I'm looking to eventually learn the use of the karambit in martial arts training, but I have a question before I get to that point.

Given the form of this karambit (The Mauler) would this be a useful tool to carry in the woods, or just use as a utility knife? I'm imagining that the ring might make me less likely to get cut if I should slip and give me more control over a stroke.

I realise it was originally an agricultural tool, though this blade is only 4.5" long so I won't be cutting any wheat or clearing brush with it.

It's legal to carry in my state. I freely admit an emotional attraction to the way it looks like a claw (cat person here)


  • This question is about non-martial arts use and is under the knife-fighting tag... is this appropriate for this site?
    – Bankuei
    Jun 7, 2017 at 16:41
  • As far as the tag goes, I don't have enough points to create my own. I tried 6 different words and this was the only tag that cane up that was at all related. I was required to use a tag and this was the closest is could get.
    – Bearcat
    Jun 7, 2017 at 17:02
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    I'm also concerned that this isn't even a martial arts question? There's lots of wilderness forums you can probably get some really good info re: EDC for wilderness use and types of blades.
    – Bankuei
    Jun 7, 2017 at 17:13
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    @Bankuei - While I agree that the link to martial arts is more tenuous than many other questions, there are numerous posts on this site that were deemed OK despite only focusing on the fitness/health aspect of training. OP wants to know if he'll get additional benefits out of his karambit, except that they focus on EDC opportunities instead of fitness/health. I also agree that OP would be better served by going to an EDC forum, but I don't think his question is too far out of the scope of what we're doing here.
    – Dungarth
    Jun 7, 2017 at 17:38
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    @Bearcat - It was a good hunch given the unusual nature of the karambit. But we're a smaller community, however, with maybe around 50 regular users that don't necessarily own a karambit (or even a knife, for that matter). The Great Outdoors stack will likely have more people to fuel a discussion on EDC knives, as they probably all own at least one knife and have an opinion to go with it.
    – Dungarth
    Jun 8, 2017 at 2:20

2 Answers 2


Would this be a useful tool to carry in the woods, or just use as a utility knife?

Yes and no, but mostly no, at least in my opinion. If your primary concern is going to be bushcraft and similar activities, you'll probably get more use out of a short and thick straight edge that can handle a beating. This short & straight edge will make the knife more maneuverable, making it easier to use in multiple tasks, such as skinning, feathering, simple woodworking, etc. A thicker blade is also interesting for batoning, which can effectively replace a hatchet for gathering firewood.

The main selling point of a knife being utilitarian in nature is that it can replace a multitude of specialized tools, so that you can carry a single item to get all those jobs done. The karambit also comes from South East Asia, where the flora and fauna are much different from what you will likely encounter in Europe or North America. As such, it's likely more adapted at performing those same tasks in that geographical context. People over there are not skinning/butchering the same animals, they're not cutting the same trees, etc.

So I guess my question for you is : can you see yourself cutting your food, cutting firewood, filleting fish or skinning game with your karambit? If so, sure, it will be useful in the woods. But I'm willing to bet you can find a more appropriate knife somewhere (for a fraction of the price of "The Mauler", too).

I'm looking to eventually learn the use of the karambit in martial arts training.

That's an entirely different prospect. If the Martial Arts aspect of the karambit has a certain appeal to you, you should definitely try it out. If you take a look around, you'll also probably be able to find training karambits that are either blunt or made of various polymers. This way, you don't have to maim anyone to train karambit techniques.

There's also nothing wrong with owning 2 knives. Use your karambit as an EDC when you're in town, where you're much less likely to have to skin a deer or cut firewood, and bring another knife to the woods. Besides, an angry bear won't be impressed by your karambit and most of the cool martial arts application won't work on animals anyway.


The traditional kerambit was quite larger than the usual ones for sale. For most of the silat styles I've seen, the tool-usage was cutting rice stalks. The smallest sized kerambit-shaped blades were used for textiles - cutting fabric and twine.

For general use in the wilderness, you can find a good variety of machete-style blades from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, but they all are basically variations on the classic "heavy chopper" motif.

I have a "kerambit-inspired" blade (ring is in the wrong place, usage in defense would be very different) I carry for EDC - it gets used in the office all the time for opening boxes. I would not consider it for wilderness use, really, the blade would dull too quick.

  • I guess I should clarify. I didn't mean using it as a machete. I meant for small cutting tasks: whittling, cutting rope/twine, carving, etc :things that you'd use s pocket knife for. It does look challenging to sharpen.
    – Bearcat
    Jun 8, 2017 at 18:45

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