Re: Ordering a bokken/jo
I have had a Japanese white oak bokken for almost 10 years. Balance is good. Grain is still good. You might say it's taken some impact. A little discoloration from my hands but still solid and good shape.
cost me around $30 from Kiyota company in Baltimore (see Jun's supplies section). It's seen a lot of sweat and I consider it a priceless old friend. I thought I was really going to town because before that I had a red oak bokken I paid $7 for.
All this talk of $100-200 bokkens reminds me of my brother when we were kids. When he got into something new he had to buy top-of-the-line stuff, consequently we had a lot really nice equipment stored in the garage (e.g. a kayak with a good coat of dust).
Pay enough for quality, but don't pay so much you can't afford to break it.