Thread: Bokken handling
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Old 11-23-2009, 11:58 PM   #2
Keith Larman
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,566
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Re: Bokken handling

Seriously, ask your sensei.

I work full-time doing Japanese style swords for martial artists, collectors, etc. I'm in the antique world, the modern sword world, and in the aikido world. I will say I've seen some variation on some of the subtle details of etiquette. To the point of saying that really the best idea is to talk with your sensei about what is considered correct in your environment and context.

There are basics, however, that are fairly consistent. Treat it like it is real. It is simply good weapons handling to treat all weapons including training weapons as if they're the real deal. I handle swords all day long every day and as a result I've quite strict about what I want to see. Slip ups are painful. And can be deadly. So I treat all of them as if they're real.

So with that in mind, think about what you do when you hand a bokken to someone by tossing it. Or pointing it at them edge or point first. Consider how dangerous/stupid it would be to do that if it were a real sword.

When you hand a sword to someone keep the edge towards yourself. Make sure they have a solid grip before letting go. And make sure you're "out of the way" of where the sword would drop if the other guy happened to let it go.

But... All that said... Ask your sensei about specifics they want to see. I've seen highly ranked martial artists that I respect greatly do things with bokken that would make me go ballistic if I saw it in a class I was teaching. So opinions vary. And how strict someone is can vary. As I said, my basic rule is to treat it as though it were real. But... Not all agree.

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