Bamboo Sword (竹刀 しない) is a weapon used for practice and competition in
and are meant to represent a Japanese sword. Shinai are also used in other
Yagyu Shinkage Ryu,Bujinkan,Karate
Kenjutsu but may be styled
differently from kendo shinai, and represented with different characters.The
word "shinai" is derived from the verb shinau (撓う しなう), meaning "to bend, to
flex", and was originally short for shinai-take (flexible bamboo). Shinai is
written with the kanji 竹刀, meaning "bamboo sword", and is an irregular kanji
reading.The Shinai is one of the weapons we use in our style of
Karate and you can learn how to use this
weapon in our Kendo Classes.
The origin of
the shinai can be found in the Edo period. The shinai was developed when a
group of swordsmen, in an effort to reduce the number of practitioners being
seriously injured during practice, undertook to create a practice weapon
that was less dangerous than bokutō (木刀 ぼくとう), the hard wooden swords they
were previously using. This is also the motivation behind the development of
(防具 ぼうぐ), the armour that protects the kendoka
is the tip of the shinai covered by a leather cap called the (insert term).
The strap of leather wrapped around the shinai towards kisaki is called the
and the area between the shinogi and the kensen is called the
The monouchi is the most dangerous part of the sword and it is in this area
that should make contact with each strike. The sword guard, called the
is held in place by the tsuba-dome. The leather wrapping the handle is
called the tsuka
and the string connecting the tsuka, shinogi, and kensen is called the
The tsuru represents the back of the blade (mine)
and the cutting edge (hasaki)
is represented by the opposite slat.
In kendo, it is most common to
use a single shinai, sometimes called itto style. Some kendoka choose to use
two shinai. This kendo style is usually called ni-tō (二刀 にとう?), a style that
has its roots in the two-sword schools of swordsmanship such as Hyōhō Niten
Ichi-ryū. A ni-to combatant uses a long shinai called the daitō (大刀 だいとう?),
which is usually held in the left hand, and a shorter shinai, called the
shōtō (小刀 しょうとう?), which is usually held in the right hand. The daitō may be
slightly shorter and lighter than a shinai used in the itto style of kendo.
9 parts that are required to complete a shinai are:
Tsuba Normally it is a round plastic fitting that fit onto the shinai to
guard the hands
Tsuba Fudogomu (The little rubber part that stops the tsuba from moving)
Tsuru (The string)
Shinai (4 bamboo slates)
Gin Sakigawa (Cap of the shinai)
Sakigomu (The plastic fitting that fasten the 4 bamboo of the shinai at the
Nakajime The adjustable leather divider that indicates the cutting area on
The rubber handle
Above is a diagram of the
parts and steps in completing a shinai.
Completing the shinai step by step.
Fit the Tsukagawa onto the bamboo shinai
Take the Tsuru, and string it through the Nakajime and the Gin Sakigawa as
Then fit the Sakigomu onto the end of the bamboo shinai, followed by the Gin
Sakigawa (with the Tsuru).
Then fasten the Gin Sakigawa with the Tsuru as shown.
Ensure that the Nakajime is still on the Tsuru, then pull the Tsuru to
tighten the knot on the Gi Sakigawa.
To fasten the Tsukagawa on the shinai, first form an adjustable knot as
showen, then loop the Tsuru around the Tsukagawa, and then through the
Tightly pull the tsuru downwards, and then fasten it around the Tsukagawa as
Wrapped the Tsuru around starting from the bottom as shown, and tie a knot
at the end.
The end knot should look similar to the picture as shown.
Take the Nakajime, starting about 1/3 from the tip of the shinai, wrap it
around the shinai 3 times, and loop it around the string, and at the end
with the Nakajime going under the string, and pointing downwards.
Pull the Nakajime down tightly, and loop it under the Tsuru again, with this
time the Nakajime pointing upwards and under itself.
Loop the Nakajime under the Tsuru again tightly and under itself with it
Finally on the thrid time, loop it under the Tsuru and under itself with it
Pull tightly at the end to fasten the Nakajime tightly on the shinai, and
cut off the excess Nakajime, the end should be no more than 1cm.
Care of The
A shinai must be properly taken care of or it can pose a danger to both the
user and the people around it. Shinai should be inspected for splinters and
breaks before and after use, and maintained in a manner considered most
appropriate by one's style, dōjō, or sensei.
Many people believe that oiling and sanding a shinai prior to its first use,
and then periodically during use, can greatly extend its life. However, some
disagreement exists on what is considered proper shinai care.
To properly inspect a shinai, one first examines the area around the
datotsu-bu, inspecting all sides of the shinai for splinters. This is very
important, as bamboo splinters can easily cause injury. The saki-gawa should
be intact and the tsuru should be tight so that the saki-gawa does not slip
off the end of the shinai during use. In addition, the nakayui should be
tight enough as not to rotate easily.
Excess moisture is a shinai and bokutoh's worst enemies. If water comes into
contact with the swords, it must be wiped off quickly so as not to ruin the
wood. The same danger is found when the air is too dry as it results in the
wood becoming too brittle, particularly for shinai. If the air does become
too dry, wiping the slats with a damp cloth every so often will reduce the
risk of breaking it during practice.
When not in use, shinai are rested against a wall with the handle pointing
downward. When a shinai is placed on the ground, it is considered very poor
etiquette to step over it.