Emerson Folding Karambit Training Knife and Ed Schempp Titanium Prybar
About the Videos
It seems that, in some circles, I am known as a “karambit guy.” I have been asked my opinion, on several occasions, regarding various karambits, have been interviewed regarding the karambit by a writer for the Russian knife magazine, Prorez, and have discussed karambit designs with a custom knife maker or two. People ask me questions on how to use a karambit, and, of course, the Internet being the Internet, I get a few people telling me that I do not know what I am doing and that in their “super secret squirrel” training they have clearly demonstrated that XYZ, which I seem to favor, does not work ever. This is, of course, always news to me, since, in real combat, nothing always works, and very few things never work. In general, we are talking percentages, or the likelihood of a given motion to work in a real fight. The funny thing is, the more you train, the higher the percent chance that you can accomplish a particular technique, and the more you can pull off these impossible moves in real time and under stress.
When it comes to karambits, I am very particular. I really am much more picky about balance, the inner diameter of the finger ring, the curvature of the blade, and other design details, than I am when contemplating the shape of a knife handle or blade used on a different style of knife. I can make most any karambit work for me, but some work a lot better than others. In my opinion, and for the style of karambit usage exemplified by Albo Kali Silat, there is no folding karambit currently made that is better than those made by Emerson Knives. The Emerson Opener or wave/opening device on the blade can be used to deploy the blade when drawn from pocket or waistband. The balance and overall design of the knife are both exquisite. Emerson Knives has great customer service and backs up its products with a good warranty. Basically, if you do not abuse the knife or training knife, and sometimes even if you do, they will fix it for you and return it to you quickly. I have needed warranty service only once for an Emerson product. The repair was conducted quickly, and the knife was returned to me within a week of sending it in for service.
Now, if you choose to carry a folding karambit as a defensive knife, you need to practice deploying a folding karambit under stress. The best folding karambit trainer that I have used, and the only folding karambit trainer that I recommend to my students, is the Emerson Karambit Trainer (http://www.emersonknives.com/ekTrainingKnives.php). In addition to use as a training knife, this karambit trainer can also be used as an impact weapon, locking/takedown tool, pain compliance device, pressing/choking device, etc. If you cannot carry a live blade for some reason, or you happen to have your trainer with you (as when going to or coming from a training class) rather than a live blade, you can use the trainer to good effect. Note that striking, choking, takedowns, balance disruption, trapping of the limbs, and other motions are demonstrated in the video, and that these motions are done slowly so that you can observe what is occurring.
In addition to the Emerson Karambit Trainer, this video depicts the usage of a small prybar as a personal defense weapon. The device pictured was made by Ed Schempp (Ed Schempp Knives, P.O. Box 1181, Ephrata, Washington 98823). It was created on Ed’s forge, and was hand made from titanium. Being titanium, it is, of course, very light in weight. Ii has all of the edges on the hooked end slightly rounded. The “pointed” end or straight end of the tool is also rounded. The round, no snag edges of the tool make it perfect for pocket carry or carry in a “go bag” without worry about rips and tears in your bag or clothing. This tool was designed by Ed to have a Rockwell hardness that was high enough to allow it to be a tough tool for prying, but not so high that it would be brittle and break. Ed wanted it to bend prior to breaking, due to the fact that this is a portable and easily carried personal pry tool, and may be the only prying device that you happen to have on your person. In the case of bending, the tool can still be used for prying, while in the case of breakage, you will usually now no longer have a prying tool. Ed sent me this tool as a gift. Ed and I became acquainted when I did a video depicting the martial use of the Spyderco Kris knife which he designed. After a few conversations, we ended up exchanging a gift or two. I hope he enjoys the law enforcement memorabilia that I sent him as much as I have the prybar and other items he sent me. Ed told me that he sold a few of these pry tools to various law enforcement officers, and that they were impressed with how easily it pried some doors open with no damage sustained to the little prybar. I am not surprised at this, as it is a very impressive little tool. In fact, it is so impressive that the only way that I have managed to retain it for my own use was to promise my wife that I would buy one from Ed for her, and would impose on him the extra chore of making hers with rainbow/flame surfacing.
The prybar fits very well into a video depicting the use of the Emerson Karambit Trainer as a personal defense device, as many of the trapping, striking, and other methodologies work just as well with the Schempp prybar as they do with the karambit trainer. Note, in the video, that the “point” or straight end can be used to thrust or strike. The curved end can be used to trap, grasp, and hold. The body of the tool can be used to trap or strike. In short, the tool has a lot of martial uses. In this video, I often grip the tool in icepack or pakal grip, with my thumb on the top of the curved end of the tool and the “pointed” end projecting from the bottom of my fist. Notice that, a few times in the video, I let the tool slide down in my hand so that I can use the curved end of the tool to trap, grasp, or control my opponent. In one section of the video, I have the curved end against my student’s throat where it could be used to choke off the blood flow to his brain.
I highly recommend that you contact Ed Schempp if you happen to need a compact, personal prying tool, especially if you wish to have one that works very well as a self defense device. If you are carrying a folding karambit, you really should take a hard look at the Emerson Folding Karambit Trainer as well. Both of these tools can very effective in helping you defend yourself, though both were designed, primarily, with other uses in mind.
I hope you enjoyed the videos. As usual, contact me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuhan Jon Holloway, August 2009