Improving on a training tool that’s thousands of years old is a tricky task. For two bokken craftsman on the west coast, it’s an endeavor that requires both an open mind, years of discovery, and perhaps a different kind of material.
In the woods of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, a small cabin-like structure acts as a workshop for Dennis and Ethan, the men behind Shinbudo. Dennis King designs and handcrafts high-quality martial art training tools, including the bokken and Ethan acts as both the sales and marketing team.
The bokken itself is a Japanese training weapon used for learning the art of the sword. It allows the user to simulate the usage of a real weapon without the damage. Using the bokken as a training tool allows students to learn important skills related to accuracy, precision and footwork.
“[I was] getting tired of using exotics and seeing the environmental impact of the woods that I was sourcing. While doing a countertop job, I found the Richlite product and wondered if I could make a bokken out of it.”
Taking advantage of modern materials to create training tools that were different from what was on the market, Shinbudo sourced eco-friendly Richlite. They found that Richlite was more durable than hardwoods, and the density was an advantage because the weight was more similar to the real weapon. The easy tooling of Richlite allowed Dennis to make the bokken’s shape realistic while it’s dense and durable nature withstands heavy abuse by those training with the tool.
Here at Richlite, we are always impressed when someone thinks outside of the box and creates something new and original with our material. The craftsmen at Shinbudo have blown us away with their thoughtful and innovative martial arts training tools. We’re excited to see what they have in store for the future.