A butterfly knife, also known as a "butterfly" or "balisong", is a folding pocket knife, originating from the Philippines. A typical butterfly knife has two hinged blades that can be locked in place by pivoting one handle relative to the other. These knives have become popular for their maneuverability and their ability to quickly produce large cutting surfaces from relatively small handles.

They're so agile that they've become popular among juggling communities, and people who just want an easy-to-carry weapon to defend themselves with. While butterfly knives are primarily intended for defensive use, they are also used for many other types of tasks, including cutting cables, opening boxes, and the like. There are numerous designs of these cool knives, from simple button blades to elaborate folding mechanisms.

Although butterfly knives have been around for some time--they were likely invented by American soldiers in the 19th century--the rise in popularity of these pocket-sized weapons seems to have occurred only recently. Their rapid rise may have something to do with their ability to serve as a concealed blade, which resulted in them being popular with people who work in law enforcement or security jobs. The cool butterfly knife tricks make them popular:

1. Hold the Knife Correctly

First, grasp the knife with three fingers on one hand and your thumb and pointer finger on the other. With your forearm pointing forward, place the blade between your thumb and pointer.

2. Keep Your Thumb On Top

Next, point your thumbs so that they are facing opposite directions, keeping them in contact with each other so that no gap is created. This way you can control the knife better because you have a firm base for it to rest on.

3. Test The Knife 

Now run a finger of one hand across the blade of the knife to check if it's sharp enough to cut through skin; if not go sharpen it!

4. Hop Around

When you're confident that the knife is sharp, hop around in front of your friends and pretend the knife is a butterfly.

5. Flip the Knife

When you're feeling confident, flip the knife up in the air by extending your arm.

6. Spin The Knife

Now, if you are really good at this, spin it around in a circle so that a child can follow it with one eye and produce a miraculous double blindfold!

7. Balance The Knife

Put your pointer around the blade of the knife and extend both arms out to either side so that they are parallel to each other; now hold both hands out in front of you with fingertips touching. This butterfly knife trick is so cool to play.

8. Poke the Knife

Hold the knife in your hand and extend one arm straight out with your elbow bent. With the knife held vertically, slowly lower it towards the outside of your arm until you hear it 'tap' against your skin.

9. Poke Your Way Out 

First, find a wall that is around 10 to 15 feet away from you. Then, lean back into a wall with one foot touching it (you should not be leaning on the wall). Place the blade between your thumb and pointer finger of one hand as mentioned before. Now, poke the knife out straight from your hand and make sure it is completely straight.

10. Pull It Back

Slowly push down while placing your other hand on the outside of your leg; a good distance to aim for is around five inches. Look at the wall ahead of you as you continue to push down; if you do this correctly, then your elbow should be bent backward and touching the wall. If it isn't, start over by relaxing your arm until it does!

11. Switch Your Hands

After getting your arm in place, switch hands so that the other arm (the one without a knife) is holding onto the wall and so that it can support a portion of body weight.

12. Bend Your Elbow

Now bend your elbow and turn it away from you as you lean backwards into the wall.

13. Lean Back

As you lean back, raise your knee as close to your chest as possible so that its height matches the height of your bent elbow.

14. Stretch Out

Next, keep your knee in place and stretch your other leg out straight so that it is perpendicular to the support wall. You should be leaning on the wall with one side of your body while keeping something at least twenty inches off of the ground!

15. Flip the Knife

While your body is in this position, flip the knife over in your hand so that a child can follow it with one eye and produce a miraculous double blindfold!

Pros and Cons of Butterfly Knives

Butterfly knives are the quintessential novelty weapon. You can find them in the homes of collectors and in gritty urban settings alike. They are not a necessary tool for any profession, but they have their uses anecdotally and as props. Here, we will outline the advantages and disadvantages of butterfly knife tricks to give you a better idea of whether you should invest in one yourself or purchase one as a gift for someone else.

  • Advantages

The butterfly knife is an object of utility. It has many uses, some legitimate and some not so much. While obviously not optimal for their given task, the butterfly knife is a very good tool for these types of jobs nonetheless.

One of my favorite uses for my butterfly knives is to create new cutting edges. I use the sharpened upper blade edge and the sharpened lower blade edge as a makeshift file to refine edges on old knives. The sharpened tail serves as a punch; I use it to flatten the top portion of new blades in order to support tip-up carry. They make excellent tools for modifying other cool knives, both pocket knives and fixed blades.

While I am sure these are not the intended uses for butterfly knives, I find them invaluable. If you have a knife that is too dull to perform basic tasks with, the upper and lower blade edges of a butterfly knife can help you out. They do not create an extremely sharp edge, but they allow you to correct certain problems with your blades. I do not recommend trying this on your more expensive knives from reputable makers; rather, use the butterfly for your old workhorse blades that can't get any sharps anymore.

Butterfly knife tricks are also perfect for seam carving. A seam carve is simply cutting into wood or plastic without using scoring tools like rasps or sandpaper.

  • Drawbacks

The butterfly knife is a novelty weapon, and as such it suffers from most of the disadvantages that come with this. For instance, butterfly knives are not very strong. They can be bent fairly easily if they are not made correctly, and even if they are there is still a good chance that one side will break off at some point. I have had to do this on my Derelinator several times. 

In addition to the fact that butterfly knives are novelty weapons (which means that they have their ups and downs), there are also many legal restrictions surrounding their use in public. Most butterfly knives are illegal to own in two-thirds of the states in America. If they are legal where you live, the laws can be very restrictive; if you carry a butterfly knife, remember that you may be breaking the law.

In addition to these factors, there is also an element of danger associated with using any weapon. Treat your butterfly knife as if it were explosive; a simple slip-up could result in your hand being severed, or worse, someone else's hand being severed.

As we have seen, the utility and legality of butterfly knife tricks vary depending on where you live and whether or not they are outfitted with a locking mechanism (most butterfly knives rely on friction to stay closed).