Christmas Special - Issue # 142, December 2019
Yup, it is that time of year again! And so in this issue we will be looking at the hottest deals for Christmas 2019 from all over the interwebz plus our usual mix of sword news, information, videos and well - you know what to expect!

So as I often say, take a few moments out ofd your day to sit back with a mug of egg-nog or your favorite beverage of choice and hope you enjoy the final issue for 2019!

While the sword industry has had a tough year, there are a LOT of bargains to be had right now - and with things declining generally, it is best to make THIS year a big one as we really have no idea what state the industry will be in this time next year...

So let's get straight into it shall we?
First Off - Before it is too late..
Every year we put out the 'Christmas Sword Buyers Guide' - a collection of hints, tips and suggestions on how to get the best buys and avoid the most common mistakes people make when buying swords this time of year.

This year we are updating the top of the page with each of the best deals from the biggest sellers in real time, making it relevant for both experienced sword buyers and people who have no idea about swords, but want to buy a sword loving friend a gift.

Plus of course it also has this years TOP 10 best Christmas sword ideas. So if you haven't done your Christmas sword shopping yet - not only have you missed out on some of the best deals - but you need to read this article asap because Christmas has a nasty habit of sneaking up on you like a ninja..
Current Deals and Coupon Codes
Top 10
Frequent Updates
And Since It IS the Black Friday and Cyber Monday Weekend...
You might be interested in the following rather amazing deals and specials..

First off, 10% off EVERTHING at Kult of Athena..
There's also a coupon code for the SBG Sword Store that gets you 15% off 4 of our major brands (which like KoA, are already some of the lowest prices on the internet).
And then there's the big one - one of China's most respected forges has joined forge direct, and together we are offering a whopping 25% off the first 8 swords to be added from their line up (with more designs coming down the line early next year)..
As the old song goes, it is indeed beginning to feel a lot like Christmas..

So next up, one last item you might be interested in that would be the perfect gift for the sword collector who has everything.
Hot New Item for Christmas
I mentioned them briefly in last months issue of the digest, but after 3+ years in development with numerous improvements and tweaks, we are delighted to present to you the Saber Shogun Light Sword 2200 Deluxe Edition battle ready light saber!

With 3 colors available at the push of a button, easy USB re-charging, solid handle construction and attachment, and a blade that is virtually indestructible it completely revolutionizes the heavy sparring light saber market with a special introductory price of just $199.99 for the lot.

Here's a quick video showing just how tough these things are..
You can read more and see some additional high resolution pics in this blog post from the Official SBG Sword Store Blog - but in the meantime, check them out in our store. Stocks are limited and at $199.99 they are truly amazing bang for your buck..
Special Introductory Pricing - normally $249.99
Swords in the News
Positive Sword Related Articles in the News
A 3000 year old bronze age sword with a so called 'tongue tang' was recently found in the Czech republic. Riveted, engraved and extremely sharp - it is is remarkably good condition and found in an area that may well have many more swords yet to be uncovered..

Almost all of these movies have close to 100% ratings on rotten tomatoes. But if you are a fan of classic Samurai films, do you agree or disagree? Who knows, you may even find a hidden gem of a movie you never even knew about..
More evidence that George Lucas was and continues to be inspired by Japanese Samurai movie classics in the new Star Wars franchise film, the Mandalorian.

160,000 pages of high resolution scans of medieval manuscripts dating back to the 9th century onwards has just been put online. Search, download and study - a truly amazing project - and you can even search by keyword! Bravo and Kudos to everyone who was involved in making these manuscripts accessible to the public.

Dubbed 'National Pumpkin Destruction Day' it is now official - Medieval Times Knights destroy left-over Halloween pumpkins with all manner of replica medieval weaponry, from swords, axes, maces, you name it - they massacre pumpkins with it (check out the brief video below for some of the action!).
In Japan, many great historical buildings are not considered to be important national heritage sites. But this one is particularly sad - high maintenance costs forcing the owners of what was supposedly a house used as a ninja base hundreds of years ago faces possible demolition if the new owners want to re-develop. If you are in the market, you can find the actual listing here..
Apparently it is all the rage in Surat India - to cut your birthday cake with a sword for good luck. But Indian police don't see it that way..
New SBG Articles
Are Swords 'Weapons'?

Are swords really still weapons in the age of the gun?

It's a shame that such an article is needed, but with swords being labelled as 'hazardous items' and being refused and rejected by postal services and couriers all across the world the question needs to be answered. Are swords REALLY weapons - from a legal and by the very definition of the word?

It's a grey area in many respects, but when you dig deep, its more than mere semantics..

We already had several solid and detailed reviews of battle ready lightsabers courtesy of regular SBG contributor Daniel Dacombe.

But this page ties all the reviews and information together, looking at the history behind the lightsaber as a concept, the earliest 'toy' versions and then the real deal - the tough, battle ready dueling sabers..

It's actually a HUGE industry, several times larger than the sword industry and far more popular. If you have never investigated the world of functional light saber replicas, you will probably be very surprised..

Blast From the Past
Hidden gems from the SBG archives
Hank Reinhardts Final Interview

Hank Reinhardts final interview was conduced in 2007 only a few short months before his untimely death following complications following heart surgery. Q & A with Hank Reinhardt, by Paul Southren Welcome to SBG Hank, it is a real honor to be...

Read more
Video of the Month
With the latest Star Wars movie having come out and being so focused on the new range of Battle Ready Light Sabers - somehow I stumbled upon this cool re-imagining of the classic fight scene between Bruce Lee and Chikara Hashimoto from Fists of Fury (aka the Chinese Connection)..

Only Bruce could pull of handling kyber crystal powered Nunchaku - and the best part, somehow this scene actually kind of 'works'..
SBG, Nihonto and my Japan Trip 2019/20
At least twice a year I spent several weeks in Japan catching up with friends and spending uninterrupted time with my daughter (no internet, no emails - just focusing 100% on being a Dad).

But this year, I am taking a very, very interesting detour..

For this year I have been invited to the visit the forge of a true Japanese Master Smith and his American friend, checking out his forge, visiting Museums together and even forging a small knife with the master himself..!

But it gets even better, for already we have established a working business relationship - and will start off selling some actual antiques (though to make them as affordable as possible, we will forgo getting them graded by the Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (NBTHK), or the Society for the Preservation of Japanese Art Swords as this adds at least US$800 to the base price). And later, offering the option to buy genuine custom made Nihonto (though as you might expect, they will be priced typically between $7,000 to $10,000 - though can be much more depending on what you want done..

I will be documenting the entire trip and reporting back to you in the February edition of the digest (for as you should know by now, there is no January edition - I will be spending New Years day with my daughter in Hokkaido, the northernmost snowy island).

But in the meantime, here's a pic of one of the antiques we plan to put up for sale:
Below is a copy of the paperwork that will accompany each sword - so unless you want to pay an extra $800 or so to have them graded, this paperwork plus the fact that it is mailed FROM Japan (and Japan has very strict rules about importing swords, so there is really no way to fake it).
Best Forum Posts
A simple question, but the answers are a who's who of the current scabbard making market - establishing and up and coming..

Turning lemons into lemonade, Darksword armory were able to confiscate some illegal copies of their swords being made in India and all proceeds going to a local animal shelter.

Lutel's medieval swords, hand made in Europe, have been around as long as anyone can remeber. But sadly have become one of the early casualties of the slowing sword industry..

Interesting opinions are shared on the effectiveness and how realistic test cutting tatami mats - i.e. Tameshigiri - really are..
Before I go, one final deal you need to see
Just before I sign out, I almost forgot - there are some extremely hot deals by Ryujin on offer THIS WEEKEND - deals that due to price rises and immense pressures on the industry are almost certainly never to be seen again - so I owe it to you to at least let you know about the best one..
Cyber Monday O-Katana
This has to be one of the best deals out there. The full length 33" nagasa differentially hardened T10 tool steel O-Katana by Ryujin Swords with EVERY available tsuka and saya plus your choice of either an iron Musashi or Bamboo tsuba (normally $249.99) AND a free display box for just $179.99!

The timing of this issue simply could not be better for bargain hunters, that is for sure.. See everything we have on sale and our best deals in the hot specials section by clicking the link below:
Well, that's about it from me for 2019.

Good to end the year on a positive note, and while the year ahead has many challenges for the Sword Industry to overcome, there are also many new opportunities for us to all explore together - and I especially look forward to reporting back to you in February some of my experiences visting a Japanese sword forge and attempting to forge my first blade..! (remember, there is no issue in January - I will be completely offline during new years, ringing it in with my daughter in Hokkaido).

So until next year, stay safe, don't overdo the eggnog and of course as always, happy Swordening..

  • Paul Southren