Thursday, September 21, 2023

The Untold Truth of ‘Forged in Fire’ Star

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As fascinating as Discovery Channel shows can be, it’s rare that you come across a series that explores something so potentially lethal. “Forged in Fire” not only follows the creation of blades of all shapes, sizes, and origins, but the show’s judges have a history that is just as complex and intimidating; this is especially true for Judge Doug Marcaida. Doug has experience in various martial art forms, weapon design and has spent time in the military. All of this makes him the perfect candidate for his position as a judge, a fact that has emphasized his prowess on the show time and time again.

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Early life and family

Doug Marcaida has succeeded where many other celebrities have failed: keeping their early lives private. Although his exact birthday is unknown, we do know that he was born and raised in the Philippines. Without the name of his family, Doug explained that he regularly got into fights with other boys at school, and his father thought enrolling him in martial arts would help channel his energy. Not only did this decision prove to be the key to instilling young Doug with dedication and commitment, it was also instrumental in charting his path for the future.

Marcaida enrolled in Kali, a Filipino martial art that focuses on defense rather than attack.

The martial art also does not follow the regular structure based on belts, but rather focuses solely on the skill of its members. Doug immediately took up the sport, devoting much of his time to becoming an expert in mold and related weapons.


Doug initially attended Colegio San Agustin in the Philippines in a place called Makati. He then moved to The Bronx, New York City, where he enrolled at Aquinas High School. He then joined the United States Air Force, a training that marked a new phase in his life. Although trained in the Kali Martial art form, he had a deadly fear of knives. However, training in the military gave him the opportunity to work with a variety of weapons, and his fear developed into a passion. He became fascinated with the history and diversity of knives and developed into a bit of an expert by the time he left the service.

Doug Marcaida


Military origins and connections

Marcaida served eight years in the United States Air Force. Although he eventually moved on, this was not the end of his connection to the armed forces. After developing expertise in the art and use of knives, he became a consultant and contractor to the armed forces and has traveled the world teaching his martial arts derivative, Marcaida Kali, at military bases. He has also taught the form in special police units in Italy, Australia and Germany, to name a few, and the US Force Recon Marines, Spetsnaz Unit Alpha and the Belgian Special Police.

Marcaida Kalic

Doug has created his own form of the martial art that set him on the path to being who he is today. He firmly believes that it is important to preserve and protect.

He told the Manila Times that “Kali can save your life. Simple as that.” Saving lives remains his goal, especially in Rochester, New York, where he spent time as a nurse at Rochester General Hospital, where he worked as a respiratory therapist for 20 years and later taught Marcaida Kali at local training centers.

Blade Consultant

With his aptitude and in-depth knowledge of both martial arts and weapons, Doug quickly saw Marcaida pushing for entirely new frontiers. Hollywood knocked on the door and saw his expertise in a myriad of films, and Doug served as a consultant for “Blade” (1988, 2002, 2004), “300” (2006) and all iterations of the “Bourne” franchise.

Knife designer

Not content with mastering other people’s creations, Doug Marcaida had a hand in designing some of the deadliest knives in the world today. He has his own line of knives, but has also designed for the likes of FOX Knives, based in Italy, and Lad Mandiola.

“Forged in Fire”

When the History channel finally managed to come up with their unique twist on the conventional cooking show, it was in the form of an arms competition. “Forged in fireIn each episode, four weapons experts compete against each other. Each metalworker must produce a weapon that meets that week’s specifications, and the weapons are then dummies tested and rated on factors such as ease of use, cutting ability, and durability.

Of the five judges who have appeared on the show – J. Nielson, David Baker, Doug Marcaida, Jason Knight (2016 – 2017), and Ben Abbott (since 2017) – Doug is a favorite. His constant smile and affable disposition put the contestants at ease, but when it’s time to try out the weapons, the audience is reminded of just how deadly proficient he is. Although Doug had no previous experience in the forge when he came to the show, he has since had a masterclass from his fellow judge, J. Neilson, during the show’s third season.

Doug became known for his catchphrase on the show “It will keal” which he would utter when testing the blades.

While this initially seemed like just a mispronunciation of the word “kill,” Marcaida claims this is intentional and stands for “Keep Everyone Alive”. While this may seem like a stretch to some, Doug is known for raising awareness that guns should defend, not kill. Doug also suffered an injury during the show’s run while testing a knife and had to undergo surgery, but claims it was a minor incident.

Private life

Doug Marcaida chooses to keep his relationship with the media strictly professional. He shares very little with the public and closely guards his personal information. He is married to Joelle with whom he has three children – Alex, Jaden Christopher and Douglas James.


Doug’s Filipino ancestry is a dominant factor in his appearance, giving him his black hair and dark skin. He has brown eyes and friendly features, but they get angry when the situation calls for it. He is 1.73 m tall and weighs 60 kg. He is strong and fit and has not let his fighting skills crumble.

Net worth and salary

Doug has many sources of income besides “Forged in Fire”. He has his own clothing and knife line and teaches Marcaida Kali worldwide. He has reached a remarkable net worth of an estimated $3 million by mid-2020, and as Kali is proving to be a lucrative business, it will grow over time.


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