Cutting stuff with a knife can be fun. It can also be a competition! At BLADE Show 2015, I witnessed my first Bladesports competition (known as a “cut”), the World Championship, which was held in the parking lot of the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta. I was not aware of Bladesports until a few weeks before, but I was hooked.
The competitors are tasked with proceeding through a series of stations in as little time as possible. Lowest time wins. Each successfully completed station will deduct time from your final score. Here is a nice clip showcasing the growing popularity of these events.
The tasks at each station will vary and are designed to test both power, precision and finesse. One station may consist of chopping through a two-by-four, but the next might be slashing through a narrow target zone on hanging rope. One of the most difficult stations I have seen requires the competitor to slice through a drinking straw from top to bottom, without wandering through the side. Most fail – I’ve only seen it done successfully once.
The knives used have to follow a very specific set of rules. The bullet points are basically thus:
- Maximum size is 15” overall length, 10” blade length and a 2” maximum blade width.
- The knife must have a forward lanyard hole and sturdy lanyard to keep the blade from flying off into the crowd. Safety first!
There is no restriction on blade thickness, but this is somewhat self limiting. The blade needs to pull off the precision stuff, so one can only make it so thick. As the sport has evolved, most knives have adopted a cleaver-like shape. There are no stations that require a sharp tip, and this style of blade allows for the most weight at the end of the blade.
Want a competition chopper for yourself? Most competitors use custom made knives. I know Benchmade used to make the 171 that conformed to Bladesports regs, but it is no longer in production.
The National Championship Cut is this weekend in Dallas, TX. If you are around I highly recommend going to see it. It is a good time, and you’ll probably see some big names in the knife industry hanging around. I know L.T. Wright will be there, and Gayle Bradley was a judge at the World Championships last June. I am not a big name myself, but if you are going to be at BLADE Show this year I’ll be hanging around watching the World Cut again. You should too!
To end things, here is a video of cutter Gary Bond at the Jantz Cutting Competition earlier this year. Video from Bladesports Facebook page.