It's been a while since I set my feet inside a tatami. Let alone practice anything related to martial arts. However, some tools are still laying around my room. Some bring good memories of those days in which you could hear the sound of heavy weight dropping in the dojo. Maybe you just got thrown or it was your turn to throw someone around. It was good life! A nice way to let all the stress go out. I think they call it active meditation. For me, it was a small bit of The Art of Piece. Aikido's other name.
Here you can see 2 bokkens and a tanto. I'll talk about the oak one. That read beauty you can see better over here.
I didn't buy it. It is one of those things that get to my life by chance. When my brother was leaving for Mexico, he gave me this in addition to some stuff he wasn't going to take with him. I remember it was a heavy flight back home from Caracas. It was bought online. And it lost its tsuba. Well, more like my brother lost it somewhere. And now it's a guard-less replica of a Japanese sword. However, when you learn to use something like this, you understand that you might as well have the real thing in hand. A bokken has the same weight of a katana. The mere fact that it's made of wood doesn't make less deadly. And for instance, carrying this without permission can get you in trouble in other countries. It is a blunt weapon after all.
I have kept this over my bed since and also kept cleaning it from time to time. Today, I gave it some oil treatment to prevent the wood from cracking if it gets too dry. Also to protect it from the humidity in tropical weather. While I was doing this, I couldn't help but trying to do some movements with it. Fixed movements in martial arts are called kata. The bokken has 7 different kata in what we call Aiki-ken (Aikido using a sword). I didn't remember the footing for all of them, so I just practiced the basic stroke for a moment. My hair was tied up, so not considering the garment, I looked like a very weird samurai.
The others were a gift from a dear friend who has almost migrated. He's in Argentina. And well, he was the kind of guy who did a lot of things. Not only did them, but excelled at them. And when I got these replicas, it was by the time arm-handling became a part of our curriculum at the dojo. I had none to practice at home, so I had to get my hands in some. After much consideration, I asked him and sure thing he got his hands onto the project.
The first iteration of the bokken wasn't good. It looked like a big knife. It wasn't a surprise since he loved making knives. But after another try he handed me this:
It's straighter then the other, but that's ok. Japanese swords have different kind of curves depending on the smith and preferences of the swordsmen. This one though, is just for practising alone. As it is made from pine, it would definitely smash to smithereens if it clashed with a harder wood bokken. However, it was the thing I needed to practice my kata and keep growing as a martial artist. He also gave this tanto. It doesn't look like a traditional one, but the chances of getting attacked by a traditional Japanese knife and close to 0. In Aikido, when we practice with this kind of weapon, it's more a deal of disarming than actually learn a lot about attacking with a knife. What I like about this is that it's made of a wood that I use a lot for my instruments. Also, the knife shape makes me regret never asking my friend for one of this creations. He made some pretty cool knives.
If you are still wondering what did he get from me, after he made me these arms, it's a simple thing. Back then, I was getting into cooking baking and making traditional sweets. By that time, I got into making chilly jam. It was a pretty good thing if you ask me. He refused to get any money for this. So, I gave him a big jar of chilly jam. Too bad it wasn't big enough because he ate it in a flash.
It's been a long time since I last saw him, but I still keep these things that remind me of him. Back when he migrated, he took some time to tell me he was in Argentina and still remembered me from the times of drinks and reunions, from when he made these beauties and that big but too small jar of chilly jam.