Help with Japanese Swords and Swordsmanship

by Taylor Vatter

QUESTION: I recently got interested in Japanese swords in general. I'm trying to start collecting and just bought a three sword set (actually my dad did =)) containing a katana, wakizashi,and a tanto blades. I want to find out more about sword and was wondering if you can help me by donating any books you think might help, if you did I would be very thankful! I also wanted a suggestion as to what kind of katana you would suggest for me because I want to learn Shinkendo or more specifically Tameshigiri but the sword can't be too expensive because I don't make lots of money as a 13 year old =(. Please Help Me!

Thank You,

ANSWER: Hi Taylor,

First off - 99% of the 'sword sets' available online (and elsewhere) are display swords only. They are made from stainless steel, with a rat tail tang and definitely NOT suitable for use. (You can find more info about these sets here).

Anyway, I realize that it can be frustrating being relatively young and a sword enthusiast. Legally, no one can sell directly to you if you under 18 years old.

However, your desire to learn Shinkendo (which is one of my favorite JSA systems, long time fan of Obata Toshishiro Sensei) is highly commendable. As such, I think that the best thing to do is to make contact with the school first and see what they recommend (they may well loan you a sword while you are learning).

It sounds like you have a great journey ahead of you - start NOW, you have made a great choice! :-)

Hope this helps.

- Paul

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