This quote comes from Arcenio James Advincula, who joined forces with custom knifemaker Jim Hammond in 1991 during Desert Storm to create one of the most highly refined fighting knives on the market today. Advincula, a world-renown martial arts instructor and member of the Black Belt Hall of Fame, created the martial arts training program for the United States Marine Corps. With over 66 years experience in the martial arts, with emphasis on their combat application, and his 24 year military service as a USMC Ret. Master Sergeant, Jim Advincula was supremely qualified to both determine the key design components plus show how to apply these combined elements in the ultimate single-purpose fighting knife. Advincula’s concepts meshed with Hammond’s custom tactical knife expertise brought to life the original custom series called "Flesheater™".
The Flesheater is based primarily upon Largo-Mano Escrima and Isshin-Ryu Karate. Advincula, a first-generation student of the founder of Isshin-Ryu Karate, Tatsuo Shimabuku, began studying Escrima in 1946, Isshin-Ryu in 1958, and Hindiandi Kung Fu in 1961.
HANDLE … The unique Flesheater handle facilitates maximum fighting efficiency in four grip positions. The ‘1st Position’ grip wraps the index finger around the lower guard face with the hand moved forward for a compact working grip. ‘2nd Position’ is the close-quarter in-fighting grip with the webbing of the hand choked up against the reverse curved upper guard, allowing the knife to be retained closer to the body for shorter striking distances while also aiding in knife retention. The ‘3rd Position’ is the primary grip, with the hand positioned toward the rear of the handle with the webbing of the hand against the mid-point drop. This grip provides almost two inches of extra reach compared to the ‘2nd Position’ grip, and even more when compared to the forward 1st position. The 3rd Position grip assists in fighting an opponent who maintains distance while the 2nd Position grip provides a shorter grip when an opponent moves in. These two grip positions are instantly interchangeable. In addition with the ‘2nd Position’ grip, the thumb of the left hand can wrap around the exposed reverse hook of the upper guard tip, allowing the palm to lock down upon the serrations along the back of the blade behind the ‘Navarro Hook™’, providing additional leverage, control and protection during a close-quarter reinforced cut. The ‘4th Position’ grip moves the hand to the rear of the handle with the index finger in the rear finger groove. This allows for maximum chopping efficiency and reach.
The key to maximum control and retention with the Flesheater handle lies in the physics of the ‘pinch points’. Its unique handle profile and hourglass contours, combined with these opposing pressure points, virtually lock this knife in your hand unlike any other. The mid-point handle drop on the topside of the handle, about two inches from the guard, combines with the finger grooves and handle contours produce the optimal pinch point combination, the key to the stability of the Flesheater grip.
The sides of the handle are contoured in an hour-glass shape for comfort and control in the hand. The front of the handle is flared outward to help serve as a stop for the hand in the forward grip positions. The stainless steel tubing lined holes in the handle aid in grip stability and provide for lashing capability if needed.
In addition, the angle of the handle to the blade creates a stronger and properly aligned thrust axis, preventing the need for the wrist to be turned down more (which weakens it) in order to bring the point of the knife into proper alignment, as is needed with straighter knives.
BLADE … Beyond the grip, there are numerous design elements that combine to reach the level of excellence achieved by the Flesheater. The blade length on the Flesheater is 9.0". During the design process, the question was posed to Advincula, “How long should the blade length be?” He replied, “At least one inch longer than your opponent’s, but short enough to be carried without regard for the additional weight or bulk.” This length selected was for optimal blade efficiency and reach with exceptional cutting/chopping capabilities that exceed those of shorter blade length knives. The Flesheater has performed superbly in traditional Japanese Battado cutting tests (tameshigiri), using the rolled tatami mats, which is customarily done using the much larger katana size samurai swords.
The blade is .250” (¼”) thick and incorporates a full tapered tang. The main lower grind is hollow-ground with a 5” radius; the top grind is hollow-ground with a 2” radius.
The lower guard tip has a serrated face for added grip purchase and the cut-out choil ahead of the lower guard face facilitates added grip control when the hand is moved forward with the index finger wrapped around the lower guard tip in the ‘1st Position’ grip. This choil also has a specialized function when used to defend against someone with a knife. This cut-out can both engage, lock out or redirect against another blade while also serving as a gouge to lock, redirect or help neutralize the hand or wrist of an opposing aggressor.
Unlike upper guard tips on most other knives which are either vertical or canted forward for a fencer’s grip, the unique upper guard tip on the Flesheater curves backwards for two very important reasons. First, it curves toward the rear for optimal alignment and support for the webbing of the hand with the 1st and 2nd position grips. In a defensive role against another knife, the reverse curving upper guard face serves to deflect off of an opponent’s knife guard, redirecting their move to the outside of their initial track while at the same time allowing the Flesheater to glance off in a fluid, continuing motion forward along the initial axis of the thrust, allowing for both protection and continuation at the same time.
The Flesheater blade features a reverse curved lower edge. This edge design tends to “cut through” and maintain edge contact better than a straight edge. This flowing curve also adds to the serious look of the knife. The point is aligned for proper position along the axis of the thrust. The offset top edge of the Flesheater incorporates a double-step design, serving as a median between the spear and clip points. This styling allows for proper blade geometry in both grind configuration and retained point strength.
The feature at the rear of the top grind is called the “Navarro Hook™,” named for one of Advincula’s first instructors, Tony Navarro, who was a Filipino Scout. Navarro filed several barbs or hooks into the edge of the top grind of his combat knife. A person may not realize they’ve been cut by an extremely sharp knife so the design purpose for the hook is to catch and snag like a fish hook barb, for a more engaging contact with a back cut.
The flat section on the blade back between the Navarro Hook™ and the guard face has a ‘capture cavity groove’ with serrations just aft of the Navarro Hook™. The ‘capture cavity groove’ is a deeply hollow-ground channel down this blade area that provides lateral stability for the palm of the secondary hand as the heel of the hand presses down into it. The serrations help to provide additional stability for the hand when near the Navarro Hook™. This area allows the secondary hand to be positioned and stabilized along the top of the blade with the thumb wrapped around the upper guard tip to reinforce a close-quarter cutting stroke.
The overall length of the Flesheater is 14.0” with the handle designed for minimal length with maximum control. The shorter length enables the Isshin-Ryu modified hammer grip to be used without excess handle protruding from the back of the hand, allowing the hand and handle to rotate through close quarter contact without interference. Excess length in the pommel area can aid an opponent in neutralizing the range of motion of the knife hand plus aids in disarming one of the knife.
SHEATH … The basic Flesheater sheath is of .093” black kydex material with rivet closure around the perimeter, an upper set of tension adjustment screws, a lower rear drain hole and an enclosed belt loop with a 1.5” opening.
Optional features include the use of Molle-Lok carry mounts in two carry configurations: civilian and military. Molle-Loks were designed for mounting gear in various carrying positions on the PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System) grid on either side of the torso on a modular operator plate carrier vest and any PALS grid adapted MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) gear. The military ML mount positions two Molle-Loks on an offset panel precisely spaced 1.5” apart to fit into the PALS webbing grid. The civilian ML mount places one Molle-Lok on each side up top along the sheath perimeter for carry on belts or webbing.
Other kydex colors, digital pattern choices and sheath mounting options are available upon request, as well as a leather tri-positional combat sheath. Refer to the ‘Sheaths’ page of the website for current selection and details.
Other optional and custom features may include screw closure down the perimeter for complete field stripping of the sheath, a one-sided breakaway sheath opening for specialized deployment, figure-8 shoulder-rig set ups, and a quick-release drop leg carry configuration. A custom ‘UTAC™’ (“Under-the-arm-carry) feature along with secondary retention method attachments may also become available. Inquire for current details.
Collector grade versions of the Flesheater are also available. Click on the collector grade pop-up window on this page for an example of one.
For additional information please review the various design and application videos for the Flesheater Design Group on the website, many of which feature Arcenio Advincula.
The Flesheater played a major role in the 1994 action novel, The Reckoning, by James Byron Huggins. One editor said, “This book does for knife fighting what Tom Clancy did for submarine warfare.”
The techniques upon which these knives are based have been born and perfected in the crucible of combat, not in the context of contests. The Flesheater™ knife/sheath combination is as specialized and researched a fighting knife design as can be found anywhere. When coupled with the highly refined knife fighting techniques of A.J. Advincula, the Flesheater™ is a superlative knife of choice. The Flesheater Design Group comprises highly refined edged tools that should be integrated into a specialized defense training system, designed for those warriors at the tip of the spear whose special training and skills demand nothing less than the best.