Do you know? The secret to the number of folds on the Hakama and joints on the Shinai

The Nishijin Main Store of Tozando attracts many customers, helped by its location in Kyoto. Kendo is very popular overseas with many Kenshi worldwide. But since it is not an Olympic sport, the existence of a kendo world championship is perhaps not widely known. As a company that markets martial arts items, we feel the obligation to spread awareness of kendo. We want not only Japanese people but all the Kenshi as well as the general public worldwide to have a deeper understanding of Kendo. Many Kenshi overseas are unfamiliar with common customs, sayings, and legends surrounding Kendo. Today I would like to introduce something many of you probably may…

Kendo Shinai: SG or SSP?

We had some questions from Kendo customers about the SSP and SG seals on Shinai and if the SSP seal will become a requirement for competing Kendoka from now on. The short answer is NO! The requirement of SSP seals on Shinai won’t affect Kendoka overseas at the moment. If you want to know more, keep reading. So here are the facts. As some of our customers might know SSP and SG seals on Shinai are a sign that the Shinai has passed certain criteria of quality and safety. the SG mark is issued by the Consumer Product Safety Association (一般財団法人安全製品協会), while the SSP seal is issued by the All…

To have your name embroidered/engraved in Japanese

Thanks to the modern computer-aided sewing machines, it has become very easy to have our name embroidered on our Gi or Hakama. It is decorative and useful (for example: it is certainly easier to retrieve our own stuff、 in case all our clothes get mixed up in a sudden tornado that invests our Dojo dressing room). Surely the first idea is to write the name in Japanese, since we all so admire Japanese culture that we picked up a Japanese martial art and possibly cultivate some other Japanese hobby, from origami to Ikebana. We like the writing to be in Japanese because in case we meet our all-important sensei, we…

I can’t take of the Tsuka-gawa on my New Shinai, what can I do?

The Tsuka-gawa can be very tight and hard to remove on a newly bought Shinai. As many people like to remove the fittings to oil up and maintenance their new Shinai before using, the feat of removing the Tsuka-gawa can be a very painful experience. But actually, there is special rubber sheets mean to help with removing and putting on the Tsuka-gawa available to buy: http://www.tozandoshop.com/Shinai_Tsuka_Rubber_p/002-suberan.htm This can be used to take off and put on the Tsuka-gawa, however, if you don’t have anything like this,it might be easier to try removing it while wearing rubber/kitchen gloves, like the thicker kind of rubber gloves that might be used when washing…

What is the difference between a standard and a deluxe bokken?

Basically, the difference between a standard and a deluxe white oak Bokken is the quality of the wood used to make it.The deluxe one is made of wood from the core part of a tree while a standard type is made using other parts of a tree. It will of course have an impact on the final design of a Bokken as a deluxe one will look smoother while some natural imperfections may be seen on a standard Bokken. Lastly, as you might imagined, the wood of a deluxe Bokken is more dense than that of a standard one which will make it less prone to scratches. Our deluxe Bokken…

What is a Jissengata Shinai?

“Jissengata” means “real combat”, these Shinai are mostly geared towards competition usage. Compared to a standard Shinai, the tip is slimmer. As a result of this the center of gravity is more towards the grip side of the shinai, making it easier to handle and adding a sense of speed when swinging your Shinai. 

What does Koto mean?

“Koto” literally means “old sword”.  In Koto style Shinai the weight is more evenly distributed through-out the Shinai, while the center of the gravity is located closer to the tip, imitating the balance of a “real sword”. Because of this it’s said to be more difficult to master and preferred by high level practitioners. 

What is Keichiku?

The Keichiku bamboo species is mainly grown in Taiwan. Today, most of the standard Shinai on market is made of Keichiku, reflecting the fact that, due to the shortage of Madake and the work that’s needed to make traditional Shinai, most of the Shinai production has moved to Taiwan and more recently to mainland China. Keichiku bamboo is known to be close to Madake because the fiber is fine and dense. But it relies on machine processing when boiling and drying the bamboo, which takes away the moisture, this makes it more prone to break or result in splinter compared to Madake.

What is Madake?

‘Madake’ is also called Giant Timber Bamboo or Japanese Timber Bamboo, is a bamboo species in the genus Phyllostachys. This species is native to Japan and is often used for many different types Japanese traditional craftsmanship.  This is the traditional bamboo used for making Shinai in Japan. Due to the Bamboo plant having a life cycle of about 60 years, the majority of the Madake bamboo in Japan blossomed and died 25-30 years ago. Because of this high quality Madake bamboo has been hard to get your hands on in the past few decades, making Shinai made of genuine Madake very expensive.  Madake is known to have thick and flexible fibers  this makes…

What is Loquat?

Loquat or ‘Biwa’ is a tree that is mostly found in the southern parts of Japan, it’s a tree that is grown mainly for it’s fruit. However, the wood from this tree also makes for a great Bokken.  Loquat wood is known for it’s characteristic color and the smooth feel of the wood. As the wood also features excellent impact resistance due to it’s flexibility, being hard without being brittle, since it unlike most of the “hard woods” retains it’s flexibility even after being dried and made into a Bokken. This made it the choice of many master swordsmen in the past, as many samurai also considered a Loquat Bokken as…