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Just how tough IS a shinai?

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  • Just how tough IS a shinai?

    Just curious. Prior to kendo-viewing-experience I thought "Oh, they must not hit eachother that hard..." Then of course witnessed their full-power attacks and thought it was remarkable that shinai didnt break all the time. So I started to wonder, is it just that shinai vs. shinai/bogu that they're so resilliant against damage, or can they strike anything at all repeatedly without worry?

    Last Friday in Kirikaeshi(sp?) I accidentally smacked a giant concrete pillar =(.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Machismo111
    So I started to wonder, is it just that shinai vs. shinai/bogu that they're so resilliant against damage, or can they strike anything at all repeatedly without worry?
    No, not at all. Shinai break so often they're considered disposable. Your typical dojo will recommend that you check your shinai periodically throughout practise plus you must regularly maintain your shinai. Those who use poor technique or choosing inappropriate targets (mengane, concrete pillars) will increase the likelihood of their shinai breaking. For the safety of your dojo-mates and yourself, make sure you check your shinai over. Any cracks mean it's not safe for use.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Raiza
      No, not at all. Shinai break so often they're considered disposable. Your typical dojo will recommend that you check your shinai periodically throughout practise plus you must regularly maintain your shinai. Those who use poor technique or choosing inappropriate targets (mengane, concrete pillars) will increase the likelihood of their shinai breaking. For the safety of your dojo-mates and yourself, make sure you check your shinai over. Any cracks mean it's not safe for use.
      Oh me oh my =O. How many practices or matches would one shinai typically last? And thank you for the link, very informative =D

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      • #4
        I think most people typically go through 2 or 3 shinai a year.

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        • #5
          "So I started to wonder, is it just that shinai vs. shinai/bogu that they're so resilliant against damage, or can they strike anything at all repeatedly without worry?"

          One was strong enough to break my left thumb through the kote last week. [ouch]

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill
            I think most people typically go through 2 or 3 shinai a year.
            The exception is if you're a freak like me and cannot break your two shinai after two years of regular practise. Curse my tenouchi! Curse my meticulous maintenance regime!

            Originally posted by Old Warrior
            One was strong enough to break my left thumb through the kote last week. [ouch]
            Ouch is right! I hope you can rest up and get well soon!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Raiza
              The exception is if you're a freak like me and cannot break your two shinai after two years of regular practise. Curse my tenouchi! Curse my meticulous maintenance regime!
              Curse your gender! Most women hit lighter than most men, which is both good and bad.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Machismo111
                Oh me oh my =O. How many practices or matches would one shinai typically last? And thank you for the link, very informative =D
                Dontz worriezzzzzzzz.............mozt of da timez da shinaiz outlazt da studentzzzzz

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                • #9
                  Mine seem to last around eight months.

                  I've found that they can crack with misuse, or if one is a grossly heavy hitter (like who ever cracked Old Warrior's thumb--sheesh, wadda Gorilla).

                  With regular suburi, one can learn to control the power of ones hits... with even more suburi, one can deleiver painful hits... still more suburi, Gorrilla.

                  Then again, one of the lightest hitters I know (a girl from Thailand) seems to be able to score point after point with just a friendly tap.

                  Oh, and our Dojo Master strikes with JUST ENOUGH power to make one regret the opening he found... but never hard enough to bruise (well OK.. sometimes).

                  Suburi Suburi Suburi!!!

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                  • #10
                    Just remember, a shinai is in essence just a bunch of bamboo strips tried together. They're wood. Dry wood cracks easily. If you try to snap a really dry bit of wood it will break. The dryer it gets, the easier it gets to break.
                    So learn to take care of your shinai with oil as directed by people at your dojo!


                    Of course there is also the too-much-right-hand syndrome or other miscellaneous freak shinai breaking occurances. Those happen too. Watch out

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by etherknot
                      Just remember, a shinai is in essence just a bunch of bamboo strips tried together. They're wood. Dry wood cracks easily. If you try to snap a really dry bit of wood it will break. The dryer it gets, the easier it gets to break.
                      So learn to take care of your shinai with oil as directed by people at your dojo!


                      Of course there is also the too-much-right-hand syndrome or other miscellaneous freak shinai breaking occurances. Those happen too. Watch out
                      Actually I heard from this kind of stupid program on tv that Bamboo is different from wood in the way it grows in water? That seems correct seeing as Bamboo is quite resilient compared to wood, but has less uses because it is not as big and thick. So Bamboo is stronger than a piece of similar shaped wood, if you tried hitting stuff with a small stick you would know. But it will still crack with misuse, so do take care of it as etherknot mentions. Bamboo is also better aesthetically, wood just looks like wood...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill
                        Curse your gender! Most women hit lighter than most men, which is both good and bad.
                        LOL, I started off as a real bruiser until I learned what it's like to receive hard hits with no tenouchi whatsoever. I emphasize tenouchi because I choose to do so. As long as I score good ippon and do good kendo without harming my opponents, that's just fine with me.

                        Having my shinai last longer is a nice bonus.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Yzakj
                          Actually I heard from this kind of stupid program on tv that Bamboo is different from wood in the way it grows in water?
                          Just on a side note, I've got two stalks of bamboo that a subletter left in my apartment over the summer sitting in a pint glass with water... I don't give them plant food, I just keep the glass full, and they've been growing! It's like an uber-weed. Doesn't need any nutrients to live. EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC OF PHOTOSYNTHESIS.

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                          • #14
                            Quick biology reminder:

                            Bamboo is not wood. It is actually considered to be a type of grass.

                            (insert stupid stoner joke here).

                            Check out a National Geographic article from October 1980 for more on bamboo (including a cover picture of two kenshi in a bamboo grove).

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                            • #15
                              the first picture i saw of kendo, i was 5 and it was in my karata dojo, was to kenshi fighting outside near a temple, and that is how the pation started (also after seeing me sensei do a keiko with his wife), i was also very interested in Japan a this time, i was very young.

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