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Old 11-10-2000, 09:01 PM   #1
aikikid
Dojo: North Florida Aikikai
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Join Date: Nov 2000
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Ai symbol

Hi all.
My name's Chris, been practicing Aikido for about 3 months now. A few questions might be more appropriate in more direct forums, but this is my first post, so let me off on this one. The list of questions proceeds:

1. I've noticed there are different organizations, like ASU (of which my dojo is associated with). Are there any real divisions between these groups?

2. Could any of ya'll give me some advice on weapons purchasing? I've heard some say to buy more expensive jo and bokken, mainly because they last longer and are of a better quality. However, they probably will break, and for that reason some say to buy the cheaper red-oak weapons. Input, please? I'm probably go over to bujin's or kingfisher's or SDK's websites and order from them. Good ol' mom and dad.
Gomen nasai if any of you think I'm an ignorant buffoon!

-Chris
Tou wa ichiji no haji,
towanu wa matsudai no haji
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Old 11-10-2000, 09:37 PM   #2
guest1234
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 915
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Hi Chris,

this is perhaps the blind leading the blind, but...
1) no more than any large dysfunctional family...
but as a beginner, it is way way above my pay-grade to worry about...
2) a good idea is always to ask a senior student in your dojo, as they would know the best source and any required kind/quality...i think the issue about REALLY cheap weapons is they don't last long enough to even get what you paid for...a good compromise i think is white oak or other not-exactly-cheap but not really expensive either kind of wood. It won't last you forever, but will last more than a few classes. The really cheap reddish wood ones practically break if you look at them. Not only is replacing them going to cost you time and money, but it is dangerous when they break in class. My partner had one at a seminar weapons class, and as i blocked her strike her bokken split, sending the distal third (with a very sharp point) sailing into the center of the mat (and earning the dry comment "now THAT'S a harai" from our instructor). My white oak jo and bokken have lasted me over 18 months now, and are as good as new...not sure if that is from dumb luck or all that lindseed oil...
colleen annes
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Old 11-11-2000, 12:12 PM   #3
Nick
Dojo: Aikido of Greater Atlanta
Location: Atlanta, GA
Join Date: Jun 2000
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1. Not so much, some focus on competition (Tomiki), while others focus more on waza, less on ki, and vice versa. Basically an organization, in my experience, forms when an instructor has an idea or interpretation of Aikido that no one else seems to have, and wants to share it with others in his/her own unique way.
That's my guess, anyways .
2. Even the greatest and sharpest katana will bend and break if used poorly and with bad instruction. The same holds true for bokken and jo.

-Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 11-11-2000, 06:10 PM   #4
Mike Collins
Location: San Jose
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In my opinion Bujin weapons feel better. Kingfisher are wonderful weapons, but price is a bit prohibitive for a relatively new guy. After a long time of training, you'll probably do a bit less banging, and then Kingfisher is a good choice.

Good luck!!
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Old 11-11-2000, 07:55 PM   #5
ki
Join Date: Nov 2000
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Aikikid

Don't forget you are practising/learning about AIKIDO. Your choice of weapon is of no importance. Your most important weapon in aikido is your own mind and body!
Train your mind and your physics will follow.
Even the most strong material will break if used without the proper "state of mind"
Even the most weak techniques and/or materials will last and perform for you if you use the right "state of mind"

What is the proper "state of mind" you may ask yourself?
The truth is in dicovering your inner strength, your KI!

Train, improve yourselve and train more.
You will see the light when you progress in your training....
and you will find out why a "weapon" like the bokken is only meant for excercise purposes only and that your primary choice of weapon is your own spirit!
Your KI!

Groetingen van Hans
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Old 11-11-2000, 08:44 PM   #6
Nick
Dojo: Aikido of Greater Atlanta
Location: Atlanta, GA
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to ki:

while I agree with you in principle, I disagree on the point that a bokken choice is not important. You mentioned the analogy of a weapon being an exercise for the mind, so let me extend on that analogy, if you will. When exercising, would it not be important to have proper equipment? Sure, you could build your biceps with pushups, but get a new exercise machine and you can work your whole arm with the same effort. And what if you're using the proverbial workout machine, only to find that it breaks because it was poorly made? Not only was it a waste of money, but you could have injured yourself and now must find another way to get that exercise... which isn't always all that bad.

Food for thought, I spose...

Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 11-11-2000, 09:26 PM   #7
ki
Join Date: Nov 2000
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To Nick:

In aikido we do not train muscle you know..
The "machines" to train ourselves with are "me" and "uke"

With "me" and with "uke" we still want to train tomorrow Don't we?
So there is no use for destructive force in the dojo.

OK, poor material will couse you trouble.

BUT:In aikido the basic idea is to exercise and use your technique with your "fingertips"

In other words, to control and move your opponent with NO strength..

Then; what is the use of having a very heavy duty stick (or bokken) if you are studying movements?

Isn't it better to use "brittle" instruments?
So we do not learn to gain too much "power" from our trainig weapons?

Groetingen van Hans
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Old 11-11-2000, 10:27 PM   #8
AikiBiker
Dojo: Aiki O'Kami Society
Location: Daytona Bch, Fl
Join Date: Oct 2000
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Why worry about a weapon's quality?

So that when you are practicing kentaijo your nifty new bokken doesn't shatter when it is knocked aside by your partner's hickory jo, thereby endangering everyone in the dojo with the sharp flying splinters. Yeah someone with good ki can concievably extend it into a pvc pipe making it unbreakable. But I can't and doubt I will be able to for a good many years so I train with the highest quality weapons I can get my hands on.

Aikikid, Kingfisher has an article on their website about different woods for bokken and jo. That would be a good place to start.

Later
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Old 11-12-2000, 06:06 AM   #9
Nick
Dojo: Aikido of Greater Atlanta
Location: Atlanta, GA
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"In aikido we do not train muscle you know..
The "machines" to train ourselves with are "me" and "uke""


Agreed- in case my post didn't express it clearly, I was referring to energy of the mind. As for not using muscle... what do you think you use when you move? To say you sohuld not use any muscle in Aikido is a paradox.

Then; what is the use of having a very heavy duty stick (or bokken) if you are studying movements?

Might I ask if you've ever studied kenjutsu? The main objective is to make the weapon an extension of your arm... the arm makes the bokken hit, but the hips make it cut. Also, remember that the strikes we use in aikido (shomenuchi, yokomenuchi, etc) were derived from sword cuts. In fact, if my research is at all correct, O'sensei based Aikido on sword arts as well as daito-ryu jujitsu.

Then; what is the use of having a very heavy duty stick (or bokken) if you are studying movements?

what's the use of arm movement at all if you are studying movement? not much at all. But if you're studying Aikido, arm movement is critical. Sure, it'd be nice to throw someone with ki alone, but I've got probably 40 years before I can begin to try to learn how to do that...

Isn't it better to use "brittle" instruments?
So we do not learn to gain too much "power" from our trainig weapons?


In a fight, you want advantages. In a sword fight, you want a good sword. For your sword to shatter and break in a sword duel would mean your death. If a person can block and a disarm a sword from a trained exponent of any sword art, than they didn't need the sword in the first place.

-Nick


---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 11-12-2000, 12:32 PM   #10
Erik
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,200
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Quote:
ki wrote:


Isn't it better to use "brittle" instruments?
So we do not learn to gain too much "power" from our trainig weapons?

Train your mind and your physics will follow. Even the most strong material will break if used without the proper "state of mind" Even the most weak techniques and/or materials will last and perform for you if you use the right "state of mind"[/i]
LMAO! That must be why my car has so many recalls--my mind is all messed up. So do we like replace mechanics with "state of mind" shops? And when my computer crashes should I will it to reboot or is it wrong to use will? What about houses? I mean we use wood and other hardy stuff but that suddenly seems so wrong. I'm thinking paper mache would be the way to go and I bet it would be cheaper but what if the big bad wolf huffs and puffs? Can I will the house to stay together?

This is great stuff. Keep it up!
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Old 11-12-2000, 12:44 PM   #11
crystalwizard
Dojo: Aikido of Dallas
Location: Dallas
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 123
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Quote:
ki wrote:
[B
Isn't it better to use "brittle" instruments?
So we do not learn to gain too much "power" from our trainig weapons? [/b]
no. Simply because they are dangerous. Even in the hands of 2 real real experienced people they'd be a danger if they broke but in practice you're not going to have them in the hands of only real experienced people. A chunk of someone's weapon shatters, flys across the room and hits you in the eye or other location, you'll find yourself wishing they were made out of titanium.

Be glad you're not being told to use ratan sticks wrapped with duct tape and padded with foam rubber for safety instead of what you are being told to use.

____________
Kelly Christiansen

A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror
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Old 11-12-2000, 02:07 PM   #12
aikikid
Dojo: North Florida Aikikai
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Join Date: Nov 2000
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Ai symbol after some research....

I've narrowed down my choices of wood between Shiro Kashi (Japanese White Oak) and the Impact Grade Hickory. I'll probably go to Kingfisher or Sei Do Kai, because I know I'll go to Bujin when the time comes for me to purchase hakama. Thanks for all your input, guys and girls!
(go ahead and keep posting your ideas, I can use 'em!)

-Chris
Tou wa ichiji no haji,
towanu wa matsudai no haji
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Old 11-14-2000, 10:10 AM   #13
Nick
Dojo: Aikido of Greater Atlanta
Location: Atlanta, GA
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also, I would recommend http://www.nosyuiaido.com (I think that's the spelling)... they can make a bokken according to your size and choice of wood for relatively cheap (I believe a standard shiro-kashi bokken goes for under $100). Give them a look.

-Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 11-14-2000, 10:28 AM   #14
akiy
 
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Quote:
Nick wrote:
also, I would recommend http://www.nosyuiaido.com (I think that's the spelling)... they can make a bokken according to your size and choice of wood for relatively cheap (I believe a standard shiro-kashi bokken goes for under $100). Give them a look.
You call "under $100" cheap for a white oak bokken? I don't think I've ever spent more than $40 on one. Try contacting Kiyota Company in Baltimore, MD at (800) 783-2232.

-- Jun

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Old 11-15-2000, 09:56 AM   #15
Nick
Dojo: Aikido of Greater Atlanta
Location: Atlanta, GA
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"cheap" because you send in a picture of your hands (dead serious) and they fit it to be the right size for your hands. Not sure about the specifics- my sensei got a maple bokken from them and gives it a hearty thumbs-up.

Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 11-15-2000, 11:08 AM   #16
REK
Join Date: Oct 2000
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I can personally stronlgy recommend Kiyota weapons, as Jun says. I had, and cared for, a bokken from Kiyota Sensei for seven years. At $40 dollars a pop, you can't beat the deal.

I also like the advice to get less expensive gear now and wait for more expensive stuff. Just makes good common sense. I have been in Aikido for ten years and am just now going to buy Kingfisher Impact Grade Hickory. (Insert gleeful look of a kid at Christmas)

________________________
Mors certa, hora incerta
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Old 11-15-2000, 08:03 PM   #17
Richard Harnack
Dojo: Aikido Institute of Mid-America
Location: Maplewood, Missouri
Join Date: Oct 2000
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Which weapon?

Depends on your style of practice. Some styles like to "clack" bokken together, consequently a low grade inexpensive bokken will probably break. However, when I first started training, we did a lot of such "clacking", but from the stand point of deflecting, not blocking, consequently even the cheap bokken lasted a long time.

I would not recommend buying an expensive bokken if you are going to be going up against someone swinging one of Bujin's laminated bokken.

In my store, I carry a line of hand made bokken made from purple heart wood, ash, cocobolo, bubinga, chechen and yellow heart. I even have a couple which are laminated and will stand up to anything out there. They all vary in density and would probably stand up to a good beating, but not if you are going to be hitting bricks.

Best is to ask your sensei what he/she would prefer you to start with.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 11-15-2000, 08:26 PM   #18
Erik
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
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On Woods

I'm building a web site for a flooring company and part of wood flooring is how hard it is. The information below might be of use.

The Janka hardness test measures the force required to embed a .444 inch steell ball to half its diameter in wood. It is one of the best measures of the ability of a wood species to withstand denting and wear. By the same token, it is also a good indicator of how hard or easy a species is to saw or nail. Northern red oak, for example, has a janka hardness rating of 1290. Brazilian cherry, with a rating of 2350, is nearly twice as hard.

Spotted Gum 2473
Brazillian Cherry 2350
Mesquite 2345
Mahogany 2200
Australian Beech 2046
Karri 2023
Sydney Blue 2023
Merbau 1925
Jarrah 1910
Purpleheart 1860
Doussie 1850
Pecan 1820
Padauk 1725
Rose River Gum 1686
Wenge 1630
Sapele 1500
Maple 1450
Bamboo 1450
Cypress 1375
White Oak 1360
Tasmanian Oak 1350
Ash 1320
Red Oak 1290
Iroko 1260
Birch 1260
Movingui 1230
HeartPine 1225
Heritage Oak 1102
Walnut 1010
Teak 1000
Cherry 950
Pine 870
Fir 660
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Old 11-15-2000, 08:47 PM   #19
Keith
Dojo: Susquehanna Aikido
Location: York, PA
Join Date: Jul 2000
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Red Oak story

Regarding practicing with a weak tool:
In addition to the dojo, I also teach an intro to martial arts class at the college near here. We spend a few weeks doing aikiken. Because the school wasn't too crazy about dropping $50 a pop on 30 white oak jo, I had them buy red oak at $10 apiece. The first semester, I was trying to get the students to stop putting so much muscle into their cuts. So I had a student stand with her bokken held in one hand out in front of her, perpindicular to the direction of my cut, and performed a cut tensing all my muscles the way the students were. Made a noise, no big deal. For the second cut, I just relaxed and pretty much let the bokken I was using, also red oak, fall onto the student's. The tip of her bokken broke off and stuck three inches deep into the wall behind me.

Now when I do that demo, I always make sure I have my white oak bokken with me, with a spare for the student.

We get our bokken and jo from http://www.tozando.com. We use the one they call the Aikido bokken, which has a design similar to the bujin bokken. However, the tozando bokken is heavier than the bujin bokken I've held. The two weapons run about $100, including 3 day air shipping. I've never seen one break. They are a little heavier than the $40 bokken from Kiyota company. I also have a bokken from Kiyota Co. (it's only a 45 minute drive away from me. A friend of mine used to work there. Kiyota-san is a funny guy) called a keishi ryu bokken. Much heavier, really good if you want to go banging. Can't remember how much it cost because I've had it close to ten years.

Keith Engle
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