Balisong Questions...


Oct 5, 1998
I have developed a big interest, of late, for learning techniques and collecting this style of knife. However, I am having trouble finding very many options as far as production knives go. I basically am just curious if any of you have any suggestions on a quality production balisong that I can start my learning and collecting with?

Thanks in advance for any help...Dru
Well if Benchmade still made them I would steer you in that direction. Right now there are two brands of production butterflies that are a few steps above the $10 variety. The ones from Bear Cutlery are pretty good and the ones from Dragon Forge (my company) are not bad either.

Neither are as good as a Benchmade and if you are lucy you may find one at a dealer in the middle of Montana.

Dragon Forge will be adding 10 new butterfly's to the line this week so check back with the web site sometime next week for new pics.

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!

Mike, how about a tanto version on your line of butterflies. I think that would be pretty neat.
Maybe but right now I need to concentrate on the lines already in the works.

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!

There have been several Benchmade 44 and 45 knives in the for-sale forums lately. There's a 44 on ebay right now. But, these'll run you about $125-150 right now. Furthermore, it'd be a shame to ruin one learning. Personally, I have not tried the Dragon Forge stuff. I should get one and try it. But, I've been using Bears as fidget toys for about a year now and only broken two.

The best advice I can give you is to search the archive on this forum because we've had several good threads on butterfly knives recently.

There's also a guy on bladeauction right now auctioning a video on Bali-Song techniques. I have not seen this video. My copy will be here shortly. But, any video should be invaluable to get you started.

I will caution you that butterfly knives are quite addictive. Abandon hope, and lots of money, all you who enter here...

You may also want to check the legality of these knives in your area. In some places, it is illegal to even own one.

Disregard the advice about buying a cheap one to learn on for fear of ruining it. I have owned several Pacific Cutlery (geez was I stupid to get rid of) as well as my current BM and th only damage I ever id while learning was myself (tip of finger, pay attention to what you are doing) or out of stupidity ... they are not meant to be thrown into a wood floor. BM will last for years and you will find them at the gun shows easily enough.

Only my opinion of course...
Hi Dru,
As the others have mentioned, the Benchmade Bali-songs are difficult to find, I have been made several offers while on the Willing to buy board, so you could try there for them. Also, Mark at MJ&S knives has factory seconds of the BM45 and 45s, ladt I spoke with him, he was asking $50 shipped. Here is their website
why not give a try and see if he can help you out. As far as I know, Mark said that the only reason they are seconds is because they have cosmetic flaws, and do not come with sheaths. But for $50, I don't think those are too big of a deal.
I ordered a Bear MGC butterfly knife, the damascus tanto one froom Smokey Mountain Knife Works and wasn't too pleased with it as it was somewhat defective, tzhe stop pin was off center and one of the handles would constantly get stuck during manipulation. So that one was returned quickly.
I hope any of this helps,

Thanks again for your help. I will definately be looking for any benchmade I can find.

I did have a question about your Jaguar. Do any of your dealers offer this knife in the non serrated configuration. The only one I saw at ABC was serrated...Thanks

The forum does not seem to have an e-mail address for you. If you'll send me your e-mail address I may be able to help you.

The non serrated versions will be here by Wednesday if the customs office here clears them in time! The dealers may not know of them but tell them you heard it from me and I will post them in the "for sale" sections as well as the DF site.

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!


Yea, I need to go update my profile with my email. It is

Hello everyone!
Nice to see a topic concerning bali-songs.
One of my all-time favorite knives!

Got two BM 45s, one for use and one for keeps, had´em since -95 and used it A LOT!! no problems, just a little more play between the handles.
Also i was fourtunate to acquire a custom by Alan Elishewitz(Tanto, skeletonized, 4") and i cannot tell you how well it moves! it´s just awesome! and yes, it´ll be a user, just can´t help myself, just too good not to be used...

I think a very good idea, is to buy Jeff Imadas "The bali-song manual" 1 and 2, they´re great if you haven´t done any bali-song manipulation earlier.
When you´ve learned every technique out of these books you´ll be really happy and your friend will be x-tremely bored of hearing the clic-clac of you training.
Bali-song ARE addictive...

Well anyway, be safe (tape the edges!)and have fun!
Yours, Jonas aka 2Sharp

Stay sharp, ride hard, watch six, Keeps ya´alive!!

Mr. Turber,

It has been my understanding that Customs considers butterfly knives a form of switchblade and, therefore, illegal to import. My understandings are always suspect, though.

I know that their failure, so far, to train any Bali-Song sniffing dogs must make enforcement more difficult. I also suspect that illegal butterfly knives are not high on the Customs Service priority list right now.

The market seems to be afloat in an endless supply of charming cheapies from that famous cutler "Stainless China". But, this is true not just of butterflies, but of spring autos too. I have always assumed that these all slipped in past Customs lax enforcement.

What is the legal situation regarding import of butterfly knives? I'm especially interrested since I'm planning a trip to the Philippines next summer to do volunteer work with a Christian shortwave station there and wouldn't mind bringing back a few samples with me.

How silly of me to chastise Dru for not having his e-mail listed when I now notice that mine is not either.


I've fixed that.

Butterflies are no longer considered switchblades.

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!

I have a one that is stamped Valor
Miami,USA on one side and 440 Stainless,557 Japan on the other.
It also has Silver Dragon etched on the blade along with a couple of marks that may represent Japanese writing for same.
It appears to be of all SS construction.The handles are skeletonized with 5 holes in each one. I am wondering if this one isn't a knock off of another brand or something. I know absolutly nothing about this kind of knife. This is another one I have had for a number of years and don't remember for sure where it came from. I believe it may be a flea market knife.

The fit and finish is not too bad. The chamfers at the butt are not even,but overall the appeareance is nice.It locks up nice and tight both open and closed and the spearpoint blade takes a nice edge.
Can anyone tell me what I have for sure?



[This message has been edited by Yvsa (edited 30 June 1999).]
Ah yes, the Valor Model 557 Silver Dragon. Valor imported some nice stuff in the 70s. The Silver Dragons were in the middle of their product line, but it's still 440 stainless and well made. A nice knife, I'm sure.

Back on June 27th, I wrote:

There's also a guy on bladeauction right now auctioning a video on Bali-Song techniques. I have not
seen this video. My copy will be here shortly. But, any video should be invaluable to get you started.

Well, folks, my copy of Mastering The Balisong Knife by Michael D. Janich (ISBN 0-87364-768-8) arrived today and I just got done watching it.

First, production quality is amateur. It's really poorly lit, one camera, frontal mug shot the whole way. Most techniques are presented at least three times with each successive demonstration zooming it a bit more.

This is in contrast to Jeff Imada who presents most techniques about five times changing angle for each shot. I, myself, found Mr. Imada's different angles invaluable in learning some of the techniques he demonstrates.

Mr. Janich, though, does have a good camera presence and speaks clearly.

Mr. Janich uses slow motion only once, to demonstrate one aerial technique. This is also in contrast to Mr. Imada who shows most techniques in good slow motion. On the other hand, the slow motion that Mr. Janich does briefly use is very poorly done and detracts more that it helps.

Now, as we discuss the technical quality of slow motion techniques, we're starting to get into video quality issues. Before I go any further, let me reveal a little bit about myself. I have extensive professional experience in video processing and video projection. So, I am hyper-critical of video processing issues. I could go on for hours about the quality problems in this tape and that's after only one viewing. But, that's another thread and, in fact, another forum. (BTW, I could go on for hours about quality problems in most any VHS video. Don't get me started...)

On the other hand, my viewing of this tape took place in my home theater where the equipment is probably a bit better than some of you will use. I played the tape on a very nice VCR and ran it into a Faroudja video decoder, Faroudja VHS time-base corrector, Faroudja edge enhancer, and then a Faroudja line doubler. For VHS playback equipment, It doesn't get much better than this. I'm not telling you all of this to brag about my system. My point is this: If a tape doesn't look good going through this video chain, then it can't look good.

(For the curious who now want to know exactly how I watch TV, this is then front-projected to a 110" screen. And yes, there is a suitable sound system too, but this is all turning into a different thread, in fact a different forum. The point is that my equipment gave this tape every opportunity to shine and, from a purely video-technical standpoint, it sucked instead.)

Now, moving beyond the amatuerish production and the really poor video quality, let's talk knives, butterfly knives:

Mr. Janich demostrates all the basic techniques and gives a good verbal explaination of each one. If I was to fault Mr. Imada, one comment would be that his verbal explainations are often quite weak and you really do have to study the pictures to see what he's doing. Mr. Janich, on the other hand, tells you what he's doing in clear and detailed discussions.

With the exception of a very brief (and very weak) discussion of combat applications at the very end, Mr. Janich's video is entirely about manipulation techniques. Mr. Imada, on the other hand, features extensive discussions of the history, manufacture, and uses of these knives, an interview with Les De Asis, and a couple of segments with Dan Inosanto, including a disapointingly short demonstration of combat techniques by Guru Inosanto.

I have not dug Mr. Imada's video out to count and compare, but I think he does show more techniques than Mr. Janich. However, even I learned one new, and simple, technique watching Mr. Janich's video (though I'm not able to practice it very much right now because I jammed my right thumb rather badly this last weekend). So, there is at least one simple technique in Mr. Janich's video that Mr. Imada does not present.

I was relieved to see that Mr. Janich does not present any of "my special techniques" which I've figured out all by myself. (There's a thread going on right now about patents. I wonder if you can patent a Bali Song technique?) Maybe, someday, I'll make my own video...

Aside from his clear verbal explaination of every technique, Mr. Janich's other outstanding point is his extensive discussions and careful explainations of aerial techniques. Mr. Imada briefly demonstrates a few at the very end, but doesn't explain them, show different angles, or use slow motion, so it's very difficult to learn these most flashy techniques from his video. Mr. Janich clearly explains each one and, when this thumb of mine gets better, I'm going to get back to work on them. If you want to learn aerials, Mr. Janich's video is much better than Mr. Imada's.

Sadly, I have not, seen Mr. Imada's video for sale in quite some time, so I'm not sure if it's still available. In its absence, Mr. Janich's video will do a fine job of teaching you basic butterfly knife manipulation. And, if you want to learn the exciting aerial techniques, Mr. Janich's video is, despite its quality problems, much better.

Right now, there is another copy of Mr. Janich's video for sale on
Furthermore, I suspect that Knifeworld ( has at least a few more to sell.

BTW, I paid $19.95 plus shipping.


[This message has been edited by Gollnick (edited 01 July 1999).]

[This message has been edited by Gollnick (edited 01 July 1999).]