Issue # 183 | September 1st 2023

From the Desk of Paul Southren

While the sword industry is most definitely NOT out of the woods, at least as the year begins to enter its final quarter, there is some optimism to be found here and there. Despite ongoing issues with supply chains, shipping and low overall demand compared to previous years, stock levels of swords remain fairly stable. But most importantly, new designs are hitting the shelves in preparation for what we all hope will be a holiday season strong enough to carry the industry forward into 2024..

For example, Legacy Arms (formerly Generation 2) have started shifting production from the Philippines to China to ensure a much more reliable and robust supply - and have tighten quality AND lowered their pricing to unprecedented low levels in response to the current situation. Ryujin Swords have also responded, creating some very cool new (and sub $100) Tactical Ko Katana and a limited edition wolf themed budget traditionally forged Wakizashi - expanding their 'off the shelf' series with some very cool new additions..

And our friends at Kingdom of Arms are also preparing some new, lesser known models, expanding beyond the current 'Katana, Longsword, Tactical blade' trend that tends to dominate the industry in these uncertain times..

New Models Coming to Kingdom of Arms..

Saddle Sword

Saxon Leangsax

Swiss Arming Sword

Whether or not all the expected sword sales and promotions leading up into the holiday season will be enough to avoid a looming 'swordpocalypse' remains to be seen. But it is at least encouraging to see some new swords surface in what has been a very quiet year, so please do your bit and support your favorite sword makers and sellers whenever you can..

Swords in the News

Sneak Preview of Edo Period fittings at the MET

The Edo period was the pinnacle of Samurai sword art. A peaceful time, the art of making sword fittings reached its zenith, and at the Metropolitan Museum a new exhibition features several well preserved blades and fittings that have to be seen to be believed..

Olympic dreams in Canada for HEMA

HEMA (Historical Medieval European Martial Arts) have come a long way in the last 2 decades. But are they unified and big enough now to one day qualify as an Olympic sport? Canadian HEMA instructor Miles Kinnee thinks and hopes so..

A Brief History of Bushido

From thuggish bodyguards, to Samurai - to Kamikaze pilots and finally the corporate salaryman - the philosophy of Bushido has been used (and corrupted) over the centuries, but to this day is still a powerful code to live by. Read a brief overview of its history in this article by

Taichi swords cause a 'security issue' in a park in NJ..

A hapless 60 year old practitoner of Taichi took two flimsy training jian and in uniform, ended up confronted by police in New Jersey for her 'iaido' swords.. Lucky they weren't in the UK.. But shows just how paranoid some people are about swords and the rising levels of 'hoplophobia' (fear of weapons) in modern society in general..

Teens almost charged for wooden swords in the UK...

The 'sword police' are doing their best to imitate an allergic reaction here - police were called in the UK because a teenager was found brandishing a sword.. When the police arrived, they found it was made of wood - but could not find a 'reason' why the young man was playing with said wooden sword.. Why he was not indoors scrolling TikTok for example? Sad to see age old traditions now attracting police attention..

Traditional axemaking skills required for Notre-dame restoration

If one piece of an ancient tradition fails, then the whole thing may be lost to the mists of time. Thankfully, a Canadian based blacksmith was able to painstakingly recreate the axes used for the wooden beams for the restoration of the Notre-dame cathedral in France.. Got to keep the old traditions alive because you never know when and how you might need them again..

How an outtake in Japan set the scene for Tarantino's Kill Bill

Akira Kurosawa's films were, as you might expect, a little gory at times. But did you know that the blood effects were inspired by an outtake? And that this outtake was part of the lineage that led to Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill and other blood soaked classics?

10 Hollywood Stars with serious sword fighting skills

While most Hollywood sword fight scenes leave those of us with a little knowledge of how swords were actually used cringing, some old time and contemporary actors actually DO know how to use a blade, and it shows. Here are the top 10..

A good remake of Highlander on the cards..?

We mentioned it in a previous issue, but it seems that the reboot of the Highlander franchise is on the cards with Henry Cavill.. John Wick with swords indeed, let's hope they can keep the momentum going.. (though for many purists, "there can be only one"..)

Medieval Fight Club in Central Park - montage

With 50 members strong, Gladiators NYC based in Harlem frequently stage their melee in New Yorks central park. Here is a montage of the members at work and play..

Video of the Month

As a sword enthusiast, it can be frustrating to try and suspend disbelief when watching a Hollywood 'sword' movie. But YouTuber Skallagrim recently discovered a very cool 5 minute clip "Laurus Nobilis" depicting historically plausible fighting that is both realistic and very cool to watch, and in this video he dissects it - and presents it as a template that Hollywood could potentially make their own..

Would certainly be very cool to see - check out the original clip without commentary here

Best Forum Posts

Current Albion Ordering Times

One of the members noted that in 2014 the lead time on an Albion was 2.5 months.. But as a heads up, Albion is currently working on a backlog from 2021, so delays are to be expected..

How do forum members display their swords?

If you just have one sword, its easy to display it. But who buys just one sword? Forum members chime in on their recommendations for sword display.

What are members cutting these days?

Tatami mats have been hard to source for quite a few years now. So what do forum members who cut with their swords use for a standard target these days? Find out in this thread.

Lancelot Chan's 'Supreme Cutter' Sword line

Hong Kong based Lancelot Chan has been a great educator on the forums for many years now. So it is awesome to see he has taken his decades of experience and distilled it into his own unique sword design, the Supreme Cutter. Check out his new website here:

That's it for the September issue of the digest. As the sword industry limps along and tries its best to avoid losing all the great products and brands that defined it over the last 20 years, we will do our best to both document it all and if we can, try to steer it to the softest landing possible.

So until next month, our famous Halloween edition, stay well, stay strong and Happy Swordening to you all..!

  • Paul
Visit our website

Sword Buyers