About The School

Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dojo (Dragonfly Mountain Japanese Sword Forging School) is the only swordsmithing school of it’s kind in the world, offering a formal curriculum in all parts of the Japanese sword.

All of our classes are taught by head instructor Michael Bell, master swordsmith in the Japanese tradition. Michael is known worldwide for his finely crafted swords. His work has won numerous awards and has been displayed internationally in museums.

Michael began his career as a swordsmith in 1970 when he undertook an apprenticeship with Nakajima Muneyoshi. Nakajima sensei was unique in that he learned all of the Japanese sword arts: swordsmithing, polishing, habaki-making, and saya-making. Usually, each of these arts were practiced by a specialist. A Japanese sword can often pass through the hands of four or five artists before being fully completed. Thanks to his teacher, Michael became world renowned for his entirely individually crafted Japanese swords.

In 1987, Michael Bell established Dragonfly Forge on a timber covered hillside overlooking the Coquille valley on the southern Oregon coast. Over the years, Michael passed on the various sword arts to many students on an individual basis at Dragonfly Forge, and by teaching at various “hammer-ins”, shows, and symposiums throughout the nation.

In 2006 Michael began offering basic forging classes in a formal, scheduled manner.

2007 marked the foundation of Dragonfly Forge LLC, a family owned company, as Michael’s son and apprentice, Gabriel Bell, joined him as business partner and assistant instructor for Dragonfly Forge’s swordsmithing school. Dragonfly Forge also began offering an expanded curriculum to cover the making of habaki, and koshirae as well as classes in handle-wrapping and kajioshi.

In 2008, Dragonfly Forge unveiled a new, larger, better equipped shop and announced the creation of Tomboyama Nihonto Tanren Dojo (Dragonfly Mountain Japanese Sword Forging School).

We offer a variety of classes for those interested in hands-on learning of the Japanese sword arts. Classes offered include: Basic Forging, Intermediate Forging, Habaki, Koshirae, Tsuka-maki, Kajioshi, and Oroshigane.

Classes Offered

Basic Forging Course

basicforgingcourse1 The SchoolOur most popular course, covering the basics of forging Japanese blades.

Habaki Course

habakicourse The SchoolA two-day course covering the making of a copper habaki.

Koshirae Course

koshiraecourse The SchoolA five-day course covering the making of koshirae.

Tsuka-Maki Course

tsukacourse The SchoolA two-day course covering the wrapping of a handle.

Kajioshi Course


kajioshicourse The SchoolA two course to learn to refine a blade’s shape using waterstones.

Kajioshi-Habaki Combo-Course

kajioshi habaki The SchoolNew for 2010! A 5-day class combining our Kajioshi and Habaki Courses.

Oroshigane Seminar

oroshiganeseminar The SchoolA two-day seminar covering the making of sword steel.

2 thoughts on “About The School”

  1. I’ve been watching the show forged in fire. I would love to try my hand at it and see if it meets my personality. Plus your close in southern Oregon. Hope to schedule a class next year upon retirement

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