Thursday, July 26, 2007
People who have read my techno-thriller and science fiction books know I'm a fan of the the SE Asian knife design called kerambit. (Spelled different ways, and also called other things in Malay: Korambit, kerampit, karambit, and so on.)
Used to be, you couldn't find them for love nor money in the U.S., but they've gotten more popular, and there are more folks making them. There are several commercial folders, and some custom knifemakers doing fixed-blade versions.
A few: Mushtaq & Chuck, Stephen Renico, Shiva Ki.
I have a small collection of these knives. The ones pictured above are by Shiva Ki, based on a design I did in conjunction with Steve Rollert. The leather is by Chas Clements, designed to hold the pair together, and includes a belt loop -- hard to see on the picture -- for carry on the left side.
They are small, the cutting edge under two inches. These are 250 layers of laminated damascus, and legal to carry where sheathed knives are allowed. The traditional Indonesian models tend to be larger and sharp on both concave and convex edges (these are sharped only on the inner curve). Lot of places frown on daggers, which is usually read as double-edged. They are slashers and hooks rather than stabbers.
In our version of pentjak silat, any of the djurus you can do barehanded, you can also do with a pair of these in-hand with no or very small alterations of the forms, which pretty much shows that the art is knife-based and not, as some wags would have it, a monkey-like mud-throwing style ...