Monday, October 10, 2011

Follow-Up to a Couple Earlier Posts

Back in July, I briefly mentioned using baby powder to keep my hands from sticking to my naginata when I'm sweaty.  I used to keep regular loose baby powder in a little vial, but that sometimes made a mess on my hakama (pants).  Someone in my Naginata club then showed me that baby powder comes in compact (solid) form.  I ordered some from, but you can also find it elsewhere.  It's much less messy!

I also finally bought myself a second gi (uniform).  And to confirm what I wrote in my previous post, size 4 hakama do indeed fit me better than size 5.  and a size 2 keiko-gi (top) also fits fine, although I might be able to go even smaller!

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!