Choosing a sword
There are a few things to watch out for when buying iaito. If you do not have access to an instructor who can help you
or recommend good iaito, I hope this will help.
Not all swords from Japan are suitable for use as iaito, they are also made as wall ornaments. A decent iaito
should cost you upwards of £150... Other countries also make iaito some are good, some not so good.
First of all, check the length. If you hold the tsuka naturally and are relaxed, the tip should just brush the floor.
Do not stretch to make it reach. Alternatively stand and draw the sword. Look at the point where it is about to leave the
saya. Are you over stretching? If so it is too long. A rough guide for someone who is about 6 feet tall is a sword of 2.45
to 2.55 shaku.
The sword should not be too heavy. Children/youths and ladies should always use lighter swords of 750 grammes or
Check the mekugi. It should be made of bamboo. If you can, remove the tsuka and look at the length of the steel inside,
it should be about 2/3 the length of the tsuka.
Saya are best plain, ones with metal ornaments tend to stick when trying to put them in and out of the obi.
The same applies to tsuba, plain and small allows an easier draw.
The sword should be tight in the saya, if not this can be repaired, but check to see why it is loose.
Sageo length and colour are up to you, but longer is better as you can always shorten them. Red signifies high rank,
so avoid these...
The club has several new catalogues from various suppliers of both iaito and shinken, prices ranging from about
£200 and up for reasonable quality iaito.