Most importantly, make sure that there are no splinters or cracks in the bamboo. Large cracks or breaks will necessitate replacing the broken slat or replacing the shinai entirely. When you have some splinters or a small split, disassemble the shinai completely first. Scrape the splinters off with firm strokes from the bottom using a knife. If you dig from the top down the blade may dig into the bamboo. Next use some sand paper to smooth the surface. Make sure you round out each piece of the shinai well, and then afterwards finalize the process by oiling the shinai or putting a little wax. There is special oil available from kendo equipment vendors, but a light vegetable oil will suffice. Note: If the bamboo actually splits (with or against the grain) you should stop using it. It is dangerous to tape it up and keep using it.
How to Carry the Shinai
It is manner in kendo to make sure that you carry the shinai inside a specialized bag. Most bags can hold from 1 to 3 swords. Some have a shoulder strap. Bags can be made from many materials such as cotton, leather, or silk, etc. They come in many colors and designs or you can make your own! Just make sure you don't carry around the shinai naked... let us at least maintain the foundations of kendo manner.
Disassembly of the Shinai
(1) Loosen or untie the leather thong.
(2) Untie the Cord.
(3) Pull the leather tip off with one hand, while holding the bamboo slats together with the other to keep the rubber tip in place.
(4) Take off the Leather Hilt.
(5) Your shinai should now look like this: (Normally you only need to completely disassemble the shinai to smooth or replace a whole slat.)
Removing Splinters From Your Shinai
Scrape the splinters off with firm strokes from the hilt towards the tip, using a knife,file or a fixing tool. If you scrape from tip to hilt, the blade may dig into the bamboo.
Next use some sandpaper to smooth the surface. Finally rub in a little wax, Vaseline or vegetable oil.
Fixing the Shinai Tip
If the shinai cord is broken, you should replace it. When you need to replace the cord, you should know how to tie the cord as shown below.
Tie the Cord to the Grip (Hilt) Leather
(1) Pass the cord through the `leather loop' on the hilt; Thread it back through the komono.
(2) Pass it under the knot in the hilt's leather loop and pull it tight.
(3) Pull the cord tight with your right hand while you hold the komono down with the left.
(4) Wrap it round the loop. Tie it once.
(5) Wrap it round the loop. Tie it once.
(6) Finally, use an awl to make a space between the two branches of the loop and pass the cord through.See picture Below!
Tying the Leather Thong (nakayui)
Wrap the ‘thong' twice round the shinai rough side up
Thread it under the cord and cross it back.
Thread under the cord from the other side.
Loop it round and under the last loop.
Again loop it round the cord, cross over and pass it under the last loop.
Repeat this once more, then cut off any excess leather.
The wooden sword used in prearranged sword forms such as kendo kata practice or others. It is called bokuto or bokken which means wooden sword. Like the shinai it should be treated with respect. In addition, because it is made of solid wood it can be dangerous if not handled properly. Never swing the bokken at another person for "fun".
The tip of the bokken is also called kensen [A]. It has a grip (tsuka)[B], guard (tsuba) [C] and guard holder (tsuba dome). The proper striking portion is also referred to as monouchi (valid part)[D]. The ridge lines running the length of the sides of the sword are called shinogi [E].
The bokken is used in prearranged forms practice (kendo kata) that employ parry and deflection techniques using the shinogi.
In the below first and second photographs show special types of bokken called suburito(sword for swing practice) used primarily for suburi(swing). They are bigger, heavier and lack a tsuba. The third and fourth are the standard set used in kendo kata and represent the long and short swords carried by samurai.
If you want to keep the bokken clean, rub oil on the body of the sword, not the handle, from time to time.