Copyright © EJMAS
2001-2002. All rights reserved.
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.
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.)
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)
Shinken. That said, any of the iaito listed below should give many
years of satisfactory service.
Japanese sword FAQ: http://www.ii.uib.no/~kjartan/swordfaq/section15.html
Alloy blades; do not use for cutting
Aoi Sword Shop: http://japanesesword.net/iaito/index.html
Bogu Bag: http://www.BoguBag.com
Steel blades; can be used
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
Bugei (Chen swords): http://www.swordforum.com/swords/nihonto/manchurian-candidates.html;
see also http://www.bladeforums.com/ubb/Forum32/HTML/001245.html
Dotanuki Shinken: http://sdksupplies.netfirms.com/cat_shinken.htm
Reputable North American custom makers
Tozando Shinsakuto: http://www.tozando.com/eng/iaido/index.html
Reputable Japanese custom makers
Kanefusa Fujiwara: http://sdksupplies.netfirms.com/cat_iaito.htm
Miscellaneous vendor links