Electronic Journals of Martial Arts and Sciences

FAQ: Iaito and Shinken Pricing


Copyright © EJMAS 2001-2002. All rights reserved.

 


Introduction

Iaito are the swords used in iaido practice, and the following are some sources of information about blades that should meet most needs. Prices are given in US dollars.
 
 

Safety

Be respectful of iaito. They are weapons, they may be sharp, and improper handling can seriously diminish their value. Supervised instruction is essential for beginners, as you cannot learn safe sword handling from a video.

Although any blade can break if abused, you are strongly encouraged to avoid the cheap stainless steel blades sold as decorations, as they can break even during solo training. (Yes, strong stainless blades are made, but they are not cheap.)
 
 

Recommendations

Most, perhaps all, styles, schools, and teachers have their preferences. Therefore, always check with your instructor before buying an iaito.

Second, donít rush into a purchase. Most iaido classes have loaners that can be used in class, and over time you may find that what you thought you wanted isnít what you really need.

Finally, donít be too proud to buy a hand-me-down from a more senior student. The price is probably less than a comparable new iaito, and you will have the advantage of having handled the weapon in advance.

When ordering a sword, talk or write the various retailers and makers, and buy from one who seems interested in you, and who stands behind their blades and fittings. For what itís worth, Sei Do Kai/EJMAS endorses (and sells) Fujiwara iaito. If money is no object, then Sei Do Kai/EJMAS endorses (and sells) Dotanuki Shinken. That said, any of the iaito listed below should give many years of satisfactory service.
 
 

General information

Japanese sword FAQ: http://www.ii.uib.no/~kjartan/swordfaq/section15.html
 
 

Alloy blades; do not use for cutting

$300-$750

SDKSupplies: http://sdksupplies.netfirms.com/cat_iaito.htm

Aoi Sword Shop: http://japanesesword.net/iaito/index.html

Bogu Bag: http://www.BoguBag.com

Tozando:  http://www.tozando.com/eng/iaido/index.html
 
 

Steel blades; can be used for cutting
 

$250-$750

Alex Oster: http://homestead.juno.com/osterberg

C.A.S. Iberia: http://www.swordforum.com/swords/nihonto/manchurian-candidates.html

Kris Cutlery: http://www.swordforum.com/swords/kriscutlery/kc-katana.html
 
 

Around $1,000

Bugei (Chen swords): http://www.swordforum.com/swords/nihonto/manchurian-candidates.html; see also http://www.bladeforums.com/ubb/Forum32/HTML/001245.html and http://www.bugei.com/index2.html
 
 

Around $1,500

Dotanuki Shinken: http://sdksupplies.netfirms.com/cat_shinken.htm

Nosyuiaido: http://ejmas.com/ejmasreviews.htm#IaitoWhichCut
 
 

Over $2,000

Reputable North American custom makers

SDKSupplies: http://sdksupplies.netfirms.com/cat_lohman.htm

Tozando Shinsakuto: http://www.tozando.com/eng/iaido/index.html
 
 

Over $6,000

Reputable Japanese custom makers
 
 

Over $20,000

Kanefusa Fujiwara: http://sdksupplies.netfirms.com/cat_iaito.htm
 
 

Miscellaneous vendor links

http://adrr.com/sword/vendors.htm