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Meet Rafael Kosche of Valley Martial Arts Supply in North Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rafael Kosche.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Rafael. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I came to this business after being in the US Marine Corps. The store actually belonged to my wife’s parents. My father-in-law died in 1996 and my mother-in-law was running the business by herself. My wife and I moved to California in 1999 and I began looking for work. My mother-in-law asked if we could help at the store while I looked for work. I said, “Sure, why not.” Two weeks later she went on vacation and left us running the store. We had no idea where anything was. In fact, the customers knew the store better than we did. Well, after a while we spent so much time working at the store that I was no longer looking for work. We worked the store and started to identify gaps in the martial arts community as far a knowledge of history and weapons. So we geared up to handle those gaps. We have been here since then. Had many employees and raised our daughter. All while having fun with sharp objects.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Initially things were going great. In fact, we grew the business to the point we had five employees and took over the building next door. However, things changed after 9/11 and the economy has taken one hit after another and it has never been the same. The growth of the internet and cheap sellers has also damaged the industry as a whole.

Please tell us about Valley Martial Arts Supply.
We provide the best book selection and the best technical advice on martial arts equipment. No other store matches our knowledge of weaponry, metallurgy, martial arts history, uniform construction or even shoe construction. We are the established experts in a variety of martial arts themes.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I have many great memories from my life. I have traveled to many countries and done a lot of things. It would be extremely difficult to pick one favorite.

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