Our standard bokken series offers three models, all of them perfectly crafted to last easily through many years of training. There are the red oak bokken, the black ninja bokken, and the white oak bokken within our standard series. Each bokken is shaped from a single piece of wood. No laminates are used. This provides a strong weapon that is well-balanced and free from the lack of structural integrity that often comes from bokken that are “puzzled” together. While there may be slightly less expensive bokken that look the same, the feel of our bokken will be immediately distinguishable and appreciated. Don’t settle for less. The value of our standard series bokken is hard to beat.
All standard series bokken have a natural lacquer finish; and have a flat spine.
he BOKKEN is a wooden training tool for those martial artists interested in learning the use of a sword. In Japan, the sword and the art of its use goes back before the times of written history. There are legends that tell of the mythical period of the gods concerning their use of swords.
During the earliest times, Japanese swords were copied from those used in China but as the Japanese arts changed, so did their swords. The Chinese swords were mainly long and straight, perfect for thrusting into an opponent.
In Japan, swords began to be shorter with a curve to the blade as well as a longer, two-handed hilt. As Japanese warfare had turned to the use of cavalry, these types of swords were perfect for swinging in wide slashes from atop a horse.
It was during the Muromachi Period 1336-1600 A.D. that the use of the bokken became popular. It was during this time the warriors began learning the art of dueling against a single opponent instead of fighting in a battlefield situation. It was from this single fighting man concept that the äóìRyuäó specialty styles came into being. This concept also gave birth to the highly skilled and regarded, samurai.
As the Ryu dojos began teaching their students the art of swordsmanship, it became obvious a replacement for the expensive steel swords was needed, as well as a safety measure for the students. The Japanese äóìkatanaäó (long sword) blade is a work of art unto itself. The cutting edge of the blade is brittle but razor sharp. The katanaäó»s spine (non cutting edge of blade) is made to absorb the force used during striking, thrusting and blocking. While deadly, the katana could be broken or its blade nicked if it came into contact with another hard object or blade. The mishandling by inexperienced users could also injure it.
Over the centuries literally hundreds of different ryu that specialized in the art of using the sword äóìkenjutsuäó, of which virtually all of them used the bokken to train. While the students became masters of the sword by using the bokken, they also became dangerous with the training tool itself.
There are many Japanese legends that tell of warriors for one reason or another using the bokken against a steel blade-carrying opponent. There are just as many legends of these same warriors DEFEATING their opponents. Sometimes these victories were because of the skill of the warrior with using the bokken, other times it was due to the fragility of the katana.
The bokken is made from a single piece of wood whereas the katana has its blade attached to the handle by two metal pins. During a fight, there can be great stress placed on any part of the katana and the blades or pins can break, the pins may suffer rust even with the best of care and the handle was made of wood, which could rot. Japan is an island and the effects of dampness could reach any sword, armor or other type of weapon and lay unseen until the crucial moment of a battle. The wood of the bokken on the other hand could be seen and attended to at all times.
In 1867 the Tokugawa Dynasty fell in Japan and feudalism was abolished. With it, there was a drastic decline in the art of swordsmanship. For those that did practice the sword, other training tools such as the äóìshinaiäó took the place of the bokken. The shinai is a training weapon that is made of bamboo lengths tied together. It lighter in weight than the bokken and more flexible. Another advantage is that whenever the shinai strikes something, it makes a clacking type of noise so there is no doubt as to whether contact has been made whereas the bokken will make noise when hit against something hard but not against flesh. While these are advantages over the bokken, there are drawbacks as well.
The shinai lacks the balance, feel, curvature and weight of the bokken, which is of course more like an actual sword. Where the shinai can be wielded with a greater amount of speed, it doesnäó»t teach the carry through like the bokken does, to allow for cutting nor does it provide a true stepping stone towards the proper and effective use of a sword.
The bokken that can be purchased today has changed little from those used centuries ago in feudal Japan. Although there are some made in various parts of the world, the most popular ones come from Japan and are made of Japanese red or white oak. These woods make the Japanese made bokkens popular because of their close grain that makes for a beautifully smooth finish. Some experts feel the white oak is superior to the red because it doesnäó»t warp as much, have as many knots and sturdier. Needless to say, the white one is usually a little pricier than the red. It is also harder to acquire outside of Japan itself.
One wonderful thing about the bokken is that it requires little specialized care. If you acquire it already varnished, you are set. If it hasnäó»t been sealed, you will need to oil it at least once or twice a year with tung oil to keep the wood from drying out. It should also be kept out of extreme weather conditions and in a dry place. As with any type of wood, enough moisture or humidity can not only warping but also rot.
While they are safer than actual swords, they should still be considered a weapon and proper instruction should be received. After every use against another bokken, you should check yours to make sure there arenäó»t any splinters or damage. Do not continue to use a damaged bokken since it could shear off during practice and cause injury to you or your opponent.
The bokken can be a wonderful training tool for the martial artist but serious harm can be done to someone whom you are äóìjust playing around with.äó