20 Expert Balisong Tricks and How to Do Them
Anyone can fire an OTF or push a button on a switchblade. Some people can dice a whole onion faster than I can make a bread sandwich.
Maybe you can even do some cool karambit spins, or know multiple throwing knife techniques.
Nothing, though, gets you knife-related cool points more than showing off some expert-level butterfly knife tricks.
If you’re not ready for the advanced class, don’t worry, we still got you covered! Head on over to 20 Easy Balisong / Butterfly Knife Tricks Anyone Can Learn to get started, and then on to 15 Intermediate Butterfly Knife Tricks to continue your journey to becoming a balisong expert.
Once you feel like you’re ready to really push your knife flipping skills to the limit and become an advanced balisong flipper, check out these 20 expert balisong tricks that are sure to knock the socks off of anyone who witnesses them.
Note - If you’re ready to learn these advanced butterfly knife tricks then you probably don’t need reminding, but it’s worth mentioning to make sure your balisong is being properly maintained!
A poorly maintained knife can cause equipment failure, which can sometimes lead to unnecessary injury.
Always make sure your balisong is in good working condition, clean, and well-oiled with some Knife Pivot Lube!
20 EXPERT BALISONG TRICKS
One of the best ways to improve your finger dexterity is to learn basic ladders.
Ladders are essentially an advanced form of twirling but unlike normal twirls, which involve spinning the knife back and forth, ladders have distinct “rungs” to go through while passing the handle throughout your fingers.
The two basic ladders to learn are the standard “twirl” ladder and the Murnax ladder.
Once these are mastered there is no shortage of ladder variations to learn!
A bit of a mind bender (to watch and to learn), the reverse helix is exactly what it sounds like: a helix done in reverse.
The zen rollover at the end is put in the beginning, followed by the 0g index roll, and finishes with a reverse thumb roll.
Reverse rollovers are generally considered to be trickier than normal rollovers, plus the unnatural transition between the first thumb rollover to the 0g index roll is enough to land this combo on the list of expert manipulations.
Similar in theory to the reverse helix, the reverse Behind the 8 Ball is what you end up with when you do a BT8B in reverse.
Complete with its own difficult transition between chaplins, this combo can be a bit of a challenge to master.
Once learned, though, you’ll know one of the most popular balisong combos both forwards and back, literally!
The Kiss Goodbye is a classic twirling combo. It’s often one of the first combos people learn that utilizes the pinky, making it great for ladder practice.
There are countless ways to get into and out of this combo, so it’s fairly easy to incorporate into freestyles and routines.
The choker fan is definitely a “must have” trick for any advanced butterfly knife flipper. Named after sirhorsechoker, the flipper that invented the trick, this move is essentially an underhand fan performed while twirling one of the handles.
This manipulation has gone on to inspire several variations, some of which are still to come on this list (spoilers!).
This one can be very challenging to learn because it is a brand new technique (unlike moves like the Kiss Goodbye, which is a combination of techniques you likely already know), but stick with it and don’t give up!
Once you’re comfortable throwing some scissors into your combo, it’s time to start doubling them up.
Double scissors require precise timing and finger placement to make sure it all comes together correctly. Instead of catching the balisong in a twirl and ending the trick there, the double scissor involves catching the knife in the same grip that you would a normal scissor, but throwing a second aerial straight away.
Once you catch the second aerial, you’ll end with the standard scissor twirl catch and continue on your combo from there. If you’re feeling confident with the double scissor, don’t stop there.
Try a triple scissor, quadruple scissor, or even try your hand at the world record for most scissors!
The shortstop is one of the staple tricks for balisong flippers, evidenced by the sheer number of tutorials you can find for this move.
It’s simple enough in theory, just a quick reverse thumb roll into a reverse middle chap and then catch it in an icepick grip.
In practice, this trick is actually very technical and requires a good amount of dexterity, timing, and comfort with a balisong.
Don’t skip this one though - a well-executed shortstop is one of the most satisfying tricks out there.
If you’ve gotten this far then this next trick shouldn’t be too difficult to learn, but still requires a high degree of hand-eye coordination and confidence with a butterfly knife.
The most basic bump is the wrist bump, which involves throwing a helix aerial and then bumping the knife mid-air with the back of the wrist, then catching the balisong as it comes back down. J
ust make sure you’re not bumping it too hard, and try to execute the bump while the knife is ascending for best results.
There is a whole world of bumps out there, so after learning the basic wrist bump go try out some variations! Examples include knee bumps, double bumps, and even the head bump!
The Z Choker is a flashy choker fan variation that also incorporates a bit of open/locked twirling.
Starting with an open/locked ladder, the aim of the combo is to seamlessly transition to a choker fan by releasing one handle and performing a choker fan while holding the other.
This is a great trick for learning how to smoothly transition between “standard” flipping (holding one handle at a time) and open/locked or even closed/locked flipping.
Power aerials refer to a category of butterfly knife tricks that involve throwing the knife higher and spinning it faster so that it completes more rotations in the air.
There are a plethora of power aerial variations including throwing and/or catching the knife behind the back, under the leg, switching hands, elbow catches, and more!
Some flippers, referred to sometimes as “aerialists,” focus much of their style around power aerials. Few butterfly knife tricks can compete with the “high risk, high reward” factor that power aerials have going for them.
They take a healthy amount of confidence, bravery, and practice to nail, but are sure to impress anyone and everyone, from non-flippers to professionals!
There are a few different variations of the infinity ladder, but all of them are the same at their core.
As the trick name implies, the infinity ladder is a ladder that can be looped endlessly until the flipper is ready to transition into their next trick.
They can be done with either handle, but like many other tricks it is riskier when holding the bite handle. Just remember that timing is everything!
Just as the name implies, the infinity choker is a choker fan that can be looped continuously. Just like the infinity ladder, the infinity choker requires a high amount of dexterity and good timing.
It will be much easier to learn the infinity choker after you’ve mastered the standard choker fan, as it can be quite difficult to get the feel for how the knife spins in such an unusual orientation.
One of the more technical tricks on this list, the “chadder” was named after the two tricks it combines: chaplins and ladders.
This trick can be very difficult to get down smoothly, as it requires a lot of dexterity to get the timing just right to perform without any hiccups.
What makes this combo even more difficult is that it’s done in the “reverse” direction, which is a bit trickier than tricks in the normal “forwards” direction.
To be an advanced flipper, though, it’s important to have some clean reverse tricks in your arsenal to keep your flow fresh and not monotonous.
Chaplins are one of the fundamental tricks of balisong flipping, so it’s no surprise that chaplins and some variations have already made it to the beginner and intermediate balisong tricks lists.
Walking chaplins, though, are one of the hardest and most advanced chaplin variations that you’ll see in modern flipping.
This manipulation involves transferring the knife between fingers without interrupting continuous chaplins.
It may sound simple in theory, but it can be very challenging to get the timing right without interrupting the flow of the knife between the fingers.
Practice makes perfect, and it’s a great way to get the balisong into a different hand position without the transition looking clunky.
Similar to walking chaplins, the cat is a move in which the knife transfers between different fingers while performing ongoing chaplins.
The difference is that rather than a smooth transition between fingers, the cat involves throwing an aerial rather than quickly swapping the fingers (hence the name, as cat stands for “chaplin aerial transfer”).
This adds quite a bit of extra complexity and difficulty to the trick, landing it comfortable on this list of expert tricks.
The giraffe is a balisong combo that can be broken down bit by bit, but when done smoothly becomes more than just a sum of its parts.
Confidence is key as well, as it starts with a zen/bite handle scissor.
The transition between the zen scissor catch and the reverse ring chap can be a bit of a doozy, so be prepared to spend a good amount of time practicing this one before it can be done cleanly.
At its core the gunslinger is essentially just a scissor, but with extra components that make it difficult enough to land it on this list.
First of all, you have to be able to scissor with both hands to do this trick. Second, you need to be able to both catch and throw an aerial from behind your back.
There are a lot of moving parts in this balisong trick, and you’ll definitely need to have good hand-eye coordination to get this one smooth.
The snatch is one of those tricks that looks easy until you have to try it for yourself.
Perfecting the “scooping” sort of motion that the index finger has to do to transition from the 0g roll to the normal horizontal chaplin can be very awkward at first, and seems like it should be easier than it actually is.
When done smoothly though it’s a great little move to start a combo off with.
The reverse shortstop is one of the coolest ways to open a balisong into forward grip.
It can be challenging at first to figure out the timing of this trick and how to balance the swing of the handle, but once you get the feel for it you might be surprised at how fun it is to do!
It’s a great way to end a ladder combo, and a good way to add some variation to the end of freestyles and routines.
The Mobius Flip/Roll is one of those strange tricks that seems to live in its own category all by itself.
If one were to try defining it in standard flipping terminology it would probably be considered something like a “rollover fan,” but is unique enough to be distinguished from any normal fan or rollover.
In addition to its difficulty to learn, the Mobius Flip is a fairly uncommon trick in the flipping community.
Because of its rarity and difficulty, this trick will definitely turn some heads from flippers of all experience levels.
Learning new tricks can be difficult and challenging, at times tedious and frustrating, but anyone can learn any of these tricks with enough practice.
Having a solid grasp of the foundations of flipping will make learning new things even easier, so don’t neglect the fundamentals!
Whether you’re performing these expert butterfly knife tricks with a live blade or just learning them on a trainer, always make sure to stay safe by keeping your balisong well-maintained and lubricated with a high-quality and trusted knife oil!