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We are shipping as normal. However, the shipping companies have been experiencing a lot of transit delays under the current situations. At this point it is not uncommon for shipments to be "stuck" for several days. Please understand and expect this right now. In virtually all cases, the shipments are arriving as expected, but many are taking longer than any of us are used to.
Who is this guy?
Greetings fellow sword enthusiasts. My name is Ryan Whittlinger. Some of you may know me, but many more do not. I'm the founder and president of Kult Of Athena. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and tell you a little about me. I will be writing up a lot of sword blog posts over time, so I figured you may want to know about the man behind the posts.

As some of you are aware, I'm a hands on business owner. I am here at the KOA warehouse everyday attending to the plethora of tasks collectedly known as "business stuff". I'm very accessible. Although I'm very busy with day to day operations, I'm always happy to speak to or email with our customers.

So about me. Put simply, I love swords. I always have. As far back as I can remember I was fascinated with weapons in general and swords in particular. As a child I would draw pictures of every weapon I could think of, organize medieval style battles with the neighborhood kids and watch every movie I could find with a sword in it. I never expected to sell swords for a living, in fact I did not know that was even a possibility. But as fate would have it, here we are.

When I was younger there were not many good swords on the market. The production sword market consisted of very expensive decorator swords, usually in outlandish fantasy designs or really low end flea market swords, also in outlandish fantasy designs. Short of very expensive custom pieces, those were pretty much the options. Eventually things started looking up and by the 90's there were some pretty decent things available without having to spend a ton. So I finally found myself able to start buying these swords I had always wanted. However, it did not take long for me to become discouraged with the service and selection offered by the existing sellers. By the late 90's I was working as a webdesigner and collecting what swords I could at the time. Somehow I came across a wholesale catalog for cheap decorative swords and thought "some of these are pretty cool, maybe I should make a website and try to sell them". I figured I could certainly offer better service than I was finding elsewhere. So I did, and in 2000 KOA was born, debuting with something like a whopping 20 or so items. Fast forward to now and things have obviously expanded greatly. Now we focus on functional "battle ready" weapons and have literally thousands of items in stock. The availability of high quality - lower priced swords is now better than ever and more options are coming out all the time.

Over the years I've learned a lot about the sword market and the goal of this blog is to disseminate some of those findings. While there is a lot of good information available on the net, I still see a lot of bad information, rumors and half truths. Sometimes it is people passing on hearsay as personal experience, sometimes it is a supposedly independent source showing obvious biases. With this blog I'll be providing a different perspective on some of these issues, based on my personal experience in the business.

I don't claim to be an expert on history, although it is one of my passions and I do study it regularly. I also don't claim to be an expert swordsman, though I do cut tests and some sport fighting as I have time. What I can say is that I am expert in reproduction swords. Because we stock, warehouse, inspect and ship these products ourselves, we have more physical access to more swords, across more price points and more brands than any other place in the world. I have literally handled hundreds of thousands of swords. I've personally sharpened several thousand of them. If I talk about a particular model, I'm usually basing my opinion, not just on one, but dozens of examples of that model. This puts me in a somewhat unique position, not only is my hobby swords, but my day job is swords as well. Nearly every moment of my waking life is surrounded by swords, and has been for the past 16 years. Anyone can get a sword and offer their opinion on it, what I can do differently is compare that sword in context with nearly any other production sword. Be it others of the same item or different items at higher or lower price points. This is an important distinction. A sword does not exist in a vacuum. It's perceived quality is not only subjective, but comparative with others at the same and different price points. To accurately judge one, you need to have knowledge of others to compare and contrast it with.

Something else to know about me is that I'm brutally honest. I believe in honor and integrity and don't like gimmicks. I don't believe in hyping up products. I believe that products will sell themselves when portrayed honestly and that customers are smart enough to make their own purchase decisions, when given all of the info. Sure I'd like it if customers purchased items from us, but I'm not motivated by the bottom line. I've talked many customers out of buying expensive swords when a lower cost one would be more suited to their needs. This is a difficult concept for some people to understand. Many people assume that everyone is out to screw them, which in many cases is true. But, that is not the case here. Unlike dropship dealers, profit does not just go to line my pockets. Our profit goes to expand our offerings and provide you more options. Of course I make a living, I would not be doing this if I could not afford to eat, but the vast majority of profit just goes back to make the business better. Which is why we offer more sword options than anyone else and continue to add new products nearly every day.

Anyway my point is that I do not have a problem being honest about both the good and bad aspects of any given sword. I don't feel the need to convince people to buy a specific brand or spend a certain amount. If for no other reason, than because we offer nearly every other option as well. If brand A does not meet your requirement, we still offer brands B through F. Compare that with places that only offer brand A & B, what do you think they will tell you is the "best".

Ok, that's probably enough of an introduction, I could probably ramble on forever, but we'll save that for another post. With this blog I'll be giving you my opinions and perspectives on many sword related topics. You may or may not agree with my findings, but now you at least know what I'm basing those findings on and a bit more about me in general. There will also be guest posts and articles from other knowledgeable persons of interest. I hope you will find the information useful.

Thanks and be safe.
Ryan Whittlinger
Kult Of Athena


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