Although I am fascinated with all types of knives, combat knives have always held a special interest for me, especially when they reflect the skills, training and experience of a qualified designer. After all, when you’re willing to literally trust your life to a knife, you tend to give it your best effort.
A few months ago, I was looking at an ad from TOPS knives and noticed a knife called the “Prather War Bowie.” Its simple, functional lines immediately caught my eye and piqued my curiosity. After a brief email exchange, one was on its way to me for review. When the knife arrived, I started doing some research on the man behind the design and it all began to make sense. All the design features that drew me to the knife were there for good reasons stemming from a wealth of personal experience and training.
The designer of the Prather War Bowie is Jeffrey Prather, a lifelong martial artist, Special Forces veteran and accomplished instructor. The details of all of Prather’s experience and accomplishments are beyond the scope of this article, but to understand the logic behind the War Bowie’s design, I think it’s important to include some of them here.
Prather has been a practitioner of the Japanese martial arts for 42 years. The primary focus of that study has been ninjutsu, the famed art of the ninja. A shihan (“gentleman example” or “master teacher”) in the Bujinkan organization, he has trained directly under the renowned Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi for 27 years and is one of a handful of 15th-degree black belts in that system.