Varnishing, oil polishing, storage, repair and quality standards
Proper maintenance and correct storage of wooden weapons is crucial for two reasons. The first and most important one: security. The second, no less important for the practitioner, is to prevent the weapon from deterioration and warping over time. It is also possible to “repair” a bent weapon to some extent. In this article, we will also talk about our quality standards and processes. You will find all the information you need in this article to take care of your Bokken, Jo, Tanto and other weapons.
Polishing wooden weapons before shipment, at Seido
Aizome – Japanese Indigo on Martial Arts Equipment
Visit to the Nogawa workshop – From the leaf to the Hakama
Aizome dyeing, indigo blue, also known as “Japanese blue”, is a traditional dyeing since the dawn of time. It has long been used in many fields: for working clothes, decorative fabrics to samurai garments and armors. Nogawa Masatoshi, 3rd generation, welcomes us in his studio and introduces to us the traditional indigo as the Nogawa workshop has been making it since 1914.
Indigo Fabric Manufacture for Kendogi at the Nogawa workshop
Clarifications on the origin of the character “Bu” “武”
The background of a false interpretation or the meaning of Budo/Bujutsu/Bushido
In Asia as in the West, we often speak of the first Kanji of “Budo” (武道), the “Bu” (武), meaning “stopping the spear”.
This is an interpretation that dates back almost to the origin of Budo, that aimed to draw the picture of peaceful martial arts, ignoring historical facts. Let’s go back to the origins of the term to determine its true meaning.
A few month ago, I spoke about wooden weapons from the perspective of traditional craftsmanship. The Bokken will still take the center of this article, but this time, I would like to change the angle and talk about how the choice of the Bokken influences the practice itself. However, I do not presume to give any advice whatsoever. I myself am just an ordinary practitioner and made my own choice that I stand by. I simply want to share with you some observations based on experience of practice, but above this, on a large experience regarding the weapons themselves. The advice and choice of your teacher however, are indisputable and my observations reflect only my personal view, based on my personal experience. There is just one thing I would like to clarify: I practiced at least a few hours with all the Bokken that I mention in this article.
From top to bottom: Keishi Ryu, Iwama Ryu, Jiki Shinkage Ryu
Choosing ones Hakama is often a complex decision. Is this your first Hakama or do you have some experience already? Which fabric corresponds best? What kind of finish? What quality at what price? We will try to answer these questions in this article by presenting the different types of fabric, the different finishes, how to choose your size and discussing the price range for each model.
The Questionable Origin of the Majority of Martial Arts Clothing
Moral Arrangements We All Make When Facing this Sad Truth
As Budoka, most of us feel having moral values superior to those only practicing “sports”, we like to believe that we are better. Are you—as Budoka—more concerned by human conditions and human rights? Are you concerned with the origin of the products you buy and wear? Take your Dogi, your belt and have a look at the label. Pakistan? Bangladesh? China? Japan? Let us examine under what conditions your equipment is manufactured.
Child labor in a textile factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Source : Zoriah.net
Many practitioners choose their Aikido belt by chance, one takes what one finds. This may work out, at least for a certain time. However, white belts usually start falling apart after one or two years of practice, black belts are often too thick and uncomfortable under a Hakama. So how to choose one’s belt? Here is the answer to this question.