• Wil Willis
    Wil Willis
    Host
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    As a former Army Ranger and elite para-rescueman with over a decade of service in the Army, Wil has hands on experience with a wide range of weapons in real battle situations. Wil has an extensive involvement in high-risk operations around the world, and understands that a well-designed weapon used properly can make the difference between life and death. Throughout the series, Wil offers invaluable insights about our bladesmith’s weapons from a practical combat-informed perspective. Close
  • J. Neilson
    J. Neilson
    Judge
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    J. Neilson has been making knives for 20 years and is one of the best all-round bladesmiths in the world. This was recognized in 2008 when he achieved the rank of Mastersmith in the American Bladesmith Society, a title held by less than 115 people worldwide. Forging blades professionally from his shop in the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania has made J an expert in "sole authorship" blade-making, a total mastery of every element of weapon design and manufacture. His internationally recognized experience and credentials coupled with his specialty for working in isolation means that no one is better suited to assess the process of solo, edged weapon making. Close
  • David Baker
    David Baker
    Judge
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    David Baker is a world-renowned sword smith who specializes in recreating some of the world’s rarest edged weapons. David is constantly challenging his scholarship of weaponry, researching forgotten techniques and examining world-class collections to ensure his replicas are as close and as functional as the originals. David has been called upon to make weapons that haven’t been seen outside of museums in centuries. He is the go-to guy for accurate replicas from samurai swords to sub-machine guns. With credentials like these, no one can give more insight on the craft of weapon making and what it takes to forge a beautiful piece of historic weaponry, than David Baker. Close
  • Doug Marcaida
    Doug Marcaida
    Judge
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    Doug Marcaida is a hand-to-hand combat specialist who designs some of the world’s deadliest edged weapons. Doug is a highly skilled martial artist who has also studied fighting styles and techniques around the world. From hand-to-hand combat to battlefield strategy, Doug is a walking encyclopedia in the evolution of weapons of war. Doug provides a peerless perspective on the fighting style of weapons, what they were designed for and how they were used, and will be testing the weapons made in the competition. Close
  • Jason Knight
    Jason Knight
    Judge
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    South Carolina’s sole Master Bladesmith, Jason Knight, has been making knives for 15 years. Considered by his peers as one of the most accomplished knife makers in the country, he has amassed numerous awards for his work, including the coveted B.R. Hughes Award for Best Blade by a Mastersmith. Jason employs only the finest materials and meticulous techniques to craft his signature knives, which are highly sought after by hunters, collectors and soldiers around the world. When he’s not working out of his pond-side forge in Harleyville, South Carolina, he’s educating the next frontline of smiths in the art and science of blade-making at colleges and smithing schools nationwide. His unmatched zeal for the nuances of forging make him an exciting new addition to the judging panel. Close