The Japanese wooden sword called Bokuto originated in Japan. It is used in various martial arts. Since it is made of high quality wood, it also allows the trainees to use choking techniques. With a real sword such exercises do not work because of the sharp blades. Furthermore, the Bokuto exists in different designs.

The most important thing in advance:

  • Bokuto is a Japanese wooden sword.
  • Martial arts devotees expand both their knowledge and skills thanks to the bokuto.
  • Depending on the weight of the particular model, practitioners also train their muscle strength.
  • Regular training with the Bokuto promotes concentration as well as self-discipline.
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Background and purpose of bokken

The Bokken, which is also known as Bokuto, is a wooden sword. It originates from the land of the rising sun. Boku stands for wood and To translates as sword. However, the synonym bokken is only used in other countries. Japanese do not use this term. Ken also denotes double-edged blades.

Bokuto is used in the dojo of various Japanese martial arts as well as martial arts. It replaces the katana as well as the wakizashi. Trainees have the opportunity to practice a realistic practice. The advantage is the low risk of injury. They neither cut their training partner nor injure him in any other way.

Aikido, Jodo, Iaido as well as Kenjutsu use the Bokuto to practice the techniques of their martial arts. Kendo is among the other sports that use the bokuto for successful execution of the katas.

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Product characteristics of the wooden sword

  • Length: The Bokuto exists in two different lengths. Bokutachi is the longer weapon. It measures 101.5 centimeters. Bokukodachi, on the other hand, belongs to the shorter variant with its 57 centimeters. Both wooden swords have a curved blade. The back of the blade is angular. Blade tips are oval. All features mimic the characteristics of a real Japanese sword.
  • Material: Solid red oak wood acts as the main component of the bokken. This type of wood is characterized by original coloring and beautiful grain. However, there are also bokuto swords made of white oak.
  • Sword scabbard: Saya is the name of the sword scabbard, which belongs to the accessories of the Bokuto. It is made of smooth plastic. Its length measures 80 centimeters. The weight is 90 grams. The scabbard acts as a valuable aid in drawing exercises. They make up an important exercise component of training with a bokken.
  • Hand guard: All bokutos include a tsuba as an accessory – the sword’s hand guard. This is made of a strong plastic. Furthermore, the shape is similar to the traditional version. After mounting, the trainees fix the tip of the blade with a rubber ring. Tsubadome is the Japanese technical term for this component. Above the middle part of the back of the blade is the notch of the tsubadome.
  • Handle: Tsuka is the name of the handle of a bokuto. Unlike other Japanese swords, this one features a fish-belly shaped handle. The other sword models, on the other hand, are characterized by a round tsuka. Thanks to this construction, the practitioners feel the position of the blade analogous to a real katana.

Special forms of the Bokken

There are different forms of bokken

  • The bokuto with a groove on both sides resembles the groove of many shin-ken. The latter are sharp sword variants. Hissing sounds echo through the dojo when trainees practice with this bokken model. The hissing acts as a control. This allows practitioners to see if they are performing the prescribed movements correctly.
  • In addition, practitioners can strengthen their arm muscles by choosing heavy as well as longer bokken models. However, these are not at all suitable for partner exercises. The length amounts to 110 as well as 115 centimeters. The weight is more than 800 grams. Suburi-to is the name of this special form of bokken. The martial art Iwama-ryu-Aikido uses a heavy bokken during training. The diameter is larger. Furthermore, the sword does not contain a tip. Itto-ryu is similar to Kashima Shin-ryu in many ways. The only two differences are in length and weight
  • Iaido is dominated by the bokken including saya, which is made of plastic. This version allows a realistic practice. Especially the pulling out and returning of the bokken works perfectly with this version. Nuki and noto are the Japanese names for these movements within the kata.
  • There are numerous sword fighting schools in Japan. They call themselves Kenjutsu-ryu. Over time, these have created their own bokuto variants. Two well-known bokken are the Kashima Shin-Ryu and the Itto-Ryu. The former is made of white oak, whose Japanese name is Shiro Kashi. It is characterized by high quality. The grain is uniform, fine and straight. It runs through the entire length of the sword. The weight of the Kashima Shin-Ryu is 700 grams. The length of the sword is 105 centimeters.

A high-quality Itto-Ryu costs about 40 euros. The Kahima Shin-Ryu on the other hand is much more expensive. It costs rimd 60 euros. The price range of the standard red oak bokken is between 25 and 89 euros. Thus, the price depends on your individual willingness to pay as well as the desired quality.

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Training and exercises

Bokken training is composed of the following exercises:

  • Kihon are 49 basic Bokken techniques
  • Bokken against Bokken are partner exercises called Kumitachi
  • Block and cut techniques
  • Short sword against long sword
  • Techniques without a weapon against a sword attack
  • How do practitioners avoid being disarmed?

Generally, trainees can practice the techniques at home. Only the partner exercises or avoiding disarming requires a training partner. The cutting and blocking techniques, on the other hand, ambitious fighters can already practice in a small space. For this they only need discipline and concentration. During these practice sessions, they imagine a partner in their mind

Countries outside Japan consider the Bokuto as a separate kind of weapon. This is due to the numerous technical possibilities that the bokken opens up. Strangle and block techniques are possible with the bokuto. A real katana, on the other hand, does not allow such techniques at all. The prohibition goes back to the sharp blade of the katana.

Update: 2023-01-20 / Affiliate Links / Bilder von der Amazon Product Advertising API