Sunday, October 2, 2011

Wearing Bogu (Armor) for the First Time

This post should actually be titled, "Wearing Bogu for the First, Second, and Third Times". I practiced in bogu for the first time two months ago, but the busy-ness that kept me from practicing also kept me from writing.

My first impression was that even borrowed bogu[1] isn't as uncomfortable as I was led to believe by reading about it online.  Though don't get me wrong, it is still uncomfortable!  And hot.  I'm secretly a little glad that I was too busy to practice during the hottest months of the year.

I was also surprised that I didn't notice the bars on the men (helmet) at all!  I assumed they would bother me, but they don't.

Now for the bad:

Until I wore bogu, I didn't realize just how much I rely on the tactile feedback of feeling the weight of my hand against my hip, etc. to gauge whether I am in the correct stance.  I can't feel any of that wearing bogu, and even worse, I can't look and see whether I'm in the correct stance because the men severely limits my range of vision.  Add to that the fact that you move a little differently wearing bogu than not[2] and everything happens much faster because you're less likely to be hurt or hurt others.  I can tell I'm not moving/standing correctly at all.  I feel like I need to relearn all the basics all over again in bogu.

The second really difficult thing is just that I can't understand Japanese as well when I (and the people I practice with) are wearing bogu.  The men muffles sound a little because it covers my ears.  And when others are wearing men, I can't see their lips and facial expressions as well, and when they're wearing kote (gauntlets), they don't gesture as much.

Wearing bogu definitely requires some adjustment.  I haven't gotten frustrated yet, but I until I become comfortable with it, practice won't be as fun as it used to be. :/


[1] most of my order from Chiba Budogu didn't arrive until last week and I'm still waiting to for my sune-ate (shin protectors) to arrive.

[2] to accommodate the bulk of it -- for example, my do (breastplate) makes my waist significantly larger!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kristin, I have enjoyed reading your blog for a while but have only just started to 'follow'. I began learning the Naginata just under a year ago, here in the UK. I certainly identify with the challenges you have talked about!! All the best.