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Are you ready to push past your balisong novice phase? Have you already perfected the 20 Easy Balisong/Butterfly Knife Tricks Anyone Can Learn? Are you hungry for a new challenge that will push your finger dexterity to the extreme? If you answered yes to any and/or all of those questions then you’ve made your way to the right place.
You may be asking yourself, “What makes the following balisong tricks intermediate?” The answer to that varies from trick to trick. Some introduce new concepts that are not found in beginner-level moves, and others require some prerequisites that should be learned before attempting.
Although these tricks might be a bit harder than the beginner moves, your butterfly knife flipping will look exponentially more impressive once you master these 15 tricks!
Note - Before attempting to learn any of the butterfly knife tricks on this list, make sure your balisong is in proper flipping condition by checking out How to Tune your Balisong Knife.
Keeping your balisong clean and well-oiled with KPL ensures that the handles of the knife will swing smoothly and predictably, cutting down the likelihood that you’ll get injured while flipping and simply making the overall experience much more enjoyable!
Once you’ve mastered the basic twirl, you’re ready for the full twirl. This move is an essential for your repertoire, and is the foundation for countless other tricks in the twirling balisong flipping style.
Good finger dexterity is needed, and it may take some practice, but it is sure to pay off once you get it down!
This move will add flare and style to your combos and is a great way to keep flow going. This move will also make you more aware and comfortable with how the handles carry momentum as they swing.
Aim to keep the speed consistent throughout this trick to keep it looking effortless.
Nothing says “intermediate butterfly knife trick” like having the blade careening toward one of your fingers. Be careful with this move, as you’ll need to spin the knife while holding the bite handle.
Consider using a trainer to learn this one if you want to avoid getting cut.
The middle index isn’t much of a flashy combo on its own, but is a great move to incorporate into larger combos. It’s also a little trickier than it looks, so it’s a great one to help build up your dexterity and confidence with the knife.
A balisong transfer is simply when you move the knife from one hand to the other while flipping. Some are more difficult than others, especially if you’re involving aerials.
There are a limitless number of transfers, and flippers are always getting creative and innovating new ones. Here are 16 transfers to get you started!
Chaplins are one of the fundamentals of balisong flipping, but not all chaplins are created equal.
The basic chaplins referenced in the previous article of easy butterfly knife tricks are quintessential to have in your arsenal, but you may soon find yourself wanting to jazz them up a bit.
The next steps to upping your chaplin game are to learn some intermediate chaplins: reverse chaplins, thumb chaplins, and 0g chaplins.
Reverse chaplins are just like normal chaplins, but many people find it to be a less natural motion and therefore a bit trickier to master.
Thumb chaplins are similarly difficult, but may be a bit easier to learn if you already know the combo “Behind the 8 Ball.”
Perhaps the hardest variation of chaplins is the 0g/0 gravity chaplin, which involves spinning the balisong under the hand.
The best way to learn these is to do 1 at a time, then 2 at a time, then 3, slowly building up the reps until you can perform as many 0g chaplins as desired.
Sinister’s roll is a great example of a combo that adds up to more than just the sum of its parts. It’s essentially a fan, twirl, and a couple of handle switches, but organized in a flashy and stylish way.
Although it’s a pretty uncommon trick nowadays, it’s a great move to have in your back pocket and will help build up confidence and show you how to think outside the box when finding your own flipping style.
The Orbit is many flippers’ introduction to “extended rollovers,” rollovers that make a full revolution around the finger.
In a normal rollover (see the Y2K and Zen Rollover in the previous article “20 Easy Balisong/Butterfly Knife Tricks Anyone Can Learn”) the opposite handle is caught, whereas in extended rollovers the knife makes a full revolution so that the same handle that is thrown is also caught.
On a very technical level you could call this trick a “reverse extended thumb rollover,” but “Orbit” certainly has a nicer ring to it.
Once you’re comfortable with basic aerials - throwing the knife and catching it after one rotation - it’s time to start learning some aerial variations. Like with transfers, there are countless ways to throw the knife and catch it.
Common variations include the helix aerial, double rotation aerial, and aerial to chaplin, where rather than catching the knife in the open position, you “catch” the knife with one finger and immediately start doing a chaplin.
This move is not for the faint of heart, so make sure you’re comfortable with regular aerials first and consider using a trainer until you get the timing down.
The backhand fan can be considerably more difficult to master than the regular forehand fan, securing it’s spot as an intermediate balisong trick.
When done smoothly this can look quite flashy, and looks great when integrated into combos with other tricks.
Just make sure to keep your wrist out of the way so you don’t cut the fan short!
If you’ve already learned the Behind the 8 Ball then you’ll be able to learn the Blender in no time. At its core, the Blender is essentially just the second half of Behind the 8 Ball.
What makes this trick worthwhile to learn comes from the ability to loop this trick over and over.
Loops are a fundamental aspect of freestyle flipping, as they allow you to keep your flow while thinking about what trick you want to do next.
The firestarter is another trick with several variations, but is quite simple at its most basic level.
It can be tricky at first to make sure that the spinning blade and handle don’t hit your arm or hand, but once you learn how to perform this trick smoothly it’s a great move to incorporate into your 2-handed flipping.
Getting into the advanced intermediate tricks, scissoring is an extremely impressive looking manipulation that involves twirling and throwing an aerial at the same time. Timing is imperative, and it will take a lot of practice to nail this trick consistently.
It is highly recommended to break this trick into several parts and learn them all individually first, then putting them all together once you’re comfortable with each single component.
Make sure you’re comfortable with the prerequisites for this one before attempting, and be careful!
If you’re comfortable with beginner tricks and even just a few of the intermediate ones, it’s time to try your hand at coming up with your own original combo.
This will help your creativity, teach you how different tricks can and can’t lead into and out of others, and will start to establish your own unique style of flipping.
Part of the fun of butterfly knife flipping is creating new tricks and flourishes, so once you’ve gotten a good grasp of the fundamentals it’s time to start innovating and making up your own routines!
The final intermediate trick on this list isn’t actually one trick, it’s 20. Also, none of the tricks are intermediate, they’re all easy!
Do they even belong on this list then? Is this a cop out because I couldn’t think of a 15th intermediate trick? Is it time to put another drop of KPL in my balisong’s pivots?
The answers to these questions are yes, no, and probably, respectively. Learning beginner moves with your non-dominant hand will certainly feel intermediate, and might take quite a bit longer to learn than the same tricks did with your dominant hand.
The earlier you start learning with your off hand, though, the easier it will be to eventually incorporate 2-handed flipping, whether you’re flipping one knife with both hands or flipping doubles. Head back over to 20 Easy Balisong/Butterfly Knife Tricks Anyone Can Learn and start back at the top, but this time with your other hand!
With these 15 intermediate balisong tricks you’ll find yourself with a much larger repertoire of moves to impress your friends and family with. Variety is the spice of life, and the tricks on this list will help improve several different aspects of your flipping.
You’ll have better timing, improved dexterity, and more confidence when manipulating your balisong. Just like easy butterfly knife tricks were the prerequisites for many of the intermediate ones, these intermediate tricks will become the building blocks for advanced balisong manipulations.
Make sure to put in the time and practice these tricks until they’re smooth and effortless, and you’ll be ready for more difficult tricks in no time!