I got a Bokken (wooden practice sword) from the Internet and there were two lengths available and I got the one that I thought was most similar to the cheap ones we have at the dojo.
BUT, once I pulled the Bokken out of the box I saw it was smaller that the others, just by an inch or so. But it feels great and the finish is beautiful.
I just hope I'm not jealous of the bigger Bokkens that the other guys have at the dojo. Hey, I'm comfortable in my own skin AND my smaller Bokken, I mean it gets the job done doesn't it?
Next to the Bokken is a very cheap Jo I found at a Martial Arts supply store locally.
The only thing of note was while we practice shomenuchi with the “Jo” Sensei had us exaggerate our body movement so we really sensed our center driving the motion. It was fascinating when you “accidentally” felt you were doing it right and you hear the “whoosh” of the Jo cutting through air. Plus he had us practice the shomenuchi strike in batches of 100, if you tried to use your muscles too much you actually become winded.
Shiba Sensei said he wanted to at least regularly practice with weapons once a month an perhaps twice a month and that we should bring our own weapons on those days.
I suppose getting your own Bokken, Jo and Tanto is one of the things that designate a commitment to the practice. It also brings to mind one of those things that crosses my consciousness from time to tim, “what is my level of commitment?”. I missed a full week because of home and work duties again, and in general my efforts are minuscule compared to a really dedicated Aikido student, but I keep on gong. Oh well...