Saturday, July 31, 2010
Due to having a bit more money in my pocket, I have been blessed with the increased options of shinai bags that are available. I wanted one that could hold the increased amount of equipment I have (extra shinai, long and short bokken, suburito, etc.) and one that might be able to last for a while. After some searching, I decided to settle on the Nichibushin Travel Style Shinai Bag from Mazkiya. So, how did I like it?
The first hurdle to get over is the price. It costs $96, so purchasing this may not be the easiest decision to make for most people. It's designed to hold between five and seven shinai and has a pouch on opposite sides. One holds all your tsuba and the other serves as a place to hold your bokken. There are ties that hold both the daito and shoto on there. There is also a shoulder strap for easy carry that feels a little short, but it does the job.
It is a "travel style" shinai bag, so I guess this means that it's designed to take the brunt of abuse for those that do a lot of Kendo. With it's ballistic material that feels thicker than some of the cheaper versions of shinai bags, so it doesn't seem to disappoint in that department. Keep in mind that I've only used this for a few weeks, so it might be a few more months or years before I can really verify the strength of the material. There is a smooth inner lining that seems to offer a bit more protection and add some sturdiness to it.
The pouch on the side that holds your bokken is a nice, added touch. There are two adjustable straps that can hold your long and short bokken, should you have a full set. Unfortunately, I found it a bit difficult to adjust the straps, but they have served their function thus far. The rest of the features on it are pretty typical for just about any utility shinai bag with its pouch for the tsuba and zippers to hold everything in. There's an optional embroidery service that lets you put your name on the bag for an extra $5 in just about any color you desire.
If you just started Kendo, don't have a lot of equipment, or live in an area or have a schedule that only allows one or two practices a week, then I would suggest just getting the cheaper variety of shinai bag. They all serve the same purpose, it's just a matter of finding one that fits your tastes and lifestyle. If you happen to be on the other end of the spectrum and do a lot of traveling, practice a lot and/or have a lot of equipment to transport, then this is a something to at least consider. It's serving it's purpose for me, based on what I have said above, so I would recommend it to those that are considering it.