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Judo Kata Weapons - Bokken, Jo, Tanto & Pistol

How to Choose Your Judo Wooden Weapons

As an expert in high quality Judo equipment KuSakura also offers the best made in Japan weapons available on the market. A small catalog, representing a fine choice - adapted to the need of all Judo practitioners.

These wooden weapons are all manufactured in Kyushu, Japan. To be more precise: Miyakonojo is the region called, where the only 4 remaining wooden weapon workshops are located.

When it comes to wooden weapons, wrong storage, brittle wood, and hidden cracks can easily cause injuries. And that is why the weapons offered on KuSakuraShop are exclusively made in Japan and undergo a strict quality control before shipment. Quality intact fiber structure is what is emphasized rather then wood color. However, please note that our weapons are not selected for hard contact, but for Kata pratice.

The basic woods for solid practice weapons are red and white oak. Isu no Ki is also within the standard range, but slightly more special and typical Japanese. If you have a passion for wood or want to make a gift, choose your Bokken and Tanto in Sunuke or Tsubaki (Camellia), rare woods that definitely catch the eye.
All in all, all the weapons we offer are perfectly suitable for the Goshinjutsu no Kata.

Bokken, Jo, Tanto & Pistol for Goshinjutsu & Kime no Kata

Goshin jutsu litteraly translates as "self defense techniques", and the idea behind this Kata is to teach self defense against grappling, strikes, a sword, a staff, a knife or a pistol. It was created after the second world ward as a mean of self defense for Japanese police forces and it is partially inspired by Aikido techniques.
Kime no Kata, also known as the Shinken Shobu no Kata (litt. Kata for real fight) is much older as it dates back to the end of the 19th century. It contains both empty ended and armed techniques and is strongly oriented on self defense. Is is often said that it is the base for the Jujutsu techniques sometimes taught by Judo teachers.

The Tanto is a dagger of approximately 30 cm long.
The Tanto is used in the Goshin jutsu no Kata on techniques: Tsukkake, Choku-tsuki and Naname-tsuki. It's also used in the Kime no kata on techniques: Tsuki komi, Kiri komi and Yoko tsuki.

The Jo is a 100 cm long staff. It is significantly shorter than the Jo used in Jodo, Jojutsu or Aikido, which is 128 cm long, and longer than the Hanbo used in some ancient martial arts which is only 90 cm long. The Judo version is completely specific to Judo.
The Jo is used in the Goshin jutsu no Kata on techniques: Furiage, Furioroshi and Morote-tsuki.

The Pistol, called a "Kenju" in Japanese, symbolise the classic firearm used by the Japanese police. Most self defense schools use a model that has a hole that represent the trigger, but for safety reasons, the Judo models has no hole.
The Pistol is used in the Goshin jutsu no Kata on techniques: Shomen-tsuke, Doshi-gamae and Haimen-tsuke.

The Bokken is a wooden representation of the Japanese Katana.
It is used in the Kime no kata on techniques: Nuki kake and Kiri oroshi.
The Bokken must have a guard (a Tsuba) when performing this Kata.

Judo Weapons

Judo Weapons

Varnish Painting Versus Oil Polishing

The best way to protect your weapons from temperature changes, moisture and dryness is to varnish them. Our Japanese artisans use a very thin layer of transparent coating that covers the timber just enough to help prevent the weapon from warping.

However, non-coated weapons are available on KuSakuraShop too, because the raw surface of high quality timber is definitely more pleasant to the touch.
Where as small imperfections and splints can easily be covered and repaired with such lacquer, unvarnished weapons have to be carved from top notch Japanese quality wood. They are oiled several times before shipment to nourish the fiber. And that is what we recommend you to do roughly once a month with unvarnished weapons: Use our artisan's Camellia oil or any other maintenance or vegetable oil. This will help to keep the wood in good condition, prevents it from drying out or irregularly absorb moisture.
But keep in mind: Wood is a natural and living material, and each piece of timber reacts slightly different to the oiling process. The wood color can change significantly and usually darkens quite a bit and gets more intense.

Varnish vs Unvarnished Weapons

Varnish vs Unvarnished Weapons

More Information on Available Timber

Click on "open" to get the full information

Akagashi (Red Oak)

Akagashi, the Japanese red oak, is commonly used for the manufacture of wooden weapons. It is a bit lighter than Shirakashi (the Japanese white oak) and also a bit less dense. Because it is quite resilient to shocks, it is commonly used for contact practice (weapon against weapon) in other martial arts. It is the timber chosen by the Japanese army for their wooden weapons, and is an excellent choice for all Judo practitioners looking for standard weapons. Thoroughly chosen, this timber is also used superior and unvarnished weapons.

Shirakashi (White Oak)

Shirakashi (Quercus acutissima) is the famous Japanese white oak, that is native to the south of Japan. The best quality oak trees grow in moist soil and under plenty of sun like those in regions like Kyushu and Shikoku. Shirakashi timber from there is well-known for its outstanding characteristics in the manufacture of wooden weapons. The wood is particularly resilient to shocks because it is not too hard and is hence, often used for contact practice weapons for other martial arts. Shirakashi is slightly denser and heavier than Akagashi (red oak) and it is interesting to know, that unlike European oak, it floats in water. The Shirakashi timber used for these weapons is thoroughly selected and the best pieces are chosen for the unvarnished weapons offered.

Isu no Ki (Distilium racemocum)

Isu no Ki is a timber shrouded in legends, was used in Japan since ancient times for the manufacture of furniture and precious items like talismans. The Isu no Ki and Sunuke timber both stem from the same tree: The Isu no Ki is taken from the outer layer and the Sunuke from the core. The Isu no Ki has a purple-brownish color with a delicate wood grain, making it extremely soft to the touch. Compared to oak, it is slightly less solid and should not be used for heavy contact practice. The absence of contact practice in the Judo no Kata makes this wood a great choice for practitioners looking for an exquisite type of wood. The best and most thoroughly chosen Isu no Ki timber can be used for the manufacture of unvarnished weapons.

Sunuke (the core of Distilium racemocum)

The Sunuke timber is extracted from the same tree as the Isu no Ki timber. The Sunuke though can only be found in the core of the trunk of trees of several hundred years. And these trees have become precious and hence, the logging is strictly regulated. Wooden weapons made from 100% true Sunuke as offered here, are rare and costly. Be aware that what is sold as "cheap Sunuke" by other brands is either Isu no Ki or any kind of dark painted timber. Sunuke is a dense and heavy timber that does not absorb shocks well. Hence, it is not meant for contact practice but makes the most beautiful weapons for Judo Kata and Suburi practice. Please note that depending on available material, the weapon's weight can vary greatly and perfectly illustrate the outstanding quality of this Tsubaki timber, all weapons are oil-polished and not available varnished.

Tsubaki (Carmelia Japonica)

Camellia timber (Carmelia Japonica) or Tsubaki in Japanese, is a special timber found in the southern parts of Japan. The camellia trees can reach up to 500 years of age and this timber has always been used by craftsmen to carve furniture-like objects. Tsubaki timber features a yellowish color with a delicate grain pattern, and its characteristics makes it the perfect material for wooden weapons: It is quite light, resilient and absorbs shocks well. Because of the latter, it is considered as stronger than Sunuke yet, slightly less resistant than white oak. It certainly makes outstanding weapons for advanced Judo practitioners looking for exotic and long lasting weapons. To show its outstanding quality, weaons made from Tsubaki timber are only available unvarnished and with an oil polish finish.

Timber Comparison (for Judo Kate Bokken)

Wood Origin Bokken Weight Toughness Utilization Price
Red Oak
South Japan - Kyushu 450 g ~ 500 g *** Beginner **
White Oak
South Japan - Kyushu 500 g ~ 600 g **** Contact **
Isu no Ki South Japan - Kyushu 480 g ~ 580 g *** Kata - Women ***
Sunuke South Japan - Kyushu 600 g ~ 700 g ** Suburi - Present ****
(Camellia japonica)
South Japan - Kyushu 450 g ~ 500 g *** Women - Present ****

* Since wood is a living material, the weight is variable and this table is for reference only.
* As a living material, wood color may vary significantly from one weapon to another.
* The price is for the classic bokken shape.

Judo Wooden Weapons Timbers

Japanese Wooden Weapons Timbers


Most of the weapons offered on this website can be engraved to give it a personal touch. You can simply add the corresponding "Weapon Engraving Service" before putting the weapon into your cart.
Adding an engraving may delay the shipping by 3-5 business days.
Please consult the "Japanese Engraving Information" for detailed information.

Judo Weapons

Engraving on Bokken

Some interviews of the craftsmen shot by our partner Seido

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