March Edition of the Sword Buyers Digest
Issue 116, August 2017
Your Monthly News & Updates

Quite a jam packed issue we have for you this month - and in many ways, I would like to think we have something for EVERYONE this time..

First off we have an in depth interview with the new owner of a classic sword vendor, Swords of Might and how he has been turning the company around in the last few months. We follow up with tips and techniques when cutting with Japanese swords, give you an update on our Fantasy Sword Project and 'fantasy worldbuilding' exercise, share with you authentic sword techniques derived from Aikido. And sadly, say goodbye to a dear friend..

So without any further ado..
Sword News: The U.K. does it again...

First was the half thought out 'sword ban' several years ago, an attempt to outlaw all Japanese style SLOs from the Kingdom which made it much harder for legitimate sword collectors to enjoy their hobby. But now it seems that the U.K. has re-doubled their efforts to kill the sword industry there with proposed legislation to make receiving any blade over 3" sent in the mail prohibitively difficult.

The actual legislation being proposed is, in an attempt to stop people under the age of 18 receiving a sword in the mail, that blade deliveries need to be sent to a 'collection point' and ID presented to get them - but where these collection points will be and exactly how it will all work is up in the air. And naturally, is making sword and knife retailers nervous..

So amazingly frustrating, and a real blow for the blade collecting community over there. Much like I have said in the past, the average man on the street has a seriously misconstrued idea of who the average sword collector is..

No, UK. The Average Blade Collector is NOT like this...

Nevermind the fact that the vast majority of blade crime in the U.K. (and elsewhere) is committed by people wielding Kitchen Knives - and almost NEVER by true sword enthusiasts (every time there is a stabbing, it is never a sword collector, but just a random, cheap SLO that happened to be handy at the time).

And the most ironic part is that generally speaking, people who take up serious study of the sword find it a great tool for character development. And it is this, the lack of personal honor and respect for others - all golden principles of swordsmanship - that is the root cause of the problem..

Naturally we will be monitoring the development of this situation closely. In the meantime, if you are in the U.K. we strongly urge you to voice your displeasure with this proposal to your local M.P. and do all you can to raise awareness via social media..

While it is unlikely, here is hoping common sense will make an appearance..
Swords of Might is BAAACK!
Swords of Might used to be one of the premier sword sellers on the internet - at least from around 2005 to 2010. But from 2010 onwards, being more or less a one man show run by Jason Moore - SoM really started to struggle. Jason was more or less burned out, struggled to manage his huge inventory and all in all - dropped the ball so many times that by the start of 2017, Swords of Might had developed something of an unsavory reputation.


So it came to pass that Jason finally realized that the site he had created was beyond his abilities to continue to manage - and reluctantly stepped down to allow new owners to have a go - and what a go they have made of it..!

New Owner Hunter Follett
Under the leadership of Hunter Follett (pictured right in full Game of Thrones attire), who has extensive experience in business systems and development, Swords of Might was given a complete systemic overhaul - and has gone from being one of the worst places to buy swords to one of the best in just a few short months..!

Pretty impressive stuff!

You can read more about what happened behind the scenes at Swords of Might, what made Hunter and his wife decide to enter the sword business, the systems that they have developed to make SoM one of the most professional sword sellers in the industry (something which is sadly lacking for many competing sword sellers) and much much more in our interview with Hunter conduced just a few short days ago.

In the meantime, Hunter and the team have kindly offered all SBG members a 5% discount coupon code for anyone who wants to give them another try.

The coupon code is "SBGApproved" - simply enter it at checkout and they will take 5% of any and all items in your cart from now until the 7th of August.

In the meantime, here are some of my top pics to use the 5% coupon code on from their vast selection of actual IN STOCK swords ready to ship..

Michonnes Sword

The official AMC replica may not be sharpened, but the $119 price tag and the 1045 carbon steel blade make it a must have for Walking Dead Fans.

Hunters favorite sword and highly detailed for the price.

$113.99 with the 5% discount
DSA Anduril

Yes, they have the full range of Darksword Armory swords - including some rare pieces like the Anduril (this is the sharpened version).

$534.99 becomes $508 with the 5% discount coupon code, and gets you this rare battle ready version of the LoTR classic.

$508 with the 5% coupon code
Musashi Sword (by Musashi)

With a tough 1060 monotempred blade and iron Musashi themed fittings, the Musashi Sword by Musashi is quite a steal at just $108.99.

Great value from a trusted brand.

$103.54 with the discount code
In addition to swords, knives, machetes, armor and a ton of medieval accessories and the like - the New Swords of Might also has several optional services available, such as:

So check them out today - perhaps even starting with the Clearance Section to make your discount code go even further. You will be glad that you gave them another chance, and I look forward to seeing them grow and thrive in the coming months and years.  

NEW ARTICLE: Cutting Targets with Japanese Swords

It would seem that from some of the questions I have been getting lately that a lot of collectors of Japanese swords are not really sure what targets they should be cutting, what kind of Katana they really need and how to actually execute a cut with good technique and edge alignment.

So to this end I put together a quick birds eye overview to answer all these questions and more, including:
  • The two staple targets for Japanese swords and why they are the target of choice for JSA practitioners.
  • Four other non traditional but extremely popular targets that will not damage your blade.
  • Why hardness and edge geometry is often more important than sharpness when cutting with a Japanese sword.
  • The strengths and weaknesses of the Japanese sword - it is not as good a sword as some people like to think. But don't throw the baby out with the bath water..
  • The biggest mistake beginning cutters make and how to avoid it.

And much much more, including links to additional free resources to help you master the art iof basic cutting with a Katana in record time.


Check it out here 

Fantasy Swords Competition Update

The Official SBG Fantasy Sword Design Project has been going gangbusters all last month. Not only did we announce not one but FOUR winners of round one, but a small team of dedicated individuals, many with backgrounds in pen and pencil RPGs, have begun collaborating with me to create the richly detailed fantasy world that all the swords are to be set in.

So without any further ado, for those of you playing at home that did not see the winning designs, check them out below:

WINNING DESIGN 1: "Hoffmans' Gladius"
A unique, dramatic and magical leaf bladed Gladius that is the standard issue of the Legionaries of the Aelutian Imperial Army.

WINNING DESIGN 2: "Sword of Danu"
Originally designed to be a longsword, the actual design pic looked a lot more like a shortsword. And so this winning design took a new direction, and spawned a race of fay, diminutive humans called the Tuathe De..

WINNING DESIGN 3: "Vorpal Sword"
A razor sharp, hollow ground longsword with an elven feel - the legend of this sword has not been fully developed yet, but was originally inspired by Lewis Carols Jabberwocky.

WINNING DESIGN 4: "The Castir"
A unique and very sleek Katanaesque blade - the Castir are the signature blades of the war-like desert dwellers of Escia.

While the project has slowed down a little in the last week or so while the sword designs are checked over and costed at the forge and the prototypes going out to the winners are forged, the world building exercise continues to gather momentum.

To give you an idea, here is a quick map of the fictional world where our swords will be set. (More detailed maps are also available).

And the best part it, it is a collaborative process and there is still time to make your own contribution, even if you did not enter the competition or get one of your designs selected..


So if you have ever played fantasy role playing games (pen and paper or on your PC), enjoyed a good fantasy movie or book and an idea occurs to you to further flesh out our developing fantasy world, now is your chance. Who knows where it could end up - the project is still in its early days but keeps getting bigger every day.

And finally, if you are a member of any Facebook group, fantasy RPG forum or any other group who you think might be interested to get involved with this evolving project, please do what you can to get the word out. The more the merrier..!!

Video of the Month

Shot in Japan by Wa-Oh! JAPAN experience+, this cool video has Aikido Master Ken Kobayashi explain basic techniques of the Katana, how it is very different than in the Samurai movies, and shows how simple footwork can allow an unarmed opponent to avoid and disarm a sword wielding foe. 8 mins of gold.
Best Forum Posts

A collection of four of the best and most recent posts and threads from the SBG Sword Forum

SLOs in your collection?
Do you have any 'Sword Like Objects' in your collection? I bet, like most collectors, you do. Here are some SLOs owned by members of the forum.

Kicked the Photobucket..
Perhaps it was their 'master plan' all along - get as many people as possible to use the free hosting service, then charge $500 a year for the same service that used to be free, and kill all the pics from reviews all over the forum. Nice one Photobucket - users share their gripes..

Made in Japan? I think not..
Ever heard of Kawashima Swords? $1000 Japanese swords worth $250 and made in China, but marketed as made in Japan..? If not, you might want to check this out..

SBGs own Tom Kinder in Forged in Fire
Yup, our very own Tom Kinder made it into last months History Channels Forged in Fire Competition. Well done Tom!

Something for everyone from Gus Trim..

Angus Trim has been very busy so far this year. Last month the incredibly popular A.P.O.C. series Tactical Katana and the even more affordable Tactical Cutlass made their debut and right now the landed stock is selling out super fast (definitely want to get in quick on these while they are still in stock, that is for sure..)

The A.P.O.C. Series Tactical Katana

But not only has Gus collaborated with Dragon King, but (after a bit of a false start, more on this in a moment) his long anticipated medieval line with Kingston Arms has also come into stock - and, as you might expect, they look absolutely GORGEOUS..
Kingston Arms Atrim Design Type XIV Arming Sword

Kingston Arms Atrim Designed Type XVIII Knights Sword

But as anyone who knows Gus' swords will tell you, the appearance is secondary to its performance and cutting ability. These blades are optimally balanced and weighted to Gus' expert specifications - for example, the Arming sword weighs just 2lbs 2oz, has a point of balance just 4 and 1/2 inches from the (very attractive) cross guard and the sweet spot is exactly 18" from the guard, right where it should be..

All in all, these beautiful swords take industry collaborations to the next level - and are priced at around 1/4 of the price of Gus' blades and - at least at this moment (as the stock just came in last week) - are available for immediate shipping..


Gus takes his designs seriously and does not lend his good name easily. And as anyone who has read the interview with Blake Pogue from Cas Iberia about the A.P.O.C. series launch will know - Gus is a machine.

So when somehow the first batch of these swords arrived several months ago with a series of minor production errors - some which did not bother Gus (such as the color of the grips) - and others that DID (such as slightly heavier, more tip heavy blades) the shipment was rejected and had to be remade..

Here is an example of the discrepancies..

Many other companies or sword designers would have passed this off - but not Gus. But the good news is that, if taken on their own merits, the QC fail swords are STILL much better than most other swords in this price range, but slightly less agile and more 'power choppy'.

Anyway, the good news for bargain hunters is that both of these off spec swords are available with a whopping $110 discount off the already discounted pricing. The bad news, we have less than half a dozen of each model available (actually, at the time of writing - one of these models has less than 3pcs available!)..

With these two new lines from Gus, there really is something for everyone.. And kudos to Gus for selecting 9260 Spring Steel for all these new designs. Keep up the good work!!
Hope you enjoyed this months issue of the Sword Buyers Digest.

But before I sign off, I have one more very important and rather sad bit of news.. You probably all know Cas Iberia - the official distributors for the Hanwei Forge, Dragon King, Kingston Arms and many other top sword and knife brands..

Well, it is with the deepest regret that on the 7th of July we received some very sad news. On the previous day, while assisting a search party looking for a missing 73 year old woman caught up in local flash flooding, National Sales Manager Lisa Michelle Hillian also went missing, and she was discovered the next morning..

The team at Cas Iberia and all of its vendors are in a state of shock and disbelief.

Lisa, who we all knew affectionately as 'Missy', was one of the nicest, kindest and most genuine people you could ever hope to know. It was just like her to risk her own life trying to help someone else, even a stranger..

The official statement from Cas Iberia read:

CAS has always been more a family than a company. Missy has been an integral part of CAS for nearly two decades. As National Sales Manager, Missy loved her customers very much, as much as she loved the people of this company and our manufacturers. Her smile, laughter, practical jokes and hijinks are now a treasured part of our history. Her loss will no doubt be felt for years to come.

Her impact on this industry and on the individual lives of those she touched is unmeasurable. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers, and us as well as we try to pick up the pieces.

Missy, this one is for you.

- Paul
Paul Southren | Sword Buyers