Information on choosing your Iaito Size, Model & Options
The first thing to determine when choosing a Iaito is your type of practice. Will you use your Iaito only from time to time? Do you use it in every class? What type of Budo do you practice?
Beginners and casual practitioners will opt for low-cost but reliable materials. More seasoned practitioners and collectors will opt for superior models with a better finnish. High level practitioners will appreciate heavy-weight (large blade) models such as the Hon Koshirae. Finally, people with less strength might appreciate the lightweight series. Please note that heavier Iaito, which are balanced toward the kissaki (tip) are difficult to handle. They should be reserved for experienced practitioners.
The weight of a Iaito depends on the blade, Tsuka length, and options
How to determine the correct size
The blade length is measured in a Japanese traditional unit called Shaku. One Shaku equals 30.3 cm, or roughly 1 feet (0.994 Ft.). Its subunit is the "Sun". There are ten "Sun" in one "Shaku", so 5 Sun can also be written 0.5 Shaku. Note that the length of a blade does not include the Habaki (see pictures), but is measured in a straight line from the tip (Kissaki) to what is called the Munemachi (base of the blade), hidden under and covered by the Habaki.
The blade length is usually determined by the size of the practitioner.
Be careful though: depending on schools and teachers, the recommendations may vary slightly from what we suggest in this table. In general, for Aikido practitioners for whom the Noto (sheathing of the sword) does not seem crucial, we advise to choose a Iaito 0.5 Shaku shorter than what is suggested on the table.
The blade length is given according to the size of the practitioner and following the guidelines suggested by the Japanese Iaido Federation. The Tsuka lengths are suggested by our team so as to preserve the balance of the weapon, but it also takes into account the fact that the hands of western practitioners are generally bigger than those of the Japanese.
If you are a beginner, you can stop here, you do not need any other information to choose your Iaito.
Blade Length, Tsuka Length, Size Table & Weight
|150 cm / 155 cm||2.20 Shaku (66.6 cm)||7.5 ~ 8 Sun (22.7 ~ 24.3 cm)||~700 g||~780 g||~900 g|
|155 cm / 160 cm||2.25 Shaku (68.2 cm)||7.5 ~ 8 Sun (22.7 ~ 24.3 cm)||~710 g||~790 g||~915 g|
|160 cm / 165 cm||2.30 Shaku (69.6 cm)||8 ~ 8.5 Sun (24.3 ~ 25.6 cm)||~720 g||~800 g||~930 g|
|165 cm / 170 cm||2.35 Shaku (71.2 cm)||8 ~ 8.5 Sun (24.3 ~ 25.6 cm)||~730 g||~810 g||~945 g|
|170 cm / 175 cm||2.40 Shaku (72.7 cm)||8.5 ~ 9 Sun (25.6 ~ 27.3 cm)||~740 g||~820 g||~960 g|
|175 cm / 180 cm||2.45 Shaku (74.2 cm)||8.5 ~ 9 Sun (25.6 ~ 27.3 cm)||~750 g||~830 g||~975 g|
|180 cm / 185 cm||2.50 Shaku (75.8 cm)||9 ~ 9.5 Sun (27.3 ~ 28.8 cm)||NA||~845 g||~990 g|
|185 cm / 190 cm||2.55 Shaku (77.3 cm)||9 ~ 9.5 Sun (27.3 ~ 28.8 cm)||NA||~860 g||~1010 g|
|190 cm / 195 cm||2.60 Shaku (78.8 cm)||9.5 ~ 10 Sun (28.8 ~ 30.3 cm)||NA||NA||~1030 g|
|195 cm+||2.70 Shaku (81.8 cm)||9.5 ~ 10 Sun (28.8 ~ 30.3 cm)||NA||NA||~1050 g|