Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Review: ZU Bladeworx - Floro Fighting Systems Knife
As first seen on Breach Bang & Clear....
One of my good friends let me know, ll beaming smiles and swagger, that he had landed a beauty of a knife, in the ZU Bladeworx Floro Fighting Systems Knife, and was kind enough to lend it, and its accompanying trainer, for me to put together a review. Now, I'm a firm believer in having the right tool for the job, and also in having a fine, rugged and dependable blade to hand when the need arises. As it turns out, I had already been eyeing off one of the other ZU Bladeworx knives, so this was an excellent opportunity.
The Floro Fighting Systems is a system of edged weapon combat and defence that is reported to be not only simple to learn, but one of the most effective systems of self defence available today. I've not had the pleasure to attend any of their training, but the friend of mine who lent me the blade suggests they are fully legitimate.
Billed as efficient, direct and immediate, FFS is one of the very few styles that is still based on the blade, and is used by civilians and members of the military, and law enforcement agencies worldwide.
Reported to have over 30 years of experience, Floro has instructed internationally: US Special Forces, Korean Special Forces, various SWAT teams, and the New Zealand Police and nationally members of the Australian Federal Police and Military have individually sought private instruction. So, it seems the FFSK comes from a pretty grounded fighting system, so you'd expect their blade to back that up.
The blade itself is a karambit style knife, blended with a far straighter blade shape than those of the 5.11 Tactical Tarani CUB or the HHA-LFK01 far more like the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife.
The FFSK is 235mm (9.25") long, 100mm (4.5") of which is double edged, hollow ground blade. The blade comes to a very severe point. A deep fuller ground into the middle of the blade lends rigidity as well as dropping the weight. Be very aware of the legal ramifications of your knife ownership and carry ramifications.
The 10mm (0.4") thick blade is cut from a single billet of A2 steel which has been double tempered and cryo treated to a RC58 hardness. The blade itself has been ground down to be 6.5mm (0.25") thick and a couple of holes have been drilled in the handle both to reduce weight and to add lashing cords should they be desired. It weighs in at around 200g (7oz) which is (33% lighter than the other ZU knives, the Punisher and 14% lighter than the Ghost), so it's a lean, mean fighting machine, Cerakoted in sniper gray.
The large ring at the butt end of the knife, in keeping with traditional karambit design generally being for the index finger to fit through. This can be used not only to retain the knife, but also as an impact weapon, to add force to a punch or as a hammering attack.
I was told that the Floro fighting system has a lot of punching style strikes, which seems to fit nicely with the traditional butt-ring acting as a knuckle duster, and the forwards sweep of the blade presents the edges for slashing or stabbing strikes nicely.
The blade comes with a kydex sheath which includes a clipping belt loop, and offers a snug fit for the bade, and is adjustable for left or right hand draws, it is set up to wear horizontally.
This is the official knife of the Ray Floro Fighting Systems syllabus and ships frighteningly sharp, sharpened in-house by "Dirty Harry", with the blade being designed and built in Australia. Even though I am unfamiliar with this kind of knife style the blade is very nicely balanced in the hand, and certainly feels like something you don't want to mess with. I can't say I like the cant of the blade, personally, but I can certainly see the intent behind it.
One other thing that I was both surprised and concerned about was that the accompanying trainer is really quite sharp. The Benchmade SOCB CQB trainer was weighted exactly the way the live-edge blade was made, but was fully blunted for some pretty serious full-speed stabbing and slashing action. The ZU trainer only weighs 60g, made of anodised aluminium but is every bit as pointy as the live-edge blade. I wouldn't want to do any training with this any faster than I would with the live blade. I'll leave that to Grand Masters and Jedi alike.
That all said, this is a fine knife and it certainly appears to be very purposefully designed, bearing the ZU Bladeworx "sterile" appearance and no-frills rugged design. If you're likely to be using a Filipino inspired style of knife combat, you might well be interested in this blade.