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Old 02-11-2015, 08:37 AM   #1
lbb
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Iaito and supplies, where to get?

Time to work on that drawing and cutting thing, perhaps. Anyone got suggestions for a basic iaito? I'm a complete newb with anything but bokken, so that's the level I'm looking for.

Also, cleaning supplies: Sensei asked me to look for these, as some of his consumables are starting to run out/get raggedy. I don't know any of the terminology, sorry.

TIA,
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Old 02-11-2015, 09:56 AM   #2
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

Mary,

Different instructors take different views, but I'm a big believer in habikito, which is steel with a rebated edge, rather than iaito, which are alloy pot metal. It's just closer to the real thing. Without knowing exactly what kind of iaido you'll be practicing (though I would guess it's either MSR or Seitei, given your aikido background, it's difficult to recommend a basic iaito. There are variations in length of tsuka, curvature of blade, and tip profile from school to school. That your instructor doesn't seem to have a recommendation would be, for me, a warning flag, but to each her own.

That said, I'm guessing that you can find what you're looking for here (good people, good customer service):

http://www.budogu.com/searchresults.asp?cat=1839

or e-mudo.com, e-bogu.com, or tozando.com

Supplies: http://www.budogu.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=1838

Hope this helps.

FL

Last edited by Fred Little : 02-11-2015 at 09:56 AM. Reason: grammar and punctuation

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Old 02-11-2015, 11:53 AM   #3
nikyu62
Dojo: Aikido Club of American Samoa
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

As far as cleaning supplies go, be wary of cheap uchiko, the powdered stone bags for removing old oil from real blades. They can scratch blades due to the way they are made. I recommend Robert Benson's uchiko as he is the top US Japanese trained sword polisher, and he uses the proper methods to make uchiko. Google him, he is in Hawaii, I unfortunately forgot the name of his website.
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Old 02-11-2015, 02:15 PM   #4
lbb
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

Quote:
Fred Little wrote: View Post
Different instructors take different views, but I'm a big believer in habikito, which is steel with a rebated edge, rather than iaito, which are alloy pot metal. It's just closer to the real thing. Without knowing exactly what kind of iaido you'll be practicing (though I would guess it's either MSR or Seitei, given your aikido background, it's difficult to recommend a basic iaito. There are variations in length of tsuka, curvature of blade, and tip profile from school to school. That your instructor doesn't seem to have a recommendation would be, for me, a warning flag, but to each her own.
Hi Fred,

You misunderstand. I wasn't asking what type of iaito I should buy. I'm looking to see if I even want to go down this road, or if I'm looking at a second mortgage. The time to get a recommendation from my instructor is yet to come; however, it's not like he does regular shopping for iaito, his were all passed on to him personally, so he's not going to be able to have a recommendation about where to shop anyway.
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Old 02-11-2015, 03:22 PM   #5
SeaGrass
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

What Fred said. It's also worth checking out swordstore.com as well, they have some nice iaito.
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Old 02-11-2015, 06:11 PM   #6
Malicat
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Time to work on that drawing and cutting thing, perhaps. Anyone got suggestions for a basic iaito? I'm a complete newb with anything but bokken, so that's the level I'm looking for.

Also, cleaning supplies: Sensei asked me to look for these, as some of his consumables are starting to run out/get raggedy. I don't know any of the terminology, sorry.

TIA,
Hi Mary,

Personally I tend to recommend going bottom of the barrel cheap if you have no idea what you are looking for. I would be annoyed if I paid 150+ for a basic iaito only to discover later that there was some feature/aspect that I wanted that the one I bought didn't have. Thus, I present to you a 60 dollar investment for sword and cleaning supplies to get you started, with the understanding that once you have a solid grasp on what you like and don't like about it, you'll be dropping more cash into one later.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

--Ashley
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Old 02-12-2015, 01:30 AM   #7
nikyu62
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

As for the iaito, you might ask Kieth Larman, he does a lot with swords and he is on Aikiweb (and he is a great polisher as well.)
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Old 02-13-2015, 10:17 AM   #8
Keith Larman
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

Quote:
Steven Shimanek wrote: View Post
As for the iaito, you might ask Kieth Larman, he does a lot with swords and he is on Aikiweb (and he is a great polisher as well.)
Well, thank you...

Mary, I'm assuming your sensei doesn't have a preference for iaito as that's always the first place to start.

First off, let's make sure we're talking about the same thing. When some people say "iaito", they mean they want a sword for training in iaido. That's all. So it could be anything from a non-steel, relatively dull piece up to a full blown steel sword, sharp edge and all which makes this discussion hard to have as the meaning isn't terribly consistent across groups using swords. As some of the posts already indicate, you can see what sort of preferences folk have and why. The more important question, of course, is what you are looking for.

*IF* what you are saying is you want an unsharpened sword for practicing iai (i.e., you won't actually physically cut anything), there are a lot of what I prefer to call "mogito" (yeah, call me pedantic man, but it's my job here and it's meaning is a bit more precise and consistently used). These are what others might call iaito, but they are strictly non-steel blades intended for practicing iaido. The idea here is that they can't be used to cut (which allows Japanese to easily make them due to weapons laws) and allows practitioners to learn the draw/cut/resheath movements of various kata in *relative* safety (I've still seem some nasty injuries with these fwiw). These are usually a zinc alloy blade and the ones made by the big groups in Japan are what you should be looking for. The focus on their construction is a lighter blade (less stress during training ostensibly) and a well fit, well wrapped, properly shaped piece (something many of the Chinese made swords lack in one department or another). And frankly you can get a decent piece for under $400 if you look around. And by that I mean good quality handle shape, tight, symmetric, clean wrapping, a saya that fits right and a blade that is shaped right. In other words an ideal tool for training.

There are cheaper things out there but remember that the reason the other ones cost more is that skill required to wrap a tsuka properly and tightly isn't a common thing. And the fit/finish requires a level of skill, time and attention to detail (not to mention the knowledge of what to do). What I find amazing is that you can buy an entire mogito (iaito) for less than what I'd charge to make a tsuka for a regular sword. Of course I'm using real rayskin and I have to hand carve everything (they no doubt have machines rough out blanks to start with). So the fact that you can get a really well wrapped, well fit and well done training "sword" for under $500 amazes me.

For one place to look, tozando is currently having a 25% off sale on their mogito (iaito).

http://www.tozandoshop.com/Minosaka-...p/016-s100.htm

Nice, simple, basic tool intended for training. And properly made, safe, properly balanced, properly wrapped, etc.

There are other places and other price points, but if you're going for this sort of sword, you are really not well served to go with anything cheaper as the quality falls off rapidly. And while I've heard many people say how they're perfectly fine with what they have, I personally would never recommend some of the things I've seen people use. It is about matching the tool to the job, and most of the cheaper chinese made versions simply aren't up to the job.

Now if you're looking for a sword that is a cutting sword (i.e., steel, sharp, etc.) there are a ton of choices. From the higher end chinese made stuff to actually going through someone who knows what they're doing to get a custom sword. This is a topic that goes way beyond the scope of this thread, most likely.

So, all that said, if you need more info, then if you could be more specific I'd be happy to help if I can...

Oh, and on cleaning supplies.

There's a ton of BS and misinformation out there on this topic.

If you want to go the traditional route, then a proper cleaning kit is cool. This is complicated too. If you have a nihonto or a high end traditional blade, well, just save yourself the grief and order a cleaning kit from Namikawa Heibei (Bugei trading also sells the same kits from Japan as do others I presume -- you can get them directly from Namikawa but then you'll deal with shipping from Japan). You can also just buy a uchiko ball and a small bottle of sword oil. And as an aside, choji (sword oil) is just a very, very light mineral oil with a drop or two of clove oil to add a fragrance. Do not buy pure clove oil unless you want the mighty sword of clove odor. And a rusty blade.

Of course you could just try to find extremely light grade mineral oil. Sewing machine oil and gun oil are similar, but those also tend to have other additives that might be an issue with the soft wood and glue inside your saya. Personally I just tell people to cough up the couple bucks for a bottle of sword oil and realize that you only use a few drops at a time and it should last you nearly forever.

The uchiko ball used for cleaning is another issue. Uchiko is ground down final polishing stones. Gently used it strips off old oil and hopefully finger oils from contact. Even the finest uchiko, however, over time will alter the surface of a blade oh-so-slightly up to "what the hell were you thinking -- lighten up mongo!". There are kits intended for iaito that contain a chalk of sorts that is inappropriate for real swords. And the chinese kits often seem to include ground up road gravel. Those balls are perfect for throwing at stray dogs who are in your yard. They have no business being anywhere near swords. On the other hand, if you have an inexpensive knockoff and you're also cutting with it, even the Chinese uchiko isn't going to leave bigger marks than what you're already doing with the sword. In that case it's fine. Just keep in mind it's more like an abrasive than a gentle cleaning method.

All that said, us polishers use this magical liquid called "windex" to clean blades as we work. The ammonia cuts oil quite nicely. The only problem is that many people are not cleaning bare blades, but blades mounted. So if the windex gets under the habaki (blade collar), it will tend to pull off the oil underneath. And that area *loves* to rust and fuse the freaking habaki on to the blade (yes, PITA for guys like me when I get a blade to repair). I have some friends who have learned to just hold the blade point down, windex, wipe with quality toilet paper (if it doesn't scratch your bottom, it not likely to scratch steel), then re-oil *LIGHTLY*.

Folk in the world of nihonto today often use very high percentage alcohol and then a lens cleaning cloth to completely clean a quality blade. Then reoil immediately.

You can use washi (japanese paper) if you want authentic. Cleaning kits usually contain a pack. But you'll find that for training blades (real steel) that see a lot of use, well, using an old, clean torn up white t-shirt works just fine. Just no drying sheets or softeners please.

So really a cleaning kit is unnecessary nowadays *unless* you're going for the entire traditional approach. If you want a quality uchiko ball, yeah, Bob Benson in Hawaii sells them. I occasionally make them myself, but it's like pulling teeth to get me to do it.

So... Just buy a kit from Bugei or Namikawa if you want to buy direct from Japan.

If you're cleaning a mogito (imitation blade), then the kits the iaito makers sell are perfectly fine as well. They're not real uchiko, but then again your mogito ain't gonna rust anyway (which is really what all this is about). So sure, you can go through the "kata" of cleaning (something I do myself with my own training swords fwiw) and then later if there's a stubborn area, just windex the sucker, get it clean, then oil it again (the oil also helps the blade move smoothly along the mune in the saya).

Okay, I'm tired of typing... Hope that answers most. Good luck!

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Old 02-13-2015, 01:07 PM   #9
phitruong
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
there are a lot of what I prefer to call "mogito" (yeah, call me pedantic man, but it's my job here and it's meaning is a bit more precise and consistently used).
that's just one cut away from a mojito *sorry couldn't help meself. i will now punish myself by performing the ritual hara-stuffing with junk foods*

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 02-13-2015, 01:37 PM   #10
lbb
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

Keith, thanks so much, that's exactly what I was looking for. As I said, I don't know anything about swords, but I do know enough about gear (kayaks, skis, etc.) to know it's usually a bad idea to buy for a use and a skill level you might have some day (as opposed to the one you have now). I will be spending a long time before I can do sayabiki without giving myself a heart attack, even with an unsharpened blade. What you say about the fitting makes perfect sense to me. As for the style, Birankai does a kind of mashup (see http://www.birankai.org/IaiBattohHo.html), so I'm not sure what to think about that.

What about size? I know it's relative to my height, but where do I find the magic formula?

Thanks again,
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Old 02-13-2015, 02:09 PM   #11
Keith Larman
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Keith, thanks so much, that's exactly what I was looking for. As I said, I don't know anything about swords, but I do know enough about gear (kayaks, skis, etc.) to know it's usually a bad idea to buy for a use and a skill level you might have some day (as opposed to the one you have now). I will be spending a long time before I can do sayabiki without giving myself a heart attack, even with an unsharpened blade. What you say about the fitting makes perfect sense to me. As for the style, Birankai does a kind of mashup (see http://www.birankai.org/IaiBattohHo.html), so I'm not sure what to think about that.

What about size? I know it's relative to my height, but where do I find the magic formula?

Thanks again,
Size is one of those things that tends to vary from style to style. Some like longer, others like shorter. Think the three bears... If you can, ask if you can try your sensei's sword. And ask if it is the right size for you. Measure it and go from there.

All that said, some styles are more anal about it than others. Some what bloody near exactly the perfect length. Others, well, as long as it isn't way too short or way too long, well, you're good. So the next question is your height.

One *common* (although not necessarily correct for everyone) is to grab a bokken in your right hand. From a normal squared but relaxed stance let your arm hang to the side, tip down. Adjust your grip until the tip *just* clears the ground (you don't want to be cutting up the mats when you train). Measure that length from just in front of your hand in a *direct* line to the very tip (i.e., don't let the measuring tape curve with the sword, measure it in a straight line). That would be just about the proper "nagasa" (or length). To compute the nagasa, subtract about 3/4" from that measurement and there you go. Most of these sites work in shaku/sun/bu, so convert that here...

http://www.kampaibudokai.org/Script.htm

To give an example, I'm 6 feet tall but with a rather oddly shaped body. My torso is relatively tall to my legs but that said, my arms are also short. So using that measurement I use a 2.4.5 shaku sword which works out to about 29.25 inches nagasa. So I have about 30" clearance on the floor. That said, when I first started the sword was probably a bit too long for me because I have those short arms and that made sayabiki, etc. rather awkward at first. But keep in mind that most people will adjust to what they're using. Sure, there may be an optimal length, but as long as you're in the ballpark and not doing something ridiculous, you'll be fine.

On tsuka length, well, I'll stay away from most of the heated argument there. Most iaito tsuka used to be available only in one length and that was likely about the prevalence of certain groups and their particular traditions (lengths as well -- MJER likes things that are different from MSR for instance). Today you have more choice as some groups have been remarkable insistent with their preferences (and frankly it is true that a guy like me with large hands probably needs a longer tsuka to be proportional to what the under 5 foot tall average Japanese needed 150 years ago). That said, most iai groups are much more conservative here so you'll probably find you should go with a tsuka that is about 2 hand widths plus 2 or 3 fingers in between. If you style wants a slightly larger size, it's not unusual to go for 3 hands. Others go even longer. For most iai, however, you're probably better off going with about 2 hands plus 3 fingers and call it a day. Or just measure sensei's tsuka and go there...

FWIW my 2.4.5 iaito has a 'standard' 8.5 sun tsuka (a hair over 10") because the people I trained with in iai were of one of the MJER lines and that is the "correct" tsuka length no matter who you are (with that sensei, at least). For my personal shinken (cutting sword), I made my own tsuka and I'm running at about 9.5 instead which is much more comfortable for me). That said, I can easily shift between the two. No problems at all.

In other words there comes a point when you're over-thinking things. With custom swords I often laugh because people will obsess and change their minds then ask their sensei then handle 8 gazillion swords. When all is said and done what they usually end up with is a sword that is around 28 - 29.5, with a tsuka usually around 11" ranging from 10.5 to 12.5. And frankly they could probably shift between any two swords that fall in to those ranges with ease.

So as long as you get in the ballpark you will probably be fine. If you have a sensei who is very particular, well, then worry about it more. But... 28.5 with a 10-11" tsuka... Winning combination for most people in iai. Not too long, not too short. Just right, Goldilocks...

Good luck.

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Old 02-13-2015, 02:20 PM   #12
Keith Larman
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

Thought of one other thing. Often you'll have a choice between kuroru and ishime. Kuroru is a glossy finish, ishime is a matted (pebbly, really) finish. Both are fine. Some argue that kuroru saya move nicer through the obi, but I really don't notice a difference. On inexpensive pieces, we ain't talking about authentic lacquer work here, so both will get scuffed, scratched and otherwise abused. Personally I find that with inexpensive pieces like these the ishime will look better longer. But in all honesty, who cares, it's a training tool. That they're scuffed means they're being loved. It's all good, so pick what you think looks best. I think glossy looks vastly more "refined", but that's just me.

And on color. Usually you have the choice of any color you want as long as it is black. So don't sweat it.

And fwiw, if there is anything change you would be willing to spend more, the thing to consider is having the tsuka wrapped in silk rather than cotton. Silk costs more, but... It is *vastly* nicer in the hands and lasts longer in my experience. Cotton rubs the hands raw over time, silk is a lot more forgiving.

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Old 02-13-2015, 02:46 PM   #13
Keith Larman
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

And fwiw, on tozando you can change fittings, etc. as you go up a bit in price. One really good reason to move up in price a bit is for the option to have it wrapped in silk instead of cotton. Or you can simply ask if you can have an entry level piece (with no fittings choices, etc.) but still have it wrapped in silk instead. I don't know if they'll do it or if they'll want you to bump up to a higher cost level.

You might also try http://www.yamatobudogu.com/default.asp

Do try to get silk wrap, however. Seriously, if you plan to train for any length of time with it, your hands will appreciate the silk.

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Old 02-13-2015, 04:16 PM   #14
Keith Larman
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

I should clarify... My shinken's tsuka is 9.5 *sun* and not 9.5 inches. It's a bit shy of 11.5 inches.

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Old 02-14-2015, 12:25 AM   #15
kewms
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

I definitely recommend getting a sword sized to fit *you,* not some "ideal" defined by the style. Trying to draw a sword that's too long is a recipe for frustration and, worse, bad habits. How much of a collision with your teacher this is likely to cause depends on how non-average your dimensions are and how much of a stickler for tradition he is.

Don't use a uchiko on a non-steel blade. You'll just destroy the finish, and zinc alloy doesn't rust, anyway. My "cleaning kit" consists of rice paper, a bottle of sword oil, and an old t-shirt.

Spend enough money to get decent quality. Say, $300-$500ish for entry level? Something that falls apart in your hands is hazardous to you and everyone around you, even if it's not sharp. Mine came from our own Peter Boylan, via http://www.budogu.com

Katherine

Edit to add: If you do get a sharp blade -- which I wouldn't recommend until you have enough experience to not injure yourself -- you might want to investigate relevant laws in your jurisdiction. Swords generally aren't regulated much -- harder to conceal than knives -- but an overzealous police officer or nasty neighbor can ruin your whole day.

Last edited by kewms : 02-14-2015 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 02-14-2015, 06:41 AM   #16
phitruong
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

going to mention David Goldberg http://www.goldmountainforge.com/
if you ask him, he might have something for you that is not on his website.

my teacher told me to get a long blade. mine is 29X11. i have short arms. in the beginning, i had so much problem drawing that blade. i thought my teacher made a mistake with his recommendation. my teacher used to laugh watching me struggled. now, i can clear it with a few inches extra. it turned out my shoulders and chest were too tight. my teacher knew, i didn't.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 02-14-2015, 01:27 PM   #17
Keith Larman
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
I definitely recommend getting a sword sized to fit *you,* not some "ideal" defined by the style. Trying to draw a sword that's too long is a recipe for frustration and, worse, bad habits. How much of a collision with your teacher this is likely to cause depends on how non-average your dimensions are and how much of a stickler for tradition he is.
But if we presume the sensei knows what he or she is doing, isn't this the same as when a student says "this way of moving *is* natural for me!" all when to a more experienced eye they are moving like a spastic hippo?

You have to keep in mind that "what fits" *really* does vary from style to style. I have 2 customers who bloody well could pass for twins. One is in MSR, the other some lineage of MJER. The MSR sensei's sword is more than an inch longer than the MJER sensei's training sword. They are both correct in their respective styles. I do agree in principle that trying to draw a sword that is "too long" can instill bad habits. However, the sword that is too long for the MJER practitioner (for example), may in fact be juuuust right for the MSR practitioner. So to say that one needs to find a sword that "fits you" is something I agree with, the definition of that involves what you are describing as a "collision" with one's sensei. And quite frankly, the sensei *should* know vastly better than the student what that will be.

Going too short creates as many if not more bad habits than being too long. That said, it depends on the style and the degree of concern they place on some of the more subtle details. FWIW in my experience those in Aikido who have some Iai built in to their system tend not to be that concerned with smaller differences. And on another level most are just happy they have a decent sword to train with regardless of those details.

But all that said... Ask sensei. And in my years of doing swords, if the person simply doesn't get a solid answer, well, the sword tip clearing the ground (in my experience at least) tends to the least problematic of ways of arriving at a length. It might not be *quite* as long as some would want, but it also won't be way too short or way too long for most. So it tends to be in the ballpark.

And fwiw, most people who try to draw a katana placed correctly in the obi for the first time, regardless of style, find it difficult, cramped, and look like crap. And then for pure entertainment value you should see how they look on resheathing. I've seen this happen more times than I can count. That same person a year later can easily and fluidly draw a much longer blade. So judging correctness at this stage of the game is much like a beginning aikido student "deciding" their way of moving is just fine and dandy because it feels good. Most likely it sucks. And that's why you have a sensei and why I would argue that "collision" is due to the student's hubris more than anything.

So my advice is to listen to your teacher and keep an open mind with the notion of what is correct for you until you have enough knowledge and skill to make that determination for yourself. And if you don't get any advice, the arm to the side method tends to give a good average length (a few of joke about this being the goldilocks method for determining length). It may not be optimal in the long run, but it's usually more than good enough.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Don't use a uchiko on a non-steel blade. You'll just destroy the finish, and zinc alloy doesn't rust, anyway. My "cleaning kit" consists of rice paper, a bottle of sword oil, and an old t-shirt.
Actually they sell kits for iaito and those "uchiko" balls do not contain uchiko. They contain a nearly non-abrasive chalk but even so, with enough pressure people can really fark up a finish as you noted. That said, a light touch and the stuff does remove the excess oil. Then a fresh *VERY* light coating of oil helps keep the blade smooth in the saya. If you don't completely remove the old oil over time it can get kind of gummy and that can also foul in the interior of the saya. The other extreme are those who use too much oil (most people). That is the cause of most saya that no longer fit due to internal swelling of the wood. So using those kits is fine if the user is simply gentle. A "real" uchiko ball from Japan is also unlikely to do too much since the uchiko should be very, very fine. But it is a waste to use that on a zinc alloy blade. It's the horrid number of these kits made in China that really destroy stuff. Heck, I was the one of the people who convinced Bugei to dump the Chinese kits from their hanwei swords and replace them with real kits from Japan. I just didn't want more of those things floating around the world than necessary.

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Spend enough money to get decent quality. Say, $300-$500ish for entry level? Something that falls apart in your hands is hazardous to you and everyone around you, even if it's not sharp. Mine came from our own Peter Boylan, via http://www.budogu.com
Yup. All good stuff there. And yes, at that price range you can get a decent (albeit not stellar) piece from Japan with a tight, symmetric wrap on a properly shaped blade in a decently fit saya. Nothing spectacular, but certainly good for entry level. Then, if the practice continues, in a few years you'll be able to know exactly what you want for the next level. And you will have only spent a small amount (relatively) for the first one.

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Old 02-14-2015, 01:50 PM   #18
kewms
Join Date: Aug 2002
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
But all that said... Ask sensei. And in my years of doing swords, if the person simply doesn't get a solid answer, well, the sword tip clearing the ground (in my experience at least) tends to the least problematic of ways of arriving at a length. It might not be *quite* as long as some would want, but it also won't be way too short or way too long for most. So it tends to be in the ballpark.
Yes, this.

Katherine
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Old 02-23-2015, 11:06 AM   #19
ramenboy
Dojo: midwest aikido center
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

hey mary,

if you just want to 'experience' the proper movement for nukitsuke, saya biki, noto, you can also save a bunch of dough and pick up a vinyl/plastic golf club cover as a saya for the bokken. obviously the weight is totally different from using iaito/saya, but you'll get grasp of the movement before shelling out alot of money.

we've done this with beginners and it seems to serve the purpose. once they're used to the movement, they can decide if they want to go on in iai, and then go through the purchase of iaito, obi, etc.

just a thought.

practice hard
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Old 02-23-2015, 12:28 PM   #20
kewms
Join Date: Aug 2002
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

You can also get plastic saya to fit bokken. These are useful when practicing paired iai forms, some sword taking and sword retention forms, and other situations that might involve more impact than would be good for a traditional iaito and/or saya. They're an okay substitute for drawing practice in an emergency, but not really a good long term alternative.

Katherine
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Old 02-23-2015, 12:45 PM   #21
ramenboy
Dojo: midwest aikido center
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
You can also get plastic saya to fit bokken...

Katherine
yep, or order a plastic saya. at least you can get the feel for the movement. then you can decide if you want to invest in iaito later.

i'm sure you've got a couple of dojo mates the same height that are doing iai? check out their iaito and see how you like them...

practice hard
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Old 02-24-2015, 02:06 PM   #22
Gerardo Torres
Location: SF Bay Area
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Well, thank you...
For one place to look, tozando is currently having a 25% off sale on their mogito (iaito).

http://www.tozandoshop.com/Minosaka-...p/016-s100.htm

Nice, simple, basic tool intended for training. And properly made, safe, properly balanced, properly wrapped, etc.
Ditto on Tozando. They have a large variety of price points and customizations. That's where most of our students get their first iaito from.

Although I like everything I've seen from Tozando, my favorite iaito supplier is Nosyudo - especially if I'm investing in a high-end iaito:

http://nosyudo.jp/
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Old 02-24-2015, 02:23 PM   #23
Gerardo Torres
Location: SF Bay Area
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

Once you decide to go for the real thing (instructor permitting), the shinken selection for iai training is more limited.

I got my shinken from Dave Goldberg's Gold Mountain Forge. I'm very satisfied with it and the service they provided. My sword has a bo-hi all the way to the nakago for balance and weight, a nice sori, and draws nicely and is overall balanced. I was also eyeing Bugei's Dragonfly katana but couldn't locate one to try (I didn't know anybody who had one) so I went with the GMF one since they let me try it.

The model I got wasn't on their site, so I assume they only list a selection of their products:
http://www.goldmountainforge.com/japanese-swords
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Old 05-30-2015, 11:20 AM   #24
john2054
 
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Re: Iaito and supplies, where to get?

You could try blades and bows http://bladesandbows.co.uk
okay?
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