A&M-Commerce Student Competes on History Channel’s “Knife or Death” Show

The History Channel selected Simon Alviar, an A&M-Commerce senior industrial engineering student, to compete in the second season of its popular show “Knife or Death.”  Simon auditioned for the show at the suggestion of his uncle, a master smith, who offered to craft a knife for Simon to use on the show.  Simon jumped at the opportunity.

After reaching out to a recruiter, Simon began the audition process. The show's producers liked the story surrounding Simon and his uncle—the story of an elite master smith forging a knife for his nephew, a former weapons specialist in the United States Marine Corps. After a series of interviews, Simon was selected to compete on the show.

Each episode of “Knife or Death” features a group of contestants who slice their way through challenging obstacles. In past episodes, contestants have been required to cut through flying watermelons, ice blocks and even metal. According to Simon, “Knife or Death” is unique because contestants can use any type of knife. “It's totally open,” Simon said. “In other competitions, you might have restrictions on what you can bring. In this competition, there's no limit on what you can bring. You can bring a sword or you can bring a kitchen knife.”

However, each contestant is allowed to use only one knife. “You don't know what the obstacles are going to be, so hopefully you choose the right tool for the job. It's kind of a gamble on the knife that you bring because with a heavier blade you gain more force in cutting objects, but you also lose speed and maneuverability of your blade. So, it's give and take,” Simon stated.

As promised, Simon's uncle crafted a knife for Simon to use on the show. Simon describes his competition knife as “this big, wicked-looking double-hander named Olga.” Simon and Olga trained for months, slicing through dead chickens, five-gallon buckets filled with sand, and boards, including a 2×4 that he eventually learned to slice in two with a single blow. “You have to cut a variety of objects because you don't know what you're going to encounter in competition,” Simon explained.

On his assigned competition day, Simon was filled with nervous energy. “You're looking down the course, and everyone's watching you. All the cameras are on you, and it's dark. It's just the lights of the course you see ahead of you, and you just get this innate adrenaline buzz,” Simon recalled.

According to Simon, his competition day included two parts: All of the contestants participated in the Knife Fight portion, and the top two performers went head-to-head in the Dead Run competition. The winner of Dead Run will move on to the championship episode at the end of the season. “They accumulate all of the winners from all of the episodes and then the last episode is basically the exact same thing again but kind of on steroids. All of the objects are larger,” said Simon. The final episode will feature a championship competition where the grand prize winner will receive $20,000 and the prized title of Forged in Fire: Knife or Death Champion.

New episodes of “Knife or Death” air on Wednesday nights at 10/9C. Simon will likely be featured in Episode 8 on November 21. He encourages the A&M-Commerce community to tune in and cheer him on to victory.