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Thread: Now This is What SFI is All About.

  1. #1
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    Now This is What SFI is All About.

    Recently I've seen a lot of threads of people who've just gotten their first custom, or reached some other milestone in this passion.

    It got me thinking about my SFI "class".I joined about 3 years ago, and a whole group of "newbs" joined within a few months of me.I got to thinking about the progress and maturation of those folks and I.

    While I have been on this forum I've seen a "generation come of age."

    It is amazing to me the number of folks that have gone from buying cheapo production swords 2-4 years ago , and have matured in one way or another.

    I know of many who have begun offering services in the industry, from smithing , to tsukamaki to polishing. Others have matured as collectors or martial artist or both. Some have gone on to have their own forums or websites about swords, or to become retailers.

    To me this is what SFI is all about.

    There are often many custom- verses production threads that pop-up here. Sometimes people complain that cheapo swords have taken over, and the glory days of customs appreciation is gone, along with many knowlegable folks.

    On the flip side there are complaints that people are rude or snobbish when they suggest that production swords are not a destination, but a journey(my take on it).

    I think that the interplay between the production newbies and the seasoned collectors hobbyist and profesionals is what makes SFI great.

    Look at the crucial role it's played in helping a new generation mature, and helping to propagate the sword traditions into the future.

    So what do you say... if your observations are similar to , or opposite of mine, or if you just appreciate SFI and its role then sound off!

  2. #2
    SFI is great, I am from similar time period then M.K., and I have had the pleasure of learning so much through my interactions here. I have two customs that were entirely done because of my contacts here, first the langseax Sam Salvati made me, then my BKS sword, which was incredible and used in my wedding. SFI is awesome, I am glad to see it continue, and be on the lookout in the not too distant future for my next custom idea Its already in planning stages.
    Mike J Arledge
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    Of all the lost adventurers my peers,--
    How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
    And such was fortunate, yet each of old
    Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.


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  3. #3
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    Thumbs up

    Personally haven't been here long enough to have an informed opinion... mostly I keep my yap shut and search old threads... and then ask the occasional dumb question when I can't find the answers. I definitely appreciate more knowledgeable people like Keith Larman and others posting, because I always learn something new. It does seem like some of the heavy hitters have stopped posting, but like I said, I haven't been here long enough to guess why, nor do I want to. Figure it's none of my business.

    I don't know where my collecting maturity is. I greatly appreciate and admire custom blades and nihonto and want to keep learning, but production blades is all I can really afford or will want to afford for the foreseeable future due to certain very recent events which I won't go into. Hopefully that doesn't make me an "immature" collector (don't worry, I know that's not what you meant)... Just rambling here.... Good post though. I'm interested to read what other people have to say.
    REAL Star Wars fans HATE Star Wars (and Lucas)... but LOVE the idea.

  4. #4
    Well Marc, as you know, I began my sword enthusiasm with the famed Masahiro/JinLong 'Bamboo' katana, a piece with which you are intimately familar. It was a $75 sword, and at the time I thought it was all I would ever need....

    Since then--over the last year--I have had numerous katanas of varying [and increasing] quality pass through my possession, and now find myself with a current collection that includes something from almost every echelon of quality and price; including two Nihonto (one of which is in line at Chris Osborne's shop right now) and a fully custom Rawblade, along with several others. I am even in the midst of acquiring a Walter Sorrells, just to top things off.
    All of it is thanks to the people like you, Marc, who never cease to share and show your enthusiasm.

    As a member of that "generation" of which you speak, I can totally say that you hit the nail right on the head about this place.

    Here's to the next generation. ...and many more to come!

    -Andrew
    Last edited by Andrew G.; 10-20-2008 at 01:44 PM.
    "Waiting is very much a sacred sword tradition."
    -Marc Ridgeway

  5. #5
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    The cool thing is that you can really learn a lot here if you approach learning as a student...and I mean student in the classic sense of the term where you put your preconceived notions and ego aside in order to absorb knowledge from those who know more. People like you, Marc, and Joo-Hwan Lee are perfect examples of folk who are only too happy to share a wealth of information if but asked. Practitioners and craftsmen are for the most part also very helpful and those that are less so often have already answered that particular question many times previously. Others are good to learn from by reading their posts but are much too busy to be bothered with direct questions or PMs from newbies...and that's alright, too. Others still don't post as much recently but their contributions live within the SFI database and can be brought forth with the search function. The bottom line is that if you really want to learn, the resources are here for you to be able to do so and like G.I. Joe used to tell me on Saturday mornings, knowing is half the battle.
    Last edited by Jerry G.; 10-20-2008 at 02:06 PM.
    "Without a sign his sword the brave man draws,
    And asks no omen but his country’s cause."

    ---The Iliad of Homer, Book xii, Line 283


    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner; Liberty is a well-armed lamb."
    ---Benjamin Franklin

  6. #6
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    If it wasn't for SFI, I would probably have 100+ Masahiro katana and such! Thank God I don't!

    Now I have had a Sorrells custom piece. I also now have a Barrett, Engnath, and another Sorrells on the way.

    I have made many friends, posters and professionals.

    SFI is great! Glad I found it!
    "Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power."

    - Lao Tzu

    "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting."

    "To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

    - Sun Tzu

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Morris View Post
    If it wasn't for SFI, I would probably have 100+ Masahiro katana and such! Thank God I don't!
    I didn't find the forum soon enough, I dropped WAY too much on a Masahiro. Still have it, because I can't see passing off my mistake to someone else.

    I did get a great deal in the classifieds on a Bugei Dragonfly, had the tsuka shortened and re-wrapped by Fred Lohman, and am learning what else I may want to buy. (when I'm rich)

    Great place to come and learn!
    Last edited by tracy harden; 10-20-2008 at 03:12 PM.
    "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving in an attractive and preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

    Tracy

  8. #8
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    See, this thread is already full of some of the people I was talking about.

    Jerry your thread, along with Mike's epic thread with Sam... Andrews Rawblade, and the customization work he's been doing, my own recent customs... and several other guys I won't name here(wouldn't want to embarass them) who are doing inspiring things, are the reason I started this thread.

    Thanks for your kind words guys... but I gotta say I thank guys like les yeich, Dave Drawdy, Karl J , Tom Lim, Gus Trim,K Larman, John Lundemo,Tinker... heck a bunch of people, too many to name here. They have been a source of endless knowlege.

    And you guys, "my generation" , who helped keep the enthusiasm and passion alive with our growing and learning together.

    I hope to continue to grow , and continue to marvel as many more generations come of age.

  9. #9
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    I've been around these parts since place was called the Highlander Sword Guide and Adrian called himself WarAngel. SFI was a great place then, has changed, is still good and does its purpose.

    Change is inevitable. Change for the better is what is always wanted. More than 15 years ago when I was collecting, I was limited to nothing but CAS IBERIA and Marto peices. Bugei was still in a stage of infancy and Hanwei was not in the game yet.

    While I have my own opinions on production vs. custom, I know that at least people can now get a better peice to start with than I did when I first got in.

    My collection continues to grow as I hope yours will too. With a katana that will bring my collection full circle, I can look back and say I am having one hell of a ride, and I don't intend to get off any time soon.

  10. #10
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    Tom,

    "WarAngel"? Now that's a name, I have not heard in a long time... a long time. (To paraphrase Obi-wan Kenobi).

    I appreciate the kind comments, and those from everyone, but please allow me to post some clarifications on our history.

    There is a misconception that Sword Forum was once a Highlander site. The site being referred to is something I called The Highlander Sword Shopper's Guide or HSG (even though there are two S'es). The site is still there, by the way.

    The HSG was initally only an information site. One day I stumbled upon id Software's site' "Quake" section and found for the first time forum technology running on a web page. I don't know how I managed to get the original wwwBoard technology up, but despite its imperfections (remember the "sharkbites" where huge chunks of threads went missing if two people posted at the same time?) but soonafter, a small HL sword-loving community developed on it. The forum, at the time, was dubbed "Sword Forum."

    As a few of us (Mark McMorrow, Angus Trim, Alexander Chin, etc.) found each other through that forum, we started to network with the sword community. They reached out to the antique swords community, whereas I approached custom swordmakers and blacksmiths. We found a great amount of knowledge and uncovered territory and strong sword-related interest outside of Highlander. Some of the people we spoke with were not interested at all in Highlander, and urged us to do a new site. What should we call such as site? Well, the simple name "Sword Forum" had a ring to it. Professional sword makers referred to it among themselves as "Sword Forum". Phone conversations would end, "See you on Sword Forum." So, after shooting down all the dumb names I came up with (which were too long to type, let alone spell) the consensus was Sword Forum. We saw this as the community's name, so it was natural for the new site to be named after that community. I knew that a discussion board system was essential to the new site. Not knowing UNIX or cgi programming, how I would pull this off without breaking something in the process was going to be interesting.

    While we were trying to figure out how to capture all this sword knowledge and information - whether to do so as a knowledgebase or an online magazine - the first thing to do was to set up a forum so that we could have instant readership while our first issue was being planned and written. It took time to develop our visual "look" and identity as Sword Forum Magazine Online, and you may recall the design feedback we received.

    However, technology-wise, I figured that if I simply duplicated the HSG Forum's file folder structure, then Sword Forum could have its own forum without need of programming or configuring (yeah, right). Fortunately, I decided to port the original forum over to the "swordforum.com" domain, because the duplicate folder structure that was to be the HSG's forum totally bombed on me, and I never got it to work. By the time Sword Forum's forum grew from 1 to 4-6 forums, when I looked to Motoyasu for help with the HSG's forum, he was completely swallowed up by work, and his company took away his UNIX computer and gave him a Windows PC instead.

    Dumb little things like this make people think that the HSG "became" Sword Forum when, in reality, there was a lot of planning building the new site from the ground up, as well as baby steps (and some, admittedly, mis-steps) in migrating the forum software. Had Sword Forum been one big sudden new site, with both sites with their own discussion forums, I think the perception of Sword Forum's origins would have been quite different. It was never my intention to "morph" the HSG into Sword Forum. Rather, Sword Forum was designed and destined, from the ground up, to be its own website, with my Highlander-related and other movie-related interests continuing separately on the HSG. The HSG is still there, but as you have all witnessed, SFI became like a second job to where the HSG suffered. Also, since Davis Panzer Productions killed off Connor MacLeod, I lost total interest. I tried watching Highlander: The Source, and it was so rediculous that I couldn't watch it more than halfway through. I hear DPP is considering a reboot of the whole franchise, kind of like how Star Trek is getting reimagined, after Battlestar Galactica's recent series' ratings took off beyond all expectations.

    Okay, off my soap box. Must go forage for food now. Thank you all for making the last 10 years a great journey!
    Adrian
    Maestro of the Bolognese School (Spaghetti sauce, not fencing!)

    Click HERE for the SFI comic strip "Bloodgroove"!

  11. #11
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    Adrian,

    Thanks for posting...

    Of course mucho appreciation to you for hosting our community.

  12. #12
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    Thanks!

    And my summary for what SFI is all about: be happy, collect what you want, and support your North American and custom smiths! Antiques are cool too!
    Adrian
    Maestro of the Bolognese School (Spaghetti sauce, not fencing!)

    Click HERE for the SFI comic strip "Bloodgroove"!

  13. #13
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    Cool! I can definitely respect that.

  14. #14
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    I've been more active over at SBG, as it suited where my proddy collecting started. It didn't take long before my incessant customising turned into a full blown sword making obsession. And I shared it all with my fellow forumites. I love seeing other people's art, and enjoy being involved with the forums and have a positive influence on people world wide.

    SFI is great in that burgeoning artists like me are embraced and allowed to be open with our work. Thanks Adrian!

    I also enjoy seeing how seemlessly the various branches of the overall bladed hobby mesh here at SFI. From makers, to the various historical cultures of sword enthusiasts, antiquers, to Reenactors, sparers and stage fighters, to fantasy nerds like me.

    Cheers
    Last edited by Brendan O.; 10-21-2008 at 08:48 AM.

  15. #15

    Sfi

    I love it here this is where my obession with edged weapons was cultivated. I always loved to look at swords but after browsing the forms I was done. I am happy my wife not so much !
    "What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through The Fire."- Charles Bukowski

  16. #16
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    I think your'e bang on with your assessment Mic, I myself was a late bloomer more because I was stuck in a crappy paying job. Now I'm in something new that is affording me the opportunity to either go custom or customize a higher end blade and make it my own (I currently am working on a custom DF folded bushi, with Kevin Adams in Toronto).

    I guess what I am saying is that for some the time isn't right for them to progress, simply because there could be some external factors preventing them from doing so. Some may lose interest in the interim, but may come back. Some hit some snags and for personal reasons take time off (that was me back in 2005, for about a year). Others stick around like barnacles.

    In anycase, it's been a fun journey with no real destination, just a lot of cool stops along the way.
    - What really scares the heck out of me is that stupid people are out-breeding the smart ones.

  17. #17
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    Hey Matt,

    I agree about the timing and resources thing... but that's whats great about SFI and swords...

    I really include more people in this than custom buyers...

    The guys that are churning out good work customizing production swords, or training in a sword art.. all these things are passion reaching fruition...

    Whether custom , production, training or creating,there is a place for everyone here and nuture to grow on.

  18. #18
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    If I may offer a different perspective....

    Sword Forum has grown into much more than a place for collectors and makers of swords. It has become one of the most important resources to the world of HEMA, allowing practitioners to communicate and share what they do. Despite upheavals and occasional bad feelings (inevitable given the passions involved) SFI continues to serve a vital role in bringing together people who practice the sword arts.

    I don't know how true this is of JSA, but it's certainly the case with HES. It's particularly important in our context here in Singapore, where there's a very small community and not a lot of support. We learn and gain so much through SFI.

    Thanks, Adrian, for the work and resources you've poured into this labour of love. It is definitely appreciated.

  19. #19
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    Dang, if I could I would just reach right though my computer screen and give you all a big hug!
    Consensus is the stuff of politics, not of science…A public that is not aware of this is vulnerable to abuse. (Paul Reiter, regarding the abuses of science perpetrated by the IPCC 4th Report, 2007)


    -------------

    “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...” (Proverbs 23:7).

  20. #20
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    I'm giving this thread a Big Ole' BUMP as i think we can all use it now , in light of recent threads in the pub.

    I know many of you remember a different SFI from longer ago... but this is the SFI that I recall , that dragged members, sometime's roughly, sometimes gently , but always deeply into the wonderful world of swords, in all of its facets.

    Many people that posted in this thread are gone ... as well as many that helped inspire me to post it... but surely some of you have thoughts you can add...

  21. #21
    Marc,
    Thanks for bumping this thread. I have not read it before and I quite enjoyed it. I'll add some of my own thoughts later!

    Jonathan

  22. #22
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    I'll have to admit missing this thread entirely at the time. Three years ago from the 19th to 23rd of October 2008 found me in intensive care following a stroke. More than 100 appointments followed in 2009.

    The Highlander version of the board was not the first stop I made in looking at medieval reproductions but the cross town traffic found many of the same folk discussing the prime of Del Tin and the early Tinker Toys. A time when Gus was first cutting blades because there just were too few options on the market.

    These early discussions (for me) steered me away from the Iberia and other CAS offerings at the time. We see somewhat of a rebirth for some of those old models and I guess they will always be an option for some to dip their toes. Soon though, looking at better thought out design kind of underlines getting what one pays for.

    Throughout 1999, I continued to weigh my own interests before spending dollar one on a reproduction while already browsing antique sites. Even though it was a Windlass I finally bought, it was enough of a bug to pull me away from the allure of antiques. By 2004, it was a real struggle for me to even consider another reproduction and my primary interests had really come to the forefront after seeing swords at the top of my lists disappear from listings. It had been a coin toss between a Gus sword or 18th century sabre in November 2003 and at the time, no regret buying the sword from Gus. I did though regret seeing the sabre selling before I got back to it.

    While the diversity offered (on too many forums to mention) web wide is ever growing, SFI will continue to be a site I can learn from and contribute to. One might find me more often posting to the A&M section than being vocal here in the General Discussion section.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; who knows what a third decade of internet sword enthusiasts will look like?

  23. #23
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    Are you kidding me Marc? SFI is the Godfather of sword forums. And I am proud to say that I've been a member for like over a decade and have gone on twice a day since I started, just to check in see what's up. Had my run ins with folks and smith's alike but am still friends with em all. Guess in a way we really are "One great big happy fleet". Odinblades is so in debt to SFI and Adrian Ko and stuff man and I have made a great many clients and built such a huge supply of great friendships through the years, gosh I get choked up just thinking about it.
    Awesome thread Marc. I wanted to post this before I read all of the other posts so that You all know how genuine my feelings are in this issue. I will read the rest of the thread after I go and work on some blades for a while.
    "Ah, the old disco room.......just as I left it!" Cassanova Frankenstein

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  24. #24
    When I found SFI in March of 2006 I had been on a 5 year hiatus from collecting. For some reason I was poking around antique dealer sites and found a link to SFI. I had never joined a forum before, although I had lurked on a few in the past. Since I started collecting antique swords in 1993, I had been very much alone in my interests and hobby. It was refreshing to find an entire community full of people who shared my interests. I thought I knew quite a lot when I joined, but as I started to read through current and past threads I realized that I had only ever scratched the surface of the entire body of knowledge that is out there. I think I have approached learning on the forum as a student (in the sense of the word that Jerry G. very aptly put it earlier in the thread), and the results have been, and continue to be, really fun and rewarding.

    What participation here has given me:

    --Deeper knowledge of my particular area of collecting
    --An outlet for helping others interested in swords
    --An outlet for communicating with industry professionals and scholars
    --Greater awareness of the larger community of sword enthusiasts (makers, martial artists, collectors of replicas, events, etc.)
    --Awareness of internet resources for researching swords and related histories
    --Research skills
    --Improved written communication skills
    --A trustworthy place to buy and sell swords
    --Life-long friendships

    True, some of these bullet points can be achieved on other fora, and other fora have also proven to be wonderful venues for learning. But SFI was my first sword home on the internet, and continues to be the best venue for my particular interests. It has been fun, as Marc pointed out when he started this thread, to see others travel a similar path--to see them mature as collectors and to pass on their knowledge to a new generation.

  25. #25
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    Wow, what a beautiful thread...

    Came upon the forum by accident, lurked a while, posted a little... Living too far away and not having the funds to spend on swords, I have enjoyed learning about theem, and looking at all the 'sword porn' around here...

    I will continue to lurk, and post if by some miracle I have something to contribute... And thank God that there is a place like this where I can do it... May it last for a long, long time yet...

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