View Full Version : Makiwara Board

22nd December 2008, 21:04
Okay, If anything you can all enjoy this and have a good laugh at my expense. A few months ago I built a Makiwara board in the backyard. I used a redwood 4x4. Last week I overheard some people talking about kicking theirs. I had never heard of that but what the heck i'll give it a shot. Sure enough one front kick and it snapped like a twig. So for Christmas i get to build another.
Now I have two questions.
Did I use the wrong wood and is that why it broke so easy?
and or
Were these guys who were saying they were kicking their Makiwara bords just full of it?

Andrew S
22nd December 2008, 21:14
Oh, I wish I was allowed to build a makiwara board.

It sounds like the timber you were using was not elastic enough. They say that too flexible is better than not flexible enough.

As for kicking the makiwara, that seems to be a fairly common practice.

Ask someone who has made one about the timber they used.

23rd December 2008, 19:13
How did you do the base? I have put some in concrete and they snapped on me. I have found that if the board is a little loose in the ground it tends to do better. If you go back to the old drawings and stuff you will see that they are using round timber to hold it in place and just packing the dirt around it. That has always been how I have made them.

Oh yeah I also use treated oak on mine as well. The idea of the makiwara isn't for it to be really stiff but a little flexible. You want it to whip back when you hit it so your hand will take the impact. If it's to still it will snap, if it's to loose it will be worthless. So getting it just right can be difficult sometimes.

Before I forget if you do go to make it like the old drawings with the round wedges, I made my wedges about 18" across, my first one is about 3' down, and the second one is about 8 inches below the ground surface. I also used a dirt packer to compact the ground around it.

Hope this helps.


24th December 2008, 00:55
This is almost exactly how I did it.
I did not use gravel and the base had a little play in it.
It broke at the base where the board met the dirt. The post was about 2.5 to three foot in the ground.
The edges were not rounded but I would be interested in how to do that, or how to make it as traditional as possible. It was great to hit and I don't think my kick is that awesome that it should break on me and not for others.
I did put two 1x4 cross members in just as shown in the link I posted.

24th December 2008, 18:15
That looks like a good design. The only thing I can think of is maybe the wood itself was bad. I have had a few of the 2x4 ones snap on me and they always snap right at the base. I would say try again but use something like treated oak. I have had much better results with that wood than anything else.

You know some of the old school makiwara didn't appear to be much more than a pad on a tree. If you look for Mas Oyama pics you can see what I'm talking about.

Sorry I can't be much more help, good luck with your Makiwara and happy holidays.


Joseph Svinth
25th December 2008, 03:14
See also http://www.24fightingchickens.com/2005/09/29/all-about-makiwara/ .

Todd Lambert
25th December 2008, 09:15
Some photos and a description of how one branch of an Okinawan school built theirs.


25th December 2008, 16:37
Some photos and a description of how one branch of an Okinawan school built theirs.


I've never seen a hanging Machiwara. Thats pretty cool. I might have to add building one of those to my to do list.

Benkei the Monk
2nd March 2009, 22:26
In your experience what is the best wood for making a makiwara?

I have to make one for a friend of mine and I think to use pine or fir

3rd March 2009, 01:33
Okinawans use a type of beach to make their machiwara.

Todd Lambert
3rd March 2009, 22:38
A lot of nice beaches on Okinawa.

Todd Lambert
3rd March 2009, 23:02
Oops! Forgot the 'wink' emoticon...

James is right. Japanese beech (wood) is normally used. Here's another link that may interest some.


4th March 2009, 00:37
doh. Me should read my English more gooder. Or at least write when I haven't had a few.