How To Use A Butterfly Knife – Cool Tips And Tricks

The butterfly knife is a small foldable knife that can be well hidden inside a pocket, and that is exactly what matters to some people, as it can become a viable weapon if handled properly. We cannot emphasize enough how dangerous knives can be in general, and the butterfly knife is no exception. It is very easy to misuse it, and hurt yourself or others. When used properly, it can become a great self-defense tool. But, for those with malicious intent, it can be a very dangerous weapon. That can be also be part of what makes this knife so intriguing and fun to learn how to use, though.

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People also call the butterfly knife a Balisong, which to us sounds quite cool, so we may refer to it with that name every now and then. The Balisong is often banned, illegal to use or even to own in some countries. It does have a history of being relatively easy to conceal, and due its deadliness, that has led to a lot of murders, and even self-harm incidents.

The more popular and wider accepted use of these knives is for cool tricks that you can learn how to do. Learning to them can be an interesting thing to do for every knife enthusiast, or simply a fun hobby. But, which are the tips and tricks you can do or at least attempt to, and where do you even start?

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The Anatomy Of A Butterfly Knife

There are two handles on the blade which, when folded, make the Balisong completely safe to handle. Here’s where the trick lies, though – people often flip the knife so it opens and closes as they switch the handle in their hand, there are many of them, we will cover a few. Following are the properties of the Balisong and short description of what they are or what they can do, just keep in mind, learning proper handling and use of the Balisong alongside your imagination can lead you to coming up with your own tricks.

Butterfly Knife Parts

  • Edge: like on any other blade, this is the ‘cutting’ part of the knife and should be handled with care since it would be very easy to dull your blade. Plenty Balisongs have a swenge on the spine of the blade, the lines above the blade that are purely cosmetic, and just give off the appearance of a sharp edge. One additional feature on some Balisongs is a kicker, at the base of the blade that prevents the bite handle from physically slamming against the blade, refraining from damaging it once you start showing off your skills.
  • Pivots: although there are many different pivoting mechanisms out there the basics are still the same and that is the connection between the tang of the blade and the two handles since there are two pivots. Like the hinge on the door, it ensures the Balisongs action is smooth.
  • Tang Pin: many knives have a pin on the tang of the blade between the handles. It is there to stop the handles from touching, there are two of them for the Balisong, the zen pins and the tang pins.
  • Bite Handle: This is the handle that comes in between you and the blade, be careful not to cut yourself when closing the knife while holding this one.
  • Safe Handle: The one opposite of the bite handle, pretty self-explanatory.
  • Latch: is the part of the Balisong which keeps it closed. Usually, well-made knives have a pin or a string to prevent the latch that will not get in your way while handling the Balisong.

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Butterfly Knife Trick List

Flick Opening – Easily one of the better known and yet an easy trick to learn. If you are a Balisong lover, you should attempt to learn it. To perform this trick, flick the wrist in an attempt of sending the bite handle (facing the blade) away. At the same time, see how the safe handle spins. Meanwhile, keep the backside and the bite handle placed behind your hand. Continue on flicking your wrist, as this will place the bite handle in front of your hand and opens the knife.

Flick Closing – If the above trick was going clockwise, this one is going counterclockwise. Begin the trick by opening up the knife. Always be sure the bite handle is flicked up. Make sure that your palm is wide open. The two parts will align back to close the knife.

Aerial Tricks – Since there are a lot of different flavors of the aerial trick we will recommend the Y2K one, like any other aerial trick it takes a lot of experience, confidence and practice before you can master it. And as such, many professionals suggest using fake knives before starting off with this one.

If you want to check some of our other related articles have a look at flipper knives under $50 or our review about Elk Ridge knives.

How to Take Care Of Your Butterfly Knife

Here are some of the most important things you should do to ensure the long life of your favorite tool – the butterfly knife.

Give it some attention

Occasionally give your Balisong a good look, closer inspection of the blade or even test if it can cut easily, check the pivots for loose pins, tighten them up if they begin to wiggle.

Wash it

Don’t be afraid to sometimes rub some alcohol or steel cleanser, or even plain soap and water if its skin is sensitive. Q-tips or a toothbrush can help to get the grit out of tight spaces. Ensure to dry it well to avoid rust and consider rubbing it with oil.


It is not that often for pivots to start getting jammed slightly, to keep the joints supple and friction free, lubricate them. That way the Balisong will move like it is brand new.


These are some of the things that will help you get to know your brand new toy, as they’ll help you get better at using and understanding how it works too.

For more related content have a look at how to sharpen a pocket knife correctly or our guide about the best knife makers in the world In 2020.

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