So, I’ve been practicing Iaido for seven years now. For almost all that time I’ve used my trusted Iaito or training sword. Like most Iaito it’s got a zinc alloy blade coated in chrome to look like the real thing. It’s a lovely sword, but slightly too short for me, and has taken a bit of a beating over the years. It’s also semi-sharp.
I have some decorative (reasonably sharp) steel swords, and I sometimes practice aspects (usually drawing and sheathing the sword) with those, but in many ways they are inferior to my Iaito, so I’ve long considered buying a steel sword, and have been deciding between three sellers, Nine Circles here in the UK, SwordStore.com in the USA, and Bugei. This week I discovered that nine circles have removed their better steel swords from sale, in fear of coming legislation to ban sale of swords. No-one knows yet when and what shape that legislation will take. It could, at a stroke, totally destroy a martial art like Iaido in the UK, since only those who already own swords will be able to train fully.
Anyway, this all worried me, so this week I finally ordered a (very) sharp steel sword from SwordStore (which are a front for a company in Japan). It will apparently take four months, and I’m looking forward to it immensely; I spent several hours poring over which fittings I wanted, and I’m sure the result will be beautiful as well as practical.