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Choosing the Perfect Iaito Sword for Beginners



By popular worldwide demand, Tozando started supplying Iaito swords in 1990.

Since then we have actively engaged with customers both online and off, discussing the latest Iaito sword developments with master craftsmen and putting them into practice to better meet customer needs.

As a result of the trust and reliability we have built over the years, Tozando is now known as the leading supplier of top-quality, made-in-Japan Iaito swords around the globe. And with the 2014 establishment of our exclusive workshop in Nishin, which successfully revived the art of swordmaking in Kyoto, we continue our tireless pursuit of a "perfect Iaito" right here in Japan.



For beginners, choosing the right Iaito sword is crucial for improving technique and posture—that’s why we recommend starting with Tozando.

Choose a Basic Model

In choosing your sword, Tozando recommends first selecting a basic model and then customizing it to your needs.

While each superbly-crafted Iaito sword series offered by Tozando has its own distinctive blade, all swords within a given series have the same one. Of course, the blade is only a single crucial part of what makes our swords so special. The higher the price, the higher the level of craftsmanship and the quality of the metal fittings and sheathing.


Three swords most recommended for beginners are:

Toryumon Classic

The Toryumon Classic Iaito sword is named for the legend of a carp that swam against an impossibly strong river tide, eventually becoming a dragon. A symbol of success through noble struggle, this sword is designed for beginners. While the blade itself boasts the same peerless quality as our top-grade swords, lower-cost fittings and limited customization options--including the ability to purchase a ready-made model--allow us to offer this sword at a reasonable cost for those taking their first steps into the world of Iaito. The blade is relatively light and easy to handle, all the better to master correct form and posture.

Fast shipping, off-the-shelves Toryumon Classic is also available for those who would like to receive the Toryumon more quickly.
Tenryu Iaito Sword

Like the Toryumon Classic, the Tenryu possesses a lightweight blade, making it widely endorsed as a perfect beginners' Iaito since its launch. Also like the Toryumon, Tenryu ready-made model is available for delivery at a slightly lower price. However, the Tenryu stands apart in allowing more optional elements than the Toryumon, giving beginners the freedom to make a few key customizations following advice from teachers and senior practitioners. The Tenryu is particularly notable for its customizable handle length, a must for beginners with hands of every size who seek to master their grip.




TOZANDO Complete Iaido Beginners Set

The
Complete Iaido Beginners Set, which comes with the popular Toryumon Classic Iaito, contains all of the essentials for starting the journey toward Iaido mastery: A gi and hakama, a sword bag and maintenance items, all in one convenient starter package. Because Tozando understands just how difficult it can be to make the right choices from the start, each complete set of items has been carefully selected by our expert staff with beginners in mind. Particularly for those ready to step into the Dojo right away, this all-in-one set comes highly recommended.

Blade Length

After selecting a Iaito model, the next step is to customize it. The more fine-tuned the sword is to your body, the easier it will be to handle.
The three most crucial points for customization are length, weight, and design. When selecting a Iaito sword, first be careful to choose a length that suits your body.

While we generally recommend selecting blade length according to height, beginners will find that establishing proper posture is easier with a slightly shorter Iaito. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, it is better to choose a Iaito 0.05 shaku shorter than you are. In general, female practitioners are recommended to choose a blade length 0.05 Shaku shorter than men. Check the chart for details.

Recommended Blade Lengths for General Iaido Practice
Height Recommended Blade Length Recommended Tsuka Length
150 cm 2.20 Shaku 66.6 cm 7.5 Sun 22.7 cm
155 cm 2.25 Shaku 68.2 cm 7.5 Sun 22.7 cm
160 cm 2.30 Shaku 69.6 cm 8.0 Sun 24.2 cm
165 cm 2.35 Shaku 71.2 cm 8.0 Sun 24.2 cm
170 cm 2.40 Shaku 72.7 cm 8.5 Sun 25.8 cm
175 cm 2.45 Shaku 74.2 cm 8.5 Sun 25.8 cm
180 cm 2.50 Shaku 75.7 cm 9.0 Sun 27.3 cm
  • This chart only lists the 'recommended sizes'. Please ask for further advice if needed.
  • The proper way to measure the blade lendth is to measure from the end of the Habaki to the tip of the blade. The measurements in the chart are measured accordingly.

Sword Weight

After length, weight is another important factor. Since a heavier sword is obviously more difficult to use, we suggest that beginners choose a slightly lighter Iaito to help them become accustomed to it. Toryumon, Tenryu and Suzaku Custom feature the standard type blade which is slightly lighter.

Approximate Weight of Genral Iaido Practice
Blade Length Blade Type Approximate Weight(without Saya)
2.20 Shaku 66.6 cm Standard 770 gram
2.25 Shaku 68.2 cm Standard 780 gram
2.30 Shaku 69.6 cm Standard 790 gram
2.35 Shaku 71.2 cm Standard 800 gram
2.40 Shaku 72.7 cm Standard 810 gram
2.45 Shaku 74.2 cm Standard 820 gram
2.50 Shaku 75.7 cm Standard(Suzaku Custom) 830 gram
Extra Wide(Custom) 980 gram
  • Please note that the weights listed are approximate and might vary slightly due to the hand-made nature of the product and also depending on the specifications and the fittings of the Iaito itself.
An INFO button showing a size chart can be found on each Iaito product page, so please don't hesitate to use it as you make your selection.

Design

Of course, the ideal Iaito sword is about more than the appropriate measurements and weight — it's also about design. A personally-customized Iaito, one that matches your personality and preferences, will help you to stay excited about the journey you are about to undertake.

Tozando allows customization of product according to each customer's specific design requests.

Options such as sheathing and tsuka color choices are available on any model, but for full customization we suggest the following two:



Whatever customizations you choose, you can make training more fun and meaningful with a personal touch. As long as you select your Iaito according to the directions above, you should have no trouble finding the perfect one for you. Find your Iaito for beginners now — and take the first step on a greater journey.

Finally, as there is an element of risk when using Iaito, please keep safety in mind as you practice.