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NateDSaint: #137 of 5336
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The price is right

Rubber Foam Nunchucks

The cool thing about these nunchaku is that you get the overall idea of the functional purpose of nunchuk practice without the lethality of something like metal or wooden nunchaku. They are fairly light, and the cord design is sturdily anchored fairly deep into the core of the interal plastic, not attached directly to the foam, which is good. The cord itself is sturdy, and I would argue that the nunchuks would hold up alright in a sparring match (haven't tried that yet). The only thing I think I would say is that the bane of the design is in the plastic core. It's fairly weak, and it depends on the absorption of the foam rubber. If you intend to use these, do NOT strike them hard on a surface. My brother broke a similar pair on a birdbath, hence he's not allowed to touch these.

Overall I'd say they're great and the price is right. If you are looking for serious sparring weapons, perhaps they are not made for that challenge, but for practicing kata with nunchaku and getting the overall feel without beating yourself unconscious, they're a pretty good choice.  
7/5/2004 2:30:17 AM
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Excellent craftsmanship

Hardwood Tai Chi Sword

I would say that this weapon is of great use for the purpose of practicing Tai Chi forms, and possibly some of the Wudang or general Shaolin kung-fu sword forms. The only thing about it is that the first one they sent me broke in the box, and I examined why. The blade itself goes all the way through the crossguard, which is realistic to sword design. It continues through into the hilt, which is also very sturdy. However, when it goes into the crossguard, the system is square, in other words the blade goes into a square peg that fits in a square hole in the crossguard. This is excellent for sturdiness, because the blade fits tightly into the crossguard and will not flex or bend from excertion. However, when it gets past the crossguard and goes into the hilt, it becomes round, and this is where the design weakens. It was right at the point where the square hilt followthrough became a round dowel that the first blade broke.

In any case, the second one shipped without a scratch (mainly because it was packed a lot better), and it has been able to stand up to everything I've done with it. It's not a combat sword by any means, unless you intend to do touch level sparring or lower. It is very excellent for forms practice, as it is balanced appropriately and includes the standard tassel you see on this general wudang straightsword design.

It is rather light, however, and thus practice with it will by no means be the same as practice with a genuine steel blade, but it is excellent for the point of learning the forms and becoming comfortable with the balance of the blade before you try something pointier and more lethal. The only reason I give it four stars is that the overall production value (gluing, finishing) is not 100% professional. The glue sticks out from where it has been fixed at the hilt to the crossguard, and the crossguard is crosscut so the splinters on the sides are hard to sand (if not impossible).

But for the price, I say it's a great deal! GO FOR IT!  
7/5/2004 2:25:59 AM
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Cheap but good

Kung Fu Shoes

The cool thing about them is that they actually fit my feet. I have fairly short and broad feet, and I wear a 10 and a half. So I figured I'd get a 10 since they are a stretchy material. The surface is flexible enough for you to be able to move pretty much unimpeded. It has a pretty good grip so you can use them on pretty much any surface. They're pretty quiet if you move right. Over all, a great martial arts shoe... however...

My only complaints are

1) that the entire shoe is made of roughly the same stretchy elastic-polyester material. This makes the heel act funny, because your foot doesn't settle all the way to the back of the rubber sole, it gets pushed forward by the elastic material.

2) the opening for your foot is just small enough to be a pain to put on, and just big enough to slip when you move too much.

Both of these could really be because of the size of my feet, which is kind of akward. So aside from issues due to proportion (which is always an issue on factory footwear, or clothes of any kind), these are GREAT shoes.

For a fair comparison, I also bought the cotton soled shoes. The cotton soled shoes are actually a little less flexible, due to the thickness of the soles (which are layered cotton, so it's pretty much like walking on a laminate of fibers). The shoe itself is more or less the same, but the proportions are a little different. The shoe is longer and thinner, so people like me with hobbit feet end up having a big pointy empty spot at the end of the shoe. The soles are very slick, so they are dangerous on slippery surfaces like wood or tile.
All in all, I like the rubber soled ones better, but the cotton soled ones are also quite good. At the price, if they wear out (which they will after a month of solid practice) you just replace them at their nice cheap price. If you feel like you are going to be doing a lot of practicing you might stockpile them, as the shipping would be cheaper. But try them out first before you commit to them (2.95 shipping is a good chance to try things).  
6/23/2004 10:35:33 PM
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