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
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.