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Bio or Smoked Shinai Questions

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  • Bio or Smoked Shinai Questions

    Quick questions, for those who own Bio/Smoked Shinai, is it neccesary to oil them before using?

    And do you have any other advice on the maintenance/treatment for Bio shinai as opposed to standard Shinai.

    Also any feedback/comments on the differences you have noticed about the feel of them?

    Any advice or comments are appreciated, thanks in advance.

  • #2
    there is no difference in maintanence or performance (tho there is sometimes a nice smoked smell from friction when hitting).

    some say they are better in humid environments and they are more durable, i just think it looks nice and smells nice.


    • #3
      I have two bio shinai that I picked up in Osaka in December. So far all I've done was re-tie the tsuru and nakayui. They seem to hold up a little better than my normal shinai. Then again Hawaii has something like 80-90% humidity.


      • #4
        I've tried to oil them, just out of habit. The oil doesn't seem to penetrate too far, and others on this board believe that BIOs do not need to be oiled. On examining several splintered and cracked BIOs, it seems that the interior of the shinai is very very dry, so it might only seal the surface, and once the seal is broken it may deteriorate faster without oiling that break.

        I practice about 6 hrs a week and have used Bios since 2005ish, and on average a Bio shinai will last me approximately 4-5 months between having to start replacing the slats. Shortest time has been 2 months, longest has been 6 months. My feeling is that they are less vunerable to extreme weather changes, but are no more stronger than regular shinais in terms of impact resistance. Recently I've noticed that one of my newer clubmates doesn't quite wear his men in the right position and I end up hitting a lot more mengane than normal, and my Bio shinais are splintering faster than normal.

        Also, in my experience when they do fail the slats tend to shatter instead of break a little at a time, so "rescuing" a slat with either sanding or shaving the edge is not an option, because a lot of times the fail point is a large break down the center of the slat.

        In terms of weight, they feel similar to carbon fiber or similarly weighted deluxe shinai, although they are much more stiffer than carbon fiber. I noticed this once when I was borrowing a carbon fiber and had to switch to a Bio in the middle of practice because the nakayui had gotten loose.

        In terms of variablilty between different shinai of the same model, I've found that they "feel" either very similar or close to identical, and don't have the same variability in balance or weighting that more cheaper shinais tend to have, though this might just be a difference between more expensive shinais and cheaper ones. So generating frankenshinais out of Bios as long as they are of the same model works pretty well and they don't feel "odd" or "different" as much as others tend to do.

        So given the higher price I've ended up sticking with one or two different model kinds and buying two or so, and cycling through the slats as they break. That way it ends up being more economical.

        Hope that helps


        • #5
          Oh I forgot to mention a few things.

          I think its important to inspect Bio shinais just like regular shinais, as in my experience on a few occasions the resin treatment can disguise a serious break on the outside while the inside of the slat is completely shattered. On another occasion what looked like a splintering edge that just needed to be shaved down on closer inspection was a large "chip" type break that was a hairline fracture which after some gentle prying caused a large chunk (2 1/2 cm lengthwise and reaching half way to the middle of the slat on the back) from the slat to splinter off.

          As well, breaks have occurred at unexpected places. On two occasions the slats have failed close to the kensaki (tip) and almost all of the failure was hidden by the leather. On another occasion a break occurred about a handspan from the end of the tsukagawa, on the thickest part of the shinai.

          These are fairly rare (once or twice in the past few years), but still something I look out for.


          • #6
            Originally posted by bobdonny View Post
            and smells nice.
            Im not in the habit of smelling shinai, but the 2 bio that I have owned both broke slats in their 1st practise. I reused the remainder of the take but they didnt last long either.

            If they are cheap I will buy them, if not I wont.

            They do look cool though.


            • #7
              had 4 smoked shinai. two of them broke after first practice. two of them lasted rather long time. never tried resin treated shinai. i would think smoked shinai will be rather dry and break easy.. then again, i don't know much about these things.



              • #8
                Someone posted a link to an article in English from a japanese bogu company explaining the process that Bios undergo when they were not as well known.

                I think it was this link:


                I've been primarily using Bios from one particular vendor (E-bogu, primarily their koto models, although I've tried their dobari model and I have a chokuto model that's still in the wrapper), but I wonder if Bios from other companies fare better. I would have expected that with a slow cooked resin process that the resin would go into the bamboo more. From the breaks that I've seen , it seems to not go in that far. The resin is most apparent when you dissemble the shinai, as the back of the slat has a slight plasticy/waxy feeling to it that normal shinais don't have.


                • #9
                  Thanks for your comments and advices so far everyone, I wouldn't usually buy a Shinai this expensive, but it's my B'day present, which is today. So I kinda went through all the websites and looked for the 1 that jumped out at me the most in terms of preference and reliability (except for Hasegawa). Hope it impresses me. Unfortunately I have to wait for them to make it and ship it. I'll put some feedback on this thread when I have an idea of how it goes, for future reference.


                  • #10
                    One of the guys in our dojo uses a smoked shinai.. it does smell lovely but when we approach the end of keiko and sweat is coming down my face i am sure the smokeyness makes my eyes sting like b'jesus. More so that "normal" sweat in the eyes.
                    anyone else know what i'm on about?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JoDuncan View Post
                      One of the guys in our dojo uses a smoked shinai.. it does smell lovely but when we approach the end of keiko and sweat is coming down my face i am sure the smokeyness makes my eyes sting like b'jesus. More so that "normal" sweat in the eyes.
                      anyone else know what i'm on about?
                      No, i dont think so, but i used to love the smell when being motodaichi for kirikaishe and they hit your bio shinai as you block... mmmmmmmmmmmm

                      Now if only they made a bio shinai with a handle for big hands....


                      • #12
                        I finally got my smoked shinai from Zen-Sankei. You guy's are right, they have a very distinct smell. The 1 I got has large tsuka, it is about they same in size and feel as the "Niou" if you are familiar with that shinai. It has been thoroughly smoked, it's almost black. If anything it feels a little light and I am yet to weigh it, but I'm sure they took that into consideration when they made it. Maybe it just has a nice balance...and it should for the price I paid!

                        Anyway, for feel...this shinai is great, one of the best I've used. And it has good hypnotic value!
                        For over-all value??...I'll let you know later on after I see how the shinai wears.


                        • #13
                          cool! keep us posted plz.


                          • #14
                  , how did this go ?


                            • #15
                              Apologies Ztefannn

                              I was looking through my old threads and realised I had never posted details of the road-test on this shinai. Well, I kind of rotate through my shinai now (on a tight budget) and in the last 6 months or so I have found that I prefer the thinner koto style shinai anyway, so that particular shinai hasn't been used excessively for a while now. That being said, it has lasted quite well, no splinters yet where other non-smoked keichiku and madake shinai probably would have by now, in my experience it is definately much harder wearing. But after gaining more experience and trying other shinai from other price ranges can I justify spending that much money on any shinai?...not really, although I am thinking about trying a Hasegawa...purely for value.

                              I have found that the cheapies do me just fine, not the bottom of the range but perhaps one step up from there. As I said I don't really go for dobari shinai anymore...times have changed and they will keep changing. So to sum it up, yes they last longer IME (keep in mind this shinai was heavily smoked) but it is up to the individual to decide if they can justify spending that much on a shinai.