View Full Version : Obi wear, band OK?
8th August 2002, 02:19 AM
In Steven Harwood's second installment on breathing in Kendo World 1.2, he mentions (p.62):
"Baba Kinji (kyoshi 7th dan) [who] advocates a return to the wearing of obi - both as it provides a 'base' for the hakama and dogi, but also, and more importantly, that it emphasizes, both objectively and subjectively, the lower abdomen (seika-tanden). Professor Baba argues that wearing the obi is the first step towards moving and breathing from the abdomen - and so is very important in achieving correct technique."
Does anyone have experience regarding "the wearing of the obi"? What differences can be felt? Seen?
I actually own a budo obi from Tozando - about 20 feet long - but have refrained from mummifying my middle until I knew how to do it, or for that matter, why...
8th August 2002, 02:39 AM
I wear an obi almost always when I practise kendo .... it started because I segued from iaido keiko or shinkage-ryu keiko into kendo ..... now it just feels comfy ... without it I feel really loose around the middle!!!
Its also good for getting your hakama-himo in a good position (nrrrg .... I cant explain this). It can also help to straighten the back and giving you a feeling of tightness around the tanden area. Its also good for getting your keikogi to NOT wringle in the back.
Hang-on, that'll be the BASE bit you quoted from KW!
Any kyudoka out there? I am guessing the breathing aspect of obi-wearing is explained more in that dicipline????
Why dont you get someone to show you how to tie it and then just try it for a couple of weeks?
8th August 2002, 02:57 AM
So I guess you're not completely a "freedom advocate" as the phrase goes.
Keeping the back straight and focusing on the tanden are certainly positive results. Not to mention keeping the keikogi in place - particularly important for kata. However, if the obi is tight around the tanden, does it not interfere with filling up with air? From the pictures in Kendo World it seems to be worn a bit above the tanden...
As I no one in my dojo wears an obi, I'm not so sure that anyone would know how to wear one. Is this something that can be described without too much difficulty? Onegai shimasu.
Is your obi, like mine, thin and c. 7 meters long?
8th August 2002, 02:59 AM
I have always worn an obi for both kendo and iaido....I use an iaido obi from Bu Jin Design....it is about three to four inches wide and long enough to wrap around three times.....worn over the keikogi and under the hakama it helps to secure the keikogi and if your hakama has one of those plastic pieces in the back it is inserted into the obi.......wearing the obi tight not only secures the saya for iaido but also supports the back and abdomin.....worn below the naval brings more awareness to the hara and more control and awareness to your breathing....also helps in awareness of the use of the hips in your technique:confused:
10th August 2002, 01:35 AM
Originally posted by Jerry Wellbrock
...wearing the obi tight not only secures the saya for iaido but also supports the back and abdomin.....worn below the naval brings more awareness to the hara and more control and awareness to your breathing....also helps in awareness of the use of the hips in your technique:confused:
I'm wondering how tight? It seems that too tight would certainly shift awareness to the hara, but at what point would it impede putting breath there. Or is this one of those many paradoxes that we kendoka live with? A proper breath fills the hara and the sides and lastly one's lower back. How has your breathing changed using the obi - assuming that you are attempting to do as much as possible with a single breath?
10th August 2002, 02:42 PM
Originally posted by richard haly
I'm wondering how tight? It seems that too tight would certainly shift awareness to the hara, but at what point would it impede putting breath there.
Judgement call really. You want it to be firm, but not so tight that it hampers movement or breathing. I find that if I wear mine too tight, my kidneys begin to hurt after a while. I know a couple of iaidoka who have the same problem, but not sure if this is a common side-effect of wearing an obi too tightly.
I don't tend to wear an obi during kendo anymore, but when I did, I preferred a looser fit than for iai (where you need it to hold your saya). Again, it's a judgement call and a bit of experimentation will help you find out what works best for you.
11th August 2002, 01:55 AM
I used Obi sometimes because iaido practice was shortly before kendo practice.
I stopped wearing for two reasons. First, my Do was made to my measurements, so it fits perfectly in my abdomen, and with the Obi it gets a little too tight. Second, it was not confortable to have it tied tight in me for three hours in succession, so now I take it off before retying the hakama to begin kendo.
But I agree it gives a better support for the lower back and keeps the keikogi without wringles. but since I fight kendo with undies :D than I take to Obi off to have some of that freedom.
11th August 2002, 03:33 AM
In reply to obi wear and tightness.....an iaido obi is designed to go around the waist three times and then to be secured or tied....I keep mine where only one finger thickness will fit between the inner most layer of the obi and my keikogi....the reason for three wraps is to secure both swords if one is wearing a daisho...the wakizashi should be inserted between the inner and middle layers and the katana between the inner and outer layers......this holds both swords firmly in place, the inner layer keeps the wakizashi from rubbing against a sweaty keikogi and the middle layer keeps the two saya from rubbing against each other and causing wear and damage....I usually practice iaido before kendo practice and only wear a katana...I personally like the obi for kendo practice as it gives me additional back support...however you do feel a difference in freedom of movement until you get use to it....seems to make you feel hotter in the summer weather also....:cool:
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