Should I buy a trainer / should I tape my blade?
Trainers and blade taping are an ongoing debate between balisong or bali – song of all levels. Proponents of blade taping or using trainers argue that to avoid serious injury one should practice difficult moves first with a trainer before moving on to a live blade. Others argue that using a live blade will force the balisong to focus more on the manipulation and using a trainer or a taped blade may cause a person to become lax when they move on to a live blade. Some things to remember are that if you do buy a balisong with a live blade, you can always tape the blade to allow you to use it as a trainer (but be careful, the tip will still be sharp), but allow you to easily revert it back to its original state while a trainer will always be a trainer unless you swap out the blade. It really comes down to personal preference. Situations vary and you must make your own decisions.
Where can I buy a balisong bali – song trainer...?
There are many places where one can purchase a balisong. These include brick and mortar stores, Internet dealers, knife shows, flea markets and of auction sites such as eBay. If purchasing a balisong from eBay, keep in mind that eBay regulations do not allow butterfly knives (and switchblades) with blades of more than two inches so auctions may be closed unexpectedly. There are Internet dealers will generally have better prices than brick and mortar stores, though there is much to be said about being able to handle the knife before purchasing it (be aware that shopowners may not let you flip a balisong before purchasing). When buying from an Internet dealer, also note that many will not ship bali – song or balisongs to the state of California due to their laws (or internationally for that matter). On a related note, people will often ask where to buy certain difficult to find models. Being that most of the Benchmade balisong line has been discontinued, certain models are becoming harder and harder to find with people more reluctant to share their sources. The best thing to do is to try searching the Internet via an Internet search engine for specific models, keeping an eye on auction sites and posting "Wanted to Buy Ads" on Internet forums. If you are diligent (and have the money), you will be able to find what you are looking for.
Are balisongs legal in...?
Unfortunately, this question rarely has a definite answer. Bernard Levine has a site that compiles knife laws from all 50 states here, but reading the law and interpreting the law are two different things. Some states explicity state the balisong (more commonly listed as "butterfly knives") are illegal in the particular state, but oftentimes they are not mentioned in the state's knife laws at all, or are listed in a vague manner. You must also consider that state laws can be different than those of individual cities within that state. So while a balisong may be legal in the state, city laws may prohibit them. Speaking with an attorney about the laws in your area would be the best course of action to determine the legality of a balisong in your area, but is still not a foolproof ruling since the law can often be interpreted differently to different people.
How long do I need to practice before I get good at flipping?
This question gets asked a lot, but the only real answer to this is that it depends on the individual. Some people have a knack for flipping a balisong and some people do not. Most people can pick up the basic moves rather quickly, but tend to take longer with the more advanced techniques. Concentrate on mastering the basic techniques before moving to the advanced ones and don't rush it. As long as you practice then you will get it eventually. It's up to you to decide how much time you can devote to practicing, which will determine how long it takes you to get proficient at "flipping."