Iwama long sword
The Aikido Iwama bokken is 41" long, has a moderate curvature and, with its fairly stout proportions, has a feeling of decisive to heavy balance due to its lack of pronounced taper. The defining feature of this weapon is its solidness and simplicity. This Kingfisher wooden sword is made from patterns and dimensions studied over decades including many personal insights from direct students of Morihiro Saito, the headmaster of the Iwama school and most senior weapons student of Aikido founder Morehei Ueshiba. Despite its reputation for being very heavy and thick, Saito himself preferred a bokken that was solid but nonetheless restrained and not as blocky as is commonly thought. The original is not club like in character but analogous to old school (koryu) bokken used without tsuba. Needless to say, the Iwama bokken does not accept a hand guard (tsuba). The principles of the Iwama style rely on the use of the sword as instructive of open hand techniques and correct body positioning as the defensive method rather than the use of the tsuba as a protective device. The gradual blending of the handle section (tsuka) to the blade, allows for various hand spacings.