Comments for Carbon vs bamboo shinai

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Apr 21, 2010
carbon hazards
by: Anonymous

Another thing about carbon though, and as was mentioned, is that you can hurt someone very badly with carbon.

If my understanding is correct, they are made from the same basic composition as carbon arrows. Getting a broken piece of one of those things in you means months and months in the Intensive Care Unit.

You can't see the carbon fibers on X-ray, and there's blood poisoning, nerve damage, the whole nine yards. The risk with a shinai is obviously a lot less than having a bow drive a damaged arrow through your hand, but it is still a possibility.

Kendo-Guide.Com: I am not sure about blood poisoning and all since I do not really know.  Probably someone else can tell us about those.

Broken shinai, bamboo and carbon, will hurt our training partners.

Oct 03, 2009
why I use carbon
by: aaron

For me the use of carbon was economic. 

True, the constant breaking of my bamboo shinai would encourage me to do it right.  True, carbon last longer but can still break if you are hitting like King Kong. 

But also true is that my pocket book could not hold up while I learned to do it right nor could it hold up while my kendo partners learned to do it right and not break my shinai for me. 

So far my carbon has lasted nearly 4 years without a break (May I continue to be blessed) and feels and acts like a bamboo shinai.  I feel that I could now use a bamboo shinai but I know the quality of shinai I often ended up with.  So I stick with carbon.  A personal economic decision.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thanks for sharing your view. Since I do not use a carbon shinai myself it is always grateful to hear an opinion from those who do use a carbon shinai.

One of my students broke his shinai the other day and he bought 3 koban shinai for about US$150.00. He could try a carbon instead, since carbon shinai sounds like they have gotten a lot better.

I am not sure how much is a carbon shinai now but is it around US$100 now?  We can buy about 4 or 5 normal quality shinai (the length of 39) for US$100.

I think having two spare shinai is a good idea. Two is not enough so we should carry three shinai all the time. We never know when a shinai breaks.

So if a carbon shinai lasts 4 years it is a good buy, I reckon. I still feel like having two more shinai (bamboo or carbon) as spares is a good idea. We just don?t know when these shinai break.

The most important thing is NOT TO hurt others. So having only one shinai is very irresponsible. If you see a splinter, even a little bit, you should change a shinai and check the one with the splinter after training.

Aug 19, 2009
You feel impact more with carbon
by: Anonymous

I have never used a carbon shinai myself, but I know a few people who did and who switched back to bamboo after a while. They said their forearms hurt too much after a practice with a carbon shinai.

Since each 'side' of a carbon shinai is made of a single piece of material, the shock wave from impact travels much more easily through its length, and reaches your hands and arms with a lot of force. In bamboo, the shock wave dissipates more energy as it travels through a multitude of tightly compacted fibers, thus reaching your arms with less force. Or at least that's our theory... :-)

Kendo-Guide.Com: Interesting! Thank you for the post. I think it is a good idea to feel a bamboo shinai first. Then, use a carbon. Probably it is the best way to know the difference.

Aug 14, 2009
Cabon still breaks
by: Matt

I see many beginners who get carbon shinai because they break normal shinai all the time.

If you are habitually breaking a normal shinai because you are hitting incorrectly, you will just as easily break a carbon one. It will just be more expensive.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thank you for your comment. Yes. Broken bamboo shinai tell us what we are doing wrong. If we closely look at shinai, we can tell our striking habits.

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