The karambit is a small Southeast Asian hand-held, curved knife resembling a claw. The origin is believed to have originated among the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra where, according to folklore, it was inspired by the claws of big cats. As with most weapons of the region, it was originally an agricultural implement designed to rake roots, gather threshing and plant rice.
This claw knife is similar to the sickle that Okinawans used on their rice field, also known as the Kama. The karambit made its way into the Silat martial arts of this region which later spread to nearby countries.
Filipino Martial Arts instructor Doug Marcaida a military contractor in edge impact weapons systems demonstrates techniques using the karambit.
Holding the Karambit – The karambit is held with the blade pointing downward from the bottom of the fist, either curving forwards or backwards. While it is primarily used in a slashing or hooking motion, karambit with a finger ring are also used in a punching motion hitting the opponent with the finger ring. Some karambit are designed to be used in a hammering motion. This flexibility of striking methods is what makes it so useful in self-defense situations. The finger guard makes it difficult to disarm and allows the knife to be maneuvered in the fingers without losing one’s grip.