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  • Can you just buy a Hakama or does your Sensei have to tell you its ok, as with the Bo

    Does your Sensei have to give you permission to wear the Hakama (and the other part... Keikogi) as he does with the Bogu?

    Maybe this is a silly question, but I was just wondering. Plus I am bored and I want to think of Kendo things.

  • #2
    IN our dojo the dont want you to wear tha hakama for the first 12 sessions so they can look at your feet and your form, for the 2nd set of 12 week session they recomend it at that time not sure what its liek with other dojos

    E

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    • #3
      It depends on the dojo. Ask your sensei. It's practical (after a little while you might have a better sense of whether you want to get cotton or tetron) and it shows respect for his instruction and the institutional norms (he might say "you aren't ready with your footwork so please wait" or "we usually ask beginners to wait until the 12th week" or something like that).

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      • #4
        Not a silly question at all, in fact it's asked more often than you think. As jjcruiser said, every dojo is different. Some I've been to don't allow beginners to wear hakama and gi until the sensei is confident that their footwork is consistently good, which results in some beginners getting them faster than others even if they started at the same time. Others allow their beginners to get their hakama and gi even before their footwork is decent.

        This is just my opinion so take from it what you will, but I would personally wait until your Sensei gives you permission. I really don't like the idea of a beginner just buying anything they want before they're ready because to me that says the individual thinks they're a better judge of when they're ready than the sensei. For example, if a beginner who has only been to two or three weeks worth of practice and comes in and says, "look at the bogu I bought," I would look at them and wonder why they thought it was ok to do that and politely tell them that it would be advisable to send it back. Additionally, your sempai and sensei have been at this much longer than you have so they could advise you on what to get, from who, what things to pay attention to, and why. It would also keep you from spending more than is necessary (buying the wrong thing, sending it back, and buying the correct item, etc).

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ShinKenshi View Post
          For example, if a beginner who has only been to two or three weeks worth of practice and comes in and says, "look at the bogu I bought," I would look at them and wonder why they thought it was ok to do that and politely tell them that it would be advisable to send it back. Additionally, your sempai and sensei have been at this much longer than you have so they could advise you on what to get, from who, what things to pay attention to, and why. It would also keep you from spending more than is necessary (buying the wrong thing, sending it back, and buying the correct item, etc).
          Well actually I probably would have just bought a hakama and such right away (not the bogu though) if not for this forum. Why? Because, in most other MA, thats what they want, thats what's expected. It has nothing at all to do with how skilled you are or whatever. In fact, in other MA (that I've looked into anyway(, its more respectful (at least I think so) to get stuff so that you don't stick out.

          I would never have thought of it that way, you know. It does make sense, though, because it is harder to see a persons feet. Who knows, maybe I'm wrong, but the other dojos in other MAs I've been to wanted you to get their uniforms or gis or whatnot as soon as you were able to.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MartialArtsGirl View Post
            Well actually I probably would have just bought a hakama and such right away (not the bogu though) if not for this forum. Why? Because, in most other MA, thats what they want, thats what's expected. It has nothing at all to do with how skilled you are or whatever. In fact, in other MA (that I've looked into anyway(, its more respectful (at least I think so) to get stuff so that you don't stick out.

            I would never have thought of it that way, you know. It does make sense, though, because it is harder to see a persons feet. Who knows, maybe I'm wrong, but the other dojos in other MAs I've been to wanted you to get their uniforms or gis or whatnot as soon as you were able to.
            Two possibilities I can think of, one of which is quite negative but does happen. The first possibility is if it's a McDojo, they want your money. The second possibility is that kendo relies so heavily on footwork that it is extremely important to make sure you get it right from day one, not to mention hakama make your feet much harder to see than pants for judo, karate, etc. If your footwork is not good, then everything else falls apart before it can even begin.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MartialArtsGirl View Post
              Who knows, maybe I'm wrong, but the other dojos in other MAs I've been to wanted you to get their uniforms or gis or whatnot as soon as you were able to.
              At least in the US, most of those dojos are business oriented and they want you to buy the gear because they're the ones selling it. Plus, there's no good reason not to, the karate-gi is practical and doesn't in any way hinder the ability of the sensei to judge your posture/footwork etc.

              If your dojo is like ours, beginners go through roughly an 8 week session wearing just comfortable clothing and you'll likely stand out more by getting your gear sooner.

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              • #8
                you don't have to invest in uniform right away, especially when you are tight on $. just wear comfortable clothes, and they won't force absolute beginners to buy them either. but it is something to keep in mind, eventually someone will tell you that you should get the keikogi and hakama. learning to put on the hakama could be fun. it's more fun learning to fold it...but most Ken Zen members just hang their uniforms in the change room.

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                • #9
                  Some martial arts require a uniform, like judo - you just can't do it in street clothes. Others attach a rank to the uniform. For example, in some aikido dojo beginners start wearing judogi, and then they are allowed to wear hakama when yudansha. There are some kendo dojo that require you to wear a white keikogi as a mudansha. Stuff like that. So it's best to ask.

                  In our dojo, we wait for a couple of months and then do a bulk order. So the beginners benefit two ways - we can better watch their footwork in the early days, and they get a good deal on the uniform (this year they saved more than 20% considering our bulk discount and the combined shipping). If anyone comes in with a uniform they've bought or been given, we just ask them to put off wearing it until the rest of the beginners get their uniforms.

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                  • #10
                    Our dojo is not as fortunate as Neil's to have a whole group of beginners start together. We attract one or two individuals at infrequent intervals and work with them that way. There is no requirement to wear gi or hakama from the outset. In fact we ask them not to. We let them know up front that they can expect to wear kendo-gi (and bogu much later) when their individual level of competency is appropriate for it. We need to see their footwork and assess progress before they cover their legs with a hakama. The uniform and bogu eventually become a practical necessity - they are not an early requirement.

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                    • #11
                      Just ask your senpai what the policy is at Zen Ken, if that's where you've decided to go.

                      It really does vary by dojo to dojo; I never bothered to ask since I trusted my sensei from the start. For example, I was told to get a hakama after my fourth practice session, then told that I should start wearing bogu on the 15th session, about a month after I started doing kendo. From what I've heard on the forums and from looking around the internet, it seems like that's incredibly fast by US standards.

                      The kid who started a session after me and missed a bunch of sessions started wearing a hakama about two sessions ago and bogu in the last one. He asked the sensei about bogu and hakama constantly after every single session.

                      Some of the kids in my dojo said that it took them about two months to start wearing bogu.

                      So even in the same dojo, it can vary.


                      In any case, after you get your hakama, it's another thing to learn about; how to fold it properly and tie the himo (straps) as well... and if you've never worn one, you have to learn how to put it on.

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                      • #12
                        wow 2 months?? in our dojo it takes 6 to 9 months usually before you wear bogu sometimes up to a year

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by easye View Post
                          wow 2 months?? in our dojo it takes 6 to 9 months usually before you wear bogu sometimes up to a year

                          E
                          The two month figure being one of the longest I've heard locally.

                          Dojo practice is about seven hours a week, maybe a little more; if you're not in bogu, it's pretty much just one-on-one with sensei, who's a 7-dan.

                          As for me, I practice my footwork and suburi every day, which undoubtedly helps. I don't know what (if anything) the kids do outside the dojo.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by atgm View Post
                            The two month figure being one of the longest I've heard locally.

                            Dojo practice is about seven hours a week, maybe a little more; if you're not in bogu, it's pretty much just one-on-one with sensei, who's a 7-dan.

                            As for me, I practice my footwork and suburi every day, which undoubtedly helps. I don't know what (if anything) the kids do outside the dojo.
                            Our dojo practice is 5 hours a week and the cheif instructor is a 7th and we have a 6th also I dont think level of instruction has anything to do with it but we are a very traditional dojo and the instructors fear putting peopel in bogu too quickly which personaly I want to do things properly than be put in bogu and not know what I am doing. I also practice outside the dojo at home every day also

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                            • #15
                              When you get bogu is variable depending on the sensei. Each has their own bar you have to hurdle to get into bogu. Some do it rather quickly, others not. We tend to try to have our students have a good grip on footwork, kamae, basic men strikes and kirikaeshi before getting them into bogu. The amount of time that takes varies with the individual and how many hours per week they practice but I would say for most people it takes anywhere from 4-6 months before they are ready if they practice only 2-4 hours per week. We don't have any strict rules regarding hakama and gi but we generally tell them to wait at least a month or two before buying one.

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