How long do your shinais last? Two or three months? Or longer?
It won’t last even 5 training days?
If you wonder why your shinai break more than you think they should, it is time to think why.
Possible reasons that your shinais don’t last long…
If the quality of your shinai is bad, of course, it breaks easily.
The thinness of each bamboo pieces should be even and also not too thin.
Shinai should not be dried. It should be OILED.
It is too easy for bamboo to break when it is dry. About oiling shinai, please refer to “Comments forDo I have to do something before using a new shinai?”.
Shinai is used all the time and it is the life of kendō.
So it is very important for us to have a good quality shinai.
More importantly, shinai related accident can be fatal in kendō.
So please do not buy the cheapest shinai you can find on the Internet.
After reading the comment, please read the original Q&A of
“Do I have to do something before using a new shinai?”
If you train everyday and for more than 1 hour with your men on, probably your shinai is damaged more quickly than those who don’t train as much.
So you must have spare shinai with you.
Once you start practicing with motodachi, you should have at least 2 spare shinai with you.
It is simply etiquette and making sure of your kendō friends safety.
If we use a bad shinai, it is our friends who will get hurt, not us.
So even if you don’t practice everyday, you should always have a couple of spare shinai with you.
If you don’t train every day but just a couple of days a week and break your shinai a lot, this could be the case.
Striking in kendō is not really whacking.
Your strike should be hard and strong but not in a way you chop firewood with an axe.
Basically we should be able to control our shinai however we want.
There is a secret of kendō tenouchi.
“Use a light shinai as if it was a heave one. Use a heavy shinai as if it was a light one.”
If you use a heavy shinai, of course, it will have more power in your strikes. So the impact on your shinai is big. So of course, your shinai tends to break more quickly.
But great teachers use a heavy shinai like a light shinai. You don’t really feel the impact of the heaviness of the shinai. You only feel “POP!” on the target when you get hit by them.
The same thing happens when they use a light shinai.
It is light so it shouldn’t have the impact like the heavy shinai but you do feel that “POP!” on the target they hit.
“How do they do that? “, you might ask. I cannot give you any answers to that question. I don’t know.
All I know is they have a great tenouchi.
But I can tell you this.
Start from “controlling your shinai”.
Start practicing to stop your shinai anywhere you want no matter how fast you swing your shinai.
I would start from there.
Some people do this without knowing it.
They receive men strikes with their head tilt back so they do not get hit on the top of their head.
People who do not want to get hit on their head tend to do this.
Whatever the reason, they should not do that.
The reason is obvious. It will damage their partner’s shinai.
What happens if their shinai gets damaged? They will hurt their motodachi.
If your motodachi tilts his/her back and receive your men with the men-gane, you should slow down your shinai and try to not hit too hard.
Hope this helps.