What Bokken to buy? Which Bokken to Buy?

There are so many Bokken out there on the market these days, it can be hard to know what bokken to buy, let alone make a decision. Good news is that certain styles have different needs from a Bokken, so just training in one or two martial arts massively narrows your choices. Let’s have a look at the different types of Bokken available and which martial arts styles might use them.

What Bokken to buy? Red Oak Bokken

What Bokken to BuyThe absolute standard for most Japanese martial arts that train with Bokken. It’s a pretty safe bet that this will be your first bokken in your given style. Take your time when buying these, shop around. Some Red Oak Bokkenare seriously thin and very light. They aren’t usually that much cheaper either. You’ll want a bokken with a bit more weight to it, to give your body something to do. You’ll need the thickness, especially if you are using them for contact. Unless you have a real need for thin, flimsy, weightless bokken get something a bit beefier.

Martial Arts that use Red Oak Bokken are wide spread and include Aikido, Traditional Jiu Jitsu, KenJitsu, Ninjitsu, Iaido, some classes of Kendo.

What Bokken to buy? White Oak Bokken?

What Bokken to buyPeople have been arguing about the differences of Red Oak Bokkenand White Oak Bokken for years. Having had so many over the years I’ve come to the conclusion there is no real difference, apart from the colour. Pick up two Bokken and they will feel completely different. Weight, balance, feel, everything with be different. Why is this? It’s down to many factors, where the tree was grown, how the tree grew and which part of the tree the Bokken came from. Other factors include how it has been transported in its life as a Bokken and how it was dried and cut. You can’t control any of these factors, but you can got through a selection of Bokken and pick out the one that feels the best for you.

As it’s just a standard Bokken really, some would argue prettier, all the same styles who use a Red Oak Bokken will use a White Oak Bokken

What Bokken to buy? Black Bokken Sword

What Bokken to buyA much smaller group of people will use these. They are almost exclusively used by Ninjutsu practitioners. Although on occasion other people like the look of the Black Bokken Sword to add to their collection.

Ninjutsu practitioners like to continue the Black theme, that their Gi and Tabi have. Black colour has become the colour of Ninjutsu. Sayign that some just stick with the standard Red Oak Bokken

What Bokken to buy? Foam Bokken Swords

What Bokken to buyThere’s no real particular style that will use Foam Bokken you maybe train in a particular class that uses them but it isn’t a particular style that has them normally. People that buy these are looking for a bit of additional training outside of the their class. Training partners that are looking to explore sword work in a slightly different way and to try out some of the bokken techniques they have learnt in a sparring situation. This is when the Foam Bokken comes into it’s own.

You can spare with relative confidence that you will get no serious injury and try out everything you have been taught and other ideas that you have had. This will bring on your training no end and give you a real feel for sword work.

What Bokken to buy? Unberakable Bokken

What Bokken to buyAs far as I am concerned, the Coldsteel Unbreakable Bokken is the perfect Bokken. Traditionalists will be spitting teeth reading this but, of course, I think I’m right. This is why.

Most wooden bokken are far heavier than a Katana, they aremore cumbersome, thicker and the weight distribution isn’t the same. You’ll never get it the same with wood, as discussed earlier. Using a synthetic material allows you to control these things. So Coldsteel have made a bokken that matches the weight balance of a Katana or Samurai Sword. Good eh?

Not only that, they have made it unbreakable, or so they say. Certainly for it’s intended use it is, maybe if you really went to town on it and attacked it with a chainsaw you may be able to break it. I don’t know and don’t intend to test it. Not being traditional is a big disadvantage and being black also for people is a put off, but if you’re happy with both it’s a brilliant piece of kit, plus it will last you forever. Those you regularly break bokken will love it.

What Bokken to buy? Suburi Bokken

What Bokken to buySuburb Bokken is getting seriously traditional and you’re are getting serious about your sword art. Really they are only used by Iaido and Kenjitsu and even then not so common. It is said that to get good at sword work you need to do 100 cuts on each arm every morning before you start your training. This will build the shoulder strength and precision of movement. Try it, it’s hardcore.

When you pick one up for the first time, it doesn’t seem like much. It’s only a bit heavier and a bit longer, what’s the big deal. 50 cuts in, you’ll get it.

What Bokken to buy? Shinai

What Bokken to buyThe final in on the list of what bokken to buy. Used almost exclusively in Kendo, the Shinai was developed for Kendo as a sport martial art. The four strips of bamboo take a beating and one hit with this will explain why the Kendo practitioners wear as much armour as they do. People used to used them for sparring practice, but without armour they are just too hard really. Now foam bokken exist as well they are not used for that so much.

I want to practice sword drawing

What Bokken to buyGolf tubes used to be the thing to put your bokken in so you can practice drawing techniques. Trouble is they are a pain to get and fitting them to your bokken even more so. Plastic Saya are now available easily and at pretty good prices so they are great for drawing techniques without the risk of chopping your thumbs off.