How do I get started?

Getting started is easy - just contact us at to join a class, observe and give it a try. If you then feel like joining, we can get you signed up. Dues and fees are generally reasonable - see our Dojo Info page for details.

To start, there is no need to invest a large amount of money to see if you are really interested - you can come in comfortable clothes and we can lend you a bokken to get you going. Once you have decided to commit, you can build up the necessary equipment over time. We would suggest buying equipment in the following order:

  1. Bokken (wooden sword) - this can be your first training weapon and is one you will need throughout your career as we regularly use them for various drills and to introduce paired kata. Bokken can be very reasonable depending on the quality and wood - this is something that will take a lot of strikes so just a sturdy, standard bokken is sufficient. $50-70 in many online shops - high quality and rare woods can be much more.
  2. Training uniform and obi - once you are committed, you'll want a solid training uniform with hakama and dogi, and an obi (belt through which the sword is held). A solid, basic uniform can run $100-150 on many online shops - more formal, high quality uniforms can be much more. We recommend just starting with a basic uniform - black hakama and black dogi are the standard for our group. Navy hakama and dogi are also acceptable. Solid colors preferred for first uniforms for versatility (e.g. training, testing, competitions, etc.).
  3. Iaito - as you train longer, at some point you will want to purchase an iaito. These are the alloy training swords often used for iai kata. They are not sharp, and should not be used to try and cut targets. Iaito can be a significant investment, so we recommend waiting until you are sure you want to continue training for a long time before purchasing. A very basic iaito from a quality manufacturer in Japan can cost around $400 depending on exchange rates. More customized iaito (e.g. fittings, handle wraps, etc.) can cost up to $1500 or more.

For beginning students, the start up cost should be fairly modest - a bokken and uniform should be roughly $150-200 depending on choices. Over time, most will choose to buy an iaito, which is often the largest expense for equipment - generally $500-600. As people advance, they will often upgrade or replace their original equipment or uniform with more high quality items and fill in other items not necessary to begin (e.g. tabi, sword bags, etc.), but it is not a requirement. The key is to take good care of all of your equipment - keep it clean and well maintained - and it will last you for years.