The hakama is not meant to hide the footwork

The hakama is not meant to hide the footwork

The hakama: simple clothing of the nobility


The hakama serves to hide the movement of the feet in the practice of martial arts, and in Aikido in particular?

It is such a common explanation that it has almost become a truth for practically all practitioners. Unfortunately, it is false, and this is very easily demonstrated when we look at the history of this garment, how it was and how it still is worn in Japan.


Reconstruction of a ceremony in in the Kamakura period - The Kagami biraki (2017)

Reconstruction of a ceremony in in the Kamakura period – The Kagami biraki (2017)


Read more…
Rahel Bünzli April 5, 2017 4 comments Equipment Tags: ,

Bokken and Other Wooden Weapons Maintenance

Bokken and Other Wooden Weapons Maintenance

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

Polishing wooden weapons before shipment, at Seido

Read more…

Aizome – Japanese Indigo – From the leaf to the Hakama

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

Indigo Fabric Manufacture for Kendogi at the Nogawa workshop

Read more…

Clarifications of the origin of the character “Bu” “武”

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.


Kanji bu artistic calligraphy by sho.goroh.net

Kanji bu artistic calligraphy by sho.goroh.net


Read more…

Rahel Bünzli January 20, 2017 Post Comment Aikido, Equipment

How to Choose your Bokken – Case Studies & Advice

The choice of the Bokken

And how it influences the Aikido practice


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.


Koryu Bokken

From top to bottom: Keishi Ryu, Iwama Ryu, Jiki Shinkage Ryu


Read more…

Rahel Bünzli November 4, 2016 4 comments Aikido, Comparison (how to choose), Equipment

Embroideries on Martial Arts Equipment

Embroideries on Martial Arts Equipment

Embroidery Workshop & Translation Practices at Seido


Having one’s training’s cloths embroidered is the most common thing in Japan. However, westerners often know just little about this topic and some struggle with making the right choice. That is why in this article we are going to talk about embroidery content, show some common mistakes and give advice on how to avoid them and last but not least, explain how we make them at Seido.


Aikido equipment Embroidery

Embroidery on martial arts equipment

Read more…

How to choose your Hakama


Comparison: How to choose your Hakama

For all Aikidoka, Kendoka and Iaidoka!



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.


Cotton Indigo Hakama

Seido Aizome Cotton Hakama

Read more…

The Questionable Origin of the Majority of Martial Arts Clothing

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.

Travail enfant bangladesh

Child labor in a textile factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Source : Zoriah.net

Read more…

Iaito – Origin & Manufacture of the Japanese Sword Replica

The origin and manufacture of the Iaito, replica of the Japanese sword, the Katana

Visits to the workshops Minosaka and Jisei


The origin of the Iaito does not date back very far, to the 60s or so. The creation of this tool for practice was primarily driven by new laws and regulations, enacted after World War ll. Since then, with the experience of many trades in the manufacture of the Nihonto (Japanese sword), some Japanese craftsmen have developed an expertise, still unparalleled outside the archipelago.
We went to the region called Gifu to visit the workshops Minosaka and Nihon Token (Jisei), two of the most famous in Japan. Familiar with this topic for some years, we had many questions to ask – which we are summarizing here.


Iaito Minosaka

Read more…

Rahel Bünzli December 17, 2015 2 comments Craftsmanship Tags: , , , ,

How to choose your Aikido belt

How to choose your Aikido belt

A short guide


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.

White and Black Belt Seido - Soft

Soft belt Seido, available in black and white.

Read more…

Rahel Bünzli December 4, 2015 Post Comment Aikido, Comparison (how to choose), Equipment Tags:
1 2