Good stories are told in multiple chapters.
My name is Allen and I’ve spent an unreasonable amount of time and money studying various forms of metal work, mostly related to blade making.
In my many years as the eternal student, I developed a deep and very meaningful relationship with a Japanese sword smith. I was never his apprentice, in fact when the topic was eventually broached we were both happy to hear myself refuse the invitation. I was too old and set in my ways, I knew I would never survive the financial ruin or the ritual rigours of a master constantly testing his student mentally and physically. Taro, himself, was also relieved as we had already developed something of a brotherly kinship and that didn’t have to change.
Over the course of time, I persuaded him to do things no other Japanese sword smith had done; openly teach others his craft in non apprenticeship format. As a brother, he trusted me and extending his exposure to the world beyond Japan became my goal. We ran the courses at about 50% of the pace Taro performs on a daily basis, partially because we had to teach and partially because it was unrealistic to expect people to walk in and do what he does. Even at that though, and with every class experiencing a 20% (1 in 5) blade failure rate, people would press us for more.
We created these classes outside of Japan, because laws governing sword making prevent swords being made and exported by anyone other than a certified sword smith, legally. Consequently, he and I have travelled a lot along the way and have had some great stories and met great people. But Taro has a family, in fact he has a rather large family and he is the head of it. For that reason and in his words, “My work must now travel more than I do.”
All good things eventually come to an end. This is the last sword smithing class Taro will be teaching. We are running at what could be considered 80-90% pace this time for those that want it. We’ve created the class that I would take, but never existed. If the cost seems high, it’s cheaper to bring Japan to you this way than it is for you to do this in Japan, trust me. It’s a scalable class, so you buy into what you can afford and handle in terms of work effort. No one is getting rich here and frankly, that’s part of the reason why we’re bringing an end to this series. That, and we’ve proven our point, Fusataro (Taro) is a special talent. We’ve fulfilled commissions together, where he’s again pushed the boundaries in art, some that will be hopefully be completed in time to reveal in Montreal, June 2017. Taro has also worked extensively in Europe and secured his global footprint, so we are both now moving into Stage 2.
The end of one thing is always the birth of another. I can’t reveal it all at once and not all of it isn’t meant to be shared with everyone. What I will say is the deeper you interact with Iron Den Forge, the more you’ll be rewarded. In our continued evolution, we definitely want you to be a part of it.