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The Balisong, called a Butterfly knife in the West, and sometimes known as a Batangas knife, is a form of folding pocket knife with two handles counter-rotating around the tang such that, when closed, the blade is concealed within grooves in the handles. In the hands of a trained user, the knife blade can be brought to bear quickly using one hand. Manipulations (flipping) are performed for art or amusement and require great skill.

Translated from Tagalog, the word balisong means baling sungay (literally, "broken horn") as the original balisongs were made from carved animal horns and recycled knife blades. The name "butterfly knife" is a term coined in the United States. These knives are also referred to as "fan knives".

The use of the Balisong is so popular in the Philippines that an urban legend exists about every Batangue�o carrying it everywhere he goes.

The history of the butterfly knife is uncertain, although some conjectures persist:

  • * The knife may actually have been invented by the French. The book "Le Perret" shows an obvious sketch of a balisong knife, and is dated 1710 AD The book itself suggests the balisong was developed in the late 1600s or early 1700s AD

  • * The knife dates back to around 800 AD and is a traditional weapon of the Filipino fighting art of Eskrima; however, it is not actually a prominent weapon in the art.

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