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  • Another newbie kicks a beaten horse

    Hi folks,

    I'm new to Iaido. I've been only studying for a little more than a month, and the class is only every other week. I desire to practice at home and purchased a PC Nami. My instructor wants me to use one of his Iaito during class for the time being. He inspected my Nami. I could tell he was "old school" in terms of "modern Iaido" but he did say that the quality and feel of the PC was the best he has seen for "one of those...". He handed it back and confirmed that he prefers I use his for now. He said, however that it would "probably be ok/safe" for home practice". However, being a little intimidated by it all, I sold the Nami and have been shopping for a "real" Iaito, having settled on the Higo Kosharei as the one that I like. However, after using the Nami and realizing that for what I'm doing, it seemed to feel even better to me than the "real" Iaitos in class...more "solid" and even better balanced. I know, this must obviously show my inexperience and I realize this.

    But I keep coming back to the PC Gorin as my next sword for a couple reasons...One, there is no waiting period. The Higo will take longer than I can afford, as I may be moving to a different state before it even ships from Japan, and I'm to impatient, which my instructor also has mentioned several times. He told me early on that he can tell if a student is practicing at home or not. Then he'll turn around and tell me that I'm impatient and will not help me in my choice for Iaito for home use. I'm out here in the breeze.

    The other reason is that there is just something even less "authentic" with the thought of a zinc or aluminum blade versus a PC steel blade (albeit a tempered stainless)...but the quality of the PC seems adequate for me and I can't get passed the "fake" metal blade concept of "real" Iaitos...Can someone enlighten me on this?

    Thanks in advance and sorry for the long post. - Orion

  • #2
    Greetings!
    I'll try and see if I can't clear up your confusion. I personally don't like the Hanwei iaito at all. I strongly advise my students against them for a couple of reasons. First, the geometry and quality of construction of the handle (tsuka) is pretty poor. Some are better than others, but you never know just what you'll get, or how long it will last. Second, because they are steel blades made to the equivalent weight of an alloy iaito, they are quite thin. This makes them somewhat "whippy" in practice, and also makes them balance very close to the tsuka. This is why it feels more comfortable to a beginner since your proper musculature is not built up yet. The Japanese have been making iaito for many years and they are generally way ahead of the Chinese companies in terms of safety, which is of great concern in a dojo situation.

    Impatience is a very bad thing to have when studying the Japanese Sword Arts. It can take quite a while to gain even a decent level of proficiency. If you cannot overcome your impatience, you will end up dropping out of practice soon to pursue easier hobbies.

    As far as a "fake" blade is concerned, it is a training tool, not a sword. The Hanwei iaito are every bit as much a "fake" blade as an alloy iaito, despite being made of a steel alloy instead of an aluminum alloy. Eventually, if you curb your impatience and keep practicing regularly, you'll get to the point where you will be able to use a "real" sword in your practice. However, unless you can afford a true Nihonto (Japanese sword made traditionally in Japan), you'll still have to take your aluminum alloy iaito with you to Japan as they won't allow in steel swords that aren't Nihonto. They have no problem with non-magnetic iaito.

    Hope that helps some.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks, Paul.

      I appreciate your input; it is perhaps what I needed to keep me on the right path with regard to my next choice of practice sword.

      As a matter of respect to my instructor, I wouldn't want to undermine his teaching methods, but as a 40-year old aspiring student, I'm very capable of grasping some of the reasoning behind the methods which I believe would help me in my learning in addition to the actual excercises and training itself.

      This leads me to a different thread that I'll start regarding some advice in my relationship with my instructor which perhaps you might have some thoughts on. Thanks again.

      Comment


      • #4
        There is no Iaito quite like a Japanese made Iaito. Go Japanese when it comes to Iaito.

        Get an Iaito from one of these places. These are real Iaito and you'll appreciate a real Iaito as you practice more.

        www.swordstore.com
        www.tozando.com
        www.bugei.com
        http://www.e-bogu.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          Orion, If you can't afford to wait for the 3 months it normally takes for an iaito to be made, I suggest going to www.gichudo.com. They are located in Gifu prefecture in Japan. All their iaitos are ready made and will ship to you in days. The only downside is you cannot have them customized.

          Comment


          • #6
            Choice of Swords

            Hi Orion,

            As is said in almost all posts, "go with the advice of your sensei".

            When it came time for me to get a proper iaito i went with my sensei's choice and managed to get a noshyiado iaito (you can get them from Swordstore.com, the link is in Ren Blade's post below) my sensei negotiated with the swordmakers on my behalf. I now have a very good sword with beautiful fittings at a very reduced price, because of my sensei's connections.

            David

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Orion
              Hi folks,

              I'm new to Iaido. I've been only studying for a little more than a month, and the class is only every other week. I desire to practice at home and purchased a PC Nami. My instructor wants me to use one of his Iaito during class for the time being. He inspected my Nami. I could tell he was "old school" in terms of "modern Iaido" but he did say that the quality and feel of the PC was the best he has seen for "one of those...". He handed it back and confirmed that he prefers I use his for now. He said, however that it would "probably be ok/safe" for home practice". However, being a little intimidated by it all, I sold the Nami and have been shopping for a "real" Iaito, having settled on the Higo Kosharei as the one that I like. However, after using the Nami and realizing that for what I'm doing, it seemed to feel even better to me than the "real" Iaitos in class...more "solid" and even better balanced. I know, this must obviously show my inexperience and I realize this.

              But I keep coming back to the PC Gorin as my next sword for a couple reasons...One, there is no waiting period. The Higo will take longer than I can afford, as I may be moving to a different state before it even ships from Japan, and I'm to impatient, which my instructor also has mentioned several times. He told me early on that he can tell if a student is practicing at home or not. Then he'll turn around and tell me that I'm impatient and will not help me in my choice for Iaito for home use. I'm out here in the breeze.

              The other reason is that there is just something even less "authentic" with the thought of a zinc or aluminum blade versus a PC steel blade (albeit a tempered stainless)...but the quality of the PC seems adequate for me and I can't get passed the "fake" metal blade concept of "real" Iaitos...Can someone enlighten me on this?

              Thanks in advance and sorry for the long post. - Orion
              Great advice from all the above. If your application to kata and training is half as much as your interest in the tools of the trade you will be shodan in no time mind you I dont know if the saying occurs in iai but in sailing we used to talk about 'all the gear, no idea!'......

              Comment

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