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Thread: weapons... Weapons... WEAPONS!!!

  1. #1
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    weapons... Weapons... WEAPONS!!!

    Folks,

    I am very pleased that Beth Johnson, one of my Toda-ha Buko-ryu students, has finally given me the go-ahead to publicly announce that she will be able to start making weapons to order. She's made several naginata for people in our dojo and they're truly well-balanced, well-shaped. This is quality work, at least as good as anything one can find in Japan, and, in my very UNhumble opinion, probably a good deal better.

    So far, Beth has made naginata of jatoba and purpleheart (this one is called the Giant Purple Peoplebeater), and a really great tesssen (maybe I should call it a "mokusen"?) of zebrawood that I bought as soon as I saw it. Truly spectacular work.

    It may be that she can provide photographs of her work for people to look at. Anyway, if you're looking for good quality whacka sticks, Beth is the one who can fix you up.

    If any of you are interested, contact me by private message and I will pass it on.

    Meik Skoss
    Shutokukan Dojo
    Koryu.com

  2. #2
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    Just to be absolutely clear, you are meaning wooden practice weapons, or steel weapons with hafts of the woods you name?
    Kaitlyn Rasmussen
    (Mad) Scientist and Sword Fancier

  3. #3
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    Dear Mr. Skoss,

    Thank you for sharing this announcement!

    As a further inquiry, have you guys done testing on how these stand up to impact? I've been interested in getting a pair to use in practice with one of my instructors but heard most naginata-bo are more suitable for solo practice. To give a little info, most of our guys use either hickory or ipe bokken- in your experience would you say that might be too abusive on the woods your student is using?

    Thank you
    Last edited by Jonathan Frances; 02-15-2010 at 04:29 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by K. Rasmussen View Post
    Just to be absolutely clear, you are meaning wooden practice weapons, or steel weapons with hafts of the woods you name?
    Wooden training weapons. I have no plans for the foreseeable future to move into forging (but then I didn't have plans to start doing this, either!).

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Frances View Post
    As a further inquiry, have you guys done testing on how these stand up to impact? I've been interested in getting a pair to use in practice with one of my instructors but heard most naginata-bo are more suitable for solo practice. To give a little info, most of our guys use either hickory or ipe bokken- in your experience would you say that might be too abusive on the woods your student is using?
    Meik can assuredly speak better about the quality of contact in Buko-ryu compared to other styles, but these sticks were made for whackin'. They play nice with each other, and with shiro kashi and ash. I have not tried them against ipe, and I'd be cautious about mixing woods of markedly different densities in contact work. Both jatoba and purpleheart are closer to shiro kashi in density than to ipe, but one does notice a difference.


    -Beth

    Beth's Buki
    Walk softly and carry a big stick.

  5. #5
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    Beth's comments about the durability of jatoba and purpleheart are what I'd have said.

    I think there are several additional factors that apply: 1) the characteristics of the wood in question; 2) the nature of the training; and 3) the skill of the people who are using the weapons in question. Some training is a lot heavier than others, while some people train more heavily (i.e., clumsily) than others.

    For instance, Yagyu Shinkage-ryu bokuto are relatively thin and light and there isn't much heavy contact at all. We do most of our "contact" work with fukuro shinai because we can actually make contact and not inhjure one another. Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu, on the other hand, requires much heavier weapons due to the nature of their techniques. Both are excellent, it is just a matter of the techniques of the particular school.

    Anent the skill level of the practitioners, I've seen any number of people who do Shinto Muso-ryu as if they were trying to batter down the castle gates, hammering away like madmen. It amazes me that they do this, but then my teacher's approach is combative in the extreme, he emphasizes the reality behind the kata and why it really isn't necessary to *smash* the uchidachi's sword, since that's not really the target. (Big hint to you Muso-keteers...)

    Anyway, Mr. Frances, it depends on the training you're doing as to how any weapon will hold up over time.

    Hope this helps,

    Meik Skoss
    Shutokukan Dojo
    Koryu.com

  6. #6
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    It does help indeed, thank you very much.

    I have no plans to be recklessly swinging anything, so I don't mean to plant that sort of seed when I ask about the general durability. I had read reviews of some other wooden naginata, I think it might have been bokkenshop but it had been two years ago so the memory might be fading; it was basically suggested that some pieces are better suited to solo forms than two person kata. I also understand with some woods there can be a trade-off between aesthetics and ruggedness.

    I'm on the same piece of wood for a bokken I've been using for the last three years, so hopefully I am at least starting down the right track in terms of not abusing my training tools ;-)

    I will forward along my information in the hopes of getting an idea of what it would require to get a pair of naginata sent to my part of NH.

    Kind Regards

  7. #7
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    This is good news. I am thinking about purchasing a bo and naginata in not so distant future when the economy is a little better.

    Beth: What price range are we talking about here?
    And whats the thought about shipping?

    All the best.
    Steffen W. Gjerding
    Norway
    Kakudokan dojo

    Yup lousy English, sorry…

  8. #8
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    For people interested in obtaining wooden weapons, Beth Johnson can be reached at this e-mail address: <bokuto@me.com>. Please direct all enquiries to her, not to this list or to me personally. Thank you.

    Meik Skoss
    Shutokukan Dojo
    Koryu.com

  9. #9
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    The email is fine, or folks can PM me. I've also added a link to my Flickr account, which has a few pictures of the work—just click my username at the top of any of my posts to get the dropdown, and select the homepage link.

    OK, that's my 15 minutes of fame. Quick, someone start a new thread and ask a question about using weapons.

    -Beth

    Beth's Buki
    Walk softly and carry a big stick.

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