View Full Version : Cotton or Polyester ?

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02-19-2002, 06:49 AM

I'm about to buy my first hakama soon (hopefully) and I have a hard time figuring out if a polyester or cotton hakama is best for aikido. I have little time during the week and only limited funds which point towards the polyester which is often less expensive and easy to maintain. However I usually prefer cotton over polyester when it comes to other types of clothing, and cotton does seem more 'natural' to me.

Which are the most durable ? Are cotton hakamas a pain to handle with regards to washing and folding ? Are poly-hakamas to warm and 'slippery' ?

Any thoughts ?

I've been looking at the Tozando AH-500 (polyester) and AH-300 (poly/rayon). Does anybody know these products by experience ?

Any help apreciated...

02-19-2002, 07:13 AM
Hi there!
Some of your questions may be answered in the above link.

02-19-2002, 07:40 AM
One word - tetron.

A little more expensive - but worth it.

02-19-2002, 07:43 AM
Thank's Sarah

Actually I was looking for that thread, but couldn't find it, so it was nice of you to point it out. However on rereading the whole thing I have come to think that it would be nice to revive it, since I would really like to hear what 'momentrylapse' has experienced with his hakama and what Keith would reply to the question from Chris Owen.

If anybody knows these guys pleas incourage them to take a look at the posts and continue the discussion.

Any other experiences would be gratefully accepted.

02-19-2002, 07:45 AM
Originally posted by PeterR
One word - tetron.

A little more expensive - but worth it. Thank's Peter!

Can you recommend a good place to get a tetron hakama ? and uhmmm.. what exactly IS tetron ? :D

02-19-2002, 08:12 AM
Originally posted by JJF
Can you recommend a good place to get a tetron hakama ? and uhmmm.. what exactly IS tetron ? :D
It's a synthetic material, light, breaths well, and keeps those pesky folds much better than cotton.

I got mine from a friend who just happens to import from Japan - very happy with what I got.


Do a google search on tetron hakama (I just did) and that site and several others also come up.

Keith R Lee
02-19-2002, 08:40 AM
Still going strong with my cotton Hakama. Yes I have the type you listed in you post above. It holds its pleats well and is very durable. The extra stiching and reenforcement at the seams is great. It is definitely warmer and heavier than a polyester hakama if that matters to you. I only have one complaint in regards to the hakama but I think it is rather inevitable. If you practice lots of suwari waza (I do) then the portion of the hakama where it is against your knees teds to get worn and fade more quickly than polyester hakamas. Within 8-10 months of having the my cotton hakama the knee area was starting to look worn. Now that portion of my hakama has a slightly faded look to it where as the rest is still solid black.

That being said, I still prefer the cotton hakama. I put on a polyester one about a month ago and I just felt naked. The cotton adds a good bit of weight and thickness and I prefer that feeling. I think its a matter of personal preference as to whether you want a hakama that is light (polyester) or heavy (cotton). Plus nothing looks as good as a nice clean pressed cotton hakama.

I have never heard of this tetron before though. It may be worth checking out. Sounds interesting, but maybe to light for me.

02-19-2002, 06:32 PM
To the best of my knowledge, tetron is polyester. It's a trade name used by Teijin, I believe. Polyester has been marketed under the names of terylon, dacron, etc...

Although I wear polyester hakama (check out the ones from Iwata), I have to admit that you can't duplicate the look of indigo-dyed cotton.

If you take a look at the Mugendo Budogu site, you will notice a top grade indigo-dyed cotton hakama that has been treated in such a way as to be colorfast:


For the indigo dye to be color fast, typically you will need a "fixing agent" of some kind; some fixing agents are supposed to work because they form a thin film on the fabric, thus improving rubfastness. I figure this would be about the only way to improve indigo's rubfastness. In most cases, this will change the handle, or feel, of the fabric. Just wondering if someone has one of these, or whether the esteemed Budo Bum can tell us more about these hakama.


02-21-2002, 01:52 AM
Thank's everybody. I'm even more confused now - but at a much higher level :) Kind of resembles my aikido after a seminar.... :D

If nobody else adds something to this discussion, then I guess I'll go for the Tozando polyester hakama. It's affordable, and I am concidering getting an iaito from them as well. Perhaps I'll also try to hem up my old homemade cotton kendo-hakama to se if it'll do for Aikido. Not very pleased with the way it fit's though, and it is awfully heavy, but it might be good during the winter when the singlelayer windows of the dojo seems to let the heat out but keep the humidity in.....

See you all

03-03-2002, 08:07 AM
Well i bought my first hakama and proper hard gi from Hombu itself. It was kind of a reward to getting my black belt;). All part of the experience. If you can get your hands on the Iwata brand if u ever do visit Japan, by all means do so. I think you can order it too. Mine is the synthetic kind and it holds up great and i seldom wash it and it's still in great condition. Don't know if it's polyester but the pleats hold after industrial washing, the colour is still there and it's just a marvel to use.

Check out their solid gis too! I roll on concrete with it and it works like a charm. Just thought it would be nice to voice an alternative.

Peter Boylan
03-10-2002, 12:06 PM
Hi John,

I've just started visiting here. I'll try t answer your question about the color treatment on the cotton indigo hakama. The manufacturer is Meirin Sangyo, the top budo clothing manufacturer in the Kansai region of Japan (that's the Kyoto/Osaka/Nara area). This particular treatment is a relatively new process for treating the hakama, and Meirin is quite secretive about it. I will say that it doesn't have a filmy texture like I have encountered on some colorfast garments.

For all that, I find that I personally much prefer the tetron (which is less than half the cost of the top grade hakama). Tetron is the comercial name for a particular polyester blend. The tetron doesn't develop the shiny, stretched out knees nearly as quickly as cotton. I've been doing iaido (which is tons of suwariwaza) in my tetron hakama for 3 years and it's just beginning to show up on the knees. On the other hand, my cotton hakama all show the wear in the knees within a few months.

The real reason I prefer the tetron though is the incredible ease of care. It holds it's pleats beautifully without having to be ironed after every second practice. It doesn't develop wrinkles like cotton does. I can even wash it several times before it needs to be ironed to touch up the pleats. With my cotton hakama, they MUST be ironed after every washing, and if it comes unfolded in my bag, it needs another ironing. The tetron hakama looks great even if it has been tossed in the bag and left for a week (I know some people that have done this).

On the other hand, for uwagi, please make mine cotton. In a hakama, the fact that synthetic fabrics don't breath isn't a problem, since hakama are so loose. But for uwagi, I love cotton, even if it does require a little extra care.

Peter "the Budo Bum" Boylan

03-12-2002, 03:10 AM
Ah, a reply from the man himself. Thanks, Peter. You should drop by more often, as should some of the others from Aikido-L. Went no-mail there, since trying to follow the threads on Aikido-L made my brain explode... :dead:


03-18-2002, 04:27 AM
Okay! Just to wrap the whole thing up. I finally decided on a Aikikai hakama (from the local supplier). It's black - it's 35% cotton and 65% polyester - it's quite expensive - and it's the only option available within my short time frame.

By the way: it's a size 28 and it goes down to about 1 cm above the floor - that is when I push my hip forward the right way. It actually sweeps the floor when I don't, so I guess I'm in for a lot of falling during next weeks seminar - sigh :D Perhaps I'll just talk my wife into hemming it up a wee bit ;)

Thank you for all your answers !