The OFFICIAL Pygmy Warrior discussion thread...

Discuss Spyderco's products and history.
Greg Walker
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Postby Greg Walker » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:50 pm

Postscript -

In 1980, Randy Wanner sent a very polite letter to the Echanis Family offering he and Bob Taylor were interested in seeing the "Echanis Warrior" produced as a commemorative knife in Mike's memory.

Randy referred Mr. and Mrs. Echanis to Bob Taylor, then living and working in Grants Pass, Oregon.

They declined responding to the project favorably although Mrs. Echanis did talk with Bob Taylor by phone. At that time, according to notes taken by Mrs. Echanis, Taylor described a book with the working title "The Knife" - about the "Echanis Warrior" - being on the drawing table. The discussion included asking the family if MDE's name could be used / put on the blade of the "Echanis Warrior" in conjunction with the book.

With the loss of her son still foremost on her mind the family had already suffered a number of "invitations" and requests to see Mike's name and image formally associated with a product in one form or another. They declined all such inquiries. "The Knife" and the "Echanis Warrior" project for Randy Wanner and Bob Taylor could not move forward without the Echanis Family's support and official endorsement. They respected the family's wishes. The evolving design became simply "The Warrior".

It was interesting to learn from Randy that it is he and Mike Echanis are featured on the cover of Black Belt Magazine's June 1977 issue (Brothers of the Ninja/Warriors of the Night". I'd always thought it was MDE and Chuck but Randy clarified otherwise. He is also the aggressor in the "Garrote Defense" article (Pages 18 and 19) with Echanis demonstrating the HWD neck breaking technique.
GW

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Postby Pinetreebbs » Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:44 pm

Thank you for posting the history lesson Greg Walker.
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sal
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Postby sal » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:12 am

Thanx much for the history Greg.

Although I think I should point out that the driving force of the actual Warrior pieces made from the beginning and up until now was actually Bob and Christina Taylor. The early protos, the many customs, the Al Mar piece and subsequent pieces would not have happened were it not for Bob and Christina's blood, sweat and tears. The Pygmy, the folder and the "Hobbit" warrior that we're considering are the designs and CQI of the Taylors.

The current H1 Warrior model is a deviation created by Guy Rafaeli, but future models will be done with the Taylors. Our goal is to keep the original concept and lineage moving forward.

sal

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Postby Greg Walker » Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:11 pm

Historically it would be fair to say that the original concept / design came about via Randy Wanner/Chuck Sanders and Mike Echanis during that week in LA as described.

Wanner carried it forward as MDE/Sanders were absorbed in many other efforts and projects to include Echanis/Sanders seeking to finish the final 6 books in the O'Hara series, Echanis' ongoing columns for Soldier of Fortune and the firearm disarms book he was in the early stages of putting together with Omega/SOF. Add the national security associated contract work he and Chuck undertook in Nicaragua where Randy was scheduled to join them until the air crash occurred and you have many, many irons in the fire for this trio.

Certainly, and as I've noted formally in past published writings on the Warrior (Paladin Press, Fighting Knives Magazine and the Soldier of Forune "Battle Blades" column for example), Bob Taylor's friendship and then partnership with Wanner kept the concept alive and evolving for many years before Al Mar came to produce the knife under the AMK "chop".

I am in agreement with Randy had Al not taken on the project and provided the initial funding ($20K for the handle mold alone) it would have sat on the back burner with Randy and Bob for years more or simply faded away. It was 1989 when Mar believed he was ready to see the knife go into production. It had been on the drawing board, beginning in LA nearly 20 years earlier. "If it weren't for Al, the knife never would have been made," confirmed Wanner in 1993. "He put a tremendous amount of time and money into the project." (Battle Blades, Paladin Press, 1993).

Sheathwise, again in 1993, the following observation was made. "The Warrior's sheath is an all-leather affair with single strap 'n snap security system present. The extra-wide belt loop allow the knife to be attached to the military web belt with ease. This is one battle blade I'd like to see in a Kydex combat scabbard, and the potential buyer is advised to follow up on this suggestion."

Of course custom Kydex sheathware was in its early stages at that time but Bob Taylor did pursue a single source (Jim Sastre) for such sheathware and individual custom scabbards from Tim Wegner, founder of BladeTech, were likewise available as Kydex began to become a popular alternative to leather / Cordura.

Older folks out there may recall the first publicity about the knife in the major knife rags appeared in Soldier of Fortune and Fighting Knives. The covers of both "Battle Blades" and "The Training of a Knife Fighter" from Paladin Press featured the AMK Warrior. At the time my role in working with Al was to promote this new concept and design as much and as widely as possible. Al was assigning the Army's Special Forces mystique to the project (as seen in the original AMK packaging). First and foremost Mar needed to recoup his tooling investment so packaging, marketing and advertising were essential.

This included the 1992 Soldier of Fortune convention where AMK sponsored Randy and Bob's Warrior training seminar which I participated in. As I recall it was the only such seminar given with both Randy and Bob present to instruct. Bob Brown at SOF owns a Warrior given to him, I believe, by Bob Taylor (shadow boxed with white handle) and Brown, who was very close to Al, helped promote not only Mar and AMK at every opportunity but the Warrior when it first came out.

As I stated in "Battle Blades" - "Only the custom knife maker would have dared to attempt its production, and even then only the most daring could be called upon to undertake the project. As a blade design far ahead of its time where mass-manufacturing was concerned, the Warrior required the talent and foresight of someone like Al Mar...Al Mar Knives, through its reputation for innovation and high quality specialty cutlery, was able to rely upon a solid network of superior craftsmen to see the Warrior taken into production. Today, through the efforts of an entire cutlery network made up of dreamers, designers, makers and manufacturers, the ultimate battle blade is available to the serious combat professional."

In short, the Warrior was a teamwork effort in every respect.

It survived because teams survive where individuals (and individual efforts) fail (Old SF saying).

The Warrior is a fascinating history where the cast of characters, twists and turns and sometimes sheer craziness is not found in any other modern combat knife's design.

Spyderco will do a great job with future Warriors, of this there is no doubt.
GW

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Postby Greg Walker » Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:53 pm

Sal -

As the new year prepares to come about I'd like to thank you personally for the wonderful open forum discussions regarding anything and everything surrounding the Warrior.

At my end the heartfelt work in conjunction with the Echanis Family and friends of Chuck Sanders and Bobby Nguyen is now realized. Where the Warrior knife is a part of the overall narrative of Mike Echanis and Chuck Sanders it is truly a very small data point in their collective story although an important one.

A story now much clearer and more fully researched and documented than prior to now. I trust what I have shared with you and Mike Janich both privately and on the public forum has been helpful as the Warrior brochure is updated.

As I've seen / heard several questionable things during this journey I'd like to clarify my position for the record on your wonderful forum.

There was never an Intent, Need or Desire on my part to in any way benefit or profit from this association with the Echanis Family. And I have not. In fact, my personal investment in time, energy, travel and so on was fairly substantial as the Echanis Family knows.

There is a sad little rumor out there that I'm involved in seeing a knife project come about with Echanis' name officially associated with it. This is glaringly untrue and representative of the caliber of bottom feeders who seem to consistently gnaw at the bones of Mike Echanis for reasons known only to themselves.

As I shared with you when we visited in Golden the Echanis Family, should they make a firm decision regarding a legacy book about Mike, have offered their interest in having me help them with such a project. As I have shared with them should this occur I'd be happy to but not for personal profit. Any form of royalty, as seen in the example set by Bob Taylor and Randy Wanner regarding the Spyderco Warrior, will be donated by me to my preferred non-profit organization, the Green Beret Foundation.

"No Fallen Comrade Left Behind" is more than a cliche saying to me.

As always, my sincere thanks and appreciation is extended to you.

I'd like to close this with a story about you that I believe, until now, only you and I know. It speaks volumes about you and your character, in my opinion.

When Fighting Knives Magazine came to an end I contacted you. I offered you should discontinue sending me the #24 of your marked knives as I could do nothing more for Spyderco. Your reply, as I best recall, was you enjoyed sharing with me in this manner and what I could or could not do for your business was not affected by this gentleman's gesture on your part. Still, I reaffirmed I'd be more comfortable if you'd honor my request and you did so. That is the kind of class act you are - and always have been since I met you through Al Mar so many years ago.

I do have one remaining #24 from those days. It is my all black Endura, a Spyderco folder I've carried for years now and most recently while a law enforcement officer here in Oregon (prior to my retirement). It has an honored place in my Spyderco collection - specifically in light of the above recollection.

Good fortune with the Warrior as you and Bob Taylor see it evolve into a new generation of high quality, special purpose close quarters fighting knife. I look forward to obtaining a Pigmy Warrior when they become available and certainly the full size Wanner/Taylor model when it hits the shelves :) .

PS: I think I'm going to start a OFFICIAL Sifu thread on the forum next...that will be one fine Mega Folder once Spyderco can bring it to market :spyder:

Respectfully,

Greg
GW

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Postby Greg Walker » Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:04 pm

On Sunday, December 29th, Mrs. Patricia Echanis peacefully passed away at her home in Ontario, Oregon. Rest in peace, Pat, rest in peace.
GW

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Postby Mike Sastre » Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:25 am

The thing with history is that it needs to be correct. I'll address the sheath side 'cause that's my ballpark and my name was mentioned. BTW it is Mike, not Jim. Totally agree that the Warrior design and purpose is best served with a kydex/Concealex combat scabbard. The very first sheaths provided did have a wide belt loop with some drop, that would fit a pistol belt, but Taylor thought the design was unacceptable for the way the knife would be used, so immediately sent some Warriors to Tex Shoemaker (If memory serves me right) for a better design. Samples were sent to Ann Mar, and that is the sheath that is most associated with the Warrior - a high ride leather sheath, best suited for a 1 3/4" belt. Looks like you might fit a pistol belt through the loop, but it is way too tight to do so without a hell of a fight. I have examples of each. While I have made countless sheaths for all variations of the Warrior design (excepting the Shadow Warrior) on an individual custom basis, I have never made the sheath for any of the production Warrior variations. Those were other people, not me as a single source. My first official involvement with REKAT was with the Pikuni, an outstanding little fixed blade. It was a Rob Simonich design, REKAT's execution in D2E, and my sheath (more custom than production). I did provide some of my HD breakfronts for the Pocket Hobbit when REKAT donated some to the 75th Rangers Association. Round Eye was going to produce the Gaijan Warrior (full size to original specs - AM version was overbuilt), and I did make custom sheaths for each of the prototypes. The Gaijan was same size, but quicker and faster than the AM. Those that wound up with them are lucky. Had that project gone past the prototype stage, mine would have been the sheaths provided. Last thing I did for REKAT was sheaths for the 3 prototype Pygmy Warriors. I'm very glad to see Spyderco keeping the Warrior concept alive and looking forward to getting their version of the Pygmy.

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Postby Michael Janich » Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:49 am

Greg Walker wrote:On Sunday, December 29th, Mrs. Patricia Echanis peacefully passed away at her home in Ontario, Oregon. Rest in peace, Pat, rest in peace.
I'm very sorry to hear of Mrs. Echanis' passing. My deepest sympathies to the Echanis family. May she rest in peace.

Respectfully,

Mike
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Founder and Lead Instructor, Martial Blade Concepts

Greg Walker
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Postby Greg Walker » Tue Dec 31, 2013 9:52 pm

Mike -

We might agree the thing about history is that it is a collective effort to correct.

No one individual has the complete and accurate accounting of an event or series of events. Just their moments of seeing these events occur through their individual prism at the moment. If we spark each other with our postings with the intention of furnishing a more accurate and interesting account of, in this case the Warrior knife design/concept, then we are succeeding.

Love your insight!

Yes, the original sheathware was designed for carry on the traditional U.S. military load bearing harness of that time.

Much as the initial Cordura/plastic inset sheath for the Spyderco Warrior is designed for similar carry today.

The widest projected consumer market (the U.S. military) was necessary to appeal to and that's what Al did. Sal is doing no differently with his rendition. Quality leatherwork was likewise expensive but it was an aspect of the total product Al did not cut corners on. Again, it was Al's funding capability that fueled the project and that funding - as with any business investment - needed to be recouped as swiftly as possible once the knife became available. The Warrior is very much a niche knife -as opposed to the original SERE fixed blade, for example, that became an enormous seller and paid for itself from the onset.

Best of all Al ensured Randy and Bob were paid a royalty.

Yes, there was a huge frustation with Taylor/Wanner regarding U Sakai's European distribution and sales of the knife. I was privy to that mess via Al and later Ann. Al was both blessed and cursed with his association with Sakai. For example, when Al would visit Japan he would often help aspiring knife designers with observations and sketches. He did not ask for or recieve a fee for these "open houses with Al Mar". He later discovered Sakai made it a practice of sending "aspiring designers" whose task it was to ask Al questions and encourage him to draw his thoughts on paper for them...which they dutifully turned over to Sakai upon leaving.

Certainly orders for custom Kydex scabbards coming in from Europe, for example, gave a reasonable accounting of perhaps how many bootleg Warriors were streaming directly from Japan to markets other than Al's U.S. clients. The Warrior was not the only such AMK product done wrong in this way - and there were knives bearing the AMK "chop" Al had no design involvement in. He was bedeviled with this problem up until the time of his death.

Note: Today mainland China happily knocks off anything and everybody with little recourse for those whose designs end up on the cloning table. For example, I saw knock off Warriors in downtown Baghdad in '04 at street stalls selling all sorts of bladeware. Saw it again in Irbil, Kurdistan (that particular knock off was of pretty nice quality!). A close friend of mine with multiple tours in Afghanistan has seen it there. China makes Japan's sleight of hand overseas sales pale in comparison and will continue to do so.

Tex Shoemaker had long been Mar's sheathmaker of choice when it came to leatherwork for his many designs, folding and fixed blade. It would be natural for Shoemaker, through AMK, to offer a follow on sheath system for the AMK Warrior if asked to by Al or Ann, the latter who took control of the company after Al's sad and unexpected passing.

You are absolutely correct in stating the high ride sheath was not user friendly pistol belt wise.

Given all that was packed on an infantryman's LBE the tight and, in my professional experience awkward / uncomfortable position of the high ride (near any high ride) sheath, did not encourage this option. If you went through the challenge of getting it on to the pistol belt to begin with. The immense width and length of the knife with the truly massive and angled pommel piece dug into the rib cage when running, crawling, jumping and other activities associated with the infantry. It was not swift in the draw due to its high ride, overly tight body positioning.

Gerber Knives sheathed the Mark II in a drop sheath with pistol belt hook (like the original 1911 .45 auto military holster) for just this reason. Even that early leather sheath could be mounted on the shoulder harness comfortably. The introduction of the Bianchi clip system as seen in the M9 military holster eased large knife mounting on LBE/LCE later on.

Frankly, both Bob T and Randy W were very, very fortunate Al took the project on. For all the behind the scenes "unhappiness" with this, that and the other thing sent in Al and Ann's way throughout the course of the effort I don't know if the unneeded and unwanted excessive frustation was worth it for Al, in particular. Bottom Line Up Front - Taylor/Wanner needed AMK at the time - AMK did not need the Warrior Knife.

When the Gaijan proto became available Taylor sent me one. I loved it and told him so. When he needed it back I sent it to him ASAP. I covered REKAT and its products quite a bit in Fighting Knives Magazine - and favorably - a carry over from the Warrior's production beginnings with Al. I loved the Hobbit and it showed in FK's coverage. As a matter of fact I believe we featured a Hobbit on a cover once - that's my recollection at least. REKAT sales and the company's positive promotion did not suffer under my editorship and FK broke ground for additional coverage elsewhere.

That, too, is part of the Warrior's history.

Finally, I apologize for getting your first name wrong. Thank you for correcting me :) .
GW

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Postby sal » Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:24 pm

While there is mfg history overseas, suffice it to say that Mr. Sakai was heavily involved in the production of the Al Mar Warrior and it would not have happened without his involvement as well. Mr. Sakai also provided much of the financing for tooling and production. Everyone was younger then and things might have rolled our differently if done today.

Suffice it to say that the development of this concept involved many fine people for it to happen. Mr. Rafaeli spurred the concept with his own version of the Warrior, Spyderco decided the concept deserved more attention than "another model". Kudos to Bob Taylor and Mike Janich for their efforts in the resurrection and thanx to Geg Walker, and Mike Sastre for their memory and input. Also thanx to collectors that provided us with models and photos.

The first run of Pygmy's are being blackened at this time. Sheaths are being produced in Boltaron. The folder is being Spyderized and Bob's digging up his latest "Hobbit" Warrior design, for possible production. Mike has updated the Warrior Path booklet to include the Pygmy (and make corrections from newer input). Upward and onward.

sal

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Postby Stuart Ackerman » Wed Jan 01, 2014 2:38 pm

Antici.................................................................................................pation...

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Postby Greg Walker » Wed Jan 01, 2014 7:20 pm

Cheers! :)
GW

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Postby JohnAPA » Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:17 pm

Knife Center says my order has been shipped!

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Postby Greg Walker » Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:12 am

Just ordered mine from Howe's - $179.00 + shipping - they have two left in stock :D
GW

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Postby Liquid Cobra » Sat Jun 28, 2014 11:38 am

Knifeworks has these on sale for $165.
Most recently acquired: Paramilitary 2 Tanto, YoJUMBO, Swayback, Siren, DLC Yojimbo 2, Native Chief, Shaman S90V, Para 3 LW, Ikuchi, UKPK, Smock, SUBVERT, Amalgam, Para 3 CTS-XHP, Kapara, Paramilitary 2 M390
Grail Paramilitary 2 M390 X 2! ACHIEVED!!

For more of my pictures see my Instagram account.
@liquid_cobra

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Postby JohnAPA » Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:11 am

Greg Walker wrote:Just ordered mine from Howe's - $179.00 + shipping - they have two left in stock :D
That's an awesome price!

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Postby Liquid Cobra » Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:02 am

Thanks for sharing this pic! How are you liking it?
Most recently acquired: Paramilitary 2 Tanto, YoJUMBO, Swayback, Siren, DLC Yojimbo 2, Native Chief, Shaman S90V, Para 3 LW, Ikuchi, UKPK, Smock, SUBVERT, Amalgam, Para 3 CTS-XHP, Kapara, Paramilitary 2 M390
Grail Paramilitary 2 M390 X 2! ACHIEVED!!

For more of my pictures see my Instagram account.
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Postby JohnAPA » Sun Jun 29, 2014 1:41 pm

Liquid Cobra wrote:Thanks for sharing this pic! How are you liking it?
If you are into reverse grip, edge out, knife fighting it absolutely rocks. It fills up my hand and the deep finger grooves makes it feel like it isn't going anywhere. When I carry it like the pic shows (I'm pretty sure this is how Michael Janich describes Bob Taylor's preferred carry method in the book he wrote - I posted the pic for him on the closed MBC forum, but I haven't heard from him yet) with my T-shirt untucked, just the glass breaker / skull crushed protrudes beneath the bottom of my T-shirt. I wore inside the grocery store today and no-one gave it, nor will they give it a second glance.

I tried every conceivable carry configuration and this is the only one that works.

It was dull out of the box, but 5 minutes on the Sharp Maker had it with a good sticky-on-the-thumbnail edge.

It would recommend it, but only if you are prepared to carry as shown, or perhaps on a plate carrier, or have a custom sheath made, or can imagine some other carry method. It's too long to carry horizontally and the finger choils are too pointy and ruff to carry vertically against my skin.

You can see the glass breaker with the hole through barely protruding under my shirt, it's kind of hard to see in the shadow of my pocket. You can also see the clip of my ASP P16 in my right back pocket.

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Postby Mike Sastre » Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:50 pm

Bob Taylor's carry is more vertical than angled. First time I saw him carry this way was with an 8-9" guardless Warrior he calls the "Stealth Warrior". He deployed that from underneath a sports coat at one of the shows we were both at, and surprised the heck out of me. Naturally I had to see how he was carrying it. It was vertical with the curve of the blade/sheath just about matching the curve of his back, so it was invisible. If you leave the G-Clip on as it came from the factory, thread it on your belt, the handle will ride a little higher, and you can bring the unit a little more forward so the curve follows your body, and it will be even more concealable than how you have it now. We are all a little different though, so do what suits you best.

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Postby v8r » Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:44 pm

I played with one at a knife shop yesterday and was impressed with it. It's cool that you can tailor it to your hand size as well. It looks like you could customize it with handmade scales rather easily as well.
My only question is that in Texas we cannot have a knife with a sharpened top edge. It technically has saw teeth instead of the serrated top edge of the full size Warrior so would it be considered a sharpened top edge in the eyes of the law? To me it would not, but you never know.
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