Can't wait for sword season. After a long winter and beautiful weekends ahead of us, it's time to dust off our swords to enjoy some cutting parties, sword practice or further our martial arts studies in the serenity of our back yards or gardens.
I wanted to take the opportunity to remind everyone to choose your targets wisely. There are several different targets used through the sword community that are authentic feeling or simply inexpensive for enjoying this sport or hobby without breaking the bank. Some targets include, pool noodles, tatami mats, beach mats, cardboard, soaked newspaper and one of the more popular and easy to come by; water bottles.
All of these targets can be fun but I want to talk a minute about water bottles in particular. Using plastic bottles for targets has become very popular, but I think many people, especially beginners don't understand how hard of a target they can be. I am not going to get too technical and if you comb through the forums you will find this has been thoroughly discussed by many people much smarter than myself, with a stronger grasp of the mathematics and physics. What I can offer to the conversation with 20 years experience in a sword store is that 90% of beginners that damage, bend, twist or break their sword tell us they were cutting water bottles.
Now, the last thing I would do is tell you what not to do but I do strongly urge that if you decide to use any type of plastic bottle for targets that you do some thorough research before you begin. Several factors from the bottle type, the water temperature and the amount of water in the bottle can significantly change the amount of force that your blade will have to withstand upon impact that can quickly change a fun day of cutting into a day of disappointment. Also, always consider your own skill level when selecting targets. Someone with a perfect cutting technique will be able to cut much harder targets than a beginner who is more likely to swing a sword like a baseball bat. We highly recommend pool noodles for the beginner which we explain further in this article: Even a Dragon Warrior, First Mastered the Noodles
Happy and Safe Cutting Everyone!