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-   -   Buying my First Bokken (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19404)

Mizuki_Hikaru 02-12-2011 10:00 PM

Buying my First Bokken
 
I've only been doing Aikido for 8 month, but I know i'm serious about it. I go to class 5 days a week 8 classes total, so I figured it's time to get my own bokken. I'm nervous.

My questions being i've done a lot of research which amounted to more questions then I started with. My sensei said he doesn't care as long as it has a tip (no cut off tips) and has a tsuba he stated White oak as a 'traditional' choice.

I'm thinking of the wood as maybe Cherry or Isu (I like the color and was told they are both good woods for alot of use). I'm about 5' 3'' and usually use a lighter bokken i'm not sure if I should go with a short version or long. I'm sorry if this is stated some were else. I'm not sure were the best place to buy one is either. Thank you very very much any information is appreciated.

~Mizuki

raul rodrigo 02-13-2011 12:01 AM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
Try http://www.kingfisherwoodworks.com/

Janet Rosen 02-13-2011 12:11 AM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
https://www.budogu.com
or
http://sdksupplies.netfirms.com/
are also good

Lyle Laizure 02-13-2011 08:25 AM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
Your first bokken should be like your first car. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just functional. For myself it was a red oak bokken. I have had many since and I'm sure many more to come. It also depends on what you will be doing with your bokken. If you are going to be making a lot of contact with other bokken then I would not invest in a more expensive bokken until later on.

aikishrine 02-13-2011 09:24 AM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
I strongly recommend Kingfisher woodworks bokkens. While they may be a little on the expensive side, they are extremely functional, beautiful to look at, and should last you quite a while. So if you believe you are serious, which it sounds like you are than i would stronly urge you to look into these.

Now as for Lyle's idea goes i havd tried a few red oak bokken when i started out and found them to be not so good. cracked and splintered easily. However white oak bokken are also very good, and i believe you can pick them up for about $50.00 or so. And as for the car analogy i know that not only myself but also alot of friends of mine wish our first cars were alot more reliable. Nothing like missing a first date because of a broken down car, man i thought i had a chance:D

Ellis Amdur 02-13-2011 02:31 PM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
Barbara - Neither Cherry or Ipe. IF, however, by "cherry," you mean a wood sometimes called "Brazilian Cherry Wood," that is jatoba, and it is excellent. American cherry wood, however, is too soft. Ipe offers you problems of a different sort.
You've described yourself as being of smaller stature and used to a lighter bokken. Ipe is very heavy and hard. You'll possibly damage the bokken of the people you work out with. Furthermore, it feathers on impact - in other words, splinters of the wood grain lift off and tend to rip out and stick in your hands. And sanding won't make the problem disappear.
Kingfisher is a great place to go: their hickory bokuto are excellent, surprisingly light weight, yet very strong.

Ellis Amdur

Mizuki_Hikaru 02-13-2011 02:47 PM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
Quote:

Ellis Amdur wrote: (Post 276316)
Barbara - Neither Cherry or Ipe. IF, however, by "cherry," you mean a wood sometimes called "Brazilian Cherry Wood," that is jatoba, and it is excellent. American cherry wood, however, is too soft. Ipe offers you problems of a different sort.
You've described yourself as being of smaller stature and used to a lighter bokken. Ipe is very heavy and hard. You'll possibly damage the bokken of the people you work out with. Furthermore, it feathers on impact - in other words, splinters of the wood grain lift off and tend to rip out and stick in your hands. And sanding won't make the problem disappear.
Kingfisher is a great place to go: their hickory bokuto are excellent, surprisingly light weight, yet very strong.

Ellis Amdur

Ipe? Is that the same thing as Isu? This is an example of Isu just in case.

http://www.tozandoshop.com/Isu_Bokke...-bkh11is-l.htm

Is the Brazilian cherry heavy too? I'm guessing Japanese cherry wood is expensive and soft too? I'll look into kingfisher or I might go with the Isu, but i've not heard much about it, but if Ipe and Isu are the same thing then it's either white oak or hickory. Thank you thank you thank you.

lbb 02-13-2011 03:17 PM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
I've got one bokken -- the first one I bought, Japanese white oak, still going strong. I would personally never choose a bokken because I like the way the wood looks. During practice, if someone is staring at the bokken, they're doing it wrong, and after practice, my bokken is stored flat on the floor in its bag so it won't warp.

Mizuki_Hikaru 02-13-2011 03:44 PM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
Mary-You do make a really good point. I'm leaning toward a white oak or Isu. Do you remember were you got yours from? Thanks.

Brian-thanks for the tip about red oak, maybe it could be the grade of the wood or the way it was made? Do you remember were you got the red oak ones from? I just sent an e-mail to the guy at Kingfisher. Thanks.

Lyle- I understand the car comparison, but I'd like my first bokken to stay around for a while. My Sensei has a bit of his made into a Tanto and Wakazashi (can't spell it), but it lasted a zillion years..I think it was from Bujin. Anyways, thanks for your help.

Thanks for the links everyone.

Mizuki_Hikaru 02-13-2011 03:54 PM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
Elis- (sorry I responded before hand, but I guess it didn't work or something)

That's terrible about the Cherry wood, is the Brazilian type heavy? Maybe the Japanese Cherry wood (guessing it's expensive too)
As for Ipe is that the same as Isu? The below link is Isu. Is it the same as Ipe? Thanks.

http://www.tozandoshop.com/Isu_Bokke...-bkh11is-m.htm

lbb 02-13-2011 04:35 PM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
Quote:

Barbara Harris wrote: (Post 276327)
Mary-You do make a really good point. I'm leaning toward a white oak or Isu. Do you remember were you got yours from? Thanks.

Argh, wish I could help! It was part of a bunch of weapons my then-sensei ordered from Japan. He has since moved on to the West Coast, alas (this was a few years back). Others will have more recent purchasing experience that's definitely more relevant here. Obviously I don't have experience with lots of different kinds of wood -- all I can tell you is that Japanese white oak is tough and resilient and a great wood for a bokken that gets plenty of real use.

Also, if you don't have a weapons bag yet, you might want to see what happens when Bujin rises from the ashes. They were for many years a most respected supplier of gear, went out of business fairly recently (about a year ago) and rumor has it they are coming back in some form. If so, you may want to save your money for a Bujin weapons bag. Mine has been dragged from dojo to dojo for years, and...wow. See, now you've got me getting all sentimental about my weapons and my bag. Well, there are a lotta good memories there, and it really be the last weapons bag you'll ever buy.

Pauliina Lievonen 02-14-2011 06:07 AM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
I'd go with white oak for your first bokken. If you want to start collecting the things you can experiment with more exotic woods later.

Isu is at least some places only recommended for light contact. So it gives you less options. Of course it depends on the kind of practice you expect to do. In our dojo we sometimes bang bokken/jo against each other with some force and I'm very happy with how my standard white oak bokken holds up. I've seen a couple red oak jo split in half. Though a jo is of course a bit thinner.

Something like this is what I mean:
https://www.budogu.com/products.cfm?...categoryId=136

I haven't actually bought a bokken from Budogu but clothing and some gifts, and they've always been very helpful.

Kingfisher I have no experience with but from what I've read here people seem very happy with them, too. Did you read the page on choosing a bokken on their website?

Pauliina

Lyle Laizure 02-14-2011 06:18 AM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
Quote:

Lyle- I understand the car comparison, but I'd like my first bokken to stay around for a while. My Sensei has a bit of his made into a Tanto and Wakazashi (can't spell it), but it lasted a zillion years..I think it was from Bujin. Anyways, thanks for your help.

Thanks for the links everyone.
I still have part of my first bokken. It was a red oak, and lasted probably 10 years. I still have my first jo, red oak, and it is now almost 20 years. It really depends on how it is being used. Currently I am also studying Japanese swordsmanship and we make a fair amount of contact. A pretty bokken doesn't stay pretty. I currently use a blood wood bokken. Most would say that it is more of a subrito. Anyway, being more dense the blood wood holds up well.

Ellis Amdur 02-14-2011 09:22 AM

Isu, not Ipe
 
Jeez - sorry, can't read in my dotage. You wrote Isu, not Ipe. Isu is a lovely wood, but not for impact. It's used in Japan as "kazari-mono" - (something to display).

Best
Ellis Amdur

Mizuki_Hikaru 02-14-2011 10:36 AM

Re: Isu, not Ipe
 
Quote:

Ellis Amdur wrote: (Post 276397)
Jeez - sorry, can't read in my dotage. You wrote Isu, not Ipe. Isu is a lovely wood, but not for impact. It's used in Japan as "kazari-mono" - (something to display).

Best
Ellis Amdur

Man that's really disappointing. I was just off buying the Isu one, I had my heart set on it, but I guess it's just plain old white oak...the same as everyone else either white oak or Hickory. Thanks though.

Pauliina Lievonen 02-14-2011 01:07 PM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
There's a reason why you see so much "plain old white oak" in a dojo. ;-)

Pauliina

Cliff Judge 02-14-2011 02:04 PM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
Quote:

Barbara Harris wrote: (Post 276291)
I've only been doing Aikido for 8 month, but I know i'm serious about it. I go to class 5 days a week 8 classes total, so I figured it's time to get my own bokken. I'm nervous.

My questions being i've done a lot of research which amounted to more questions then I started with. My sensei said he doesn't care as long as it has a tip (no cut off tips) and has a tsuba he stated White oak as a 'traditional' choice.

I'm thinking of the wood as maybe Cherry or Isu (I like the color and was told they are both good woods for alot of use). I'm about 5' 3'' and usually use a lighter bokken i'm not sure if I should go with a short version or long. I'm sorry if this is stated some were else. I'm not sure were the best place to buy one is either. Thank you very very much any information is appreciated.

~Mizuki

You might consider a standard kendo bokken with a leather tsuba. You should be able to order one of these from any reputable online retailer of japanese martial arts supplies.

If you can afford it, though, I would get the kingfisher Aikiken with tsuba - just the lowest-grade "sanded" model, and you might feel as if its too nice to train with at that. These bokken have probably the best combination of tsuba strength and wieldliness, I think.

lbb 02-14-2011 02:24 PM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
Cliff, why would you recommend a shinai? They have different dimensions than a bokken, so...

Cliff Judge 02-14-2011 02:38 PM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
Quote:

Mary Malmros wrote: (Post 276458)
Cliff, why would you recommend a shinai? They have different dimensions than a bokken, so...

I was referring to the type of thing that is on this page:

http://www.e-bogu.com/Bokken_s/16.htm

A non-"stylized" bokken that is not from one of the popular craftsmen.

Cliff Judge 03-08-2011 12:37 PM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
FWIW, tozando is doing free international shipping on www.bokkenshop.com right this instant.

If you are looking for:

- a plain kendo bokken in one of the Japanese exotic woods, or
- one of a selection of koryu bokken in red or white oak

This might not be a bad time to spend the money.

edshockley 03-21-2011 07:42 AM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
Many Aikido have had success selecting a weapon by first experimenting with the bokken of other students. I used the bokken of Nizam Taleb Sensei during a trainning session and purchased a hand carved bokken from Guatemala of all places that used his as the model. It wasn't expensive. (Axcel Sensei at Lenape Aikikai brought it back from a trip to his hometown.) but my point is simply, experience the specific type of weapon that suits you and then purchase from the same place. Kyota in Baltimore is where I buy oak weapons for the dojo and they survive the banging of public use quite well. If you're ever in the area come cross swords with us sunday mornings at Aikikai of Philadelphia.

RKG 04-06-2011 03:17 AM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
I'd personally go with something cheap so you get used to Ken movements first. Later on you could try something like a Kingfisher.

I just got my first Kingfisher, its a Jo but the quality and feel of the wood is amazing. I myself am now looking to replace my White Oak Iwama with a Kingfisher Aiki Ken or Iwama.

Michael Hackett 04-06-2011 01:32 PM

Re: Buying my First Bokken
 
Most of our dojo public weapons are Tozando's white oak and they have proven to be sturdy and cost-effective. With the big sale they're doing right now and with the free shipping, Tozando is a real bargain.


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