Future of Forge Direct..

As you will know already, Forge Direct as we know it ends at midnight the 10th of April and there is now less than 48 hours before all the previously available models are permanently archived, discontinued and never available again..

And until the final hour, you get one last chance to secure one of these stunning blades at a whopping 25% off..

But after they are all gone, it does NOT mean the Project itself is at an end.. While the smiths we worked with before have pulled the plug, Master Xianlong who made the famous Jian of Marquis Yi and original Dragon Dao with Project X Chinese has agreed to continue to work with us, and a new master and our personal friend, Master Michael Ye, has also agreed to produce some swords for us – so while the original Smiths we started the Project with will finish taking new commissions from the 10th of April, like a Phoenix, the Project rises again and will continue and grow over the coming months, stronger than ever..

Two swords we briefly released and then archived once we heard the Project was suddenly forced to change direction will be coming back once the currently selection is locked away – and that is the stunning Red Ebony Jian and the Haiyantang Zodiac sword.

Red Ebony Jian

Red Ebony Jian

Haiyangtang Zodiac Sword

Haiyangtang Zodiac Sword

But here are two others that will be made available after the current selection closes..


The first is truly unique, fully sharpened, fully functional double butterfly swords for the most discerning Wing Chun Practitioners..

Wing Chun Butterfly Swords

Wing Chun Butterfly Swords

Dragon Flame Jian

Dragon Flame Jian

More swords will be added as we go, indeed behind the scenes quite a few new designs are being negotiated, so while the current models are indeed going away, new ones are slowly lining up to take their place and whether you grab one of the closeout models before they are gone or wait to see what is next, Forge Direct will go on..

Forge Direct – The Spring Selection


That is right, this month we add 4 new swords to the Forge Direct line up bringing the Spring Selection to a total of 7 Master Smith Forged Traditional Chinese Swords spanning a time period of nearly 2000 years..

The first one adds a new element, limited customization – with the option to select one of 12 bronze cast pommels representing the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac based on designs that once adorned the Garden of Eternal Spring in Beijing..

The second is also the most affordable but surprisingly spectacular considering the price tag, and that is the Early Han Dynasty Red Ebony Jian..

This sword gets its name from the red ebony scabbard, but it is the unique cutting tip and beautifully leather wrapped handle and traditional ancient style ring pommel that I feel really make this sword stand out. That and its quite amazing speed and handling, weighing only 0.75kg (about 1.65lbs) makes this a must have addition to any collector of antique styled Chinese swords.

The next sword is the most ornate and unique, however – and that is the elite version of the previously popular Kiangxi Horsebane sword.

These powerful blades, more Glaive than sword in many respects, were designed to slay horses and their riders on the battlefield and is a forceful, terrifyingly effective chopping and slicing sword. But this one is truly in a league of its own, with a fully covered rayskin scabbard, gold inlay on the folded and differentially hardened blade, highly detailed fittings and mother of pearl handle..

And finally, a sword that is seemingly straight out of ancient myth and legend, the titanium infused blade of the Fenghuang Phoenix Sword..

The blade is truly unique, differentially hardened edges and prominent folding with crimson titanium coating, reinforcing the blade and protecting its surface against rust and subdued Dragon Phoenix themed fittings and a flash or red tassel, all designed to highlight the beauty of this unique blade.

Do not be fooled by cheap and nasty imitations, these are the best of the best Chinese swords from Longquan, with a rich history as the premier sword forging town for nearly 2,500 years..

Check out the full Spring Line Up Here

Upcoming Products – Sneak Peak and Store Overhaul..

Lots going on at the moment, and some cool new swords on the way from some of the newest manufacturers to join the industry, but both have SOLID pedigrees…

The first and newest is Kingston Arms which will be coming to a sword store near you, hopefully sometime NEXT WEEK!


With products over 20 years in the making, they are poised to hit the ground running with medieval swords designed both for collectors and serious HEMA practitioners with both sparring blunts and sharp cutting swords.

Below is a sneak preview of their Tourney Arms Swords – super tough blades made from one of my favorite steels, 9260 Spring Steel, and designed for heavy steel on steel contact.

Tourney Arming Sword by Kingston Arms

Tourney Arming Sword by Kingston Arms

Tourney Viking Sword - Blunt by Kingston Arms

Tourney Viking Sword – Blunt by Kingston Arms

Not only are these the first 9260 Spring Steel sparring swords to hit the market, but the hilt deserves a special mention due to their special “King Peen” system.

In their own words:

King-Peen is essentially a steel tab on the guard under the grip that is pinned through the tang of the sword. This process keeps the guard from going loose after a lengthy campaign without compromising the strength of the hilt. The pommel is pressed into place and hot peened. Combine these two processes and you get a sword that rings like a bell when struck.

And for fans of cutting practice, what could be better than a hollow ground arming sword, especially when it looks as gorgeous as THIS:

Crecy War Sword - Sharp by Kingston Arms

Crecy War Sword – Sharp by Kingston Arms

Here are some stats:

Overall: 38 3/4”
Blade Length: 31 3/4″
Handle Length: 4 1/4″
Weight: 2lb 15oz
Blade Steel: 5160
Handle Material: Wood/leather

The MSRP on these will be $299.99 for the blunts and $499.99 for the stunning Crecy, but do shop around as they will be available for less (and we will be selling them as low as we possibly can when they come in).

Speaking of coming in, a restock of most of the extremely popular and beautifully designed and crafted Chinese and Japanese swords by Dragon King is on the way and should be arriving next week. Here is a sneak peak of the sword that I am most excited about,,.!

Check out this Chinese Jian..

Kungfu Jian Sword by Dragon King

Kungfu Jian Sword by Dragon King

Yes, it is a Wushu Jian – but it is not as thin (and definitely not flimsy) like the typical Chinatown, Fleamarket and Wallhanger crap and is designed for serious Kung Fu practitioners who are looking for something special that they cannot find anywhere else..

Again, here is this swords vital statistics:

Overall: 39″
Blade Length: 28 1/2″
Handle Length: 4 1/4″
Weight: 1lb 10oz
Point of Balance: At Guard
Blade Steel: 3Cr13
Handle Material: Composite

MSRP on this one will be $339.99 but available for less at SBG.

Speaking of SBG, you may have noticed some changes with the store in the last few hours – essentially it is not finished yet, but I wanted to improve the navigation and product image sizes and for now have opted for a fairly basic design to concentrate on what is actually useful rather than just pretty looking. With this philosophy in mind, I have – at least for now – done away with the “responsive” design for the store as I never personally really like responsive sites and tend to do just fine when browsing on my mobile (most of the time I find so called responsive sites annoying, cannot zoom in on the pics, everything displays weird and half of the stuff doesn’t work the way it should).

If you haven’t seen it in the last few hours, feel free to take a gander and let us know what you think:


As always, the site is 100% secure during the overhaul – the software we use is totally rock solid and we aren’t opening up the guts, just moving stuff around. But if you find anything screwy let us know and we will give you a special coupon code for your trouble..!

Update you all again soon..!

  • Paul

Darksword Armory Restock..

Another line has just been re-added to the store, and that is Darksword Armory and their range of European and Functional Fantasy Swords.

We removed them for a while as we were not able to offer as good a deal as they were over the lead up to Christmas (they were offering a free stiletto and a free Game of Thrones banner to every customer from around November) plus we also were getting some complaints about the sharpening service, so now that we have brought them back we have decided NOT to offer the service any longer..

It is not that there is anything actually WRONG with the sharpening service, but rather it is a matter of meeting modern day customer expectations. It seems many customers who pay extra for a sharpening service expect an edge that will easily cut water bottles like a katana, while Darksword provide what they argue is a closer to authentic medieval edge – but this is a contentious point (pun intended) among sword enthusiasts and collectors – and not made any easier by other sword providers and sword lines such as Windlass Steelcrafts, who provide a shaving sharp bevelled edge to customers who select the optional sharpening service, or the RK Euro line which are shipped ready to cut water bottles, tatami mats and bamboo straight out of the box with an appleseed bevel..

Darksword are quite clear about what they provide on their FAQ page here which states in response to the question “are your swords razor sharp”:

In regards to the edge of the sword, it should be noted that medieval swords were not made with a razor edge. This is not only due to the blade geometry, but also due to the fact that the purpose of a European sword is not to cut through armor but rather break (slash) armor and pierce (thrust) an opponent. Katanas on the other hand are very different. The edge of a katana is razor sharp as its purpose is to cut through (leather) armor and bone. The thickness and edge geometry however is very different to European weapons. As such, a medieval sword cannot and was not sharpened with a razor edge as katanas.

For further details I would suggest reading the following article by renown author and reenactment combat teacher Hugh Knight:


I also suggest reading the i33 combat manual for insight into the use and therefore sharpness of the medieval sword:  http://www.aemma.org/onlineResources/restricted/i33/i33text.pdf

Finally, I would suggest watching the following documentary with John Clements. It explains the different between edge sharpeness of the medieval sword as opposed to the katana:

For further reading on edge analysis we have also written an article on our blog. You can read it at the following link:


European swords cut extremely well despite not having razor sharp edges. The cutting ability however is created by the angle of the cut, speed and motion (slicing). All three combined will create a momentum in which the sword will cut through cutting targets quite easily.

However, in my experience – most customers don’t actually read the FAQ on a site, and with an expectation already in their minds as to what a sharpened blade should be, tend to complain when they receive a sword that is not to their expectation. So rather than put disclaimers and explanations all over the site, for the time being at least we have simply opted to remove the sharpening service as an option and are clear that the swords are shipped unsharpened, allowing customers the option to sharpen themselves if so desired..

Additionally we also found that offering a sharpening service led some customers to get confused as to if our other swords were sharpened or not (to which the answer is, yes – almost all of them are!) so as you can see, there was a lot to consider and a lot of cases where we ended up losing too much money refunding customers whose expectations were not met from the sharpening service while explaining why it was sharpened the way it was..

Anyway, while we may not offer the sharpening service, what we DO offer is FREE SHIPPING in the USA and Canada and a bonus $25 coupon code to anyone who reads any of our Darksword Armory Reviews (or indeed, reads this particular blog post!)..

Click to automatically add the coupon to your cart

Click to automatically add the coupon to your cart

And as you can see, some of their latest swords – though well above the $300 price point – are truly works of art, my personal favorite – their Warmonger Fantasy Sword..

1320-the-warmonger-barbarian-warrior-sword2 1320-the-warmonger-fantasy-sword1 1320-The-Warmonger-pommel-detail3CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR FULL RANGE OF DARKSWORD ARMORY SWORDS

Hanwei Ninjato (Musings on Real Shinobigatana)

One of my favorite swords of all time is the Hanwei Ninjato – a short bladed, two handed, supremely pragmatic sword that I reviewed several years ago here..

Since then I spent a lot of time researching Ninjato – both by reading many books on the subject such as the Shoniki, “True Path of the Ninja” by Antony Cummins and Yoshie Minami, “Ninja Attack!” by Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt, and also taking several visits to the Iga Ninja Museum in present day Mie Prefeture, Japan. .

And while I still feel it is somewhat more Hollywood than fact, seeing this particular sword being displayed in the museum made me wonder if Hollywood was not all that far from the truth..

While it is a replica, there is no denying its similarity to the Hollywood Ninja Sword

While it is a replica, there is no denying its similarity to the Hollywood Ninja Sword

Now bear in mind that this is a modern replica, not a historical original. I have looked far and wide for an actual antique Ninjato and every time the search has been fruitless.. But this does not necessarily mean that they never existed – just that they were not very highly prized and were just another tool in the Shinobis rather extensive toolbox.. (for the record, I think they actually used whatever sword they needed for the job at hand, sometimes it was a sword hidden in a stick, sometimes it was a standard katana, sometimes it was the Bujinkan style katana, and when they were not disguised and on a night mission – they probably DID use a sword like the one shown above)..

At the end of the day, this style of sword WORKS – and in tribute to the style – Hanwei have made 4 of the very best fully functional replicas currently available on the market.. The original Practical Ninja-to I reviewed above – and then two others the Iga and the Kouga Ninja-to..

These swords are highly acclaimed for their speed and functionality, and have not been available for years but right now we have a handful of both available and are offering at an extremely fair prices..

But you will need to be quick – quick as a Ninja to be honest.. Because they are selling out fast and will not be available for long..

Click here for more info on the Iga Ninja-to

Click here for more info on the Kouga Ninja-to