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  • Oval grip shinai?

    Hi, I practice with a standard shinai and when ever I make a do cut my left hand ends up straying to the right, out of center. But when I get home and try it with a bokken, my do cut's seems fine. So I am thinking of trying out an oval grip shinai to improve my do cut's. What do you think? Are they any good?

    Could I please hear from some kendoka's who practice with an oval grip shinai.

    Thanks you.

  • #2
    I have an oval grip shinai. I just like the feel of the oval handle. Since you already know your problem you should try fixing it with a regular shinai before using the oval grip. You're just masking your problem.

    But yes oval grip helps when you cut do. One thing that sucks about them is if you break one of the staves...bye bye $40!

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    • #3
      Ahhh

      It took 6 months for me to break the first two shinai I owned.

      The second pair of shinai I purchased were oval grip... as were all the rest after. Oval grips are my favorite so I have LOTs of broken oval grip Shinai around... the waste is annoying. Oval grip is a bit frowned on by the senior sensei... mainly due to the breakage costs (and the apparent lack of skill oval grips imply).

      What I have done to help cut breakage costs is use a really cheap round one for practice at the Dojo... and one fine and well balanced one for competition (or when I'm feeling clumbsy, or simply bust the chep one).

      The oval grip is a bit of a safety net for me... but I TRULY prefer them over the round.

      Afterall, we are trying to emulate SWORD fighting... not baseball.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Budoka 83
        Hi, I practice with a standard shinai and when ever I make a do cut my left hand ends up straying to the right, out of center. But when I get home and try it with a bokken, my do cut's seems fine. So I am thinking of trying out an oval grip shinai to improve my do cut's. What do you think? Are they any good?

        Could I please hear from some kendoka's who practice with an oval grip shinai.

        Thanks you.

        YOu're using your right arm too much if you're doing that. It's not the problem with shinai.

        But, anyways, i like oval grip shinais a lot, but, it's not a necessity.

        Comment


        • #5
          Count me as an oval grip supporter, I love 'em. They cost more than regular shinai (unless you buy top quality round grip shinai), and when you factor in the broken individual stave problem the cost rises even more. It's a good idea to have a regular shinai for kihon and use your expensive one only for jigeiko... that might make it last a bit longer.

          For oval grip shinais in particular, I would advise buying them in twos or threes and ask to have them "matched up" so the staves are interchangeable. Of course you will have to find one that you like first... I don't advise buying three shinai sight unseen! :-) That would be silly.

          I can't imagine why some senior sensei would frown on oval grip shinai. I can understand them frowning on modern innovations or technologies like, say, carbon fibre shinai or that fancy men with the windscreen. Oval grip doesn't necessarily mean your skills have been overlooked and you are hiding a serious flaw in your technique. Some people simply find them more comforatable.
          Last edited by Phlebas; 2nd December 2003, 12:19 PM.

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          • #6
            I have considered trying the ovals for some time. I like the fact that they emulate the shape of the katana('s handle). I am also very fond of practicing with bokuto, for the same reason. It is nice to have a clear feeling of where the edge is. Even for beginners, letting them practice for five minutes with a bokuto will often help them focus on the fact that the round shinai has an edge, and that it is important to remember if you want to cut properly.

            A small tip one sensei gave me was that you could use tape to make your round grip oval. I haven't tried it but I imagine it would save a lot of money.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Budoka 83
              Hi, I practice with a standard shinai and when ever I make a do cut my left hand ends up straying to the right, out of center. But when I get home and try it with a bokken, my do cut's seems fine. So I am thinking of trying out an oval grip shinai to improve my do cut's. What do you think? Are they any good?
              The oval grip won't do anything to fix your hand positioning. Some people find them comfortable, and they can really help your hasuji (edge angle). Downside is the expense and the difficulty in interchanging staves when maintaining shinai.

              Comment


              • #8
                Actually, I can't stand my oval grip shinai. I think I wasted some money. I feel, yes I can go yoko men and do easier, but i find it difficult to do plain ole' kote. It's not even too comfortable for me, evne though I like my bokken's grip.

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                • #9
                  if an oval grip shinai is turned face down, and the leather was taken off, would the bamboo staves look like an x from the hilt or a +?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    They're the same.

                    It's the same for both standard and oval grip... an "X" pattern.

                    This is the only way one can have a top and bottom stave. If it were an "+" pattern... we would all be striking our opponents with the gap between the staves.

                    ---
                    I agree that the use of an Oval grip shnai does nothing to correct power imbalances between ones hands. Luckily, dilligent and careful home practice can correct this.

                    One bit of advice I got from Dr. Benjamin Hazard Sensei (a kendo Koyshi 7th dan, Professor-emeritus of Oriental History) is to hold the shinai out in ones fingers. Doing this takes a bit of getting used to, but if one's fingers are strong, it works well. Hazard Sensei, who says he has always used a very THICK oval grip, studied in post war Japan and has a unique perspective on the art of Kendo.

                    ---
                    As to the high cost of going oval, I agree, but it's not TOO bad. One can at LEAST rotate leather so the wear on the top and bottom staves is "even".

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                    • #11
                      As for me balance of shinai is more important than the shape of grip. But if I have to choose between both, I prefer oval grip.

                      Off topic: I just broke my oval carbon shinai after 4 years of usage last week. It wasnt from heavy hitting. The other persons kensen got in between my nakayui and split it open. Dont forget to tighten your nakayui from time to time. This mistake cost me $80.00 for the single broken piece. Outch!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Will
                        Actually, I can't stand my oval grip shinai. I think I wasted some money. I feel, yes I can go yoko men and do easier, but i find it difficult to do plain ole' kote. It's not even too comfortable for me, evne though I like my bokken's grip.
                        I am finding the exact same problem. My do cuts seem to be easier, but the grip is not very comfortable, especially for kote. Ideally, a koban with thicker grip should do the trick for me...

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