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Short Version: While this product has some merits, it falls behind others pretty quick.Pros: Light, flexible, nicely designed grip, durableCons: A little too light, too flexible, can easily be dented/gouged if used in medium to heavy/full contact sparring sessions.Long Version:Purchased this product as I had decided to "update" my existing wooden practice weapons with synthetics as they can be safer and more economical in the long run; they won't rot like wood, nor would they splinter easily after multiple heavy uses, thus saving money in having to replace them...and they can be cheaper while providing the feel and weight of a wooden version. As always, True Swords service was top notch.That being said, if this product is an accurate representation of the "Modern Synthetic" line, by _whomever_, then there are superior products out there in both wood and plastics. Here's the why:While the grip is nice, the balance is a bit too close to the guard, and, most importantly, the blade itself is too flimsy. If used against an equal product, in light contact sparring, then it should prove adequate. However, once you graduate to medium to full contact sparring, it quickly loses its luster. When pitted against a wood sword, or even a Cold Steel training wakizashi, the blade has such a degree of bend and flexibility that any amount of force used in slapping the opposing blade to the side, striking down an opposing guard, or full on blocking an opposing blow, just blows right through with little to no transfer of energy to the opposing instrument. If graduating to medium to heavy/full contact sparring against wood or a better plastic, the blade's edge itself will dent like a wood, and even receive shallow gouges.While that maybe a positive safety feature, its skews the physics of the swordplay to a point where if that is what you have been trained to use and react to, you will find yourself repeatedly on the low end of a scoring session due to the differences in the materials' physics.This instrument is not without it's merits: I would highly recommend this product to a young person just starting out in a sword art. It is light enough to easily control and learn the beginning techniques/katas (although, if you are practicing cuts, obviously heavier is better to develop your strength), but not quite heavy enough to cause a severe injury such as a broken bone...but still, protect your hands and fingers. However, after you have advanced 2 ranks at most, I would invest in a heavier instrument...that being either wood, or Cold Steel's product.Disclaimer: I am not a representative of Cold Steel. I simply have used both Cold Steel and this product, and I find Cold Steel to be superior.
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