The Iwama bokken of Takemusu Aiki Aikido 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 bokken 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 Morihei 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.
The kashira (hilt) of the quality grade L5 Iwama bokken is flat with a precision cut chamfer. Other grade levels have slightly different geometries. The mark in the endgrain is the makers mark that identifies the bokken as coming from the Kingfisher shop.
This is the blunt point kissaki, characteristic of the Iwama bokken. While Takemusu Aiki is a relatively new martial art form, the design is clearly rooted in old school (koryu). Because there is little or no stylization, many martial artists prefer this bokken and while it was developed through the insights of Morihiro Saito it is nevertheless popular outside of Saito Sensei's circle.