Learning How to Flip Butterfly Knives

Learning How to Flip Butterfly Knives

Published by AutoKnives on 27th Nov 2023

Welcome to the exciting world of butterfly knives. This knife can also be called a balisong knife, fan knife, or Batangas knife. Originating in the Philippines, these folding pocket knives are more than just cutting tools for self-defense. They're a hobby that combines skillful practice and precision. Whether you're performing tricks or enjoying the challenge of mastering the flip, butterfly knives offer a unique blend of fun and function.

Learning how to flip butterfly knives is a hobby that combines rhythm with the precision of a blade. It's an activity that can be as simple or as complex as you want, with the opportunity to master a range of tricks that showcase your creativity and coordination. For training purposes, safety is the first step you should take, which is why we recommend starting with a trainer knife. This allows you to learn the flips, twirls, and spins without the risk of injuring yourself.

In this blog post, we'll lay out the foundation for flipping a butterfly knife, starting with the basics and moving to more advanced techniques.

Understanding the Butterfly Knife

Diving into the art of flipping begins with a solid understanding of the butterfly folding knife itself. These tools feature two rotating handles that pivot around the tang, concealing the blade when it's not in use. Precision in their design allows for the seamless opening and closing that makes flipping possible.

Each component of the butterfly knife serves a specific function. The safe handle is the one attached to the dull side of the blade, allowing you to practice without injuring yourself. On the other hand, the bite handle is adjacent to the sharp edge and requires careful handling. Understanding the difference between these handles is important for executing a flip safely and successfully.

Starting with Safety: The Trainer Knife

Safety should be your number one priority when flipping knives, which is why we recommend using a butterfly knife trainer for a beginner user. These tools simulate the weight and feel of a real blade but have a dull edge to prevent injuries. With a trainer knife, you can master the technique without worrying about the risks associated with sharp objects.

We'll continue to guide you through the essential grips and maneuvers to begin your flipping journey. With your trainer in hand, you're ready to enter the world of balisong flipping and perfecting unique skills.

How to Flip Butterfly Knives

Now that you understand the anatomy of a butterfly knife and the importance of safety with a trainer, you're ready to learn how to flip. Flipping a butterfly knife is both a skill and an art, requiring patience and practice.

The foundation of all flipping is the basic grip. Hold your trainer by the safe handle, allowing the bite handle and blade to swing freely. Your grip should be controlled yet relaxed to allow for fluid motion of the blade. Remember, the key to smooth flipping is in the movement of your wrist, not just your fingers.

Simple Beginner Tricks

It's important to start with the basic opening and closing techniques. These are the building blocks for more advanced tricks and help find the feel of your knife's movement. Start by practicing the basic vertical flip: hold the knife vertically by the safe handle and flick your wrist to swing the bite handle over and around, then catch it back in the starting position.

Infographic with the steps to flip a butterfly knife

Step-by-Step Guide to Your First Flip

Here is a comprehensive step-by-step guide with the specific details for flipping a butterfly knife:

  1. Starting Stance: Position your dominant hand so that your thumb is on the safe handle and your fingers are ready to catch the bite handle and the blade.
  2. The Basic Flip: Gently flick your wrist to initiate the swing of the bite handle away from you. As it rotates around the pivot, prepare for the next step.
  3. The Transition: As the bite handle completes the rotation and comes back, rotate your hand slightly to guide the movement smoothly.
  4. The Catch: With the bite handle now coming towards your hand, use your fingers to catch it. Complete the flip and bring the two handles together in your hand.
  5. Safety Check: Throughout this process, make sure the spine of the blade is what comes into contact with your hand, not the sharp edge. With a trainer, this isn't a concern because the entire blade is dull, but it's good practice for when you transition to a real blade.

Repetition is essential for perfecting the skill of flipping. Practice these basic steps repeatedly, focusing on the precision and smoothness of your movements. The goal is to build confidence and skill so that the flips become muscle memory every time.

Butterfly Knife Advanced Tricks and Maintenance

As you get more comfortable with the basic flips and confident with using a real blade, you're ready to elevate your skills with advanced balisong tricks like the double rollout and index rollover. These tricks involve rolling the knife over your fingers and require a combination of perfect timing and agility.

  • Double Rollout: The double rollout is a trick that starts with the knife closed. Flick your wrist to roll the bite handle, and as it comes around, perform two rollouts before flipping the knife open or closed. This skill is considered a simpler trick, but it can take new users some practice to make a smooth and effortless flip.
  • Index Rollover: This trick can be completed vertically or horizontally. Start by flipping the knife over the back of your hand, and use your index finger to roll the bite handle back into your grip and catch the handle.

These advanced tricks take practice, and it's normal to encounter challenges at first. Remember, the goal is to progress steadily, building upon each new trick you learn.

Maintaining Your Knife

A well-maintained knife is a safe and effective tool. Here are some important maintenance tips to remember:

  • Regularly clean the blade and handles to remove any debris or residue after use. You can use a mild dish soap or specialized knife cleaner for cleaning.
  • Use a drop or two of lubricant to clean the pivot points. Make sure not to use household oils, as these can attract dirt.
  • Check the screws and tighten them if necessary to make sure your knife doesn't become loose during the flip.

Transitioning from a trainer to a true balisong is an important step. It's not just about the ability to flip; it's about respecting the blade and handling it with extra care. Practice makes perfect, so repeat these beginner and advanced steps until you feel comfortable enough to handle even more complex skills.

BladeOps butterfly knife

Choosing Your Butterfly Knife with AutoKnives

Now that you've learned the basics of flipping, you're ready to select the right butterfly knife that meets your specific needs. At AutoKnives, we're here to help you find the perfect match.

A great butterfly knife feels comfortable in your hand. It's all about the right weight, the right balance, and an easy-to-control handle. Here's what you should look for:

  • Weight and Balance: The knife should feel comfortable and natural in your hand, with a balance that suits your flipping style.
  • Handle Material: Handles should offer durability and a secure grip that lasts and feels good to hold.
  • Blade Quality: Choose a blade that promises longevity and performance, maintaining its edge through many practice sessions.
  • Design and Aesthetics: Pick a design that reflects your style, making your flipping experience not just skillful but also visually appealing.

Why AutoKnives?

At AutoKnives, you'll find a range of modern balisong knives that cater to any knife enthusiast. We are dedicated to craftsmanship and performance in each product, ensuring that every flip is smooth and every cut is precise. Whether you're a beginner user or an expert balisong flipper, we ensure that you'll receive a blade that has cutting edge quality, both in sharpness and design. When you choose AutoKnives, you're choosing excellence, and we have the selection to help you find exactly what you're looking for. Reach out to AutoKnives today and purchase one of our high-quality butterfly knives today!

This article is reviewed by Trevor Darby, MBA, MBC.

Trevor Darby is a book author and freelance writer, and he is the owner-operator of AutoKnives, a leading knife shop in the United States. He has designed several specialty knives and sells some of the best butterfly knives in the market.

Raised in Hollister, CA, he now lives in South Jordan, UT with his wife and two of their six children, and he spends much of his spare time whittling and writing.


  1. AutoKnives. https://autoknives.com/
  2. “Mastering Maintenance: Your Complete Guide to Keeping Your Butterfly Knife in Optimal Shape.” BladeOps. https://bladeops.com/blog/mastering-maintenance-your-complete-guide-to-keeping-your-butterfly-knife-in-optimal-shape/