© 2012 Scotty
my sword seemed to float out of my hands, “You’re using that
ultra light again today huh Scotty”? So began another full day of
training with Kim Taylor sensei using SDK’s Ultra Lightweight
Iaito. I’ve been using this latest offering from SDK for about
four months now on and off and really beginning to like it … with
1) Yes, at
about 570g (2.45 shaku model) it is very lightweight and
tends to have a mind of its own. Depending on your perspective, this
is a good or bad thing. The extreme light weight will force you to
use correct tenouchi and not put too much muscle into your cuts. Poor
tenouchi or too much muscle and you will lose control and the
sword flies everywhere but where you want it to go.
2) At first
it was difficult to get a nice “whoosh” from the sword. Again, once I
had corrected my tenouchi and backed off on the muscle
power, it “whoosh’s” just fine.
first one I tested had a few minor glitches:
sageo was very short, not a big deal, easily remedied
sword did not fit well into the saya and would jam either during draw
or noto, again, easily fixed by switching saya.
habaki was a tad loose, black paint of tsuba wore off a little,
kurigata was loose. Minor hiccups like this are normal on new
production prototypes such as this and took about five minutes to
correct. The paint is no longer wearing off the tsuba on mine and it
is still black.
a positive note, after four months of use, the sword does not appear
to have suffered at my hands. My arms and shoulders are not sore
after a full class, perhaps due to the weight, more likely that I am
gripping correctly and not using shoulder muscles to cut! I would
highly recommend it for anyone with compromised shoulders; elbows
etc. that needs a light weight blade to continue practice. Also, by
the end of a three day seminar, most of us are getting pretty tired. The
may just give you a few extra hours of practice. The one I have has
a slightly rounded tip. I think this is a great idea for beginners,
may save a few stabbed hands and left upper arms during Tsuka Ate. The Ultra
also serve as a “travelling” sword, especially when leaving the
country. With the vagaries of foreign customs departments and
airline regulations, it would not be so hard to possibly lose this
one, rather than your prized weapon.
thoughts are divided as to whether it is good for a first sword after
a bokuto. One thought is to always start with the best you can afford
(which may last for your Iaido lifetime). The other thought is to
start with an inexpensive "entry" level one like this one.
Then when the newbie decides in a couple of months that he does not
want to continue, he is not stuck with a thousand dollar wall hanger!
I also like the idea that it could easily become a "giveaway"
for a new member that is hot to go and needs a break or maybe just a
"club sword" in case someone needs to borrow one at some
personally think that every dojo should have at least one tucked away
in a cupboard to let people try a few swings with a “real” sword
once they have been using a bokuto for awhile.
I like the sword? Hell yeah!