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  • Seeking shinken advice

    Hello all,

    I'm in the market for a shinken and would like some advice from those who have tried different suppliers. First of all, my requirements are:
    2.45 blade (could probably get away with a 2.4, too), roughly 28cm tsuka - leather ito would be nice but I can get it rewrapped so not a major issue.
    It needs to be fairly light and well balanced as I have wrist problems that aren't ever going to go away - a lighter sword maximises the length of time I can train in one go before they stop working.
    Obviously, I'd like something well-built enough not to fall apart.
    I don't care what it looks like, I don't care about the fancy little patterns in the metal that tell you things about the steel, I don't care how old it is- as far as I'm concerned, it's a tool for a job and the only things that matter to me are how it feels.

    The really tricky bit is that I'd like to get something as cheap as possible (but obviously not so cheap that it's poorly made and likely to disintegrate within a few years). I've heard that Tozando are producing some reasonably priced shinken in Germany but don't know anything about the quality.

    Does anybody know anything about these swords or have any other recommendations (or know of anybody wanting to sell something suitable)?

    Thanks in advance,
    Sean.

  • #2
    What's your budget?

    Comment


    • #3
      *edit, beaten

      If you aren't concerned with traditional construction, I'm rather pleased with a recent purchase. I don't know how much wiggle room you might have with local regulations. Otherwise, aoi-art has some nice offerings you can look through.

      Comment


      • #4
        28cm is very long for a blade that short.

        What does your Sensei recommend as a supplier?

        Comment


        • #5
          http://www.ninecircles.co.uk/Clearan...Clearance.aspx

          Hurry.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hmmm, this brings up in interesting opportunity for a discussion on why one wants to practice with a shinken. Personally, I'd rather go with a well-made iaito than get a cheap shinken (or in the above case, an iaito with a live edge). As the product description on the website notes, that sword is fine for iaido practice, but "not recommended for tameshigiri."

            Now, I'm not about to use my shinken for tameshigiri, even though it's a shinsakuto that's only about 20 years old and has no real value to speak of as a collector's item. But I know that it is structurally capable of cutting. If a shinken can't be used for cutting, can it really be called a shinken?

            If your budget doesn't allow you to get a shinken, why not practice with a good iaito? Save up your pennies and get a bona fide shinken sometime in the future. The transition from iaito to shinken is not as tricky as you might think, if you practice diligently with your iaito.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the replies, everyone.

              I intentionally didn't give a budget because if you give a price, people tend to tell you what you can get for that price. What I want to know is what kind of price I should be looking at for what I want. For example, had I said 1000, and got "You can get this for 1000 but you should really spend more," I'd still not know how much I need to spend/save in order to get what something more suitable.

              The measurements given are based on my current iaito - nobody has commented that it looks disproportioned. I measured the tsuka including the fuchi and kashira; is this incorrect?

              My reasons for wanting to train with a shinken is that I want something with a sharp edge. It's very rare that I do something with my iaito that would cause me to cut myself had it been a shinken (that I notice) but I feel I need to learn to control my sword confidently when a very real risk is there.

              Sean.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Halcyon View Post
                If a shinken can't be used for cutting, can it really be called a shinken?
                I'd always interpreted that product's description as "It can cut just fine, but its metal fatigues faster. So, if you frequently use it to cut, don't blame us if it breaks." Id est, I'd thought it to be a matter of "how long do you want to keep this for" rather than "don't you dare do it". Specifically, given that it's made of carbon steel instead of stainless, it's more durable than an "iaito with a live edge" would be.

                You could send the company a mail and ask, if you're curious.

                Comment


                • #9
                  My current daily use sword is made by a company called Citadel. It is actually lighter than my Noshudo iaito, and really well balanced. I use it for both iai and tameshigiri.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Anorymous View Post
                    I'd always interpreted that product's description as "It can cut just fine, but its metal fatigues faster. So, if you frequently use it to cut, don't blame us if it breaks." Id est, I'd thought it to be a matter of "how long do you want to keep this for" rather than "don't you dare do it". Specifically, given that it's made of carbon steel instead of stainless, it's more durable than an "iaito with a live edge" would be.

                    You could send the company a mail and ask, if you're curious.
                    It's not only what it's made of, more importantly, how was it made. In inexperienced hands, even a well made nihonto can be bent during tameshigiri. Also, cutting through air and cutting through mats aren't the same for the blade.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Eight View Post
                      My reasons for wanting to train with a shinken is that I want something with a sharp edge. It's very rare that I do something with my iaito that would cause me to cut myself had it been a shinken (that I notice) but I feel I need to learn to control my sword confidently when a very real risk is there.
                      Others may disagree, but here's my own personal take on this. You will eventually want to get a real shinken anyway. If that's the case, then I would save up for the real thing. In the meantime, treat your practice with an iaito seriously, as if it were a shinken. Then your eventual transition to a shinken will not be as intimidating as you might think. And start spreading the word among fellow iaidoka and sensei that you are looking for a shinken. It will take some time to find the right one. It's not necessarily as simple as going to a website or a store and buying the one with the correct measurements. There's a certain "feel" you will get from a shinken -- an amalgam of balance, aesthetics and other intangibles that will come together in a blade that suits your needs.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There's a certain "feel" you will get from a shinken -- an amalgam of balance, aesthetics and other intangibles that will come together in a blade that suits your needs.
                        Yep. But that's what I use as my excuse for buying another sword.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Eight View Post
                          T
                          The measurements given are based on my current iaito - nobody has commented that it looks disproportioned. I measured the tsuka including the fuchi and kashira; is this incorrect?

                          My reasons for wanting to train with a shinken is that I want something with a sharp edge. It's very rare that I do something with my iaito that would cause me to cut myself had it been a shinken (that I notice) but I feel I need to learn to control my sword confidently when a very real risk is there.
                          The measurement is not necessarily incorrect - as an example, my iaito and shinken are both 2.6 Shaku. They both have a 28cm tsuka which was added by the maker.

                          It has been asked but what does your sensei recommend? In most schools, there is a time for using shinken and usually a specific list of vendors who are suitable

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Now, I'm not about to use my shinken for tameshigiri, even though it's a shinsakuto that's only about 20 years old and has no real value to speak of as a collector's item. But I know that it is structurally capable of cutting. If a shinken can't be used for cutting, can it really be called a shinken?
                            From the way I read it, they don't recommend it for cutting because it has bo-hi. It's a fairly common recommendation not to use bo-hi on a sword for tameshigiri

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Halcyon View Post
                              Hmmm, this brings up in interesting opportunity for a discussion on why one wants to practice with a shinken. Personally, I'd rather go with a well-made iaito than get a cheap shinken (or in the above case, an iaito with a live edge). As the product description on the website notes, that sword is fine for iaido practice, but "not recommended for tameshigiri."

                              Now, I'm not about to use my shinken for tameshigiri, even though it's a shinsakuto that's only about 20 years old and has no real value to speak of as a collector's item. But I know that it is structurally capable of cutting. If a shinken can't be used for cutting, can it really be called a shinken?

                              If your budget doesn't allow you to get a shinken, why not practice with a good iaito? Save up your pennies and get a bona fide shinken sometime in the future. The transition from iaito to shinken is not as tricky as you might think, if you practice diligently with your iaito.
                              I could be wrong, but I think this shinken is not recommended for tameshigiri because it has a hi. I've got one of these and I've used it for 'light' cutting practice without any problems, there's probably an element of damage limitation in the statement in case some dimwit bends their blade due to incorrect technique.

                              Comment

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