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Karambit fundamental grips

karambit's fundamental grips

Karambit’s3st 1 key grips!

Before I tell you about the three fundamental sockets in the use of Karambit I want to make a little premise about the qualities and differences of a Karambit Vs. Knife.

  • The Karambit is faster to extract than a traditional knife. There are models of Karambit folder (with lockable blade). Some are equipped with a hooking system to allow pulling the ring to “engage” with the pants and extract the karambit already open, otherwise they are too slow to open and for this they are not suitable for use by personal defense.
  • The curved shape of the blade allows to have a superior penetration capacity in cutting actions, several tests have been done on tactical gels that have highlighted this.
  • The ergonomic particulate matter and the ring make disarmamentmore difficult,a very important aspect.
  • Ability to take on an “extended” grip that allows you to vary the range of the blade without moving the arm or body but taking advantage of the forward projection of the blade by holding the Karambit from the ring. It means earning important centimeters that can make a difference.


The hypnotism of karambit on the move

Watching a qualified karambit expert at work is similar to watching a hypnotic movement, the blade tends, the circles form and the tips glitter in a way that paralyzes.

It’s something that leaves you breathtaking, you’re fascinated and hard to watch from afar, you want to know more.

Part of the fascination comes from the movements of the user itself, but a part flows directly into the intricate movement of karambit.

Due to the karambit’s unique design, a karambit expert can vary the grip on the blade and flow freely from one location to another depending on the required functionality.

While it’s easy for inexperienced people to find the various karambit positions, grips, and transitions as “tricks” or “useless” useless, in fact, the true potential of karambit as a combat knife cannot be exploited without knowledge and understanding of the additional options and features that are inherent in karambit design.

No other knife in the world offers the flexibility of a karambit.

With a straight blade, there are two ways to hold it: forward (or sak sak) and in the socket (or pikal) more naturally variants with finger positions, but I consider two because the sockets must be safe.

The 3+1 basic karambit sockets

On the contrary, when it comes to a karambit, there are three common choices of grip, variants of each and outlet of available specialties.

That’s also why it’s important to know the karambit’s fundamental grips.

These qualities make this knife really effective in combat.

There are essentially three basic outlets with karambit, which is important that you know.

Each karambit grip has optimal use and each offers different degrees of grip, range, maneuverability, power and effectiveness for various applications.

When considering how to hold a karambit, carefully consider what you are using and what traits are needed by your blade, so the choice of karambit must be based on personal technical requirements and combat strategies.

Consider, for example, that some Karambits do not have the outer blade wire, or balances that require adaptation and conditioning.


The three fundamental grips of the Karambit with ring:

  • (traditional outlet),
  • in the gripped little finger (instinctive grip),
  • and in the open index (extended outlet).

Fundamental Karambit grips with traditional grip or reverse grip

Karambit fundamental grips

By sticking the index finger in the ring and then the blade is stretched down into the lower portion of the fist and you have made the traditional grip of the karambit.

This handle allows you to inflict ascending cuts on the lower portion of the opponent’s body (genitals, femoral etc … etc…) so dear to Silat.

It is a very strong grip and allows you to make cutting trajectories from every direction and stocked tip.

This grip especially with today’s very small karambits is also preferred for the fact that you can hide the blade with the clenched fist to the last.

The reverse grip is the most commonly used, proven and widely recognized karambit grip.

Most karambit users rely on this outlet in most applications.

The reverse grip is best used in the tactical and combative applications of karambit.

The right hand is placed so that it is palm and flat.

Place the karambit on the palm with the spine facing the body, ring to the right and the tip facing the body.

Slide your index finger into the safety ring and close your fingers around the handle to fasten the karambit in a reverse grip.

Variant: Keep the karambit in the same orientation, but vary the position of the finger placed in the safety ring to get more range, consider that the smaller fingers you have on the handle give less stability and power.

The strengths of this grip are:

  • stability,
  • lever
  • maneuverability,
  • power
  • control.

The weaknesses of this sono_

  • precision and
  • the distance from the target.

Other names of this outlet are Pikal, P’kal, Combat Grip, Tactical Grip, Quick Shooting Grip, Karambit’s Regular Grip, Retrograde Grip


Karambit’s fundamental grips with extended grip

Karambit fundamental grips

From the traditional grip from this grip with a simple movement of the wrist you can switch to an extendedgrip.

The karambit allows you to gain vital distance (depending on the model of karambit) instantly and “without moving” the body or arm but taking advantage of the forward projection of the blade by holding the Karambit from the ring.

attention!! This outlet cannot be used for stocking techniques, but only to inflict by exploiting the karambit rotation of surprise cut shots or to “hook” portions of the opponent’s body, a technique often used by experts.

The extended handle is the result of sliding a karambit held upright counterclockwise, so that the blade crosses the back of the user’s hand with the ring still fixed on the index finger.

An unusual grip but one that exists.

It is a handle that is rarely used as it has many limitations but is instead something that I use a lot, it is very useful in combat when greater range is required or to take advantage of the application from top to bottom of the force.

During applications it can be used to go from bottom to top to hook and tear, so a condition that requires you to get from below to a target.

With your karambit held in a reverse grip, rotate the blade towards the attacker’s body, clockwise above the index finger until it naturally stops against the outside of your fingers, hit with the tip of the blade.

Variations: Allow the blade to extend through the fingers with one or two wrapped fingers to tighten around the ring to provide greater stability.

The strengths of this grip are:

  • distance
  • maneuverability,
  • lever.

The weaknesses of this outlet are:

  • precision
  • control
  • stability
  • power.

Other names: extended grip, up grip


Karambit’s fundamental grips with positive grip or “Instinctive” grip
Karambit fundamental grips

The way to hold the karambit with the little finger tucked inside the ring and the blade protruding from vertically on the palm is called Positive Grip or “Instinct”.

Instinctive because when the karambit is held in this way it is like any other knife, and the techniques are those on angle 1 and 2 of cutting (slash), and also effective guntingtechniques.

The karambit so manipulated is totally misresturated of its traditional concept of use, but it is perfect for those who do not have to waste time and defend themselves quickly and decisively, without drawing too much on the heritage of typical karambit techniques.

The forward grip is the second most common karambit grip.

Forward grip is best used for household chores, daily use, utilitarian function and activities that require exceptional control and precision, hence an unused grip in combat

Place your hand so that it is palm up and flat.

Place the karambit on the palm with your spine facing your body, turning left and pointing up and out of your body.

Slide your index finger into the safety ring and close your fingers around the handle to fasten the karambit in a forward grip.

Variations: Instead of closing your thumb in a fist, place it on the karambit’s rear brake for greater stability and the ability to make precise cuts.

Move the grip on the karambit so that it can be used during operations that require extremely precise motion control.

The strengths of this grip are:

  • precision,
  • control
  • stability
  • lever.

The weaknesses of this outlet are:

  • maneuverability,
  • power
  • distance (but it depends on the size of the karambit).

Other names: Standard Grip, Sak Sak, Utility Grip, Work Grip


Now I want to show you a 4 fundamental handle of karambit, mantis grip (mantis grip or Reaper grip)

Karambit fundamental grips Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport

Similar to the reverse grip, but the blade is oriented with the tip towards you rather than outside.

A karambit held in a mantis grip provides an additional lever for pulling and hooking movements to the attacker’s body and can be especially useful in extremely close combat of close combat.

I don’t recommend it!!

I understand and agree with the idea of being able to give more strength when it is shot and tears towards me but with the angles that can be created when I tear this grip could be dangerous because the tip so many to go near your wrist.

Study and apply this grip with caution with a training karambit and only after much practice with a training blade.

While as you’ve seen there are only 3 common ways to hold a karambit, there are several less frequent ways of seeing hold the karambit.

Don’t be surprised if you see unique or unknown ways of holding a karambit, especially if you study martial arts.

There are many regional and karambit grip-specific variants, some of which are kept secret.

As long as a karambit outlet is safe for you and provides functional use, it’s not “wrong.”

The only “wrong” way to hold a karambit is the dangerous way for the knife-wielding man.

If you discover an outlet I don’t know, I ask you the courtesy to contact me and let me know, I’d like to see it!

Seeing a qualified karambit expert at work is hypnotic, the blade “tends”, the circles that draws the karambit and the glitter of the tip paralyze you and are breathtaking, fascinate you and it is difficult not to get intrigued and stay away.

Part of the fascination comes from the movements of the expert himself, but a part flows directly from the intricate motion of karambit.

Due to the unique design of the karambit in the hands of an expert that can vary the grip on the blade and flow freely from one position to another depending on the required functionality makes this continuous and constant flow incredible.

While it is easy for inexperienced people to trivialize and denigrate the various karambit positions, grips and transitions as “tricks” or “useless”, in fact, the true potential of karambit as a combat knife cannot be exploited without knowledge and understanding of the additional options and features that are inherent in karambit design.

No other knife in the world offers the flexibility of a karambit.

With a straight blade, there are two ways to hold it: forward (or sak sak/hammer) and in the grip (or pikal – Ice Peak) while with a karambit, there are three common gripping choices, variations for each and grip of style specialties at your disposal.

Ps. With the knife there are many variants of grip but personally I consider these two to be really effective and safe, the others exist and need to be studied, but they are functional to certain types of knife, you can not use them with any blade.

Try testing some sockets and you doubt it (be careful if you do the tests because you risk the blade slipping or getting the knife with the risk of injuring you)


Transitions with karambit’s fundamental grips

Part of a karambit’s advantage is the ability to vary grips and achieve goals a straight blade can’t do without the holder significantly changing its position.

For example, placing a straight-bladed knife in the back of “something” directly standing in front of the attacker requires moving the orientation from the front to the side or back “of the object” so that the knife can be inserted into the target.

On the contrary, you can stand in front of an “object” and with a simple click of the wrist, bring the tip of the karambit first to the back of the target and then tearing the karambit go deep.

Many people who do not know the use of karambit use karambit transitions, extensions and movement in use as superfluous, useless and as if to do choreography but actually refuse to recognize the advantages of karambit transitions limiting themselves to the functions available from a static blade but so it makes no sense to use a karambit.

The general rule in transitions

There are many transitions available and many variations that you have to study and train but as a general rule whenever a karambit is moving in your hand with the express purpose of going from point A to point B without your hand or body moving, even so going from point A to B, a karambit is passing.

What I want to make you understand that karambit can make transactions even if you’re standing still by exploiting rotations, spinning and directing the tip to the target, that’s why you need to learn control in transitions and spinning both in the hourly and anti-hourly direction.

All karambit transitions should be learned, demonstrated and practiced with a training karambit.

If the training blade “accidentally” comes in contact with your hand, wrist or forearm at any time during transitions, you are not ready to practice with a live karambit.



The rotation of Karambit is dangerous, flashy and useless without training, practice and understanding of the application of this technique.

If you start using karambit don’t spin until you’re intimately familiar with your blade, its balance, the way it moves in your hand in the various sockets and moving.

Karambit is very dangerous in need of training with qualified people.

The risk if you don’t know the correct positions of your body, the rotation controls and karambit trajectories is that the tip “falls” on your forearm injuring you.

Look at the photo!!

I did it on purpose to give you an idea of what can happen if you’re not capable!!

Karambit fundamental grips

For an advanced karambit practitioner, spinning should always be practiced with a training karambit until you have developed the hand and forearm muscles to reliably move the training karambit with precision and control.

Being able to maintain control of the karambit throughout the round in any direction (horizontal, vertical, back and forth) is vital and crucial to perform this transition without injury.

When you learn to “turn,” you’re not only fighting with gravity to rotate it, but you’re also discovering the truths about balance, weight, momentum, and hand/forearm conditioning.

Many people do not use the smallest muscles in their hands and it takes time to build them.

The spinning technique is used in combat to gain greater distance and achieve goals not reachable from the distance where you are now and to allow devastating applications of tearing lever taking advantage of the shape of the tiger claw blade.

Round-trip spinning is the movement that leads from the standard position of the karambit to the extended position and its recovery.

It is the classic movement that exploits the outer thread of the karambit blade.

Look at the parts that make up the karambit.

For example, you can rotate a karambit in the trunk of an attacker and then simply pull the blade into the extended socket and “tear”, because of the drawing of the blade so many to slip deep, in addition the rotational extension of the karambit allows you to reach from a distance that your attacker evaluated out target, but that instead with spinning was at a distance of cutting shot.

The karambit fight strikes with a type of blows that straight blades cannot replicate precisely because of its shape and ergonomic position in the hand.

As you saw at the beginning there are many advantages to using a karambit in combat or tactical situations, the ability to reach targets due to the blade curve and the ability to move the knife without lowering it are two of the most significant benefits.


Change of hands with the karambit’s key grips

“But you can’t pass a karambit in your hands” is an objection often said by those who they do not know this ancient Southeast Asian knife but not only can you pass between one hand and the other a karambit, it is a much safer process than that of changing hand performed with a straight blade.

The sequence is not very complicated but need exercise, my advice is to run it at the beginning with a training karambit and then once you get the confidence with a real karambit, if you do not have a training karambit, line the tip with a rubber and tape.


Some considerations on the fundamental grips of the Karambit

Each karambit grip method offers unique advantages and there are pros and cons for each type of grip.

Explore the various options and familiarize with the karambit’s key grips.

Train consistently.

Not only do you have to practice the various fundamental grips of karambit and transitions with your karambit, but you also need to check it to ensure proper grip and positioning when performing shots.

You may not always have time to adjust or realign your blade, especially if you’re using your karambit in combat or in a very stressful situation.

Discover the various transport options available for karambits with fastening and extraction systems and once you’ve found one that works for you, train yourself to extract your karambit efficiently with a safe grip from the start, to perform a fast and effective extraction that ends with your karambit knife in the right position for safe and immediate use.

Karambit fundamental grips Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport

Always respect your karambit, especially when it’s on the go.

It is exceptionally sharp and possesses a powerful and unparalleled ability to cause devastating damage.

Never forget your karambit around, if you have no awareness of your karambit you have not understood its enormous ancestral power.

It can damage or cut anything the blade can achieve, those who fail to respect space and ignore or underestimate its ability are making a serious mistake.

Give your training partners the same respect you have for you because karambit training needs realism concentration and attention, because your performance in training and your practice reflects your way in combat.

If you are sloppy and rough with your training partners, you will be overwhelmed with a living blade.

Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport


Written by Andrea

Instructor and enthusiast of Self Defence and Fight Sport.

# Boxing / Muay Thai / Brazilian Jiu Jitsu / Grappling / CSW / MMA / Method & Training.
# Self Defence / FMA / Dirty Boxing / Silat / Jeet Kune Do & Kali / Fencing Knife / Stick Fighting / Weapons / Firearms / Strategy.

Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport!

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Other: Engineer / Professional Blogger / Bass Player / Knifemaker

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Karambit, New1 Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport

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