View Full Version : Length of bokken?

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Dave Fryers
01-19-2006, 02:54 AM
What is the ideal length of a bokken, based on the users height or arm length?
Obviously a bokken that suits me (@6ft. built like a brick "outhouse") would be unsuitable for my 12yr old son (@5ft 6in)
I'm thinking of mabe making / buying one each, so we can "play"

Brion Toss
01-19-2006, 09:51 AM
You will likely find at least one thread about this in the archives. As I recall, the opinions were from two camps: the bokken should be exactly the length that the founder of Taitassu Ryu said it should be, regardless of one's body size; or the bokken's length must have some relationship to an individual's body mechanics. The former opinion, combined with a faithful study of said ryu, tends to involve one in the strategies and tactics of the school, though perhaps at the price of individual optimization with the weapon. The latter opinion tends to be adopted by people who figure that, if they are smart enough to figure out the relationship between bokken and body, they are also smart enough to figure out tactics and strategy, so they don't pay sufficient attention to the underlying principles.
It seems to me that ryu founders tended not to have been on the losing side of duels, and that they have a lot to tell us. It also seems to me that somewhere, way back when, they determined an ideal for them weapon length. In a genetically homogeneous country like Japan, this length will tend to work for all adults. But it seems absurd to impose that length on significantly taller or shorter people. So I'd say try to determine the ideal bokken length for you, bearing in mind that the only way to do that is to have a true understanding of the information that is behind the weapon.
Brion Toss

01-19-2006, 12:27 PM
What is the ideal length of a bokken, based on the users height or arm length?

I recommend: Hold the weapon in your right hand with a comfortable grip. Your hand should be positioned where it will normally be (nearest the "blade" portion; up near/against the tsuba if you'll have one on the bokken.) Relax your arm completely; the weapon should hang towards the outside of your right foot. The tip should hang near your pinky-toe and should not touch the floor. If the tip dangles too much, a longer handle will add some counter balance to lift it.

01-23-2006, 07:14 AM
heyo. craigs method of measuring sword length is one of the most common.

however, it does not always work as people are proportioned differently.

though its for aiki, and not iai, try this way...
hold the bokken as if it were a sword in a saya in your obi (sharp edge up for my school)
keep your left hand where it is and draw with the right hand in front of you
when your right arm is extended (but not locked out straight), and the kissaki (point) is between the left forefinger and thumb, this is the ideal lenght a sword should be

hope you find one that fits.
also, i think tozando or someone like that do kiddies bokken

01-23-2006, 07:17 AM
sorry for double posting.
just re-read your thread.

standard bokken size should be ok for your son, you may need one slighlty longer, though i dont know where to get giants ones.

im 5'2"" so try not to use saya on standard lenght bokken if i can help it