Aikido Boken Suggestions

ST1Doppelganger

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So I've been researching bokens for my aikido training and was wondering if any of you guys have any personal feedback on the different materials the bokens are made from.

I know white oak is usually the standard for most boken training but I've found some of the more exotic hard woods like iron wood and rose wood bokens and am considering them.

I like the fact that the ironwood is a heavier wood making it a more realistic weight for training and I do prefer heavy weapons in training for a better work out.

So what are your guys opinions and thanks for your time.
 

K-man

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My bokken is from the Philippines, Kamagong ironwood.

You can have them carved or plain.
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ST1Doppelganger

ST1Doppelganger

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My bokken is from the Philippines, Kamagong ironwood.

You can have them carved or plain.
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Awesome kman the in carved one is the one I've been looking at so you feel it's well worth the money and like the weight and quality of it?

I just didn't want to fork out the extra cash and be dissapointed.

Thanks for the response.
 

K-man

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Awesome kman the in carved one is the one I've been looking at so you feel it's well worth the money and like the weight and quality of it?

I just didn't want to fork out the extra cash and be dissapointed.

Thanks for the response.
I love the workmanship in mine. The wood is beautiful and the weight of it gives a great feel. I don't use it for bokken to bokken training although I can't see this wood being damaged by the oak bokkens. Mine has the carving and it cost a lot to buy here in Australia. I have seen the same bokken available from the Philippines for around $150 (US).
 
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ST1Doppelganger

ST1Doppelganger

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I love the workmanship in mine. The wood is beautiful and the weight of it gives a great feel. I don't use it for bokken to bokken training although I can't see this wood being damaged by the oak bokkens. Mine has the carving and it cost a lot to buy here in Australia. I have seen the same bokken available from the Philippines for around $150 (US).
Cool I plan on getting the non carved one for under a $100 I just wanted to get feed back on it and am glad you have the feed back I was looking for. Thanks again Kman
 

Chris Li

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Exotic hardwoods break just like oak and hickory, but they cost more. It's a stick, you beat it against other sticks, and it breaks.

How heavy depends on the type of sword that you're doing, different schools advocate different weights and shapes. Personally, I think that it's a bad idea to start out with anything too heavy. As you'll find out if you actually cut anything, it's very easy to skew the angle of the blade by using too much muscle, and heavy bokken just tend to build bad habits. There are a lot of benefits to training with heavy weapons (like eight foot naginata), but that's really something else altogether.

I wouldn't buy anything too fancy for regular training, most of the folks with fancy hardwood weapons and exotic carving are overseas. I never saw anybody training with those kinds of weapons in Japan, not once. Tozando makes a very serviceable bokken, it's not fancy but it's reasonably sturdy and they have free shipping. I'd recommend something like this if you're serious about training - the other stuff if you're more interested in cosplay. ;)

Best,

Chris
 

Chris Li

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Exotic hardwoods break just like oak and hickory, but they cost more. It's a stick, you beat it against other sticks, and it breaks.

How heavy depends on the type of sword that you're doing, different schools advocate different weights and shapes. Personally, I think that it's a bad idea to start out with anything too heavy. As you'll find out if you actually cut anything, it's very easy to skew the angle of the blade by using too much muscle, and heavy bokken just tend to build bad habits. There are a lot of benefits to training with heavy weapons (like eight foot naginata), but that's really something else altogether.

I wouldn't buy anything too fancy for regular training, most of the folks with fancy hardwood weapons and exotic carving are overseas. I never saw anybody training with those kinds of weapons in Japan, not once. Tozando makes a very serviceable bokken, it's not fancy but it's reasonably sturdy and they have free shipping. I'd recommend something like this if you're serious about training - the other stuff if you're more interested in cosplay. ;)

Best,

Chris
 

Chris Li

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Hmm, sorry for the double post, not sure how that happened...

Best,

Chris
 

Chris Parker

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So I've been researching bokens for my aikido training and was wondering if any of you guys have any personal feedback on the different materials the bokens are made from.

I know white oak is usually the standard for most boken training but I've found some of the more exotic hard woods like iron wood and rose wood bokens and am considering them.

I like the fact that the ironwood is a heavier wood making it a more realistic weight for training and I do prefer heavy weapons in training for a better work out.

So what are your guys opinions and thanks for your time.

Hmm it really depends on what you're using it for heavy is great for suburi, for kumitachi you can damage the other weapon, so it's less advised. Personally, while I have some alternates around, the standard go-to for me is shirokashi.

The Kamagong that K-man has is very pretty and very heavy personally, I'd never use it. I met someone recently who had one as a bokuto, as well as a hanbo, and talking with him about it, he raved about it until I asked about how it went with other weapons (particularly how the opposing weapons fared) and it became pretty clear that it simply isn't suited that well.
 
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ST1Doppelganger

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Well it looks like I might get two different ones one for solo and one for two man practice.

I look at weapon training as a weight exercise and know my heavier broadsword gives me a better work out compared to the lighter spring steel (not wushu steel) broadsword.

It will just be two more items to add to my collection of martial arts weapons.
 
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ST1Doppelganger

ST1Doppelganger

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So I went with a good quality white oak boken so I can do two man practice but I will be picking up an ironwood boken in the future.

I plan on taking a wax of some type and coating the wood while also getting tennis racquet grip tape and wrapping the handle since I've done this with a few other weapons what's your opinions on this?

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Jacky Zuki

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Bokken (the expensive ones that are not just painted or varnished) are usually oiled, it is probably worth asking the vendor to see what oil they recommend as it works best if you use the same again. Waxing over oil can create a sticky mess in a few months. I wouldn't wrap the tsuka, being able to effectively control a smooth bokken develops the sense of touch and your sensei may wish to see that.
 

Chris Li

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You don't really need oil unless you live in a dry environment, certainly no wax. Any light oil will work - a mixture of linseed and tung oil is usually ideal.

No wrapping - you don't need it and you don't want it.

Best,

Chris
 

pgsmith

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I agree completely with Chris, but would like to throw in why it is that you don't need, and don't want, a wrapping on the handle. When you are correctly holding your bokuto using the pad of your thumb and the pressure of your little, ring, and middle fingers, it will be stable and won't escape your grasp during training. If you put a wrapping on it, you are now able to hold it incorrectly without it escaping your grasp, and you'll thus be able to develop bad habits that are very difficult to overcome once they get ingrained in muscle memory.
 

hoshin1600

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Since we are talking oil here, my old sensei suggested sanding off the factory varnish type coating and using walnuts wrapped in a cloth to "oil" the bokken. He said it helps prevent the splintering when the bokken is dented. He passed away many many years ago but he is the only person I ever heard this from. Does This Sound Correct OR was he crazy. ..either way I have always done this and it seems to work. But then maybe I'm crazy too.
 
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ST1Doppelganger

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Thanks for the feedback I'm still torn about not wrapping the handle portion since I was almost hit by others flying weapons multiple times while training kung fu but I can see where you guys believe it's not necessary.

I'm very aware of my own grip and am my biggest critic so I really don't think I'd develop bad habits with a grip on the boken but I'll leave it as is with a good coating of oil on it for now till I decide on what to do.

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Chris Parker

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So I went with a good quality white oak boken so I can do two man practice but I will be picking up an ironwood boken in the future.

I plan on taking a wax of some type and coating the wood while also getting tennis racquet grip tape and wrapping the handle since I've done this with a few other weapons what's your opinions on this?

Don't. Just don't. No wax it's not a surfboard. No grip wrapping, as Paul pointed out. You've done this with other weapons? Take it off.

Thanks for the feedback I'm still torn about not wrapping the handle portion since I was almost hit by others flying weapons multiple times while training kung fu but I can see where you guys believe it's not necessary.

Don't wrap it. "Flying weapons" is not solved by a tennis racquet grip it's solved by actually gripping the weapon properly in the first place. If they were flying around in your kung fu class, it wasn't the fault of the weapons

I'm very aware of my own grip and am my biggest critic

I'll say this bluntly. If you are your biggest critic you need a new instructor. Either you have a false idea of how much you genuinely know (which is likely the case based on the questions here), which means that your self criticism is coming from a less-than-informed place (and therefore isn't really of a level to be of true benefit), or your instructor knows so little themselves that there's no reason to learn from them. To be honest, based on my last three decades or so in this, it's more likely to be the former as that's fairly common and natural. But it may help to take a more honest look at your situation there.

Put it this way some of my guys sometimes say that they're their own biggest critic as well until I start pointing out everything I see wrong in what they're doing. Believe me, they're always far more generous to themselves than they think or than I am.

so I really don't think I'd develop bad habits with a grip on the boken

If you think that, then you're not in a position to comment, honestly. All it shows is that you don't have anywhere enough of an understanding of proper grip to know if you're developing good or bad habits at all.

but I'll leave it as is with a good coating of oil on it for now till I decide on what to do.

No, not a "good coating of oil" you oil the wood for maintenance to ensure that it doesn't dry out (leading to splintering). Depending on the weather/humidity in your area, you might only need to oil them very infrequently but you want the oil to soak into the wood any excess is wiped off. You don't want to have the oil coating the outside of the weapon itself.

I heartily suggest you talk over training weapon maintenance with your instructor most will have their own preference, although commonality will be found in each method and, if they have no suggestions to offer you, seriously question what they're real knowledge in weapon usage and training is.
 

Chris Li

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Thanks for the feedback I'm still torn about not wrapping the handle portion since I was almost hit by others flying weapons multiple times while training kung fu but I can see where you guys believe it's not necessary.

I'm very aware of my own grip and am my biggest critic so I really don't think I'd develop bad habits with a grip on the boken but I'll leave it as is with a good coating of oil on it for now till I decide on what to do.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk

Put it this way - in years of training in Japan, some of it in one of the oldest traditional weapons schools in the country, I never, not once, saw anybody wrap a bokken handle. Actually, most people didn't use oil either, it's not necessary unless you leave in an unusually dry environment,

Best,

Chris
 
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