Choosing the Right Cutting Target

Preparing for Sword Season: Choosing the Right Cutting Target

With winter finally behind us and sunny weekends on the horizon, it's time to dust off our swords and indulge in some outdoor cutting parties, practice sessions, or martial arts training in the peaceful seclusion of our backyards or gardens. However, before you get started, it's important to choose your targets carefully.

The sword community uses a variety of targets that offer an authentic feel or affordable options for those looking to enjoy this sport or hobby without breaking the bank. Some popular choices include pool noodles, tatami mats, beach mats, bamboo, cardboard, soaked newspapers, and water bottles.

Water Bottles
But not all targets are created equal. While plastic bottles are a popular option, especially among beginners, many people don't realize how challenging they can be to cut through. As someone who's worked in a sword store for over 20 years, I can tell you that 90% of beginners who damage, bend, twist, or break their swords report cutting water bottles.

Now, I won't delve into the technicalities of this issue as it's been discussed at length by far more knowledgeable people than myself. Instead, I urge you to do your research before selecting any plastic bottle as a target. Factors such as the bottle type, water temperature, and amount of water inside can significantly alter the force your blade has to withstand upon impact, potentially ruining your day of cutting.

Moreover, it's crucial to consider your skill level when choosing targets. A seasoned practitioner with flawless cutting technique can take on tougher targets than a novice who's more likely to swing a sword like a baseball bat. For beginners, I highly recommend using pool noodles, which I explain in more detail in my article "Even a Dragon Warrior First Mastered the Noodles."

Remember, choose your cutting targets wisely, and always prioritize safety over fun. Happy cutting, everyone!