The design of such a knife is called the “butterfly knife” and has become one of the symbols of criminality, but historically, the Filipino balisong knife has a rich scope of a peaceful and quiet working application.
There are several versions of the emergence of a knife of this design, in particular, according to one of them – the traditions of the martial arts of Balintawak Escrima, the balisong knife was invented in the Philippines by fishermen around 800 AD. In the limited space on boats, when often it was necessary to use only one free hand to get a compact knife and open it – such a folding design made it possible to instantly bring it into combat condition. At the same time, when folded, the balisong knife was safe for the fisherman, even with strong pitching, since the blade was hidden. Such a knife is also actively used in some national Philippine martial styles “Kali” and “Pananandat,” which demonstrates the art of using melee weapons in close combat.
Balisong can often be found in films such as “The Big Trouble in Little China,” “The Mummy,” and “Without a Face.” Currently, France disputes the right to be called the birthplace of the balisong, since the French believe that the design of the knife was described in one of the most ancient books in French, and the knife itself came to the Philippines after the landing of Magellan in 1521. Despite this, the definition of the balisong “Filipino knife” was fixed forever.
“Is a butterfly knife a melee weapon or not?” – many edged weapon lovers ask. The emergence of such a question is to a large extent connected with the bloody history of balisong when in the 80-90s of the 20th century the Filipino butterfly knife was also adopted by many criminals. In fact, if you know the regulatory documents, everything is simple in the matter of compliance with the law – the butterfly knife is not a cold weapon, because he has a traumatic handle (no guard or limiter). This is not counting the remaining possible signs of Filipino knives matching, allowing them to be classified as household (for example, the blade length is less than 90 mm). That is why anyone can buy a butterfly knife and permission to carry it is not required.
On the other hand, it must be understood that the use of any knives in practice, even those that are not cold steel by law (including balisong), may fall under the criminal article on exceeding the limits of self-defense. Regarding knives with a blade greater than 90 mm, the answer will be the opposite. A large butterfly knife already falls under the definition of an inertial knife, in which the blade is automatically or under the force of accelerated movement removed from the handle and fixed (Section 6 of the Law on Weapons). Such knives are prohibited for circulation in many countries, regardless of other signs, and only a blade shorter than 9 cm can transfer a butterfly knife to the category of permitted ones.
It is worth saying that in many countries such as Philippine long-blade balisongs are also prohibited. The price of a butterfly knife ranges from 10 USD (for cheap artisan balisongs) to several thousand dollars (real Filipino knives) and depends on the quality of the steel of the blade, on the finish of the handle and the country of manufacture. You can buy a folding butterfly knife, including in the online store.