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i think one of my senseis has one of those akatsuki shinai(oval handle i think). he said it was great for practice and shiai but the problem is, when you break one of the staves, you can't replace it anymore cause of the special staves they use to make an oval handle.
Don't forget to have a look at how the Akatsuki shiani is made....unbelievable!!
Now I can see why the Akatsuki shinai is so expensive. I'd love to get one when I visit Japan next time (I know we can buy from e-bogu but love to feel it first and choose one myself) and may be frame it and hang it in my living room...!!
Andorou i have an akatsuki shinai.....the chokuto style...it was very expensive as u know cause its handmade and each shinai is different. Straight away i felt the difference in build quality and feel. The shinai comes with nothing..so u have to buy the tsuka and other fitting seprartely. Good thing about akatsuki is that u can pick the weight and other characteristics...that best suits u. They are beatiful shinai. U have to be quick to order them cause the ones with good all round features such as "excellent weight, balance" in their description go like hot cakes.
Just out of curiosity. Where do you guys purchase your Akatsuki from? e-bogu? I was informed that you are no longer able to pick the weight and style of the shinai from their website. So now I order mine straight from Japan.