Many martial artists who focus on the practice of sword usage make use of sham swords that are also made from wood but resemble the actual metal swords. These training weapons are also  very useful when applying different forms and techniques of the sword practices and makes the fight safer than using real metal swords. This overview describes the process of selecting the appropriate wooden swords for martial arts training and where to search for these items on the Internet.

Types of Wooden Swords

Types of Wooden Swords

Wooden swords used in training vary depending on the specific sword-fighting style, ranging from Japanese martial arts to Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA).


Overview: A bokken serves as a wooden substitute for samurai swords in Japanese martial arts. Crafted from solid, one-piece wood, it mirrors the shape, length, and weight of traditional Japanese swords.

Types: There are variations such as the daito (long sword like katana or tachi), shoto (short sword like wakizashi), and suburito (heavier for muscle development, not for sparring).

Usage: In disciplines like kendo, practitioners utilize bokken for kata (forms) and bamboo shinai for sparring. However, in iaido, the absence of a scabbard limits its practicality. While Japanese practitioners often spar without armor, others opt for protective gear.

Tai Chi Sword

Overview: Tai chi chuan practitioners employ the jian, a Chinese straight, double-edged sword also known as taiji jian. It emphasizes speed and technique in Yang-style tai chi.

Types: Another variant is the dao, a curved, single-edged blade known as a saber, requiring strength and power.

Usage: The jian is pivotal in solo sequences, sparring, and two-person routines. Beginners typically wear protective gear and focus strikes below the shoulders. Its aesthetic is enhanced with a decorative tassel during performances.

Wooden Sword Wasters

Overview: HEMA encompasses diverse swordsmanship styles, necessitating a range of training tools from longswords to rapiers.

Types: Wooden sword wasters cater to beginners and one-handed forms like saber, dussack, messer, and hanger.

Usage: Popular in historical reenactments, they’re used to depict periods from the Roman gladius to Viking swords, although specifics of Viking combat remain speculative.

How to Choose the Best Wooden Sword for Training

How to Choose the Best Wooden Sword for Training

Selecting the right wooden sword involves considering durability for intensive training and safety for sparring.

Type of Material

Wood Quality: Japanese white or red oak are premium choices for bokken due to their durability, although alternatives include Japanese sunuke or ebony. American hardwoods like hickory, ironwood, and persimmon are also favored.

Size and Weight

Accuracy: Close resemblance to steel counterparts in size and weight is crucial for effective training, except for the heavier suburito designed for strength training.

Appearance and Construction

Design: Features like the tsuba (sword guard) in bokken ensure hand protection, while the jian often includes a perpendicular flat guard.

Best Wooden Swords Available Online

Explore a selection of top-rated wooden swords ideal for martial arts training, historical reenactment, stage combat, and cosplay.

Bokken Sword

Description: This bokken boasts an overall length of 100 cm with a 75 cm blade, akin to a long sword or wooden katana. Perfect for aikido and select kendo practices, it’s crafted from robust wood with a small tsuba.

Ninja Sword

Description: Ideal for ninjutsu training and cosplay, this ninja sword features high-quality polypropylene plastic. Its sharp tip makes it less suitable for sparring, with a straight blade and square guard.

Jian Tai Chi Sword

Description: Crafted from sturdy polypropylene plastic, this tai chi sword offers a lightweight alternative for beginners. Featuring a straight, double-edged blade, it facilitates practice of sword forms with ease.

Viking Foam Sword

Description: Constructed from closed-cell foam with a fiberglass core, this Viking sword is perfect for reenactments and LARP. While not recommended for HEMA due to its balance, it measures 59 cm in length with a 41 cm blade.

Wooden Gladius

Description: Ideal for portraying Roman legions or gladiators, this wooden gladius measures 68 cm with a 50 cm blade. Crafted from high-quality wood with a rounded tip, it’s suited for light sparring and stage combat.


Weapons, particularly wooden swords, are also  indispensable equipment in martial arts training, as they simulate a blade while allowing for sparring and other exercises. We all practice martial arts, be it a beginner or a veteran, the selection of the wooden sword improves your training session by making it safe and as natural as possible. Whether one requires a bokken for strict kata drilling or a jian for smooth flow of tai chi movements.  On the other hand, these are truly representations of sheer martial arts weaponry.

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