but it offers something the others don't have: reach. The splayed grip is great for a wide range of motion and reach, but lacks power, maneuverability, and control.

Other karambit knife handles

Above we discussed the three best karambit knife handles, but it's important to note that there are MUCH more than three. In fact, there are literally hundreds of different ways to hold a karambit knife.

However, most other karambit knife handles are either incredibly impractical or downright dangerous. The three handles above are the only ones a complete beginner should bother with, and they work beautifully for 99% of the tasks you need to do with a karambit knife. As you become more comfortable with your karambit, you can begin to explore other grip options such as: B. the grip of the praying mantis, and find out which you prefer.

But for most beginners, learning the three basic holds mentioned above is more than enough to lay a good foundation for transitions, striking techniques, and other ways of using your karambit knife.

Karambit Knife Transitions

How to Use and Hold a Karambit Knife: A Beginner's Guide | knife manual (2)

One of the unique advantages that karambit knives have over other blades is the ability to quickly change grip, direction and position.

Changing handles, hands, or doing cool tricks with traditional knives is a clumsy and time-consuming process. However, with just a few basic karambit knife transitions, these things can easily be accomplished with a karambit even for a beginner.

If you're just starting out with karambit knives, make sure you really know the basic holds before attempting any transitions. You should also start practicing with aKarambit knife trainer, which is a dull karambit knife that won't hurt you if you screw up your transition (if you're first learning this, it's inevitable).

(Video) Karambit Tactical Defense: How to use a knife to protect a sidearm

Let's take a look at some of the most basic and popular transitions you can make with your karambit knife.

rotating transitions

Many people are interested in karambit knives for the sole reason that they want to learn turn transitions. Curve transitions are very noticeable and easy on the eyes, but they also serve a purpose.

Spin transitions allow users to quickly change attack directions and hit locations on their target that would otherwise be very difficult to reach. Rotating transitions allow you to quickly change aspects of your knife work to better adapt to ever-changing situations.

On the other hand, swirl transitions look SUPER cool when done quickly, so that's always a plus! Be careful, especially at the beginning, because there are risks involved in turning a sharp blade.

Change the first transitions

You can also use transitions to switch between karambit knife handles. Some handles are more convenient to switch than others, but with enough practice and a little advance planning, you can easily switch knife handles in a jiffy.

A quick grip change can be very beneficial in many situations. Each karambit knife handle has its own pros and cons; So if you find yourself in a situation where you're holding the knife in an undesirable way, it's important to be able to quickly switch to a more appropriate grip.

Switching from an inverted grip to an extended grip or vice versa is a very common grip change that you can practice even as a beginner. Go slowly, and if possible, practice with a karambit first.

Changing hand transitions

It might seem like an unnecessary gimmick, but in some situations changing which hand has a knife can be really useful.

Especially when dealing with a self-defense situation, confusing your target by switching your knife hand can be very effective. Changing hand transitions just gives you the added ability to switch the side the punch is coming from if you need the ability.

To be honest, manual switch transitions aren't used much on a day-to-day basis, but if they come in handy, you'll be happy. Regular knives are quite awkward to change hands, but karambit knives have a unique design advantage that makes the transition smooth and quick once you've practiced the move.

Basic techniques of attacking with the karambit knife.

There are a lot of amazing karambit techniques out there, and they all have their uses. The following grappling techniques are commonly used in combat or self-defense situations, but you can also use your karambit to perform more mundane and useful tasks.

Be sure to check out my articleWays to use your karambit knifeif you want inspiration on how to use your blade.

Karambit knife blades are slightly curved, making them ideal for slicing and chopping rather than stabbing. For different striking techniques, you can use transitions to change your grip and position the blade correctly.

(Video) Learning Butterfly Knife Tricks with No Experience

Anyhow, let's dive into the different karambit knife attack techniques and see the different ways to use each one.

vertical punches

Vertical cuts are often impractical with traditionally shaped knives, but are relatively easy to make with a karambit. You can perform a vertical strike with virtually any karambit knife handle.

Simply put, vertical hits are (you guessed it!) when you hit your karambit in a vertical motion. Vertical ups and downs are pretty useful, but downs seem to be more popular and have a more practical effect of "eviscerating" your target.

horizontal strokes

Horizontal strikes are very useful and practical knife moves in a variety of situations. There are several different versions of horizontal swiping, including left-to-right swiping, right-to-left swiping, toward the center of the subject, followed by side horizontal swiping, and more.

Horizontal strikes are useful for quick attacks in combat or self-defense situations. Cutting taut rope or fabric can also be done effectively with a quick horizontal movement of the karambit knife.

diagonal strokes

Diagonal punches are very similar to vertical punches, and you'll often use them in similar ways and in similar situations. Positioning the karambit knife blade at the right angle for a diagonal cut can be challenging for a beginner, but is not that difficult with practice.

You can swipe by moving up or down and left to right or right to left. There are so many variations and endless possibilities.

combo attacks

A major advantage of karambit knives over traditional knives is the ability to change direction super quickly and easily. With a little practice, even beginners can cope very well with swing changes.

You can use this versatility to your advantage by combining and aligning striking techniques with grip changes or other transitions between movements. These swing direction changes can help in many situations and generally just give you more options.

How to practice and learn a karambit knife

How to Use and Hold a Karambit Knife: A Beginner's Guide | knife manual (3)

When learning how to use a karambit properly, the best thing you can do to ensure your safety, the speed of learning, and the safety of others is to acquire oneKarambit knife trainer🇧🇷 There are many options for trainers, but as long as the blade is not sharp, you should be good on your feet.

A training knife allows you to learn and make mistakes (which is a crucial part of the learning process) without worrying about hurting someone or yourself.

Once you have the right gear to learn how to use a karambit knife, the next step is practice. You can watch tons of videos, read about how to do it, and more, but practicing with your trainer is the only thing that will really make you better at handling a karambit.

As you progress and become more comfortable with your karambit training knife, you can begin to learn more advanced techniques and holds. Once you feel comfortable and proficient with a karambit knife, you can begin using a sharp or "live" karambit.

(Video) Karambit Fighting Basics - Beginner Techniques

If you're looking to get yourself a karambit, check out my recommendations below! If you plan on taking your knife with you a lot, I would recommend a folding karambit (CRKT Provoke and Spyderco Karahawk are great).

  • CRKT Provoke Karambit plegable
  • Cold Steel Double Agent-Serie Karambit
  • CRKT Du Hoc Karambit
  • Spyderco Karahawk Karambit plegable besonders


How are you supposed to hold a karambit? ›

How: Position your hand so it's palm-up and flat. Place the karambit on your palm with the spine facing your body, ring towards the left and the tip facing away from your body. Slide your pinky into the safety ring and close your fingers around the handle to secure the karambit in forward grip.

Are karambits easy to use? ›

Karambits can be utilized with or without gloves, and they're a great addition to most work kits. Few knives perform so many widely ranging tasks with ease as a karambit knife, making a karambit one of the prime choices for an every day carry.

What martial art uses the karambit? ›


It is now widely recognized as one of several traditional weapons commonly associated with silat, kuntao, and several other Southeast Asian martial arts, including Filipino kali and eskrima.

How old do you have to be to own a karambit? ›

By purchasing any item from, the buyer warrants that he is in compliance with all federal, local, and state laws and is legally able to purchase these items as a legal adult, 18 or over. Knives can be dangerous if improperly handled. Keep away from children.

Are karambits good for self-defense? ›

Ideal for Self-Defense

For an experienced owner, the Karambit gives considerable advantage over the opponent. In combat, compared to the classic knife, it is easier to control and provides more options for attack and escape. Thanks to its shape it is also safer.

What is the purpose of a karambit knife? ›

Karambit: From Utility to Combat

<Historically, the karambit was widely used as a utility blade during routine chores. It would have been considered the "every day carry" or EDC blade of ancient Southeast Asia. Even today, in remote Filipino and Indonesian regions, karambits crop up as the "pocket knife" of choice.

Is it legal to carry around a karambit? ›

Generally, yes. Karambits are regulated at the state level and while each state's laws can vary, most allow utility, work and functional blades that have a blade length of 3" or less or that are specifically designed for hunting or agricultural use.

Is a karambit good for stabbing? ›

Because of the unique shape of the blade, the karambit is actually a fairly poor stabbing weapon. However, it is designed for raking and tearing, just like the claw of a tiger. It can also be used effectively to slash someone's throat.

Are karambits lethal? ›


“The karambit is a deadly edged weapon—but it's not for everyone.” It's said the blade of the karambit was inspired by the tiger's claw. It can be long and quite hooked or short and slightly curved. The Bastinelli Knives Pika has the perfect dimensions to be a get-off-me secondary weapon.

Are karambits good for fighting? ›

A good fighting knife needs to be a good survival knife as well. This is where a karambit knife disappoints. They can cut, but aren't suited for heavy-duty tasks, such as spearing animals and other survival tasks. At times, you aren't just fighting the men, you are also fighting the environment for your survival.

Can kids use karambit knife? ›

Attention- The blade are Sharp do not let kids under 15 to play or use it.

What size hole is a karambit? ›

The finger hole is roughly 13/16's of an inch or 20.6375mm.

How heavy is a karambit? ›

Knife Weight: 3.83Oz, lightweight easy to carry. Stainless Steel Blade- Rustproof, wearable and sharp. Knife total length: 7.4" 19cm Blade Length: 3.3"(8,5cm).

Why do people like karambits? ›

Karambit Combat

There's no dueling and no dancing around. And that is where the design of the karambit shines. Its unique grip and claw-like blade enable you to use it with simple punching motions, and the finger ring permits you to grab an object or an opponent's limb while still holding the knife.

What are three methods for holding a knife? ›

Step 1: With your hand open, allow the knife to balance gently in the palm of your hand. Step 2: Place the lower three fingers of the hand you use to hold the knife around the handle with the middle finger on the bolster. Step 3: Use your thumb and index finger to clasp the blade on the left and right.

What are the 4 knife techniques? ›

The Four Basic Knife Cutting Techniques

Watch Chef Blake's video to learn the proper methods of dicing, mincing, julienne, and chiffonade.

Can you climb with a karambit? ›

The Karambit has the ability to latch onto walls and climb them, making this weapon a perfect tool to escape hordes. You can click and hold to perform this while facing a wall. Repeatedly letting go and holding will automatically climb up the wall for you.

Are blunt karambits legal? ›

Karambits are not illegal to own but are illegal to carry in public.

How much damage can a karambit do? ›

A quick slice to the carotid artery can cause death in less than a minute. If you are a trained fighter and have access to karambits, you can use their curved blade to rip the flesh off your attacker before he knows what happened.

What is the most illegal knife? ›

A ballistic knife is essentially a blade attached to a hollow handle that fits inside of another outer hollow handle, which contains a coil spring.

What is the deadliest knife fighting style? ›

Pencak Silat

It is one of the most effective and famous fighting systems, especially after the production of the movie 'The Raid 2'. It involves the use of different fighting styles and requires specific postures. Silat is one of the deadliest martial arts in the world.

Can a 10 year old get a knife? ›

Start with a butter knife, and move your way up. Then somewhere between 7 and 9 they might be ready to own their own knife. I really cannot emphasize enough that every child is different. Some may not be ready for unsupervised use until as late as 12, and sometimes even later than that.

Are knives ok for 11 year olds? ›

Many bad words are used (F-bombs, Jesus, etc), and there are two scenes that can be scary/shocking for younger children, such as when the body is revealed (blood) and when the Maid is found (scary), but they are very short and not emphasized. If your kids are OK with bad language, this is OK for tweens, so 10+.

Can a 14 year old have a pocket knife? ›

It is currently legal for a minor to carry a knife in California as long as that knife complies with other state laws. No part of the California Penal Code explicitly prohibits minors (persons under the age of 18) from carrying a knife. A fixed blade knife is a knife without a folding mechanism.

What is the ring on a karambit called? ›

Modern karambits typically have at least a few (but more often all) of the following parts: Safety Ring (Retention Ring) Back Blade.

Is a karambit a switchblade? ›

Treadlock Karambit OTF Knife OTB Out-The-Bottom Automatic Switchblade. Karambit + OTF Knife = YES Please! New dual action Automatic Out-The-Bottom knives (aka switchblade), built tough with a rugged tread pattern.

Is a karambit a good pocket knife? ›

Overall, the Snake Eye Tactical Everyday Carry Karambit Style Folding Pocket Knife is an excellent product that works very well. It is durable, reliable, and versatile, making it a great choice for anyone in need of a reliable everyday carry knife.

What is the best selling karambit? ›

CRKT – Provoke

Few knives have as much cool factor as the Provoke, which is why, by no small margin, it's the best-selling Karambit we carry! Weight: 6.10 oz.

Is there a proper way to hold a knife? ›

Rather than curling all your fingers around the handle, wrap only your pinky, index, and middle finger. Put your bent pointer finger on one side of the blade and your thumb on the opposite side, like you're pinching the blade between them.

What are karambit knives used for? ›

While it is primarily used in a slashing or hooking motion, karambit with a finger ring are also used in a punching motion hitting the opponent with the finger ring. Some karambit are designed to be used in a hammering motion. This flexibility of striking methods is what makes it useful in self-defense situations.

Which knife holding method gives you the most control? ›

The blade grip is the preferred grip for more experienced cooks. Your thumb and forefinger should rest in front of the bolster (the area where the metal flares out to meet the handle) directly on the blade. It's a little intimidating, but it offers much better control and balance.


1. The Real Way to Use a Knife in Self Defense
2. Quick Draw Karambit (from
3. Easy Karambit Combo Tutorial
4. DEADLIEST KARAMBIT EVER TESTED?! #shorts #selfdefense #martialarts #karambit #halloween #cod
(Tactical Tavern)
5. Karambit: how to hold, carry and use II
(Fight Vision - Muay Thai - Thai Boxing)
6. Beginners Guide to Pocket Knife Safety
(Coalcracker Bushcraft)


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