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Old 04-06-2011, 04:51 AM   #1
RKG
Dojo: Aikido Circle-Clacton
Location: Clacton
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Kingfisher Bokken

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.
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:17 AM   #2
Cliff Judge
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

Quote:
Ralph Geddes wrote: View Post
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.

Last edited by Cliff Judge : 04-06-2011 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:58 AM   #3
RKG
Dojo: Aikido Circle-Clacton
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

Thank you for the response, Cliff.

The Aiki Ken does look like a fine bokken. Though I do not use a Tsuba, I am leaning toward getting the Aiki Ken.
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Old 04-06-2011, 01:09 PM   #4
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

I have the Iwama style from Kingfisher and have been absolutely pleased with it. My only complaint is that I had a sharp edge on the omote side of the tsuka and I actually sanded it down a tad. I hated applying sandpaper to it, but it was only about a half-inch edge and took maybe ten strokes with 200 grit sandpaper. I also spent hours tapping the striking surfaces to harden them before I ever used it. They give you detailed instructions on surface hardening and I don't have any visible dents. I understand what Cliff is saying about using the handcut bokken and jo in regular training, but then again, what were they made for? If I ever wear these out, I will replace them with exactly the same thing and use them regularly. They are works of art but are most beautiful when being used.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 04-06-2011, 01:30 PM   #5
Cliff Judge
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
I understand what Cliff is saying about using the handcut bokken and jo in regular training, but then again, what were they made for? If I ever wear these out, I will replace them with exactly the same thing and use them regularly. They are works of art but are most beautiful when being used.
I know, I know. But long before they wear out completely, you are likely going to have to sand out some dents and re-apply a finish to them; that turns them into the sanded model anyways, you just spent $100 more for it.

In all seriousness I think the hand-cut bokken are great for sitting under the shomen for the instructor to pick up and demonstrate something during class.

Now, if you don't mind spending a lot of money on a bokken and actually intend to use it for a lot of rough practice, then you should drop Kingfisher an email and ask them about the enhanced hickory practice weapons.
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Old 04-06-2011, 02:28 PM   #6
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

No argument there, Cliff. Mine are about two years old now and I think the time spent surfacing hardening them has paid off. I check my weapons for dents, splinters, cracks and the like each time I pick them up and can feel slight denting after a lot of hard use, but nothing really visible. I can "see" the dents after I feel them.

The surface hardening process takes some time, or at least it did me. I used a long screwdriver with a plastic handle to tap all the impact surfaces literally hundreds of times in three phases. The first was light tapping, then moderate tapping, and then hard striking. It took me about a month to do as I had to wait until I had the house to myself as the tapping would drive any spectator insane.

If and when it becomes necessary I will look into the enhanced products, but I'm sure I will stick with Kingfisher in any event.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:40 AM   #7
RKG
Dojo: Aikido Circle-Clacton
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

I haven't work hardened my Jo yet, I have a week till next practice and I think I'll have to consign myself to the shed for an evening so I can tap away without the dreaded Wife monster appearing .

Seriously though, I really like the look of the Aiki Ken and I think I'll save up for the grade 7. I don't think I could afford the extra £100 for the enhanced version. I don't expect the Aiki Ken to never get any dents, but I'll look after it well so it should last me a long time.

Can you use any hard surface for work hardening? For example another Jo.
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:35 AM   #8
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

Ralph,

You could certainly, but it would have to be harder than the object jo. I found that sitting with the jo or bokken across my knees and using the plastic handle of the screwdriver as the striking surface to be the most satisfactory. Just take care to use the flat surface of the handle to contact the wood or you will get dents. I have two of the long screwdrivers; one has a square handle with rounded edges and the other has the more traditional grooved handle. Both work, but the square handle was easier. It will take about a week to get the sound of pounding out of your head......

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:56 PM   #9
Rob Watson
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

I've put ~ 5 years of countless hard strikes on my Iwama style Kingfisher grade 7 bokken. I love it. Sensei says I need to get a real Iwama style bokken - meaning the Kingfishers is not 'correct'. I have not pressed for a specifc detailed answer as to exactly why it is not right but in terms of shape and balance it essentially is identical to senseis so all that is left is the coloration (gorgeous compared to lame old kashi if you as me) and feel.

The strong impression I got was I'd never get the weapons right until I get a correct bokken. I am mystified by this.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:45 AM   #10
danielajames
 
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

their weapons stands look like a serious indulgence too

Daniel James, Brisbane Aikido Republic: AikiPhysics, Aikido Brisbane news,
ph 0413 001 844, 1593 Logan Rd, Mt.Gravatt, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:36 AM   #11
RKG
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

I am going to begin the first phase of Jo tapping tonight. I have a seminar to attend on the 17th and I'd like it to be ready by then. I've decided to get the Aiki Ken in a couple of months when I save up enough money. It does look gorgeous.

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
I've put ~ 5 years of countless hard strikes on my Iwama style Kingfisher grade 7 bokken. I love it. Sensei says I need to get a real Iwama style bokken - meaning the Kingfishers is not 'correct'. I have not pressed for a specifc detailed answer as to exactly why it is not right but in terms of shape and balance it essentially is identical to senseis so all that is left is the coloration (gorgeous compared to lame old kashi if you as me) and feel.

The strong impression I got was I'd never get the weapons right until I get a correct bokken. I am mystified by this.
Perhaps you should ask your Sensei what is wrong with your Bokken. Besides, I wasn't aware that there was a correct Bokken for Aikido.

Surely it shouldn't matter what style of Bokken you have, its the person who wields the weapon, not the weapon itself.

Started training: August 2010
Rokkyu Grading coming up: 17th April 2011 - wish me luck
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:00 AM   #12
Randy Sexton
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

Bought the large Aikiken hand cut top grade several years ago. Did the hardening thing as well. Still gorgeous and looks brand new except for the hard won surface from many hours of hard training. I bought the large but knda wish I had got the regular but I am 230 and six feet so I went large. Works very well but I had a friend get the regular and it felt good as well. The cost is a little prohibitive but makes a great Christmas present (which mine was).
Doc

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will"
Gandhi
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:30 AM   #13
RKG
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

I'm not sure on whether to get the large or medium Aiki Ken. I'm 5'8 and my current bokken is 41" so its slap bang in the middle of the large and medium sizes.

I think I'll measure up my Iaito and size the Aiki Ken according to that.

Started training: August 2010
Rokkyu Grading coming up: 17th April 2011 - wish me luck
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:37 AM   #14
Cliff Judge
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

Quote:
Randy Sexton wrote: View Post
Bought the large Aikiken hand cut top grade several years ago. Did the hardening thing as well. Still gorgeous and looks brand new except for the hard won surface from many hours of hard training. I bought the large but knda wish I had got the regular but I am 230 and six feet so I went large. Works very well but I had a friend get the regular and it felt good as well. The cost is a little prohibitive but makes a great Christmas present (which mine was).
Doc
I got a top-grade (on the older grading system, which was like A, A+, A++ or something) Aikiken in 2002 and despite being very careful about storage and maintenance it finally splintered at ASU DC summer camp in 2007. I replaced it with one of his Yagyu bokken and found that I don't need to be nearly as smashy. The thing is like the toothpick of death.
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:21 PM   #15
SeaGrass
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

I don't really see the need to sand a bokken, for a jo yes, since you need it to slide between your hands. I have Iwama style Kingfisher's hand cut, regular sanded finish grade 5 and enhanced. I actually like the dents and patina on my bokkens.

I suggest you go for the enhaced bokkens, save you the work of sanding since they're dent resistant and don't warp that easily.
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:36 PM   #16
Cliff Judge
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

Quote:
Bien Nguyen wrote: View Post
I don't really see the need to sand a bokken, for a jo yes, since you need it to slide between your hands. I have Iwama style Kingfisher's hand cut, regular sanded finish grade 5 and enhanced. I actually like the dents and patina on my bokkens.

I suggest you go for the enhaced bokkens, save you the work of sanding since they're dent resistant and don't warp that easily.
If you never ever do kumi tachi where there is wood-on-skin contact, you are fine, but its just not cool to use a splintery bokken if you are going to touch someone's wrists or arms with it.
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Old 04-08-2011, 05:39 PM   #17
SeaGrass
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
If you never ever do kumi tachi where there is wood-on-skin contact, you are fine, but its just not cool to use a splintery bokken if you are going to touch someone's wrists or arms with it.
Aren't you supposed to stop about roughly an inch from hitting your uke?
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:03 PM   #18
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

Bien,
It depends on the tradition of your school. On one kumi tachi we prevent a strike by holding the edge of the bokken against our partner's forearms/wrists.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:18 PM   #19
JO
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

We do several kumi tachi were you make contact and "slice" across your partner. Usually against the gi, but splinters are not welcome. Even without contact with skin, any loose piece of wood that can fly off is unwelcome.

I just replaced a splintery bujin bokken with a large enhanced aikiken from Kingfisher. I'm happy with my big heavy stick (compared to any bokken I've had) but have not yet used it in paired practice. The jo has held out well so far though.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:48 PM   #20
RKG
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

Well, I spent an hour last night tapping away at my jo and I feel confident about using it during training on thursday night, though I can still feel shaking in my hand

Started training: August 2010
Rokkyu Grading coming up: 17th April 2011 - wish me luck
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Old 04-14-2011, 12:13 AM   #21
bkedelen
 
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

Overall I would say that if the shape and size of the bokkens them make works for you, Kingfisher makes the best weapons out there. I have a Kingfisher Woodworks A+ Hickory Aiki Ken that is hand cut and has never been touched by sand paper. Back in the day I had a composite bokken from them that had some problems. I sent it back and got back another one with problems. I had a conversation with the owner and he told me that he would make me the last bokken I would ever need to resolve the issue. He was not wrong. Unfortunately my bokken training has changed such that I now use much lighter and much narrower swords. I am actually thinking about selling the Kingfisher bokken since it is a shame for such a nice sword to go unused. If anyone is interested, let me know.
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Old 04-14-2011, 12:22 AM   #22
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

I am looking at this piece of wood now and it is so nice, I am wondering if I could ask Kingfisher to cut it down to the Yagyu Shinkage shape from the Aiki Ken shape. It never hurts to ask, right?
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Old 04-15-2011, 04:45 AM   #23
RKG
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
I am looking at this piece of wood now and it is so nice, I am wondering if I could ask Kingfisher to cut it down to the Yagyu Shinkage shape from the Aiki Ken shape. It never hurts to ask, right?
Nothing wrong with asking.

Used my Kingfisher Jo for the first time last night, it feels so much better than my old red oak Jo. Much much lighter but faster and it feels very sturdy. Very impressed with this weapon.

Started training: August 2010
Rokkyu Grading coming up: 17th April 2011 - wish me luck
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Old 05-18-2011, 10:30 AM   #24
jester
 
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Thumbs up Re: Kingfisher Bokken

I just got an Enhanced Kingfisher Shinto Bokken. The craftsmanship is amazing! I'm very impressed with this weapon. The balance and weight is prefect.

I took some pics next to an Iwama Bokken from S&P.

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Old 05-19-2011, 06:04 AM   #25
abraxis
 
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Re: Kingfisher Bokken

This thread is of real interest to me. I started ordering a Kingfisher jo a few weeks ago but got stuck on the inscription so I started a few threads here to help me decide on the kanji.

If you're interested please see:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...ht=peace+kanji
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19835

In the second thread Peter A Goldsbury Sensei wrote:

"Of course, if you have the Japanese carved on a jo and/or bokken, you will have the best of both worlds: a pole or implement you can actually use, as well as pray with."

Can't say that I've decided yet myself but I'm wondering what ya'll have inscribed on your practice weapons or do you prefer to not have an inscription?

Also, do any of you listen to music during solitary practice? I know there are pros and cons to this and many people feel strongly that music is an impediment to their focus and performance while there are others who are extremely attached to their "Aiki Music".

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19803

Last edited by abraxis : 05-19-2011 at 06:14 AM.
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