Those who recently gathered at the Filipino Cultural Center in Downtown San Francisco not only got to see classic, authentic balisongs. They were also given an up close presentation of how these blades are handled.
The demonstration was organized by Ron Carino and his non-profit organization, Kultura ng Balisong, as part of their efforts to promote and preserve the art and culture of the Filipino hand-made weapons.
"Every single one of them is hand forged by someone. There's no machine involved. And it just shows the history, past, present, and future," Martin Lee of Kultura ng Balisong noted.
The balisong is more commonly known in the United States as a butterfly knife. It is illegal in most states, especially in California.
But these balisong practitioners, who have years of experience with this type of weapon, were willing to share their knowledge. Kultura ng Balisong aims to raise awareness that the blade can be used for other things besides it being a weapon.
"Everyone sees it as a violence tool but what we’ve done is we’re trying to show that these type of tools are actually used for meditation, dancing, mental health, and for actual tactical self-defense in areas where you can legally carry them," Lee said.
Kultura ng Balisong is in the process of having weekly classes taught at the San Francisco Filipino Cultural Center as well as live webinar classes.