How to Wrap a Katana Grip

Written by simone cole
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How to Wrap a Katana Grip
Most swords used in martial arts have wrapped grips. (Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Wrapping the grip of your katana -- a practice called tsukamaki, in Japanese -- is important for both its beauty and function. A well-wrapped grip gives the katana a display-quality look. but it also improves usability because a wrapped grip makes the katana easier to grasp and wield. Whether for beauty or for function, wrapping the grip is easy and requires only basic materials. You may need to practice wrapping the grip a few times before you achieve the look you want.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Tsuka-Ito (sword handle wrap)
  • Katana

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Buy 4 yards of Ito (sword wrap). This can usually found at a local martial arts store or online. If Ito tape is not available, hockey tape can be used instead. If the katana is for decoration only or is being used as a costume prop, you can use coloured ribbon.

  2. 2

    Find the middle of the 4 yards of Ito. Position it under the handle, just beneath the hilt. Wrap the Ito around the top of the handle three times. Adjust the Ito as you go so that the ends stay even. Tighten.

  3. 3

    Fold the two long tails of Ito over each other so that they form a loose "x" just beneath the triple-wrap. Take each tail of the "X" and wrap it behind the katana. Continue wrapping until both of the tails come back toward you.

  4. 4

    Once both of the tails return to the front, twist the tails around each other (either one or two full twists). Pull the tails until they are taught. Adjust the Ito so that the twist remains in the middle of the handle.

  5. 5

    Repeat Steps 3 and 4. Form another loose "x". Pull the two tails of the "X" back around the katana grip, making sure the Ito stays flat. When they are pulled back toward the front, twist them around each other. Pull until taught.

  6. 6

    Repeat this until you reach the end of the katana grip. Make sure each twist is lined up with the middle of the handle. When you reach the end, make two or three flat wraps and then knot tightly.

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