Sword balancing is the process of properly adjusting the distribution of the weight of the sword so the sword moves smoothly and effortlessly in the practitioner’s hand.
I have yet to see an off-the-shelf, ready-made sword that is properly balanced. Even fairly expensive metal swords are, at best, only close to being balanced.
The widely available wooden swords are, on the one hand, the best choice for beginners, since they are inexpensive, fairly robust, and will not cut you when you inadvertently whack yourself in the head. However, they are so poorly balanced that they are almost impossible to use properly.
While balancing the sword is important for both the Dao (Broad Sword) and the Jian (Straight Sword) it is more important for the Jian because of the light, more delicate, techniques employed in using this type of sword.
What I suggest to my beginning students is to buy a wooden sword (with forward facing guards) and to either balance the sword by themselves or to pay me a moderate sum for a custom-made brass pummel to replace the sword's wooden one. Since the grip and pummel of most inexpensive wooden swords consist of a single piece of wood, I cut off the wood pummel and install the custom brass pummel with a secure screw mechanism.
Although sword balancing was not the reason I initially started metal working as a hobby, it has been very useful for this purpose. It enables me to custom make a pummel that is perfect for each sword and each student.
Contact me if you would like help balancing your sword.