A Bokken Is A Real Sword

By Brian Tritico

How many times have you gone to a seminar and seen someone holding a bokken by the blade, or resting their arm on the handle while the point is sticking into the ground between the toes of their tabi? Or how about putting both arms over the bokken from behind to make a sort of arm/shoulder rest thing? I see it all the time.

I don't think that anyone can truly learn to be effective with a sword unless they treat their training weapon as a real sword. Whenever you hold a bokken, you are holding a sword. The fact that it is made of wood should make no difference. You should always treat it as a live blade.

By training this way, you will learn things you would not learn otherwise. Some people will say, "You are being too critical," or "What does it matter? It's just a wooden sword!" To this I say, "Hogwash!" If you picture your training tools as the real thing in your mind every time you pick them up, you will start to gain a new understanding of what it is you are doing, and your martial spirit will increase as well.

Some people will also say, "We see Hatsumi Sensei doing just about anything he wants with his equipment. We should be able to do the same." They seem to forget that Sensei has been training for over 40 years and he can do things that no one else can. He didn't get to that stage of ability overnight. It took lots of dedicated training and hard work. So the next time you pick up a training weapon, try to visualize the real thing and see what results you get.