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Type of Swords
Step 1 


The first step is to ask yourself, are you picking a sword for practice or for display or somewhere in between.


Here are 3 swords for practice. 1 for practice and display. And 3 for display.

For Practice


Shinai – meaning “to flex” due to its ability to bend. Typically made out of pieces of bamboo lashed together with a string attached, running the entire length of the sword. The string lets the user know the blunt side as of a single edge sword. lighter wood material offers practitioners a more safety practice by reducing the number of causalities when practiced.  Therefore, it is generally the more favourable type of sword used for practise and kendo competitions. Upon impact, the force of the strike is slightly dissipated by bending the sword, inflicting less damage in comparison to the sturdier wood from Bokuto or steel / razor sharp swords. Great for beginners who wish to assimilate any Japanese art practice own their own or with their academy.  Link adult shinai and kids shinai. Blog how to care for a shinai.


"Shinai". Wikipedia, Pacifier, 16 Feb 2006


Bokuto or Bokken (translates as wooden sword) – is a Japanese wooden sword that typically mimics Katana swords but can be found shaped to any swords from length to curve or straight. This gives the practitioner a more realistic feel for a real steel sword. Designed for practise in various arts and carrying less risk injuries, it is more preferable than steel swords. However, its wooden construction can still be lethal just as to a wooden bat or club if hit with impact. Therefore, the shinai is generally more favourable for sparring. Less maintenance required than real swords and great for Intermediate level practitioners. Beginners can also practice with Bokuto but with care in an organised play in protective gear or light solo drills.


"Bokken". Wikipedia, Tischlampe, 20 September 2008


Plastic Swords (Ploypropylene roped bokken) – Not really part of the Bokuto family as it is made from plastic. I listed this type of sword as users may find this modern make is better for practise as it mimics the shape of a real sword, unlike most shinais and also more durable than wooden swords yet more lightweight. It will produce more impact than a shinai but less damaged than a Bokuto especially a Bokuto when practice long/hard enough can develop splinters.

Amazon Feature

   For show and Aesthetics


Iaito (Not to be confuse with “Iaido” – Japanese Martial Art) Iaito is a modern day practice sword that has the closest appearance to a real sword. Shaped with aesthetic design, curvature and length but no cutting edge. However, Some Iaitos maintain a sharp tip. Typically designed from alloy, a lighter and cheaper material than steel which gives Iaito an authentic weight feel and look. It is used for practice and not suitable for any contact. Primary practice is the Iaido and mostly favoured by Iaido dojos. This sword reminds me of the anime and movie Kenshin where the central character uses a reverse blade sword, making it ineffective for killing. Iaito can be bought just for decorations although you are better off buying a hand forged Katana. For practice, practitioners should have advance level of handling.


"Iaito". Wikipedia, Umeyama Yukinori, 31 March 2011


Overall, the best way to think of these swords is Shinai & Plastic Swords is for beginners. Best for solo drills, light sparring and general all types of practices. Bokuto’s are a practice weaponry that generally requires a little more intermediate training. Great for mimicking the shape of katanas and realism of weight distribution and solo training. Not advisable for sparring and less aesthetic pleasing than steel swords. And lastly, the Laito is the most aesthetically pleasing to look at and generally the safest out of all steel swords due to its no cutting edge Not suitable for sparring but great for someone who is advance and wants a sword for decorative display and as well as light practice.

Aesthetic Display


Katana – “Kata – Side and “Na” meaning edge, translating sword with side edge. Designed with a curve, long grip for both hands and single edge blade. Originated from the Tachi then shorten over time into the katana. It is the most widely recognisable sword around the world thanks to mainstream media such as movies, anime, internet, etc. It is also arguably the most aesthetic looking sword given its standard sized and moderately curved as opposed to straight swords or the more length and curvature swords of Tachi. Between 14th – 16th century, the length of Katanas changed over the years from 27 ½ inches to 23 then to 28 ½ inches. Used in close combat by samurais and seen as an important part of a samurai’s life. This is the sword most people would purchase for aesthetic display. Some can come as blunted or sharpen.


"Katana". Wikipedia, Slimhannya, 21 January 2021


Wakizashi – Is a subset of Katanas, with blades length typically between 12 – 24 inches. Its appearance is naturally that of a shorter version of Katana. Samurai warriors would carry a Katana as the primary weapon and Wakizashi as a backup sword. A name was given to this process known as “Daisho.” 



Tachi – Earlier versions of the Katana. Longest and most curve of all samurai swords. They were especially design for delivering blows at high speeds from riders.  Tachis was designed in an era where fighting on horseback were more common than fighting on the ground. Utilizing the momentum of the horse with the curvature of the sword delivers a devastating attack. A tachi would be worn with the cutting edge down, while the katana is the opposite. It is always worn with the cutting edge up since it's easier to draw the sword this way. Therefore, Tachi usually have two strings attached for the Tachi to be worn horizontally. Tachis are lighter than katana even though it looks heavier. Inset a picture of two strings attached.


"Tachi". Wikipedia, Slimhannya, 21 Januray 2021


Katana swords are most popular known and personally speaking, the most aesthetic due to its ratio of size of handle and sword curvature / length. However, all swords describe here are beautiful and unique in their own way. Each were design with a particular purpose and era. Remember these swords are not use for practise unless you have experience in what you are doing. Raijin X do not want to list dozens of swords to confuse a consumer. Simplicity is the key to clarity!

Step 2:  Blade  

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