Chinese Kung Fu Weapons- Early
on in his career Francis helped make ends meet by restoring Chinese
weapons for martial artists. He would frequent second-hand stores
and flea markets looking for high quality Chinese bladed weapons.
These were relatively inexpensive at the time and when he found
a blade that his well-trained eye told him was good quality,
he would purchase it, restore it to a safe and useable condition,
and then sell it to a growing group of martial arts practitioners
who were clamoring for his handiwork.
Pocket Knives- For 8 years
(1982-1990) Francis and his partner, Ken Fireman, owned a Knife
Shop on Market Street in San Francisco. They came up with many
unique knives and were awarded 6 patents on 12 different designs.
Francis stays in touch with his pocket-knife roots and makes
sure to attend the Southern California Blade Show held annually
Chinese- Since 1999 Francis
has taken up once again with his study of Chinese and Mongolian
bladed weapons. Far from the casual restoration of a sword for
a martial artist to use, Francis is now seriously studying these
swords, and their manufacturing and construction techniques in
the same minute detail that he has already done with the Japanese
blades. He goes to China at least twice a year to study with
experts in the field at the Beijing Institute of Iron and Steel
Technology. Director Sun, the head of the Institute, and Professor
Han Rubin, the chief Archeo-metallurgical Scientist, are at the
top of their field in the study of ancient metal weapons.
Future- Since 1995 Francis
has gotten to know several martial artists who are involved in
the Japanese Sword Arts. He has looked at the modern swords which
are currently available and has taken a keen interest in making
high quality katana at a reasonable price for the serious martial
artist. In early 2000 Francis began searching for a forge that
could produce a katana to his exacting standards. He continues
to persue this project enthusiastically.