For a long time, I have been considering how to turn my passion from a hobby into a new way of life. A while ago I opened AikiCrafts my on-line shop – initially on Etsy (one of the most popular platforms for designers and crafters) and then at and My new shop features a number of collections – items for aikido, meditation and martial arts training; and also products for home, office and special occasions.

I have been fortunate to work on a number of exciting projects and created a range of vertical sword stands (tachikake) and wall mounted sword racks. I enjoy experimenting with various designs and different kinds of wood for my projects.

I am still at an early stage, but already I’ve had interest in my designs and products from all over the world, including Japan, the USA and Europe.

My life experience is reflected in my work, incorporating diverse elements that bring together designs and materials from different parts of the world to form a pleasing aesthetic. In my woodwork, I am keen to use authentic craft tools where possible. From my travels in Japan, for example, I use traditional Kanna – Japanese hand planes – and a variety of Japanese handsaws and chisels.

A while ago I made and sent two bokkens to the States, both custom orders made from air-dried American Hickory. As it transpired one was bought as a gift by the client for his honoured teacher. This is what his teacher had to say: “Thank you Alister and Mitchell. It is beautifully balanced, skillfully crafted and has a spirit of its own. Anyone who has lifted says the same thing: It moves!” Thong Nguyen, Kaizentao.

Thong also sent me a beautiful picture to show his gratitude. IMG_1789

2 Responses to AikiCrafts

  1. Thanks for your kind comments Thong. I am thrilled to make Bokkens for people who appreciate quality and who understand that adding value counts, much more than mere convenience.

  2. Thong says:

    Dear Alister Sensei,

    As a connoisseur of quality handmade products, I find your hickory bokken to be superlative in design, material, and craftsmanship. I am always appreciative of heirloom products that can withstand the test of time, and am toxically allergic to “made in China” disposable goods.

    Therefore, I am beyond grateful for the immeasurable time, effort, and attention to detail you’ve put into creating my one-off, custom bokken. It is simply magical and will be respected accordingly.

    As stated in another review, one slice with this bokken unleashes the infusion of Ki you have etched into it. One need only send intention out the tip and watch it glide into place. Thanks again for keeping this rare Japanese woodworking craft alive, and to my generous student Mitchell Wu for this splendid New Year’s surprise!

    To those hesitant re. value over price, I will add that there’s nothing more costly than buying cheap.

    Enjoy your path,

    Founder KaizenTao

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