The shinai is the part of our equipment that suffers more impairment with each workout. Due this often appear splinters on the slats, or even can break.
Prior preparation of the shinai and a minimum periodic care will extend the life of it, which will increase the level of safety of our mates and we also save money.
These cares are:
With a new shinai:
We must prepare the shinai so it can be used in a training. To do this we must:
- Removing the threads that held together shinai slats (usually are gold / red / blue threads).
- Disassemble the shinai.
- Press the edges of each of the slats with a teaspoon or something similar.
- Sand the shinai´s edges to give them a rounded shape, so the edges can slide each other, preventing splinters or cracks are created.
- Oil the slats: A dry slat is less flexible and absorbs less damage than a well oiled one. Also with oil we give sufficient weight to pass weight controls in competitions. To oil the slats usually use a bottle of cheap sunflower seed oil, but other types of oil, some of which are specific for this use are also valid. There are several ways to do this, by immersion (if we made a container for it) or empapand the inside of the strips, leaving them absorb the oil and repeating this process for a few days. Then remove the excess with a paper towel.
- Reassemble the shinai
During the training:
A good kendoka always checks the shinai before, during and after each workout. Thus the kenshin shows respect and consideration for their classmates and their safety.
During training it is important not to disrupt the class and in no case do it while there is an explanation. Must be a quick visual check of the general condition (especially the rods and sakigawa). As a result we can see if there is any splinter in the slats, or even if you have broken one of them. In these cases, for security reasons, you must change your shinai before continuing with the next exercise. What do you look for?
Every 2or 3 Workout session or when it is a problem in the shinai during the workout:
We will have to remove the shinai to check the inside of the slats has no break or splinter non visible at the external inspection and to tighten the nakayui and tsuru, that get loose often. To do this:
- Disassemble the shinai.
- Revise one by one the slats looking for any breakage or splinter. There that bear in mind that is possible that a take, that at first glance seems that is in good condition, keep considerable breakage by inside. What do you look for?
- To remove splinters is used the back (not the edge) of a cutter or scissors until it disappears. Then, with sandpaper to sand the surface.
- Discard broken slats.
- Check that the leather parts of shinai (mainly kensen and naka-yui that are most wear) are in a good condition and have no holes or breakages, do the same with the tsuru. In case of find a broken element, replace it from an old shinai.
- Reassemble the shinai.
What do you look for?
Let’s see what defect it should look:
The rods are surely the element that more deteriorate from a shinai, and can be dangerous. We can distinguish three cases:
- Slat breakage: If during practice we detect this problem, we must change the shinai immediately. A broken slat can not be repaired so we have to change it by other.
- Splinter: If during practice we detect this problem, we must also change the shinai immediately. The difference with a broken slat is that usually in this case the slat can be repaired with the cutter, leaving the surface smooth again.
- Appearance of fiber strands:The abrasion suffered during practice shinai usually make appear fiber strands. Although it is convenient to change shinai if are detected, is not critical or dangerous and is easy to remove them with sandpaper or cutter.
In the case of the tsuru a visual review is not enough. We must play the tsuru as if it were a guitar string. In this way not only check the tension with the touch, the sound will tell us too, if is properly tensioned. If the sound is high pitched everything is correct, but if it is low pitched or have no sound, then we must tighten it.
Another way is to pull the sakigawa out and see if it moves. If it moves we have to tighten it.
A break in the tip of the sakigawa can allow one Takes slip out across the hole. This damage is even more dangerous than a broken take and therefore we must pay special attention to reviewing it. At the first sign of breakage we must change the sakigawa and never try to repair it.
While is not a hazard itself, breaking the tsukagawa usually cause a loss of tension on tsuru which it is dangerous.