Ryuseiken Battodo

Japanese swordfighting

realistic foam+fiberglass goshinken

We went to the Rennaisance fair last week and I stopped by the Shady Armory where they had realistic looking foam weapons of many different types at hand. They didn't have any katanas but I was more interested in how it felt and functioned.

I added a link to the Knighthawk Armory that builds similar equipment except with a wide line of katanas. From what I could determine from a ten minute test, these foam weapons:

- do not hurt severely - they do sting when smacked against the forearm, and hitting smaller things like fingers has some chance of hairline fractures or even breaks (you'll need gloves)

- do not deform and maintain shape when they hit an object. We were smacking the wooden table as hard as we could and it did nothing

- you won't mistake them for a real weapon but the shape isn't that far off. A foam katana would less thick than a bokken, but certainly thicker than a real sword / shinken

- the surface on direct strikes is coated latex, but feels smooth/plasticky not rubbery. The coating can come off if you scrape it a lot but didn't do anything vs fingernails or rough wood. The foam will endure even if the coating and then latex comes off

- they are comparable to or perhaps even lighter than our current goshinken

- you can feel the fiberglass rib does not extend to the tip (as it should) and it feels solid but bendy

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Comment by rawnshah on March 25, 2009 at 9:56am
I forgot to add that the Shady Armory is only there during the Ren fairs, and only had two or three of these which they had already sold out at $80 apiece. That's half the price of Knighthawk.

Yes, at $160 apiece, they are pretty price over our $50 goshinken now but I'm pretty willing to bet that they would last at least three times longer.

Now is the question of I should buy one or two to test it out.

Web sites & Resources

Matsuri: A Festival of Japan (2008) - Phoenix, AZ, Feb 23-28, Heritage Square

Battodo Ryuseiken in Japan. Also a partial site in english.

The Kodenkan of Tucson

The UofA Ryuseiken Battodo on the ASUA site

Tameshigiri.com - where we get goza. The ordering and shipping process are given.

Hanwei/Paul Chen swords

The Knighthawk Armoury builds some interesting realistic looking goshinken. They're expensive but they claim to be pretty durable (not yet tested by us).

Folding a Hakama the proper way

Woodall's Custom Workshop makes nice cutting stands for tameshigiri.

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