How often does the armor/bogu need to be replaced?
I've been training with my university's Kendo club for about a month now and so far, I'm pretty sure that I want to continue practicing Kendo. I am curious though (since the bogu is so expensive) to how often the bogu needs to be replaced and when would you know? Many thanks!
Thank you for your question. There are some times that you have to replace your bogu.
1. When you are grow out of it
2. When they are damaged
3. When you have become more advanced
1. Unless you are a still growing child, you do not have to worry about this. But if you are still growing, you should change your armour as you grow, of course.
2. This is also obvious. Kote is the one it wears out quickly. It will have holes. Usually we can patch up those holes. If you are lucky to have a bogu shop that repairs bogu then you should bring your kote to the shop and they will fix your kote. If not, you may have to send your kote to a shop that does repairing.
I think there is a kote repair kit sold at e-bogu.com but not sure. When it comes to the point that patching does not do anything good anymore, then you should get a new pair of kote.
3. Kendo uniform and armour have levels of formality. You certainly do not want to look bad when you go to a tournament and promotion exam. You are not required to have the most expensive ones at the beginning so don't worry.
But as you advance, your bogu should also get better. Maybe once you become 3-dan, you should consider to get a better bogu. When you become 5 or 6-dan, you should consider getting another set of armour. You will have 6 years to challenge your 7-dan exam so before that you may want to have another set of armour. Of course, you can keep the old ones for your daily training. It is always good to have spare bogu especially in summer.
Hope this helps.