Marie Noelle Fequiere
Now, I need to order a better quality sword. I am considering buying from bugei.com, so I would love some feedback from anyone who has tried their swords. I might have to spend a few months eating only carrots to save the money, so I would like to make sure that I am making a better choice.
I also noticed that they offer their katanas in a variety of length. A sempai who has trained in Japan told me that Japanese people are no taller than me, and that they use the longest sword without any problem. So how do I choose?
Bugei makes good stuff, but we've seen a few quality control issues of late. They will stand behind what they sell however and they are very reputable. I would however recommend getting an iaito, an unsharpened blade for practice. These don't rust, don't cut your hand off and are a LOT cheaper. A good iaito can be had for $300-$600 (more if you wanna go nuts) and will last you for years and years. I mostly use a live blade for my training now, but still go back to my iaito and it's still a joy to use. I recommend bogubag.com, good prices and good service from good folks. I'd say that 80% of what can be learned from a shinken (particularly if you're not doing tameshigiri) can be learned safer from an iaito. That last 20% is a long way down the road. And don't buy ANYTHING that's "stainless" steel, it is fine for knives, but not for swords.