show or go?


I like to play around with the Balisong as a “thumb twiddling” exercise. I don’t own a sharp one, I don’t carry one on me and to be blunt I think that they are more valuable as a manual dexterity developer than they are as weapons. However, as I was sitting on the couch manipulating one it dawned on me that an analogy for martial/tactical training could be found within so I recorded a few opening/closing techniques.

The beginning of the video shows all you really need to learn to actually USE the Balisong. How to OPEN and CLOSE the knife. There are other basic techniques for reverse grip openings but these are the big two.

The end of the video shows some “fancy” openings; which while fun and if done right can be impressive to watch, are really just examples of “juggling” in my opinion. The risk of fumbling, dropping or otherwise screwing up are just too great to really consider them for actual combative applications. So why do people do them?

Well, I suppose that for very skilled manipulators the “psychological” factor could come into play…scare your opponent with your display of prowess. I also suppose you could argue that these sort of openings could be used as “oh shit” recoveries from a fumbled opening. You loose your grip and manage to catch it between fingers so the twirl could be a recovery. But IMO what I think they really are is an evolution of  “martial display” that at one time had roots in real combative applications but are now simply displays of skill that have become void of everything except “flash”.

The comparison of these knife openings, basic to “flashy” brought these two videos to mind:

Compare that to this:

While none of these men have likely ever used a Katana in an actual swordfight, I believe that one example is FAR closer to showing a realistic application of the tool versus the other…you?

And I don’t think this analogy ends with the use of bladed weapons. If you think about it, how many examples of “fantasy gunplay” have you seen floating around? I can recall a few examples I have posted here recently. How about some of the martial arts systems being taught out there? While I don’t claim to be an expert in all things martial, I do think that it’s possible to SEE the difference between SHOW and GO if you are willing to look, and are able to separate reality from fantasy.

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4 thoughts on “show or go?”

  1. I completely agree with you. Even though these moves are pure skill, it does not necessarily apply to real life situations. It is not practical unless you want to scare the crap out of someone buy a good show. Great for dexterity but lousy for a practical application.

  2. I think the Balisong is made largely redundant by folders which open with one hand.

    When I was young and stupid, I carried one because of the reverse grip opening. Since I always figured that if I was in a knife fight, I’d use a reverse grip, I carried one.

    Yes, I was a wanker.

  3. All warfare is based on deception.

    A professional will stand still and hold the weapon at a sort of low ready in order to prevent the opponent from seeing whether or not they are competent with the weapon.

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