It is known that Karambit attacks are very dangerous and lethal. Is there a way to protect yourself with free hands and with stick from Karambit attack? Videos and pictures will be appreciated. Karambit is totally different from regular knife from many perspectives: visual, functional and attacking way. Please give specific solution to Karambit attacks.

  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Martial Arts Technique Against Knife Attack
    – mattm
    Sep 13, 2016 at 17:42
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    Are you asking about how to defend against a trained martial artist who knows how to use a karambit? If so, you need to seek training in a martial art that deals with the karambit. There are too many variables for us to give you a reasonable answer This video should give you an idea of the complexity of the question you're asking. Sep 13, 2016 at 18:41

3 Answers 3


My background is penjak silat, which uses a lot of kerambit. Yes, they're good combat knives...however, the way you're framing this makes them sound like magic super knives, which they are not. Right now they're trendy with the macho tactical crowd, which means they get painted as The Most Dangerous Weapon (TM) just like every other fad does eventually. The advice around dealing with kerambit is 90% the same as dealing with other short knives.

Here's a great short video describing the fact that kerambit are effective primarily based on your ability to trap and enter to the kerambit clinch range.

Avoid the Rush

Knives do their most damage up close, to the body or neck. Knife assaults go for surprise, or at least to rush in close. So the first thing is to avoid the rush - if you can, interpose anything between you and the attacker - a parked car, a mailbox, a light post, etc. This won't buy a lot of time, but it may buy you a few moments, and it means they can't come STRAIGHT at you with momentum.

If you have a reach weapon, use it

If you have a stick (or other makeshift weapon with some range) use it to keep that range. Few people can wade through a full on, committed hit with something that has some power and weight to it. You'll want to have some training in this kind of stuff, because if the tool has low recovery time ("I'm using a chair I picked up") you are open to being rushed if you miss.

Knife assaults are very much about using the free hand to grab and pull someone into a blade or keeping them positioned to do your work - so if you end up hitting or breaking their free arm, that's still a big advantage.

Destroy or control the weapon arm

Here's where things get different, a only a little. Kerambits have a retaining ring, which means slap and strip disarms do not work.

In my style, we aim to destroy the bones in the hand or fingers so someone physically CANNOT hold it properly or use it anymore. This may be controlling the arm and firing an elbow or knee into their hand or fingers... or slamming their hand and arm into the ground, or a wall, or around a light post to break their arm.

However, if you can get control of the weapon arm, pretty much anything else that might serve as a fight ender also counts as legit targets - eye gouges, driving the blade into their own body (inside thighs for kerambit), etc.


A karambit isn't inherently any more dangerous than any other knife of a similar size. The biggest practical deference when defending against someone wielding a karambit (versus more traditionally hilted knives) is the ring. The ring will make the karambit somewhat more difficult to disarm than a knife without such a retention device.

Generally speaking, when unarmed (and forced into a physical confrontation) and being attacked with a knife, you are in a very bad position. A knife is a force multiplier, and the unarmed defender is going to get injured as a matter of course (statistical outliers excepted). With this understood, the defender's primary goal must be to remove or control the knife. The ring element of a karambit makes it more difficult to disarm, but it also makes it more difficult to quickly transfer the weapon from one hand to the other. This means that techniques which control or disable the limb the attacker is wielding the knife with are more likely to be effective than they would if a more conventional knife was used.

The same technical factors also apply for stick techniques versus a karambit. The karambit will be harder to drop, but the wielding hand still isn't very protected. Attacking the hand directly will be less effective with the ring in place, but multiple fractures can still make that hand unusable. A stick will also most likely have a reach advantage over the karambit, and the stick wielding defender would do well to use such an advantage to keep the knife out of its optimal range.

As in all escalated threat situations, time is a critical factor. The longer an engagement carries on, the more likely someone is to be seriously injured or killed. An armed attacker should be incapacitated as quickly and directly as possible.


If you want to counter the karambit, you need to know its strength and weaknesses.

Strength: It's really powerful and can easily cut through thick fabric in close range. (Some police forces are armed with cut-proof or slash-proof vests, which will be useless against a karambit)

Weakness: It's really short, obviously. But more importantly, the user must put one of their finger in the loop.

So, first, clearly, don't get in close range, even if you're a police officer with the best bullet proof/knife proof vest, because they can cut your joints. Use anything that is long, like a chair, a long stick, etc, to keep the attacker away.

Secondly, unlike usual knives and especially balisong, karambit cannot (or really difficult) turn during a fight. Sometimes, when fighting a balisong user, you think you got their arm, but they can turn the balisong around and stab you unexpectedly. This could not be done with a karambit. There's an arm grabbing technique in boxing that could be used really effectively.

So, that's pretty much it.

Bonus: if anyone watched The Karate Kid (the 2010 one with Jackie Chan), he used a wrist twisting technique (which you should recheck with a friend), which could loosen the tension of the fingers and make your opponent drop any knife.

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