Review by Nathan Scott Sensei

Thank you to Sensei Nathan Scott for his time and efforts on our behalf and for his permission to use the article on our website. We have included only the text portion of the review. To see the entire review with all of the original pictures included check here. Please be sure to visit the Tsuki Kage Dojo website.

June 22, 2000

"Mugen Dachi Company" Tatami Omote Review

Shortly after responding to a preliminary market survey regarding the prospective importation of tameshigiri grade tatami omote (6' X 3' woven tatami sheets, used to cover tatami floorboards) into North America, the "Mugen Dachi Company", owned by Mr. Jim Alvarez and Mr. David Wilson, approached me requesting a written review of the makiwara (target) quality and performance.

Concurrently, Mr. Wilson rushed me 20 complimentary makiwara (I had committed to buying a box anyway, but there's no sense in turning down free targets!) to use for testing as I saw fit. Friday June 9th, an associate Mr. Howard Quick (Shinkendo Australia) and myself prepared the shipment of makiwara in accordance with the target preparation instructions found on the Mugen Dachi web page.

Preparation of makiwara:

* 6 - Full mats (single stand)
* 6 - Half mats
* 5 - Full mats (dotangiri)
*1 - 6 full mat target wrapped around an approx. 1.5" diameter (4" circumference) dense mosodake bamboo core.

The mats were then bundled together, placed in a tub and weighted down completely submersed (to ensure thorough, even saturation). Soaking time was approximately 6-7 hours, which is a little on the short side normally, but generally adequate for cutting (this amount of time is recommended for MDC's new mats). It is worth mentioning that some mats that are over soaked become soft and soggy, which in turn *reduces* the resistance to cutting (the targets become considerably softer than flesh, which is what it the mats are supposed to replicate) and allows even some poorly executed cuts to successfully pass through. Conversely, an undersoaked target will be overly resistant, and if cut dry will be nearly impossible to cut. Proper preparation of traditional targets is therefor an important part of practicing tameshigiri/shizan.

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