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
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.
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.
Our Story – Who are we ? Where are we coming from ?
And where are we going to ?
Our story began in the summer of 2005, when the founder of BudoExport and Seido, Jordy, arrived in Japan. 19 years of age at the time and without university degree, he devoted one year to intensive Aikido practice before enrolling in a three year study course focusing on Japanese and Japanese culture in France and Japan. During those years, he continued to spend much of his time in different Dojos, also getting into Kendo and Judo.
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
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.
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.
The Sashiko fabric, also called “rice grain” fabric in the west is the core of the Keikogi (Kimono) manufacturing and is worn in Aikido, Judo and also Kendo. Although there are many prestigious designers worldwide, there are only a few artisans who are capable of weaving a high quality Sashiko fabric. In this article we will open the doors to Seido’s partner workshops, the only two workshops in the world to master the entire production line from weaving to sewing, to show you how your Keikogi is made.
Comparative: How to choose your Aikido Gi (Kimono)
The different Seido models
Choosing a Dogi is not a simple task, especially if you are a beginner. Light-, standard-, heavy-weight, traditional cut, modern cut, original cut: There are many models and choosing the one that best suits you does not only depend on the thickness of the fabric! Here we will discuss the different Seido models, fully representative of all the existing “Made in Japan” Aikido Gi. However, low-end Dogi made outside of Japan are not to be part of the topic.
Enjoying the quiet summer months, we travelled across Japan to visit the officially recognized workshops manufacturing wooden weapons in Japan: “Aramaki Budogu Mokojo”, “Nidome Bokuto Seisakujo“, “Horinouchi Noboru Seisakujo” and “Matsuzashi Bokuto Seisakujo”. These last four companies fabricating wooden weapons are all located in “Miyakonojo”, a small town on the peninsula of Kyushu (southern Japan), enclosed by two mountain ranges. In this article we will show all the steps of the making of a Bokken, guided through by an artisan of the workshop Aramaki Bokuto Mojojo, led by master Aramaki Yasuo, the 3rd.