Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Monkey Fist

Image Source: Troy Criswell
The History of the Monkey Fist
Self-defense essential or handy lanyard? YES.

            You have all seen them. Sometimes with spikes, sometimes a ball bearing, probably at the end of the lanyard; the Monkey fist has a rich history rooted in practicality at sea. Sometimes seen as a self-defense gimmick today, it can be easy to forget where the Monkey Fist came from and some of the practical applications it possesses. I am here to show you a little about this historical knot and explain how it can be useful to more people than simply your friendly neighborhood ninja.

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            Like many historical knots, the Monkey Fist began at sea as a way to ease the impossibly hard lives of sailors. The Monkey Fist was traditionally tied at the end of a light weight ‘heaving’ line to enable the sailor to easily throw it on shore or to another boat. The knot was frequently wrapped around a rock or a piece of wood to add weight to make it easier to throw. This simple knot actually significantly changed the lives of sailors, because they had previously been subject to working with heavy, extremely cumbersome ropes that were difficult to throw.

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 Naturally, sailors saw the dual-capacity of the Monkey Fist to also be a weapon, calling it the ‘Slungshot.’ Surprisingly effective, the Slungshot was on a much shorter length of rope than the Monkey Fist and was tied around the hand, similar to the way in which many people wield their Paracord Monkey Fist today. The Slungshot continued to be adapted to fit its surroundings because of its simplicity and was used widely by organized crime up until the depression era; variations included the infamous ‘Black Jack.’

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Modern applications of the Monkey Fist are as varied as its history. Today, a Monkey Fist can be found wedged in the crack of rock face for a climber, falling from a plane as parachute pull or simply lying in someone’s purse. The great versatility of the Monkey Fist is what makes it such a great knot that really allows the creator to be highly unique. Whether spikes and golf ball are your inclination or you have a proclivity for steel ball bearings, the Monkey Fist is easy to make your own. The Monkey Fist has also never been easier to tie or customize, check out our jigs and ball bearings to get started today!
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Author’s Note: The Monkey Fist is also said to get its name from the way a Monkey Strikes