We had the good fortune of connecting with Rafael Kosche and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rafael, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
We have dedicated a lot of time and effort into learning everything we could about metallurgy, art, design, and history of swords, knives and other bladed weapons. As well as textiles, shoe manufacturing, and actual history of martial arts around the world.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
When we first got into this business, about 20 years ago, we noticed a serious lack of knowledge in the martial arts community in the areas of actual history, weapons manufacture, equipment manufacture, and reliable sources of knowledge and information. We sought to establish ourselves as the go-to source for factual information. At fist it was vey hard because good, reliable information was hard to find. A lot is built around myths and misinformation. The second obstacle was people refusing to let go of their pre-conceived notions and misinformation.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For us the most fun and entertaining things revolve around the outdoors. My top choices are SCUBA Diving, tide-pooling at the beach, hiking in the hills, visiting waterfalls, and of course talking at length about weapons, metallurgy, and their history. Our favorite places to eat are down-home Thai food (Pa Ord zapp-Ver in North Hollywood, CA), Southern style Mexican food (La Cabañita in Glendale, CA). When in Malibu you have to stop in and get a PCH Burger at Country Kitchen on Pacific Coast Highway. A trip to downtown Chinatown is also a great place to visit with a mandatory visit on Sunday mornings for Dim Sum at Ocean Seafood Restaurant. If we can I would schedule a visit to my good friend’s ranch, Anthony DeLongis, for a fun day of cracking whips, throwing knives and axes, horseback riding, and stick around for weapons demos and conversations around the fireplace. A visit for stick and knife fighting lessons with legendary Tuhon Nick Papdakis is always a great way to get in a fun workout and gain invaluable knowledge about Filipino Stick and Knife fighting. Of course a visit to the only Martial Arts History Museum in the world (Burbank, CA) and a visit to our own Valley Martial Arts Supply store, which has become a tourist stop in its own right over the decades.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We are deeply indebted to the people that have been very patient with us and shared their knowledge generously. Specifically, Kevin McKlung “Mad Dog” Knives, Judo Gene LeBell, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, Tuhon Nick Papadakis, Michael Matsuda (President of the Martial Arts History Museum), Dave Baker (Historical knife maker, Anthony DeLongis (Whip Expert, stuntman, fight choreographer, swordsman extraodinaire), and all of our loyal customers.
Rafael Kosche, National Geographic, History Channel, Gene Lebell