Budo, Kobudo & Japanese Artisanry - The Seido Blog

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  • A letter from Master Aramaki

    The past few months, we've spent a great deal of time publishing our interviews made at the last wooden workshops of Japan this summer. Aramaki and Matsuzaki's interviews are already live and Nidome's interview is almost ready too. Following our encounter, and consistently with the subject we've discussed in those interviews, Master Aramaki sent a letter to all his partners presenting the situation at his workshop. Here is a free translation of this letter.

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    Article tags: Business, Craftsmanship, Wooden Weapons

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  • Interview With Bokken Artisan, Matsuzaki Yoshiaki

    August 2017, enjoying the quiet summer months, we traveled across Japan to Miyakonojo and the Kirishima Sankei region to visit 3 of Japan's last Bokken workshops. We've conducted 3 interviews and here's the transcript of the second one with Master Matsuzaki Yoshiaki, including some additional comments and information.

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    Article tags: Craftsmanship, Interview, Wooden Weapons, YouTube

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  • Bokken, Bokuto, Daito, Tachi? Explanation!

    In the West, the word “Bokken” is widely used to refer to a wooden sword. However, in Japan, the proper word is “Bokuto”. Although less precise, the Japanese also use other terms like "Bokken" “Kidachi”, “Daito” and “Tachi” etc. Let’s see what the differences are and where those words come from.

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    Article tags: BudoStudies, Wooden Weapons

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  • Bokken & Other Wooden Weapons Maintenance

    Proper maintenance and correct storage of wooden weapons is crucial for two reasons. The first and most important one: security. The second, no less important for the practitioner, is to prevent the weapon from deterioration and warping over time. It is also possible to "repair" a bent weapon to some extent. In this article, we will also talk about our quality standards and processes. You will find all the information you need in this article to take care of your Bokken, Jo, Tanto and other weapons.

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    Article tags: Craftsmanship, HowTo, Wooden Weapons

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  • The choice of a specific Bokken for Aikido

    A few month ago, I spoke about wooden weapons from the perspective of traditional craftsmanship. The Bokken will still take the center of this article, but this time, I would like to change the angle and talk about how the choice of the Bokken influences the practice itself.
    However, I do not presume to give any advice whatsoever. I myself am just an ordinary practitioner and made my own choice that I stand by. I simply want to share with you some observations based on experience of practice, but above this, on a large experience regarding the weapons themselves. The advice and choice of your teacher however, are indisputable and my observations reflect only my personal view, based on my personal experience. There is just one thing I would like to clarify: I practiced at least a few hours with all the Bokken that I mention in this article.

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    Article tags: Aikido, HowTo, Interview, Wooden Weapons, YouTube

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  • Different types of Bokken, visit at the Horinouchi workshop

    The Bokken is a tool. It can either faithfully represent a sword, be used for muscle training or, if it is very light, become an instrument in order to work on precision. Some schools even consider the Bokken as weapon itself and study it as such. In Aikido, Kendo or Iaido, relatively conventional Bokken are used, compared to some schools of Kenjutsu, Koryu and Kobudo, for which specific weapons are chosen, especially to support the physical development and the specific techniques of the school. Since 1923, the Horinouchi workshop takes pride in keeping a copy of every manufactured weapon. Even though the exact number of the available models is unclear, there are certainly over a hundred types displayed in the small private museum of the workshop.

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    Article tags: Craftsmanship, Wooden Weapons

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  • Handmade Bokken, Jo & Tanto at the Aramaki Workshop

    Enjoying the quiet summer months, we travelled across Japan to visit the officially recognized workshops manufacturing wooden weapons in Japan "Aramaki Budogu Mokojo", "Nidome Bokuto Seisakujo", "Horinouchi Noboru Seisakujo" and "Matsuzashi Bokuto Seisakujo". These last four companies fabricating wooden weapons are all located in "Miyakonojo", a small town on the peninsula of Kyushu (southern Japan), enclosed by two mountain ranges. In this article we will show all the steps of the making of a Bokken, guided through by an artisan of the workshop Aramaki Bokuto Mojojo, led by master Aramaki Kazuhiro, the 3rd.

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    Article tags: Craftsmanship, Wooden Weapons

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  • History of Japanese Bokken, interview with master Nidome

    The Bokken, wooden imitation of the famous Katana, is almost as old as the latter. Its poor quality in the beginning made it a "consumable item" which could easily be replaced if broken. The Bokken's quality improved gradually over time but it was not until the early 20th century, with the birth of the workshop in Miyakonojo (Kyushu) that the Bokken, the wooden sword, became a piece of art. At this workshop the ancient art of woodworking met the traditional martial arts, both of them sharing common values.

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    Article tags: Craftsmanship, Wooden Weapons, YouTube

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