We do not have to get nervous about these at the beginning of our kendo history.
We just have to be careful with those martial arts shops that sell some funny weird keikogi and hakama.
Since kendo is not very well-known, people don't know what keikogi and hakama should look like.
That is why we should be very careful when buying kendo equipment off the Internet.
Don't go for the cheapest but "REASONABLE" price.
Navy Blue or White Keikogi and Hakama?
Thoese kendo equipment seems less important than bogu but they can cause some troubles.
Stick to the tradition and majority. That is the safest when you start anything new.
Go for navy blue keikogi and hakama. Not White.
If you wear navy blue keikogi and hakama you will cause no troubles. But if you wear white ones then some people will not like the way you look.
It is because some people think that the white keikogi and hakama are for "special" use while others promote them since we can see it right away whenthey get dirty.
Some think white keikogi and hakama are for female even though it is not true. Women tend to wear white ones and cause lesstrouble by wearing the white ones as men. That is all.
When I was a kid, I started training with keikogi with a pattern called the musashi pattern.
I think this is for kids. I am saying it through my experience but I have never seen Japanese adults wearing a keikogi with the musashi pattern.
If you are an adult beginner, buy navy blue keikogi and hakama. You cannot go wrong with them.
Kids up to 10 years old can still wear a keikogi with the musashi pattern. Again I am talking through my experience here.
Why up to 10 years old? It is because that age was when I said good bye to the musashi pattern and started wearing a navy blue keikogi and hakama.
Cotton VS Polyester
Nowadays, we have a keikogi called a jersey keikogi. The material used is the same or similar to the polyester of normal athletic training wear. This keikogi has been popular in Japan especially for summer.
We should have cotton keikogi and hakama. However, the color will come off as you wash.
It is OK to wear color-faded keikogi and hakama at training but not at tournament or grading because kendo sees elegance as an important part of human development.
Thus, even though it is OK to wear color-faded keikogi and hakama at training, they should not be too washed off or worn out.
We have to look clean and neat.
Cotton ones are pricey. So I suggest buying polyester ones especially at the beginning.
When We do Not Wear the Polyester Ones
3rd dan and above can also wear polyester ones but we have to know when NOT to wear them.
It is like daily life. When you go to a formal party, you know you should be formal. You would not wear a T-shirt and jeans.
If you hold a dan, you do not want to wear polyester ones at
- tournament- grading- when you go and train at different dojo- when you host a training session with other dojo
At special occasion, we had better avoid wearing polyester ones.
When you become the 1st dan or shodan, you probably want to add cotton keikogi and hakama to your clothing selection.
[[How to Avoid Losing Color Coming soon]]
A Set of Kendo Armour or Bogu
We call a set of armour bogu in Japanese. Bogu means protectors.
These kendo equipment includes a mask or men, hand guards or kote, body protector or do and thigh protectors or tare.
Needless to say, they are all important since we have to protect our body well. Therefore, we want to choose good bogu.
However, at the beginning of your kendo life, it is not necessary to buy US$5,000 bogu at all.
Once we get better, we move on to a better set of bogu gradually.
I know many people want to buy a fancy kendo equipment. Again I say, Stick to the tradition.
For example, you should not buy a shiny do with a cool drawing on it.
Sure, these kendo equipment look cool but they are not for beginners.
What is important when we buy a bogu at the beginning is the size. We do not want to have a bogu too big or too small.
If it is too big, it does not protect you well.
If it is too small, it does not protect you well.
The size has to be right for you.
Every bogu shop tells you how to measure.
When you order your kendo equipment such as bogu, keikogi and hakama, you should follow their instructions on how to measure your size.