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.