Originally created in the 11th century by West Sumatra farmers in what is now Indonesia, the karambit features a curved blade and handle with a ring on one end. The design remains popular among knife owners today and continues to provide inspiration to knife makers.

Farmers may have based the knife’s design on a tiger’s claw. Many Sumatran tigers lived in the area at the time (although they are endangered today).

Some martial artists have made the karambit a weapon of choice. It’s also in movies such as “Taken” and video games like Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell. The distinctive design inspired Louis Krudo in his creation of the SNAG line of Krudo Knives.

History of the Karambit

Historians agree the karambit originated in Indonesia. It spread through Asia thanks to the country’s large trade industry. Many used the karambit for skinning fish and animals. Others used the design to create weapons.

In the book “Secrets of the Karambit,” David Seiwert writes that the karambit is popular with those who practice Southeast Asian martial arts such as Silat and KunTao. It’s also used in the Filipino arts of Kali and Escrima.

The knife’s creators used the finger ring to keep the knife from slipping. It also works well in self-defense. The ring makes it hard to disarm the user or use his own blade against him. It also allows for self-defense techniques in tight spaces and at odd angles.

Seiwert writes that police and the armed forces both have voiced interest in finding a use for this ancient blade design.

Karambit Knife Techniques

There are two main ways of holding the karambit when in use. Both are shown in a video on the new Krudo Knives SNAG X Controller Folder. The karambit is straightforward yet powerful.

Users can hold the knife with the blade pointed down from the fist. The blade curves back toward the person who holds the knife. In this method, the knife is used in a slashing or hooking motion. You also can give a stronger punch using the finger ring.

Users also can hold the blade pointed from the top of the fist.

The point is that the karambit is useful in many ways. Flexibility is part of the blade’s popularity

Krudo SNAG Knives

Louis Krudo, who is an Arnis practitioner, envisioned a design more versatile than the ancient “C” shape of Karambit and applied it to the SNAG line of knives and controllers. Instead of the typical “C” shape, Krudo brought the next evolution to Karambit by forming the iconic “S” that is SNAG. It features a curved blade and handle as well as the finger ring and, on the folder versions, Krudo added foldable thumb support.

Krudo’s vision not only included SNAG knives, the design also inspired the look and feel of the SNAG Controller Folder, Polymer SNAG Controller and Snagette Controller. It’s a pain compliance tool that also proves effective in self-defense.

Of course, Krudo adds his own features. The knife is sleek and balanced unlike the karambit knives of old, which were farm implements. SNAG Folders also feature quick deployment technology for the blade.

A karambit was a useful tool from a long ago time. Descendants such as the SNAG line take that ingenious design and update it for the modern world.