Purchase of a sword

The quality problem seems to be solved in Europe. Nearly each dealer knows that the swords (=Iaito), offered for Iaidotraining, must be stable enough after liability law. A Iaito as sporting gun is not sharply, hardened or folded. It has a (relative) blunt blade from diecasting alloy and decent, solid fitting.

Sword descriptions


Hover downwards over the parts of the sword-picture, to experience the full description of the individual parts.

  • The blade form is normal and has harmonious tuning of length and sword curvature (Zori).
  • The chromium plating is constant without defects (for example gaps, tears, blisters).
  • The blade fishing rod sits fully in the grasp and is well embodied thereby — nothing may be unfirm, otherwise you must fix it.
  • The length of the handle is appropriate for the sword length. Do not buy a sword with specially extended handle! Thus the emphasis of the blade shifts to disadvantage.
  • Special ornament, colors and expensive fittings stand in last place of a wish list for serious work out. The more of it you can see at the sword, the more badly is the sword quality.
  • Last but not least: normal Iaitos have normal (Japanese) names. The »Katana of the Lady Xena« or the »Kite blade« looks good, are however not suitable for training.

Correct sword length

The blade length is indicated by respectable dealers in Japanese longitudinal dimension Shaku (1 Shaku = 30.3 cm). The sword length is measured from the blade point to the Habaki. Notion for the selection of the correct length offers the following table. Strong persons and progressing select a larger length. Women and small Iaidoka can take also smaller swords.

Body height and sword length

Body height Shaku Length in cm
155 - 160 cm 2,30 Shaku 69,7 cm
160 - 165 cm 2,35 Shaku 71,2 cm
165 - 170 cm 2,40 Shaku 72,7 cm
170 - 175 cm 2,45 Shaku 74,2 cm
175 - 180 cm 2,55 Shaku 75,8 cm
180 - 185 cm 2,60 Shaku 77,3 cm
185 - 190 cm 2,65 Shaku 78,8 cm
190 - 200 cm 2,70 Shaku 83,3 cm

Under normal conditions women with a Iaito begin to practice with 2.45 Shaku and men with 2,5 Shaku length. It is best, if one can try different sword lengths out of training partners in your Dojo. Let the own coach keep an eye on it. With his view you definitely will find the right length.

When to start with sword?

The correct entrance time to practice with sword can be selected calmly. Intensive learning of the Kata wakes the desire, to try out everything with a sword. A Bokken seems to take too little requirement at the practicing. In the »swordless time « however much can be learned. Bokken practicings are better for beginners. The forms and courses of motion are relieved from complex sword handling.

First one learns the expiration of the forms themselves. The refinement of the technology, the memorization of technical terms and control of some details (e.g. Chiburi) last. This process can quite take one year up for Seitei Iai. An Iaidogi is purchased — easy movement in Iaido clothes is fastidious. Correct putting, walking, folding up the Iaigi again needs habituation time. With adapted movement the Hakama does not slip no more, the Obi does not diminish and the knots fits closely. Now an Iaito can be purchased.

Buy second hand

As a beginner one should buy an used Iaito. Many people change the sword length to relatively short time (1 to 2 years training) and buy a new blade. So one can buy the first Iaito on good terms. There are some quality characteristics, which you should examine before the purchase of an used iaito. Safety first!

  • How old is the Iaito? Iaito blades consist of solid metal, in addition, this material ages (during strong load anyway). For security reasons one should abandon to purchase Iaitos older than 3 years.
  • The blade sits firmly in the handle and does not move, especially with sample cuts.
  • The Mekugi (the bamboo pin in the handle for the security of the sword pivot) fits immovably (is however not bonded).
  • The handle coil should be intact and not slip or seems loosely. Then a new coil becomes due. If the coil in the over-crossing places dissolves or appears rough, then it can be proceeded from (too) hard training employment.
  • The Saya (sword sheat) should be free by tears. A few small dents do not matter. Particularly pay attention to the Saya hole. Their degree of wear shows clearly, how well the previous owner dealt with the sword.
  • Advice your coach. He can see rather whether the sword is correct.
  • Take off the handle (dismantling only by an experienced expert) and inspect the condition of the handle, mekugi.
  • At least: do you know the previous owner of the sword? The better. Confidence do not replace control, clarify however whether the blade was carefully treated.