If you’re like us, you’ve probably seen butterfly knives (also called balisongs) handled by professionals with otherworldly fluidity and wondered how they do that without losing a finger. The answer? Lots and lots of practice. That’s where a training butterfly knife comes in!
What is a training butterfly knife?
A training butterfly knife, or a butterfly knife trainer, is a knife with two rotating handles that flip and open just like a normal butterfly knife but has an unsharpened blade for safety. This widens the margin of error so that you don’t nick your hands (or worse) if you mess up a trick!
A practice butterfly knife often has a skeletonized blade to cut down on weight, so even though it’s unsharpened, your trainer can still mimic the balance and weight of a real knife. This makes butterfly trainer knives excellent starter tools to enter the world of balisong!
Are butterfly knife trainers illegal?
No! Since butterfly trainer knives have dull blades that cannot be sharpened, they do not classify as a knife, making them legal in all 50 states within the U.S. However, legality may vary internationally. If in doubt, consult a legal expert before purchasing a butterfly trainer. We are knife people, not lawyers!
How to practice with a butterfly knife
Where to begin?
The first step to practicing with a butterfly knife is getting down to the Butterfly Knife Basics. The bite handle, reasonably named after the fact that if held when closing the blade it would most certainly ‘bite’ your fingers, is the handle that houses the blade when the knife is closed, while the safe handle is the other one! The second step is to practice every new skill slowly. Patience is the difference between a balisong flipper with good form and a balisong flipper with constantly-bruised knuckles!
Easy butterfly knife tricks
The Flick: This is the foundation to opening and closing your balisong trainer! Perform the Flick Opening by holding your closed butterfly trainer with the bite handle away from you. Flick your wrist to deploy the blade and spin the safe handle so the bite handle and back of the blade meet the back of your hand. Flick once more so that the two handles meet with the blade in the open position. This is a great way to knock out a new butterfly closing trick, too! Just reverse the movements and you’ve got the Flick Closing!
The Fan: The Fan is a super simple and safe trick, but can be incorporated into any routine to add some excitement! Just hold the safe handle and let the bite handle and blade hang freely. With a light grip on the safe handle, move your wrist in a circular motion to allow the bite handle and blade to spin like a fan.
The Aerial: This is a leap–literally–from the Flick Opening, but can quickly up the cool factor of any trick. Begin by holding the bite handle and aiming the safe handle away from you and toward the ground. With an upward flick, drop the bite handle and let the knife rotate in the air. After a full rotation, catch both of the handles, and you’ve got an open butterfly knife!
What are the best practice butterfly knives?
Here are some of our top picks for butterfly knife trainers!
Perfectly balanced and made with the same quality materials as the Kershaw Lucha, this knife trainer is a balisong community favorite! The only drawback is the price tag, but Kershaw makes up for it with high-end construction.
Boker harnessed their centuries of experience in knife design to bring you the Boker Paillon, an intermediate trainer at an excellent price point. Well-balanced and lightweight, the Papillon is a worthy, affordable alternative to the Lucha.
At nine inches in length, this Bear & Son Butterfly Knife Trainer is perfect for those looking for a larger model. The black epoxy coating and 440 stainless steel make this a durable knife trainer and an awesome value!
For smaller hands or for those who prefer a more compact package, this Boker Mini Balisong Trainer is a perfect choice! This model includes a latch and G-10 handle scales for durability and portability.
What could be cooler than showing off your balisong tricks and popping bottles at a backyard barbecue? This bottle opener is the ultimate party tool, and is still fully functional as a butterfly trainer to help you nail your tricks!