My wife recently bought me a Handcut Jo from Kingfisher and I was amazed at the quality and feel of the wood, especially compared to my old Red Oak Jo.
I am now looking into getting a Kingfisher Bokken but would like some advice on what style to pick. I currently am using an Iwama Ken, I like the solid feel and stout appearence of the weapon but the Kingfisher Aiki Ken looks great.
Does anyone know how the Kingfisher Iwama compares to the Aiki Ken during training?
Any response is appreciated.
Hickory has a much more lively feel to it than oak. It warps though, guaranteed. Just find yourself a friendly tree with an arragement of branches that you can use to carefully bend it back into shape. Kingfisher's site has a page about this.
You are likely to find that, if your existing bokken is shiro kashi, the Kingfisher iwama style bokken will be an entirely different animal. its going to be faster and send less vibration to your hands when it takes an impact.
Their Aikiken is the best choice, IMO, if you are looking for a bokken with a tsuba. I believe the larger Aikiken will be a bit longer than the Iwama bokken and with a tsuba it will be balanced closer to the tsuka. Without the tsuba, I think you will find that its much quicker than your current bokken; it'll feel like you are holding a lightning bolt in your hands.
FYI, the "standard" bokkens are very
nice and if you get one you won't feel half as bad the first time you have to sand out a dimple. Sanding a hand-cut bokken is a shame. Actually I can't believe people use those hand-cut bokken in regular training. Makes me want to cry.