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Old 05-18-2004, 09:15 AM   #1
Jeff Lynne
Location: Florida
Join Date: Dec 2003
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First Bokken

My sensei suggested I purchase a bokken for training. He did not mention a tsuba was necessary. Some bokken in class have them; some do not.

Could someone suggest:

(1) a good website to purchase bokken;
(2) what is considered "too much" to spend; and
(3) whether a tsuba is suggested.

Thanks.
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Old 05-18-2004, 09:47 AM   #2
George S. Ledyard
 
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
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Re: First Bokken

Quote:
Jeffrey Lynne wrote:
My sensei suggested I purchase a bokken for training. He did not mention a tsuba was necessary. Some bokken in class have them; some do not.

Could someone suggest:

(1) a good website to purchase bokken;
(2) what is considered "too much" to spend; and
(3) whether a tsuba is suggested.

Thanks.
Kingfisher Woodworks

Bu Jin Design

You can spend anywhere from around $60 or so to $100 for a good, functional bokken, more if you get into fancy hardwoods but they aren't necessarily better, often just prettier. Get the best one you can afford. If you don't train hard with it it will last for years and years. If you train hard with them a cheaper one won't last a week.

The first time you feel the tsuba take a resounding hit from your partner you will know why it's very nice to have a tsuba. There are some folks who maintain that you aren't doing aikiken if you have a tsuba... I would prefer that my bokken be as close as possible to my blade as possible. Not having a tsuba causes you to run your techniques a certain way whereas having one allows you more flexibility.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 05-18-2004, 10:12 AM   #3
John Boswell
 
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Dojo: Aikido of Midland
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Re: First Bokken

This is a long URL but click on it and you'll see okay weapons for cheap prices.

http://www.centuryfitness.com/webapp...mb=13501-13524

NOW THEN, if you plan to do any heavy contact work, ask your Sensei what he/she uses. I should think tsuba is optional, but ask your instructor. My first bokken had a tsuba and I hated it. It can eat into your skin.

Recommended sites:

Bujin - http://www.bujindesign.com/

Sei Do Kai Supplies - http://sdksupplies.netfirms.com/index.html

Mushamono - http://www.mushamono.com/musha_home.html Is another recommended one.

Inexpensive bokkens are fine starting out, but you WILL get what you pay for. Cheap bokkens can and will break... and you don't want to really stab someone during practice, so check around.

ALSO, you can do a search: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/search.php?
This question has been asked many times.

Good luck!

Last edited by John Boswell : 05-18-2004 at 10:15 AM.

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Old 05-18-2004, 11:10 AM   #4
DanD
Location: US
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 38
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Re: First Bokken

Check e-bogu.com. Great products and service.

http://www.e-bogu.com/Master_Quality...1-natural-.htm

Many more on their web site
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Old 05-18-2004, 11:34 AM   #5
Bronson
 
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Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
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Re: First Bokken

Hey Jeff,

A couple of questions:
  • Does your dojo do weapon-to-weapon contact or only solo kata?
  • How long have you been practicing?

If their is contact with other weapons then I would definitely go with one of the higher end options. I have one from Kingfisher (George posted a link) and it is very nice with a near indestructible tsuba. However if you only do solo kata I don't see the need to go to that expense. Which brings me to the second point. Many times I've seen new folks get some really nice gear only to leave after 3-6 months. If you're really new I'd go with the least expensive bokken that will allow you to safely practice in your dojo. If you've been at it a while and think you want to stay with it then get yourself a nicer one.

Bronson

p.s. Get the tsuba. If you don't need it you can take it off.

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 05-18-2004, 12:04 PM   #6
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
Dojo: Yoshokai; looking into judo
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Re: First Bokken

I'd like to offer a counterpoint to the "get what you pay for" school. My first bokken, which I still use, was a ~$10 red oak one. Nice cut, good heavy weight, pretty durable. Especially since my dojo has very low, concrete ceilings (laid out in a grid, so you constantly whack your weapons - bokken and jo anyway - against the dividers if you're average height) I use this one to this day, even though I have a very nice hickory bu jin bokken on my weapons rack back in my dorm room. (I use it for 'open air' practice.)

I recall an article that observed that no bokken can stand up to repeated, heavy contact for very long. I believe Ikeda-sensei remarked that if you're routinely exposing your bokken to such contact, you'll break it sooner or later.

So personally, I say go for a nice cheap red oak weapon from the local martial arts store. Dream about the really spiffy bu jin ones later.
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Old 05-18-2004, 02:41 PM   #7
jxa127
Dojo: Itten Dojo -- Mechanicsburg, PA
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 420
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Re: First Bokken

Quote:
Jeffrey Lynne wrote:
My sensei suggested I purchase a bokken for training. He did not mention a tsuba was necessary. Some bokken in class have them; some do not.

Could someone suggest:

(1) a good website to purchase bokken;
(2) what is considered "too much" to spend; and
(3) whether a tsuba is suggested.

Thanks.
We use bokkens from Tozando and they've held up very well for us with hard, contact practice.

The white oak bokken we use are on this web page:
http://tozando.com/eng/aikido/abwo.html

The price is 4,500 yen which works out to about $40 US dollars (right now, anyway).

I've had one for more than four years now and it's in great shape. The key to long life for your bokken is to oil it periodically. I use boiled linseed oil (I don't boil it, that's what is says on the can).

My sensei and I broke a red oak bokken from Bugei in about 20 strokes of keisi giri practice. The last foot or so of of the bokken broke off and sailed to the far end of the dojo, luckily not hitting anyone between where we were and the far wall.

Regards,

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 05-18-2004, 08:24 PM   #8
Tharis
Dojo: Chicago Aikikai
Location: Chicago, IL
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 78
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Re: First Bokken

I'd agree with Paul, as I also own a cheap $10 red oak bokken, and it seems to have worked well for the past few months.

That said, our dojo mostly does kata work about every other class, and we don't whack our bokken together all that much. One reason for this is that (as I understand it) you're not supposed to let your bokken get whacked, even in faster or harder practice. The point is to blend your movement (and blade) with the other person's instead of incessantly banging swords together. Even katana were prone to breaking if hit from certain directions.

That's just my thoughts, of course. I'd advise finding the best possible compromise between your sensei and your bank account.

Yours in ukemi,

Thomas
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Old 05-19-2004, 07:41 PM   #9
Marshall Sandoz
Location: Louisiana
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 23
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Re: First Bokken

I bought a Japanese white oak aikido bokken from E-bogu about a month ago for about $45 plus shipping. I am particulary impressed with both the high quality and the great service these guys offer. The best part is that they were quite a bit cheaper than most of the others I checked (and believe me when I tell you that I spent many hours checking).
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Old 05-26-2004, 12:54 PM   #10
John Boswell
 
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Re: First Bokken

Dan had a good idea. I used the link he gave and ordered that bokken. Got it today. One bokken, One jo, dellivered for ten bucks... altogether it was just shy of $75 (US) and I'm very happy with these.

I managed to get by with less expensive weapons before now, but as I'm rapidly approaching 3rd kyu, thought I better upgrade my weapons for future weapon work. Glad I did... these were worth the time/money.

I think Kingfisher will be my next bokken of choice... once money is freed up.

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Old 06-18-2004, 05:45 PM   #11
Sita Nanthavong
 
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Location: Fayetteville, AR
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Re: First Bokken

i bought a pretty one from ebay. white oak. it has sakura burned into the handle with "budo" and something else in kanji. $9.99 plus shipping.
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Old 06-18-2004, 08:20 PM   #12
dan guthrie
Dojo: Aikido of SLO
Location: Morro Bay
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Re: First Bokken

Some of the cheaper bokken I've seen imitate the shape of a katana (thick in the handle and an abrupt thin portion for two thirds where the "blade" is). I would avoid those.
They are too light. If you use one you'll never get the momentum to parry a regular sized bokken (slightly thinner at the "blade end" than at the handle -tsuka- end, no abrupt blade shape ala Kingfisher Woodworks).
Jeff, how long have you studied Aikido. My dojo let me into the weapons class right away and I think I missed something by not knowing good ukemi. I wish I'd waited until I had a good forward roll. Your class may be different, but I thought you'd like to know.
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