Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Bokken
If you’re looking to get into Aikido, then you’re probably looking to buy all the equipment necessary to partake in this Japanese martial art. One of the essential pieces of equipment that most beginners spend quite some time deciding whether to buy them, is the Bokken. When shopping for Bokkens, there are a couple of important factors to take into consideration.
First and foremost, your dojo may specify a design. Different dojos may use different designs, while some give their students the freedom to pick their own. However, generally, you want a model that’s versatile and has the classic proportions rather than a specialised one. The most commonly used Bokkens are known as Miyakonojo, and they’re used in martial arts such as Aikido, Kendo and Iaido. On the other hand, there are Bokkens that are highly specialised, such as the Kashima, Katori, Iwama, Kurama, Jigen and Nitem.
Next, you have to consider the material the Bokken is made of. The most common materials include red and white oak, ebony, kiri, isu and tetsuboku. Ebony and tetsuboku are generally used for display purposes rather than actual practice, whereas red and white oak are the most popular materials for beginners. The reason oak is the most popular material is because it offers a great balance between durability and density of its fibers. There are also Bokkens made out of foam and they are primarily used by training partners who are looking to practice away from the dojo and minimise the chances of injuring their partner. Foam Bokkens let you try any move you want while still giving you the real feel of sword fighting.
As far as sizes go, Bokkens can be short, medium and long. Long Bokkens are the preferred choice in most cases, however, Nito and Kendo Kata practitioners also use short Bokkens. Medium sized Bokkens are usually used by children, juniors and people who are smaller in size and feel like the long Bokkens are too big for them.
With that said, you’ll find a wide range of Bokkens online at great prices, as long as you know where to look. One last thing to keep in mind when shopping is the brand, which is the best way to ensure you’re buying a quality piece. The reason I say this is because most quality brands will offer a warranty on their Bokkens, enabling you to shop with a peace of mind.