Category Archives for Aikido

A guide how to maintain aikido weapons

Aikido is martial art which comes from Japan. It was developed by MoriheiUeshiba as a combination of martial studies, philosophy, and religion. The main idea he had was how to defend yourself, but also how to protect attacker from injury. In aikido, there are many different techniques like irimi, turning movement, and different types of throws and joint locks. Aikido was developed in the early 20th century, but today is very popular all around the world and has a wide range of interpretations, but they share the same technique.

It is very important to maintain and correctly storage your weapons. The main reason is security and the other is to prevent them from deteriorating. It is important to say that weapons that aren’t maintained properly are the main reason for injuries. If you have a Bokken or Jo with splints you must not use it, but sand it and oil it. If they have some structural defect, throw them away. Over the year, especially if you are using these weapons on a regular base, it is important that from time to time, to sand it and oil it. If the condition of weapon is a bed, do this a couple of times.

This will remove the damage and nourish the wood. You have to maintain it regularly if you want to prevent them from warping or the wood from deteriorating. Put oil as much as the wood will take; it can be from one to three or more times.

Take care of wooden weapons

Because of the moisture wood can change over time, by expanding the fibers. This can cause a lot of damage, so it is important to store it at good conditions. Store wooden weapons horizontally, in the room which has good ventilation and the room who is not too wet, nor too dry. For that reason try to avoid garages, cellars, or humid places like the bathroom. Rooms like bedroom are a good solution, and you can store your wooden weapons under the bed because the humidity and temperature can vary between floor and ceiling.

If you store them vertically, that means you are exposing them to different conditions. And in very short time this weapon will be unusable and dangerous to use. Wooden weapons are very sensitive, and you have to be very careful. If you are buying Bokkern or Jo from a shop, take a look how they are stored there. If the conditions are as we previously mentioned, it is safe to buy them. But many persons working at this kind of stores don’t have the right knowledge of wooden weapons.

So don’t buy them if the conditions where they are kept are not good. Even in Japan, this kind of mistakes can happen. Weapons that are made of wood should to be on the direct sun, or any place where they are exposed to high temperatures, like near the stove. Wood can easily burst into flames.

Bokken, a main sword of Aikido

Bokken is the wooden sword of samurai, and it is often an accompaniment to kendo and kenjutsutraning. It is made from Japanese white oak or shiro kasha, from a single cut of wood. This sword allows students to practice and preform sword katas and techniques with safety. It is a great way for students to build their strength, and improve their sword technique. Bokken is used in training with the wooden blade. When using bokken both of your hands have to be on the handle, then raise sword directly over your head in a straight line, until your elbows are also straight. Quickly release the blade down in the straight cut, but try to visualize the path of the sword through the middle of your target.

How to block with the bokken?

Block used in bokken training came from traditional katana blocks. The most important block in bokken training involves raising the arc of the blade so that it points directly over your head. If the cuts are aimed at the side of your body, you can side block it. Thrust attacks are harder because there are quicker and therefore harder to predict. This will happen naturally in combat. You can even have combat with two bokken, one in each hand. There are so many techniques and ways of using this sword, and possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Light bokken

Every Aikido practitioner has the sword that is the same size because this is the way to avoid differences in the distance. Bokken can be relatively light and solid, but there is also heavy weight bokken. There are used to work on speed and precision. Even the founder of Aikido trained with light bokken. It is difficult to say the exact model he used, but we know it was the light one and slightly curved.

Heavy bokken

This type of bokken is used by schools that are focused on the fight in heavy armor and physical training. JikiShinkage and Kashima Shinto Ryu are using heavy weights bokken. People who use heavy sword are trained with heavy bokken, and there can damage even the strongest type of armor. This type of training can develop strength of the hips, arms, forearms, but the down side is that it cannot be used to work on speed, placement or accuracy.

Standard bokken

Besides light and heavy weight, there is also standard bokken. Schools like KatoriShito Ryo and ShindoRyu use standard weight bokken. This type of sword is used in bettering the technique and precise practice. This also requires more training that using the other two. When starting with Aikido training, it is best to consult your trainer what kind of bokken is best for you. Don’t try to choose it by yourself, because you might get injured. The length of bokken should also be adapted to the practitioner. The curvature of bokken can improve the cutting angle and strengthen the weapon, but it would also slow down the technique.