Weapon questions

Grenadier

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My point is, if you are going to hit someone with a what is effectively a big stick, and you are thinking about which big stick will deliver the most force, well ANY big stick is going to deliver a lot of force, so if its for training purpose, to master an art without actually exploding someone's skull, does it matter that much how tough the stick is?

Yes, it does matter.

Cheaply made wooden weapons are made of inferior types of wood, and they break very easily. Even a decent swing with no contact can run the risk of breaking such a weapon. Also, many a system will work bo on bo drills, and you certainly don't want a junk weapon when it comes to that, since such a weapon will quickly become splinters.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Yes as Grenadier pointed out it matters quite a bit. Quality training tools that can take the heavy contact and maintain their shape and form without damaging or splintering are a must for
systems that use them in hard contact drills.
 

Chris Parker

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Hey Chris,

Most of the red oak out there sold is just junk. (I feel like a broken record here) I have seen it, felt it and witnessed people training with it. Heck I can even spot poor red oak by looking at a video clip of someone training with it. Nor do I feel that the OP should even investigate red oak. I like you have also seen poor white oak. Typically from a big martial arts supplier trying to cash in on its reputation. Though this is more rare.

No, I'd say that most of what is sold as red oak is junk… but that doesn't mean that the OP shouldn't investigate it… that's like saying that $79 wall-hanger "samurai katana swords" are junk, so there's no point investigating real swords.

Chris, I do not need to experience better red oak. Everyone I train with utilizes white oak and fukuro shinai. I have great training tools in white oak bought in Japan by me personally. The absolute best you can get. Why would I switch or even be interested at this point? When everyone I train with either uses white oak of fukuro shinai.

I'm not saying you need to use red oak, Brian… and I'm definitely not suggesting that you need to "switch" what you're currently using… but I am suggesting that, if you're going to label it almost entirely as "junk", it might help if you see what the real stuff is like.

I honestly have no idea what you're trying to infer by talking about the white oak items you have bought in Japan (underlined for no reason at all, right?)… so you've got some good tools… great… that doesn't make white oak the single best material, or your items the "best you can get", it must be said. Again, different systems (and people) will have different opinions as to what constitutes the "best", after all…

As for fukuro shinai I have personal handmade items by a master craftsman who makes them just for me to the highest caliber. He only makes them for me and they are no longer for sale internationally. When someone is looking for great fukuro shinai that are for sale I recommend them to Tim Bathurst located in Australia at Tombo Supplies: Bujinkan Bathurst Dojo » Tombo Supplies I have some of these as well and they are great! Not just good, great. Tim makes a very fine product here.

Yeah, I have some of Tim's fukuro shinai… as well as quite an extensive collection of many, many other items… ranging from the aforementioned "junk" through to Japanese red and white oak, a range of European hardwoods, manau cane, a wax-wood Jo (just for you, Xue… but I gotta say, I prefer my Japanese white oak one, for a few reasons), as well as metal (steel and alloy in various items)… I quite like Tim's items… however, we stopped using them a number of years ago, in preference for wooden items. I still get mine out on occasion for certain things, though… as well as my Jinenkan fukuro shinai (I prefer Tim's, to be honest).

As for systems I am familiar with Chris you know some of them already. I do not even know why you are asking?

So, can you name the systems you are "very familiar" with that prefer a fukuro shinai? I wasn't aware that you were overly familiar with any system that actually does, so it's piqued my curiosity...

Right now the only sword form i practice the only sword i practice with is jian for bogua circles (but it's wooden) maybe not in the style I'm in now but when I get more experience and training and eventually train in different styles maybe one that does but whether or not I have a form for it. I would still like to add more to the collection but would like to know if there good or junk

Here's the thing… you can't learn what's "good" or "bad" in any real way from a forum… or a book… you need someone guiding you, in person, highlighting range of aspects for you to pay attention to. Similar to choice of materials, different systems and instructors will have a range of different preferences for their non-wooden weaponry as well… ranging from specifications and mountings, to design, to balance and weight, and more. There is no single answer…

To the techniques questions, mostly practicing forms and sometimes using a different weapons or just combinations that could be used in weapon sparring

Yeah… that's still pretty vague… if you're meaning something like a solo Chinese-style form, then look to the systems preferences, and ask your instructor. The idea of "sometimes using a different weapon or just combinations" seems to suggest to me that you're kinda making it up yourself as you go… would that be correct? And, while we're here, are you talking about Chinese swords, or just swords in general?
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Chris all of the Japanese martial practitioners that I know across several systems all use Japanese white oak for their wooden training weapons and a few utilize hickory. Hickory is easily accessible in the US and a good number of wood workers who make training weapons produce hickory ones. Yet, in the end all the practitioners that I know prefer white oak. No one and I repeat no one uses red oak. They all avoid it! Like me they all think it is crap.

If you like red oak that is fine as you are entitled to your opinion. Though you said just above that you, yourself prefer white oak. (kind've confusing for the OP don't you think) It feels like we are going through the motions of conversation and in the end just to have the same result in that I would not recommend it for the OP! Nor would I recommend it for anyone training in a system that utilizes hard contact with their wooden training weapons. There is a high likelihood that they would get some training weapons that would splinter, crack, shatter during training and that quite frankly is a good enough reason for me not to recommend anyone train with red oak.

As to fukuro shinai it is good that you have experienced Tim's as they are very, very good. High quality. I have only trained once with a Jinenkan fukuro shinai and it got the job done but not as nice as what Tim or my friend make. Still it got the job done.

Just so we are on the same page. The systems I mentioned the practitioner's prefer white oak and fukuro shinai. Not fukuro shinai over wooden training weapons. I think you confused that though it was pretty plane in my writing before.
 
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donald1

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No, I'd say that most of what is sold as red oak is junk… but that doesn't mean that the OP shouldn't investigate it… that's like saying that $79 wall-hanger "samurai katana swords" are junk, so there's no point investigating real swords.



I'm not saying you need to use red oak, Brian… and I'm definitely not suggesting that you need to "switch" what you're currently using… but I am suggesting that, if you're going to label it almost entirely as "junk", it might help if you see what the real stuff is like.

I honestly have no idea what you're trying to infer by talking about the white oak items you have bought in Japan (underlined for no reason at all, right?)… so you've got some good tools… great… that doesn't make white oak the single best material, or your items the "best you can get", it must be said. Again, different systems (and people) will have different opinions as to what constitutes the "best", after all…



Yeah, I have some of Tim's fukuro shinai… as well as quite an extensive collection of many, many other items… ranging from the aforementioned "junk" through to Japanese red and white oak, a range of European hardwoods, manau cane, a wax-wood Jo (just for you, Xue… but I gotta say, I prefer my Japanese white oak one, for a few reasons), as well as metal (steel and alloy in various items)… I quite like Tim's items… however, we stopped using them a number of years ago, in preference for wooden items. I still get mine out on occasion for certain things, though… as well as my Jinenkan fukuro shinai (I prefer Tim's, to be honest).



So, can you name the systems you are "very familiar" with that prefer a fukuro shinai? I wasn't aware that you were overly familiar with any system that actually does, so it's piqued my curiosity...



Here's the thing… you can't learn what's "good" or "bad" in any real way from a forum… or a book… you need someone guiding you, in person, highlighting range of aspects for you to pay attention to. Similar to choice of materials, different systems and instructors will have a range of different preferences for their non-wooden weaponry as well… ranging from specifications and mountings, to design, to balance and weight, and more. There is no single answer…



Yeah… that's still pretty vague… if you're meaning something like a solo Chinese-style form, then look to the systems preferences, and ask your instructor. The idea of "sometimes using a different weapon or just combinations" seems to suggest to me that you're kinda making it up yourself as you go… would that be correct? And, while we're here, are you talking about Chinese swords, or just swords in general?

You know what, I think I will ask my instructor that question

I don't know what that question means making my self up as I go??

Swords in general but the only sword form i learned is a Chinese sword
 

Chris Parker

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Brian, you're missing everything again. Let's try once more…

Chris all of the Japanese martial practitioners that I know across several systems all use Japanese white oak for their wooden training weapons and a few utilize hickory.

White oak (shirokashi) is very popular… and hickory is a good American hardwood substitute, as it shares many of the same principles… but none of that has been argued against… nor is any of that really relevant to the point I have been making.

Hickory is easily accessible in the US and a good number of wood workers who make training weapons produce hickory ones.
Er… yeah… you can go back to the third post in the thread for me talking about the benefits and properties of hickory… not really sure what you think you're saying here…

Yet, in the end all the practitioners that I know prefer white oak.

Again, not uncommon. Still not sure what your point is… I mean, the question in the OP didn't involve Japanese woods at all… I brought them up as an example of systems having particular preferences… you then brought them up again to push something the OP didn't ask for, or about, including a scathing, and I might say, rather ill-informed critique on red oak…

No one and I repeat no one uses red oak. They all avoid it! Like me they all think it is crap.
Look, it's fine that you don't know anyone that uses it… but believe me, it is used. Japanese red oak (akakashi) has been a staple for centuries for a range of items… more often longer weapons than shorter ones… also favoured by systems that have a lot of conditioning work, due to the heavier weight… it's an incredibly good wood for the purpose. It crushes like shirokashi… it's heavy… the grain isn't as tight as shirokashi… which means that it takes less time to season and age properly… akakashi is less likely to warp in humid climates as well…

None of that means that red oak is more popular… it's not, really… white oak is… but it does show that red oak (proper red oak) is far from "crap"… but, one more time, the majority of what is sold as "red oak" is really nothing like actual akakashi… so it's both unfair, and rather misleading (or disingenuous) to label it based on false examples. Look again to my analogy of the $79 wall hanger… are you going to judge Japanese swords by that weapon? That's what you're doing with your comments on akakashi.

Actually, tell you what… here's Ellis Amdur's take on the wood:

It is less flexible than hickory and more dent resistant. One negative quality is that the sap tends to dry out. You must regularly oil kashi or it gets increasingly brittle. In addition, as it ages, the grain tends to separate. Most Japanese weapons sold these days are made of inferior oak, from Kyushu (the grain is much more porous) or Taiwan. Genuine kashi from Japan is marvelous for weapons.

Note how he mentions (as I have done) that most "Japanese" oak weapons aren't really what would be classed as actual Japanese oak… either shirokashi or akakashi… you're as likely to get incredibly poor "substitute" white oak as you are red… it's just that the "white" is sold at a premium (based on false representation, more than anything else), so the majority of items sold are substitute red oak… they're both garbage woods, really… but neither of them are the actual Japanese oaks themselves, so it's pointless basing an opinion on these substitutes. You even made this observation on white oak commonly sold yourself in your first post in the thread… so why you're fighting against the idea of it being the same with red, I have no idea…

If you like red oak that is fine as you are entitled to your opinion.

You're missing the argument, Brian. I'm saying that your opinion is not based on any experience with the wood itself… whereas mine is. Hell, you yourself say "My experience with any red oak I have worked with (albeit very rare)"… so you haven't really gotten much experience with any form of red oak, and, from the sounds of things, absolutely none with actual akakashi… again, I don't understand why you're not willing to accept that what you've used was junk, but that's the same as the poor substituted "white oak" you yourself brought up in your post.

For the record, though, my collection includes items in shirokashi, akakashi, both of the "substitute" versions (both of which are terrible… there's a reason I get all the bokken for my school myself from Japan… and only from sources I trust), hornbeam, hickory, manau cane, sunuke, bamboo, leather-bound bamboo, pine, wax-wood, and more… I've also used things like eucalyptus, jotoba, ironbark, kamigong, ebony, and more.

Though you said just above that you, yourself prefer white oak. (kind've confusing for the OP don't you think)

No, not confusing for them… as it's besides the point of the OP, and not part of their question… it was part of the conversation with you. And yeah, I tend to prefer white oak… but I'm not locked into that as a single material… I'm looking at getting some ipu items soon as well…

It feels like we are going through the motions of conversation and in the end just to have the same result in that I would not recommend it for the OP! Nor would I recommend it for anyone training in a system that utilizes hard contact with their wooden training weapons. There is a high likelihood that they would get some training weapons that would splinter, crack, shatter during training and that quite frankly is a good enough reason for me not to recommend anyone train with red oak.
You're not dealing with the actual wood, though. That's the point I've been trying to make. Additionally, the OP hasn't said anything about impact… he's mentioned kobudo… which has quite a lot of solo forms, rather than anything to do with impact… so you're simply projecting your own training onto his question, and are looking for what you would use in your training, without actually considering that his usage and needs are rather different. That's why I only dealt with the woods he asked about… rather than trying to suggest that he has should be using something completely different.

Tell you what… you go and get some real red oak, train with it, and tell me what you think (compared to both your previous "red oak" and with your Japanese white oak)… until then, you're critiquing katana by looking at a wall hanger.

As to fukuro shinai it is good that you have experienced Tim's as they are very, very good. High quality. I have only trained once with a Jinenkan fukuro shinai and it got the job done but not as nice as what Tim or my friend make. Still it got the job done.

They're designed quite differently for a range of reasons, of course… both of them "get the job done", dependent on what the job is. And yeah, Tim's are good… not sure why you feel the need to validate my experience, though… hmm…

Just so we are on the same page. The systems I mentioned the practitioner's prefer white oak and fukuro shinai. Not fukuro shinai over wooden training weapons. I think you confused that though it was pretty plane in my writing before.

No, we're not on the same page, as you've not only not answered my question, you've leapt to an unsupported and inaccurate assumption. I never thought there was a preference for one over the other… my question is what system are you, personally, "very familiar with" that has a preference (as one of it's training tools) for using fukuro shinai? Can you name the systems themselves? That's what I've asked three times now. There may be follow up questions (here's a clue: one of them is already in an above post… number 17…).

You know what, I think I will ask my instructor that question

About what to look for in swords? Cool.

I don't know what that question means making my self up as I go??

I was asking if you were simply coming up with techniques/combinations yourself… basically swinging a sword around without a pre-determined sequence, for example.

Swords in general but the only sword form i learned is a Chinese sword

Okay. Different forms of swords are going to have some rather wildly varying criteria to them… "swords in general" is not an easy thing to discuss, there are simply way too many variables and exceptions. It's probably better to pick a form of sword first, and learn about it… from there, you can begin to see what's applicable to other forms, and what's particular to that form.
 
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donald1

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I don't know if I'd say without a pre determined, I try to figure out what I'm going to do before I do it, if I do just like seeing what is more effective for weapon sparring. I think some people refer to it as shadow partner (i think, not completely certain one that)

I did ask my instructor yesterday when class was over how to tell if it's good or junk. And he said 2 things if it wobbles (or maybe it was loose) or if the blade stops at the handle its junk
 

Chris Parker

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I don't know if I'd say without a pre determined, I try to figure out what I'm going to do before I do it, if I do just like seeing what is more effective for weapon sparring.

Okay… so you're coming up with the actions yourself, yeah? Out of interest, how do you decide if what you're doing is "more effective" for weapon sparring? How do you qualify things?

I think some people refer to it as shadow partner (i think, not completely certain one that)

I think you mean shadow boxing there.

I did ask my instructor yesterday when class was over how to tell if it's good or junk. And he said 2 things if it wobbles (or maybe it was loose) or if the blade stops at the handle its junk

Okay… that's to do with the fittings of the sword (everything other than the blade) and the tang (the part of the blade that fits inside the handle). Both of which are indications of how safe it is to use, and are indications of cheap build quality. Interesting that he'd pick those aspects to highlight.
 
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donald1

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I don't know we practice 1 person forms and 2 people sets but hardly been a while since we weapon sparred. Either way the only thing I know now it's just good practice

I think he was in a hurry to leave, he didn't stay and talk after class, sometimes the students talk about their day and he usually is there but left quickly
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Okay let's try this again,

Chris the OP, donald1 asked a pretty general question about what wood was durable and better for hard hits.
You, Grenadier and I offered opinions. All pretty similar with you and I favoring white oak. Though I mentioned my disdain
for red oak. If the OP came across red oak where he lives in a ma supply store it probably will be crap. I would add
that I know of no one that uses red oak
. This is not hard to understand. With the OP living in the US his best bet
is of course to ask his teacher and get a recommendation but if he does go out on his own to buy training implements
with hickory being a common wood used here he probably won't go wrong with it. If he can find a supplier of white oak
that would be preferred but hickory would more than likely work for him. We have pretty much already hashed this out
and it is useful information for donald1.

I would add that there are also now wood composite training swords that appear to offer fantastic strength. Personally I do not use
them but know several aikidoka who do and they all swear by them. Composite wood when done right can offer another
outlet for the martial practitioner to explore to find that durability that they are looking for. Like I said I do not use them so
I cannot endorse them but I have heard some very good things.

As to your unanswered question I am not fielding it because it does not belong in this thread nor does it in anyway help the OP
with his question on wood durability. We need to stay on topic in this thread but you are always welcome to start another thread
to field questions about systems that utilize both wood training implements and fukuro shinai. Or you are more than welcome to pm me!
 
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donald1

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Red oak can be cheap and break easily its more or less good for first time students. I use a thick red oak. I'm planning on switching in the near future but for what I've talked to with my instructor there's two kinds a quick growing and a slow growing (i think that's how he phrased it) and the slower growing is better than the quick growing

Which one is a heavier wood hickory or white oak
Personally i like having the extra weight to the bo. I remember my first bo then switching to a thicker bo after I got used to it the old bo felt too light and now I think I'd like to try a better wood that has more weight
Thanks
 

Brian R. VanCise

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donald1 my experience is that with the training implements that I have the hickory ones seem a slight bit heavier. However, it is so negligible that it
doesn't matter to me. Hickory is very common in the US and used a lot.

Here is an interesting read on comparison of the three types of wood hickory, white oak, red oak: Oak vs. Hickory Wood | eHow

Here is one just talking about hickory: Information on Hickory Wood | eHow

Wood use around the world is in some ways very geographical in that certain woods in certain areas work better do to the climate, etc.

In the Philippines and throughout Southeast Asia rattan is a very standard training tool. (Indonesia, India, Philippines, etc. However when they
want a harder wood in the Philippines for home defense, etc. they will use kamagong or bahi, etc. Where I am at in Las Vegas kamagong is not an ideal wood as it
does not like the dry heat. I keep all my kamagong sticks together in a climate controlled room so they do not crack.

Hope the above gives you some ideas.
 
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donald1

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donald1 my experience is that with the training implements that I have the hickory ones seem a slight bit heavier. However, it is so negligible that it
doesn't matter to me. Hickory is very common in the US and used a lot.

Here is an interesting read on comparison of the three types of wood hickory, white oak, red oak: Oak vs. Hickory Wood | eHow

Here is one just talking about hickory: Information on Hickory Wood | eHow

Wood use around the world is in some ways very geographical in that certain woods in certain areas work better do to the climate, etc.

In the Philippines and throughout Southeast Asia rattan is a very standard training tool. (Indonesia, India, Philippines, etc. However when they
want a harder wood in the Philippines for home defense, etc. they will use kamagong or bahi, etc. Where I am at in Las Vegas kamagong is not an ideal wood as it
does not like the dry heat. I keep all my kamagong sticks together in a climate controlled room so they do not crack.

Hope the above gives you some ideas.

Whenever I sand my red oak bo i don't wear a mask should I be concerned and or get a mask
 

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Whenever I sand my red oak bo i don't wear a mask should I be concerned and or get a mask

The safe answer is yes, you should get a mask, oak isn't a high allergen risk in terms of woods, but it is always better to err on the safe side.
 

Grenadier

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Whenever I sand my red oak bo i don't wear a mask should I be concerned and or get a mask

Yes, wear a mask, and if you have goggles, use them as well.

There is a thing called "Carpenter's Cancer," and although you wouldn't be exposed to nearly as much as a carpenter would, it's still best not to take any chances. Besides, inhaling sawdust is one of the most irritating sensations you'll encounter, since it doesn't wash away that easily.
 

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Okay let's try this again,

Chris the OP, donald1 asked a pretty general question about what wood was durable and better for hard hits.
You, Grenadier and I offered opinions. All pretty similar with you and I favoring white oak. Though I mentioned my disdain
for red oak. If the OP came across red oak where he lives in a ma supply store it probably will be crap. I would add
that I know of no one that uses red oak
. This is not hard to understand. With the OP living in the US his best bet
is of course to ask his teacher and get a recommendation but if he does go out on his own to buy training implements
with hickory being a common wood used here he probably won't go wrong with it. If he can find a supplier of white oak
that would be preferred but hickory would more than likely work for him. We have pretty much already hashed this out
and it is useful information for donald1.

Sure, let's try again…

What I've been trying to, Brian, is to show that a blanket dismissal based on inferior examples can be misleading and inaccurate. Donald is just as likely to come across the inferior "false" white oak as he is the inferior "false" red oak unless going through someone like the page I linked back on the first page. I've also been trying to improve your knowledge in this area… something you've been fighting against for whatever reason.

I would add that there are also now wood composite training swords that appear to offer fantastic strength. Personally I do not use
them but know several aikidoka who do and they all swear by them. Composite wood when done right can offer another
outlet for the martial practitioner to explore to find that durability that they are looking for. Like I said I do not use them so
I cannot endorse them but I have heard some very good things.

I've used some of the composite and completely artificial bokken (is that term still applicable? Hmm…) myself… such as the so-called "indestructible bokken"… I'm really not fond of them personally.

As to your unanswered question I am not fielding it because it does not belong in this thread nor does it in anyway help the OP
with his question on wood durability. We need to stay on topic in this thread but you are always welcome to start another thread
to field questions about systems that utilize both wood training implements and fukuro shinai. Or you are more than welcome to pm me!

Hardly any need, Brian. I'm pretty sure I know what you're referring to, and there is no preference in the systems for fukuro shinai there… there is an organisational one, but not a ryu-ha one. That said, if you were actually familiar with one of the systems that does utilise fukuro shinai as standard equipment, that could have been interesting… oh well…

Red oak can be cheap and break easily its more or less good for first time students. I use a thick red oak. I'm planning on switching in the near future but for what I've talked to with my instructor there's two kinds a quick growing and a slow growing (i think that's how he phrased it) and the slower growing is better than the quick growing

Which one is a heavier wood hickory or white oak
Personally i like having the extra weight to the bo. I remember my first bo then switching to a thicker bo after I got used to it the old bo felt too light and now I think I'd like to try a better wood that has more weight
Thanks

Similar… hickory is a fairly light wood, and white oak is lighter than red… probably not much in it, really.

donald1 my experience is that with the training implements that I have the hickory ones seem a slight bit heavier. However, it is so negligible that it
doesn't matter to me. Hickory is very common in the US and used a lot.

Here is an interesting read on comparison of the three types of wood hickory, white oak, red oak: Oak vs. Hickory Wood | eHow

Here is one just talking about hickory: Information on Hickory Wood | eHow

Wood use around the world is in some ways very geographical in that certain woods in certain areas work better do to the climate, etc.

In the Philippines and throughout Southeast Asia rattan is a very standard training tool. (Indonesia, India, Philippines, etc. However when they
want a harder wood in the Philippines for home defense, etc. they will use kamagong or bahi, etc. Where I am at in Las Vegas kamagong is not an ideal wood as it
does not like the dry heat. I keep all my kamagong sticks together in a climate controlled room so they do not crack.

Hope the above gives you some ideas.

Hmm… as neither of those links have any information on their suitability or applicability to weapons, I'd simply like to provide the following: Wood for Weaponry | Toda-ha Buk?-ry? Naginatajutsu

Note the comments in the kashi (Japanese oak) section on people dismissing it based on mistaking it as the wrong wood…
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Chris,

I do not think it is misleading or inaccurate. The example of "red oak" being crap is pretty standard amongst Japanese practitioners across several disciplines that I personally know. They all favor white oak. Not to hard to understand then. The links I provided showed Hickory being harder than white oak with red oak being softer and that is assuming you can even get quality red oak which quite frankly obviously is a rare event.
 

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Anyways let's hope that we have at least given donald1 some things to think about as he goes to buy his martial training supplies! Hopefully we have helped him out!
 
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donald1

donald1

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Yes and thankyou it helped but I only have one last question, what's a good heavier wood
 

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