View Full Version : Help buying a hakama
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12-09-2002, 08:14 PM
I have to get a hakama now and I have a few questions. First I need to figure out what material I want; cotton, polyester, blend. I really know nothing about the differences, I want a hakama that will last a long time and maintain the pleats well, and not wrinkle excessively. I realize that I would have to fold the hakama to maintain it but at the same time I want the fabric to be working for me.
The second question that I am trying to figure out is where to get the hakama. I think I will get it from Tazando but have also looked at Bujin. If anyone has a hakama form Taznado I would love to hear if you like it. I am looking to spend around (hopefully less) than $150.00
Thanks for your help
12-09-2002, 09:39 PM
The next time you make it to Battle Creek when sensei is in town ask if you can see his hakama. I'm pretty sure it's from Tozando and is polyester. I prefer the the cotton/polyester blends. Good mix of durability and ease of maintenance. Personally I'd stay away from all cotton hakama (ironing them can be a pain :disgust: ) I and few others in Battle Creek haven't really been that happy with our latest Bujin hakama. I can't really pin it down on anything specific...they just don't fit right. Not to mention that the traditional koshita is really thick and not all that much fun to be rolling over.
I've decided that in the future I will be getting mine from a local kendo instructor/martial arts supplier (http://kendo.nscl.msu.edu/battlecreek/) in Battle Creek. I figure that if I'm going to spend $100 on a poly/cotton hakama from Bujin and then have to have it altered to fit right, I may as well spend $60 locally on a poly/cotton hakama and then have it altered.
See ya tomorrow,
12-09-2002, 11:00 PM
I don't see why anyone buys a hakama for Aikido with a traditional koshita. The soft ones from Bujin are very comfortable to roll on. Also, unless you have a big belly, the extended front panel is nice. I got my recent one in the lightest, cheapest weight, and am pleased with it. I don't understand why people get thick, heavy gi tops and hakama - to me that's just a bunch of extra bulk and weight to get in my way. I'd rather just repair holes or buy new ones more frequently.
12-10-2002, 03:45 AM
Well, I have a cotton polyester blend and it feels ok to me. It is strong and durable, takes about 4 to 5 year of daily training to wear through (That is, after about 2 year I check the hakama and reinforce some parts, mainly the koshiita and himo. After about 4 to 5 years the knees will be so thin they will tear hororably)
I'd agree with Kevin - get a cheap one that is comfortable to train in (I find the cheap polyester one OK). The heavier ones can fold easier and look better, but they are often very hot. I'd rather have comfort in training and spend more time ironing/folding.
12-10-2002, 06:08 AM
Hmmnn, my old Iwata hakama is at least 7 years old and is just now wearing at the knees. I love that hakama, and don't wear my poly blend much at all (unless it is really hot). The indigo hakamas are very durable and last a long time. While they are expensive, sometimes you can pick up a good used one quite cheap.
What you prefer, is of course a personal preference.
Best wishes on this Marty
12-10-2002, 09:56 AM
I have hakama from:
Iwata- ($150..back in the day) I love it, but it is really old and beat up so it is my outdoor one now. It is the only one I would consider to be perfect.
Bujin Design ($108)- I just got it 2 months ago and it is really nice. I got the polyester. It wears pretty well. Pleats lay nice (not perfect, but passable)
Sei Do Kai ($90)- Nice soft feel, but, since it was designed by a sword group it is too short.
(Not that I'm an easy guy to fit at 6'2" 270lbs) The pleats never layed right.
Century ($40)- Cheap and fairly heavy. This is my sword and kendo hakama now. Never fit right and the pleats never layed right. Be sure to take the plastic piece out of the koshiita and replace it with something that won't stab you in the kidney :)
12-10-2002, 09:57 AM
While on the topic of Hakama..
I know it varies from dojo to dojo, but what level are you supposed to start wearing a hakama? Is this different between the sexes? If so, does anyone know why?
12-10-2002, 10:03 AM
Eric, loaded question!
Actually, there was a thread on that one not so long ago (somebody might want to look it up and give the thread, but I'm lazy). Basically, it does vary from dojo to dojo, and from organization to organization. The dojo from whence I originate wears hakama only at the dan levels, and also wear white belts all the way through, even dan grades.
Other dojos in the same organization have different guidelines as to when to wear hakama.
12-10-2002, 10:14 AM
I have a Bujin poly/cotton hakama and absolutely love it. Fit is very dependent on the measurements you provide Bujin. And as already mentioned, the "Aiki" koshita is nice (although I have the traditional koshita on my hakama).
The pleats have held very well. Of important note though, is to thoroughly soak the hakama before wearing it. My hakama had a lot of extra dye (black) on it that I didn't notice before putting it on. After removing the hakama for the first time, my dogi looked as though someone had sprinkled charcoal all over it. A few good tub soakings has eliminated this.
12-11-2002, 10:55 AM
Tetron looks/feels like cotton, keeps the pleats like polyester (rightly so, as it is) even after machine washing and wears like iron. It doesn't get shiny in the knees. The Iwata brand is the way to go but for your budget try mugendo budogu (http://budogu.com/) carries a tetron (http://budogu.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/page30.html) hakama.
P.S. I recently bought a 30 kan cotton hakama from Kiyota and love it inspite of the care it demands. I think it will only get softer and age better with time so it's worth it to me.
12-11-2002, 11:16 AM
What I'm looking for is a place to get unbleached, stiff canvas gi tops - the kind that seem like they are made out of the same stuff as mat covering material. I got several white ones from Kiyota a few years ago. They're pretty good, but a little short, and I want the off-white if I can get it.
12-11-2002, 11:17 AM
The Iwata brand is the way to go but for your budget try mugendo budogu carries a tetron hakama.
Good prices. Maybe I'll check them out the next time I need to order one. The only thing that worries me however is that the only size measurement is the length. I believe the really important measurement for pleated garments is the widdest point of your hips. As far as I could tell they don't offer different girth sizes.
I have an Iwata hakama was well and it's perfect. I think this is tetron (a friend bought it for me); it feels like cotton but keeps it's pleats very well is folded correctly. I've been using it since 1993 and so far the only complaint is a cracked koshita. Would anyone know how to properly replace a koshita? I'm worried about taking apart my hakama and not getting it back together again correctly.
I have a 100% cotton indigo hakama from Iwata (one of the lighter weight ones) and I like it. I don't wear it as often as my 100% cotton Bu Jin Design hakama, though, as the indigo tends to smurf me and the mat quite often.
Have you taken a look at the hakama people at your dojo wear? It's one way of at least getting to know what each hakama may look/feel like.
12-11-2002, 03:08 PM
I've read quite a few replies from people proclaiming the great Iwata hakama. My question (as a relative neophyte) is
what makes a hakama better than another?
wear and tear?
I have a bu jin blend navy with traditional koshita and I like it just fine. I am interested in the indigo-colourfast hakama. Do they really hold the indigo?
What makes the Iwata a better wear than, say, what I am wearing?
I was discouraged at first by their website - but I could be of changed mind armed with more information.
12-11-2002, 03:57 PM
for me it is the fit, feel and quality of the hakama which makes the Iwata stand out. I don't have any direct experience with BuJin or other indigo hakamas though, just the polyester ones. I really like my Iwata, and will be sad when I need to replace it (the knees need patching, maybe I can string it out a few years more that way).
12-11-2002, 08:01 PM
Depending upon what you like, I suggest you also consider a move in the other direction - assuming you have the 8 oz. twill fabric from Bujin. I used to have one of those, and this time I 'downgraded' to the cheaper 5 oz. duck and I find it much more comfortable and less cumbersome to train in. Those heavy cotton ones look cool, but - as they are significantly thicker and heavier than the 8oz. stuff - I can't imagine I would enjoy wearing one. It seems like it would feel like training in a snowmobile suit. The same goes for those wide-ass Bujin obi, too. Then again, I tie my hakama differently from everyone else I know, and like those stiff gi tops that most people can't stand as well...
12-12-2002, 10:28 AM
Thanks, Kevin & Rachel.
I think I'm on the flip side of you Kevin. I tend to like a lighter weight top and a more substantial hakama. I'm one of the bigger blokes in our dojo and the 8oz. doesn't really slow me down. In fact - I was thinking of going heavier because I tend to forget that the hakama is even there.
I do have a training partner who wears gi in the natural, unbleached cotton you're looking for. I'll try to get the info for you. It might take me awhile - I slithered into work with this cold but I don't think the leftover nyquil in my system would help me out any on the mat tonight.
Interested in trying out the aiki-koshita. Does anyone out there still wear hakama sword style - with the kind of 'bun' knot in the obi? I did for while but our mat is so hard that I was getting bruised bad.
still like to hear from anyone with one of the indigo colour fast hakama!
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