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CTTKDKing
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 05 Jan 2006
Posts: 223
Location: Connecticut
Styles: Tae Kwon Do, Greco Wrestling, Muay Thai, Sho Bin Ju, Boxing

PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2016 1:18 pm    Post subject: Katana shopping Reply with quote

Hello, I'm going to be studying katana sword for part of my cross training requirements for 1st to 2nd degree BB in Sho Byin Jyu and I have gotten some advice on what I should buy for my first blade for cutting practice. I'm posting here because I was wondering what all of you that have participated in this art form have to say from your experiences over the years.

I've been told pretty much anything from the below linked manufacturer is fantastic for a starter blade for the money (the model called Tenchi is owned by someone I know that's been cutting with it for years). These are full tang weapons designed for dojo cutting and kata, not live reenactments with other people using live weapons. That was my only real requirement. I wanted something that'll hold up on cutting targets and that's properly weighted and balanced for kata. If we end up doing a 2 person form of any kind we will be using bokkans so live combat steel isn't necessary.

I want to stay in the $200-$400 range which based on what I know now, seems reasonable.

But what are your thoughts. Any additional advice would be appreciated. I've also been told that Paul Chen's weapons are nice, but I like the styling of the below better.

http://www.chenessinc.com/katanas.htm
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Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1660
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Shorin Ryu, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Mantis, Schola Saint George (Fiorian sword fighting)

PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Castille Armory is a great site. They are all battle ready, which means that you can use them in actual combat sparring, and they're really high quality. Their katana is a little above your price range at $465 but the quality is fantastic and it will last you as long as you take care of it.

That being said, they don't come sharp, though they might sharpen it for you if you are wanting to do cuts.
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CTTKDKing
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 05 Jan 2006
Posts: 223
Location: Connecticut
Styles: Tae Kwon Do, Greco Wrestling, Muay Thai, Sho Bin Ju, Boxing

PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zaine wrote:
Castille Armory is a great site. They are all battle ready, which means that you can use them in actual combat sparring, and they're really high quality. Their katana is a little above your price range at $465 but the quality is fantastic and it will last you as long as you take care of it.

That being said, they don't come sharp, though they might sharpen it for you if you are wanting to do cuts.


Hmm That is interesting. I'll add it to my bookmarked list. If they wouldn't sharpen it, and this is something I get into long term, I might consider it for live demo with a partner.
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CDraper
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 24 Dec 2013
Posts: 70
Location: NC, USA
Styles: Isshin Ryu

PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out Kult of Athena. they have a pretty wide range of stuff.

http://www.kultofathena.com/
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CTTKDKing,

I am a little confused about the statement that you are going to be studying the art of the sword and you are looking for a Shinken (live sword) for cutting practice.
The reason I am confused is it takes a good year or more before any Iaido or Kenjutsu school, especially a traditional one, will place a live blade in a students hands for Tameshigeri.
Typically the student starts with an bokken or iaito to learn how to hold the sword and the proper grip, then they learn to un-sheathe the sword or draw the sword and then the postures, foot work and so on well before a live blade is ever introduced.
How long do you have to cross train before you test for your Shodan?
Did the school you are joining tell you to buy a Shinken?
Sorry, just very confused and worried at the thought of a new student and a live blade hacking away at Goza or Tatami. Not the best idea IMHO.
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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just in case any current or near-future members are looking for an iaito or shinken:

I have an iaito from Cheness Inc, and I think it's great. I think it cost me under $200 after shipping. Of course, it's not sharpened. It's certainly not "pretty." The blade was mostly polished, but some scuffs could be seen (the habaki was also scuffed, some.) I've taken it apart for cleaning, and it really does have a full tang. I believe it's 1060 steel, so if one really wanted to have it sharpened, you'd have a live blade on your hands.

Eventually, I'd like a matching katana, wakizashi and tanto set from them. Again, while they're not pretty, they don't break the bank, and a matching set would certainly be nifty!
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

singularity6 wrote:
Just in case any current or near-future members are looking for an iaito or shinken:

I have an iaito from Cheness Inc, and I think it's great. I think it cost me under $200 after shipping. Of course, it's not sharpened. It's certainly not "pretty." The blade was mostly polished, but some scuffs could be seen (the habaki was also scuffed, some.) I've taken it apart for cleaning, and it really does have a full tang. I believe it's 1060 steel, so if one really wanted to have it sharpened, you'd have a live blade on your hands.

Eventually, I'd like a matching katana, wakizashi and tanto set from them. Again, while they're not pretty, they don't break the bank, and a matching set would certainly be nifty!


Just to have or to use?

If your planning on using them for Tameshigiri I would suggest spending the money and buying something that will withstand the rigors of cutting. Also read up on the Shinken and read what others have said before buying anything. You will notice than many will say for soft targets only and others will say for both soft and hard. It's depending on the steel the process of heat treating and how and what it was made for. Blade geometry comes into play along with many other factors.

If you are buying it for use make sure to do the research before investing. This would not be a weapon to scrimp on. It may cost you more than you could ever save.

Good luck.
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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MatsuShinshii wrote:
singularity6 wrote:
Just in case any current or near-future members are looking for an iaito or shinken:

I have an iaito from Cheness Inc, and I think it's great. I think it cost me under $200 after shipping. Of course, it's not sharpened. It's certainly not "pretty." The blade was mostly polished, but some scuffs could be seen (the habaki was also scuffed, some.) I've taken it apart for cleaning, and it really does have a full tang. I believe it's 1060 steel, so if one really wanted to have it sharpened, you'd have a live blade on your hands.

Eventually, I'd like a matching katana, wakizashi and tanto set from them. Again, while they're not pretty, they don't break the bank, and a matching set would certainly be nifty!


Just to have or to use?

If your planning on using them for Tameshigiri I would suggest spending the money and buying something that will withstand the rigors of cutting. Also read up on the Shinken and read what others have said before buying anything. You will notice than many will say for soft targets only and others will say for both soft and hard. It's depending on the steel the process of heat treating and how and what it was made for. Blade geometry comes into play along with many other factors.

If you are buying it for use make sure to do the research before investing. This would not be a weapon to scrimp on. It may cost you more than you could ever save.

Good luck.


I appreciate the advice!

My iaito is intended for practice. When it comes to a live blade, I'm probably going to just have them on display (the only person who taught iaido here is no longer teaching, from what I can tell.) I don't think I'd hesitate to use them for cutting, however. Paul Chen's business model was based on providing the population with blades suitable for all types of practice (simple drawing, light cutting, heavy cutting, etc.) Besides, I'd feel less bad about scuffing up a blade that cost me ~$300 than I would scuffing a blade that cost me ~$3000.
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

singularity6 wrote:
MatsuShinshii wrote:
singularity6 wrote:
Just in case any current or near-future members are looking for an iaito or shinken:

I have an iaito from Cheness Inc, and I think it's great. I think it cost me under $200 after shipping. Of course, it's not sharpened. It's certainly not "pretty." The blade was mostly polished, but some scuffs could be seen (the habaki was also scuffed, some.) I've taken it apart for cleaning, and it really does have a full tang. I believe it's 1060 steel, so if one really wanted to have it sharpened, you'd have a live blade on your hands.

Eventually, I'd like a matching katana, wakizashi and tanto set from them. Again, while they're not pretty, they don't break the bank, and a matching set would certainly be nifty!


Just to have or to use?

If your planning on using them for Tameshigiri I would suggest spending the money and buying something that will withstand the rigors of cutting. Also read up on the Shinken and read what others have said before buying anything. You will notice than many will say for soft targets only and others will say for both soft and hard. It's depending on the steel the process of heat treating and how and what it was made for. Blade geometry comes into play along with many other factors.

If you are buying it for use make sure to do the research before investing. This would not be a weapon to scrimp on. It may cost you more than you could ever save.

Good luck.


I appreciate the advice!

My iaito is intended for practice. When it comes to a live blade, I'm probably going to just have them on display (the only person who taught iaido here is no longer teaching, from what I can tell.) I don't think I'd hesitate to use them for cutting, however. Paul Chen's business model was based on providing the population with blades suitable for all types of practice (simple drawing, light cutting, heavy cutting, etc.) Besides, I'd feel less bad about scuffing up a blade that cost me ~$300 than I would scuffing a blade that cost me ~$3000.


I understand your thought process because I am a total cheap skate, but... I wasn't really concerned about scuffing the blade. I am aware of Paul Chen's blades. I don't personally own one but do know others that own them. However you should look at the blade material (steel) and what the characteristics of it are for intended use before buying a sword based on price alone. I am not talking about how good the adornments are or how the sword looks. The only thing I find important is the blade itself and how it is mounted. A small concern would be the material used for the tsuka ito as well. Wouldn't want your sword flying through the air when your hands get sweaty. You also wouldn't want your blade flying out due to a poor mekugi.

The old expression goes "it's all fun and games until someone gets their eye poked out". Well thats not the greatest concern with Shinken. Oops! There goes an arm.

A scuff would be the least of your concerns if you choose the wrong blade for the intended purpose. Not all "live" or "combat" blades are made equally. There is a huge difference between 1045, 1080, 1095, L6 Bainite, Etc. when it comes to toughness, durability, flexibility, ductility, ability to maintain an edge, and so on, etc. etc. etc.

You may also want to know the depth of the Sori and the geometry of the blade. Thickness, width, length, length of the Tsuka. All of these factors play in to personal preference but they also effect the cutting effectiveness of the blade.

I am merely pointing out that cheap is not always better especially when it comes to Shinken. A little research goes a long way in being satisfied with the sword you choose. Price is important but performance is equally important when choosing a Shinken and so is safety in purchasing the right sword for the purpose. An Iaito is another story.
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The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails-but the one who moves on in spite of failure.
Charles R. Swindoll
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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MatsuShinshii wrote:
singularity6 wrote:
MatsuShinshii wrote:
singularity6 wrote:
Just in case any current or near-future members are looking for an iaito or shinken:

I have an iaito from Cheness Inc, and I think it's great. I think it cost me under $200 after shipping. Of course, it's not sharpened. It's certainly not "pretty." The blade was mostly polished, but some scuffs could be seen (the habaki was also scuffed, some.) I've taken it apart for cleaning, and it really does have a full tang. I believe it's 1060 steel, so if one really wanted to have it sharpened, you'd have a live blade on your hands.

Eventually, I'd like a matching katana, wakizashi and tanto set from them. Again, while they're not pretty, they don't break the bank, and a matching set would certainly be nifty!


You make some very good points, there. Thanks!

Just to have or to use?

If your planning on using them for Tameshigiri I would suggest spending the money and buying something that will withstand the rigors of cutting. Also read up on the Shinken and read what others have said before buying anything. You will notice than many will say for soft targets only and others will say for both soft and hard. It's depending on the steel the process of heat treating and how and what it was made for. Blade geometry comes into play along with many other factors.

If you are buying it for use make sure to do the research before investing. This would not be a weapon to scrimp on. It may cost you more than you could ever save.

Good luck.


I appreciate the advice!

My iaito is intended for practice. When it comes to a live blade, I'm probably going to just have them on display (the only person who taught iaido here is no longer teaching, from what I can tell.) I don't think I'd hesitate to use them for cutting, however. Paul Chen's business model was based on providing the population with blades suitable for all types of practice (simple drawing, light cutting, heavy cutting, etc.) Besides, I'd feel less bad about scuffing up a blade that cost me ~$300 than I would scuffing a blade that cost me ~$3000.


I understand your thought process because I am a total cheap skate, but... I wasn't really concerned about scuffing the blade. I am aware of Paul Chen's blades. I don't personally own one but do know others that own them. However you should look at the blade material (steel) and what the characteristics of it are for intended use before buying a sword based on price alone. I am not talking about how good the adornments are or how the sword looks. The only thing I find important is the blade itself and how it is mounted. A small concern would be the material used for the tsuka ito as well. Wouldn't want your sword flying through the air when your hands get sweaty. You also wouldn't want your blade flying out due to a poor mekugi.

The old expression goes "it's all fun and games until someone gets their eye poked out". Well thats not the greatest concern with Shinken. Oops! There goes an arm.

A scuff would be the least of your concerns if you choose the wrong blade for the intended purpose. Not all "live" or "combat" blades are made equally. There is a huge difference between 1045, 1080, 1095, L6 Bainite, Etc. when it comes to toughness, durability, flexibility, ductility, ability to maintain an edge, and so on, etc. etc. etc.

You may also want to know the depth of the Sori and the geometry of the blade. Thickness, width, length, length of the Tsuka. All of these factors play in to personal preference but they also effect the cutting effectiveness of the blade.

I am merely pointing out that cheap is not always better especially when it comes to Shinken. A little research goes a long way in being satisfied with the sword you choose. Price is important but performance is equally important when choosing a Shinken and so is safety in purchasing the right sword for the purpose. An Iaito is another story.

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