Recently I was made aware that my Back Bite knife by TOPS Knives USA was in fact not the only custom production purpose built Russian Martial Art knife in town. I was made aware of this by custom knife maker Brian Harrison of BFH Knives.
Some time ago Brian was contacted by Shawn Menard of the R.O.S.S Fighting System. Shawn was looking to have a knife produced specifically for the purpose of close quarters combat utilizing the principals of the R.O.S.S method. Shawn came to Brian with some ideas on paper and through further discussion and development a design was devised by Brian that fit the criteria that Shawn was looking for. The result was a unique light weight fast action fighting knife with many great features including a deep bellied blade with a toothy back edge, a handle designed for fast acquisition, versatile manipulation and a skull crushing pommel.
The knife came to be known as the “Tarakans”, a Slavic word for cockroach.
The knife is 9′ oal with a 4′ blade made from ATS-34
The handle is constructed of lacquered canvas micarta for a wood like finish and feel.
The Tarakans ships complete with custom Kydex sheath.
After a bit of discussion with Brian I was sent one of his Tarakans Fighting Knives for review. For me it was an interesting opportunity to see first hand what type of elements an avid Russian Martial Art practitioner and Instructor such as Shawn Menard had in mind for purpose built Russian Martial Art fighting knife and secondly an opportunity to review and ultimately be tremendously impressed by the design and craftsmanship of Brian Harrison.
For some to look at the Tarakans and the Back Bite the difference in style might be seem night and day. However to the Russian Martial Art practitioner with practical application in mind. I was most struck by similarity of the knives in their delivery of combat functional aspects.
The knives differ in over all length by less than an inch and both knives lend themselves particularly well, although not limited to, reverse grip edge out (RGEO) methods. For this purpose the Back Bite incorporates a Wharncliffe back section of blade and the Tarakans incorporates a series of toothy serrations along the spine. Both knives implement these features with the intended purpose of inflicting damage and maximizing the ability to manipulate the target.
Also in the RGEO configuration both knives would achieve similar ends through the extension of the knife towards the target in a striking motion. This is also due to the similarity of configuration. In this case the Back Bite incorporating a concave “strike face” and the Tarakans via its deep recurve belly configuration. The Tarakans configuration transitions smoothly from the deep recurve belly and rounds out in the top third section of the blade, where as the Back Bites recurve strike face comes to a “point” much in the manner of a recurve tanto. Both configurations lend themselves well for the purpose of deep tissue destruction.
Notable also is the nature in which both knives pay particular attention to the matter of retention. In this instance the Tarakans incorperates both flair and function with a rather Cossack Sabre like grip. The Cossack Sabre is a historically significant weapon to the Russian Military tradition. In the Tarakans, its influence can be seen in the curved pommel which incorporates also a modern day skull crushing tip. The curved pommel makes the Tarakans easy to draw from its custom kydex holster and also contributes to the retention of the knife by the operator. The Back Bite incorporates a concave handle section that contributes both to the operators’ ability to retain the knife but also to the ability of the operator to work within the wound channel by acting as a fulcrum for “ratchet” type manipulations.
In the hand both knives are light, fast and lean, the Back Bite being leaner in width and the Tarakans being leaner in both handle and blade thickness.
All in all I was thoroughly impressed with the design and craftsmanship that went into the Tarakans knife and also the features that were incorporated into its design for a very similar purpose, utilizing the knife in the fashion of Russian Martial Art.
The Tarakans Russian Martial Art Knife is available by special order only through Brian Harrison of BFH Knives for – 350.00 USD
*Brian does offer special pricing for active duty service men and women (please inquire).
Brian can be contacted directly at – email@example.com
The Back Bite is available through TOPS Knives USA, MaxVenom.com and other fine retailers via the World Wide Web.
– Stay Alive!
Max Venom Product Group.