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A Piece of Nanden

This is another story from Yoshioka Sensei. He said that there are bokken (wooden swords) made of nanden, a lightweight wood also used for hashi (chopsticks). Nanden can come in light and dark varieties. The main features for its use in bokken is its light weight and strength.

Yoshioka Sensei said that there was a way to strike lightly with a nanden bokken that would not bruise the skin but would cause the bone to rot. This sounds like the delayed death touch discussed in Karate circles.

The remedy for such a strike was to rub the affected area with a piece of nanden. This explained why some sensei carried small pieces of nanden with them.

Yoshioka Sensei also said that nanden leaves would be put in a container where rice was stored. This would keep the rice free from insects.

I have a nanden plant in front of my house, and I use nanden chopsticks. Again, I think of Yoshioka Sensei whenever I see them.


Charles C. Goodin