Shinai maintenance is really important to know. As a kendoist, we all should know how to maintain our shinai. We all know that but how many of us actually check our shinai before and after training?
Recently, within two weeks, I found three not-well-maintained shinai.
Two of the shinai were my training partners'. Why is it so important to check your shinai and maintain your shinai before training?
You do not want to hurt your training partners.
If your shinai has splinters or is broken, there is a strong possibility that splinters get in your partner's eyes or you can stab your partners with a broken shinai.
Personally I have not yet been harmed by a broken shinai but I was newly stabbed by a broken shinai. Several times I got some splinters in my eyes. I heard many accidents caused by a broken shinai. Some people became blind and some got stabbed in their arms by a broken shinai.
These should not happen at all. I am sure that kendo is the safest martial art as long as we maintain shinai.
I found a video at sydney kendo club blog, which they found on Youtube, and I would like to share the video with you.
Ok, now you know how to maintain your own shinai. You must check your shinai before training.
If you have a broken shinai, do not tape them together. It's not about you, it is about your training partners.
If you have a broken shinai, there is only one solution. Do not use it . Change it.
Things you want to check before you train.
1. Splinters/cracks: It is obvious why we should look for them. Sometimes though, you have to be careful because there may be some cracks inside the shinai so you cannot tell from outside.
2. Tsuru: You do not want to have a lose tsuru (string). Reason: Sakigawa will come out and shinai can get into men and stab eyes. You do not want to tighten it too much because it may snap.
3. Nakajime: This should not be too tight but should be tight enough to keep 4 pieces nicely together. Reason: The worst scenario is that when tsuru snaps and all the pieces will become apart.
Probably it is a good idea for your dojo to test your students whether or not they can put shinai together when the students become certain rank.
In Guatemala Kendo Association, they make their students put shinai together at 3 kyu grading or something. And if they cannot put shinai together, they will not pass.
It is a good system to have so if you belong to a club, it is a good idea to suggest your sense to test his/her students on putting shinai together.
It is very important for ALL the kendo practitioners at all the level to know shinai maintenance.
Hope it helps.