There are some knife makers and some knives that would fit this description, legend. Gil Hibben is one such maker along with his Ed Parker Kenpo Knife.

In 1968 Gil designed the Kenpo Knife (sometimes called the Ed Parker Fighting Knife) for his black belt thesis on knife fighting using Kenpo tactics. His thesis became the basis of the Kenpo system’s Long Form VIII (the double dagger form) which uses two knives in mock combat.) Over the years Gil has made several of the handmade versions of his Kenpo knives including knives that were presented to Ed Parker and Elvis Presley.

What Gil has said about the knife; On the one that I designed in 1968 – the ‘Parker knife’ – I put a slight angle on the guard which allows you to put your thumb up on it. This incorporates what we call a Chinese fist – where we have a greater muscle structure in the wrist holding the knife and you are able to manoeuvre more and in a much faster way to protect yourself” Hibben explained. “This slight angle on the guard also works if you turn the knife in a back position and it still fits very comfortably. So the blade is basically a standard fighter’s blade that has been around for a very long time.”

Parker Kenpo Knife

Parker Kenpo Knife

He continued: “The major part of it is the handle design in the way that the blade can be used with the grip. We put finger grooves along the bottom for absolute control so that you won’t be able to have it taken out of your hand. The guard also protects you from your opponent’s blade but it can also be used as part of the offensiveness of the knife. A lot of thought has gone into the design of it.”

“He also explained that the back of the weapon allows you to hook or to catch and also affords protection if you have it forward in the front part of the hand. This section can also be used to strike with after a cut, or to keep from cutting depending on the situation.

“Of course, you wouldn’t want to cut anyone unless you had to – say in a wartime situation We made a lot of these types of knives during the Vietnam War days and we sent a lot of them over there. So, unfortunately they received some action. But you don’t like to think about those things, “Hibben added.

Gil Hibben

Gil Hibben

Gil Hibben came out of the Navy in 1956 and went to work for Boeing. He began making knives part time and sold his first one for $45. He became a full time maker in 1963-65 after moving to Sandy, UT. He has lived in places such as Arkansas, Alaska, Missouri and finally settled in Kentucky.

He has designed the Rambo III knife for Silvester Stallone. He has created a yearly fantasy design for United Cutlery. He was inducted in the Blade Magazine Knifemakers Hall of Fame in 1990. His knives have been featured or seen in such movies as The Perfect Weapon, Under Siege, Star Trek – Generations, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Rambo and The Expendables.

He has been inducted in the Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame, International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame and the Action Martial Arts Magazine Hall of Fame.

He has been elected as president of the Knife Makers Guild three times. In 2007 he Celebrated his 50th year as a custom knifemaker. To this date Gil still makes knives in his shop every day in La Grange, KY


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