Al Mar was born in the United States, the son of Chinese immigrants. He served in a Special Forces Reserve Unit and volunteered to serve with a Green Beret special operations group in Vietnam. After serving in Vietnam, Al completed his college education by earning a master's degree in industrial design from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles.
He then went on to work on Gerber® Legendary Blades with Pete Gerber, where he concluded his tenure as "Head of Knife Design."
In 1979, Al founded AL MAR® Knives. His mission was to combine mass production methods with custom knife quality. At first, most of his knives were designed for police and military use, due to his vast experience as a Judo and Kendo practitioner and his history as a Green Beret. In fact, Al's SERE (Survive-Escape-Resist-Evade) knife was the first knife accepted by Special Forces Colonel Nick Rowe for the SERE Instructor School at Camp McCall North Carolina. And as the company grew, his designs evolved to include high-quality knives for hunting/fishing, cooking, and men's gifts.
Al Mar was a life member of the Special Forces Association, a member of the Special Operations Association, and a reserve deputy sheriff. He was inducted into both Fighting Knives Magazine and the Blade Magazine Hall of Fame. Al Mar was a man worthy of the highest respect.
Today, we continue his mission of making knives with custom quality design and innovation.