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Chakuso - How to wear your Kendo equipment properly

  • Did you know that poor chakuso can make you look weak?
  • Did you know that good chakuso is required in order to pass Kendo examinations?
  • Did you know that bad chakuso prevents you from practicing Kendo properly?

Chakuso, the way to wear your equipment, is crucial in Kendo

In Kendo, one way in which kendoka judge their opponent's strength and skill is by how well they wear their equipment, this is known as chakuso.

If your kendo bogu, gi and hakama are not worn properly, you will begin training at a disadvantage. You will experience trouble with your freedom of movement, along with impaired vision. This will easily slow down your progress.

How you look to your opponent, as well as your mindset, is very important. If you don’t seem prepared, the opponent might think that you are weak and have a boost in their confidence.

It is not rare to see practitioners fail Kendo gradings due to poor chakuso.

Image of Kendo player wearing Men properly

For example, if the men is not your correct size, you won't be able to see your opponent clearly. As a result, you will be forced to lower your center of gravity to compensate and end up adopting a poor posture.

By doing this, you will find yourself leaning too far forward and not practicing with the correct form. This exposes the top of your head to your opponent, which can very painful if your opponent lands a strike.

Be sure to practice Kendo the way it is meant to be, and avoid picking up bad habits by wearing the proper gear the proper way.

Here are tips on how to wear your equipment properly and appear prepared - mentally and physically.

3 easy steps To achieve proper chakuso

1. Measure your size as accurately as possible

The first thing you need to bear in mind when purchasing Kendo gear is the sizing.

Measurement of the men (head) and kote (hands) are mandatory measurements when choosing your kendo armor.

A bogu made for you that fits perfectly is very important in Kendo.

  • Pair up with someone to help you measure yourself for more accuracy.
  • Balance is important, so make sure to measure yourself so that your bogu is not too tight and not too loose.
  • Your Kendo men should fit perfectly on the chin and around the head with no gaps in between.

Around the Chin:

How to measure your around-the-chin

Measure from the tip of your chin in front of your ears, and around the top of your head at the largest point.


How to measure your around-the-chin

Around the Forehead:

How to measure your around-the-forehead

Measure around your forehead, just above your ears


How to measure your around-the-forehead

Height of Eyeline:

How to measure your eye height

Measure the height of your eyeline by standing straight and measuring in-between the tip of your chin and your eyes.


Around the Palm:

How to measure your around-the-palm

Around the Base of the Fingers: Measure the base of the fingers from the space in-between your thumb and index finger whilst having your hand open and keeping your fingers together in a relaxed manner.


Palm Length:

How to measure your palm length

Measure the length of your Palm by measuring in-between the wrinkle at the start of your palm to the tip of your middle finger.


By following these guidelines, you can ensure your armour fits properly and are ready for training. Otherwise, if the size does not match, your men will shake during training: which will restrict your vision. If it is too tight it will be painful and your jaws may be too tight to open for proper kiai.

2. How to wear hakama and gi properly, in a dignified manner.

Here are the steps to wear your Gi and Hakama properly.

Let's start with the Gi, as always in Kendo we start on the left side.

Take the inner left string (Himo) and attach it to the inner right string.

image of take the inner left string

Next attach the outer left himo to the outter right himo.

image of attaching the outer left himo to the outter right himo

image of correct tying

Example of good and bad tying

Important point: the knot needs to end up horizontally (yoko musubi) and not vertically (tate musubi)


Now that your Gi is on, let's continue with the Hakama

image of obi passing behind

Above the hip bone, pass the Obi behind


image of obi crossing in front

and back in front then cross them


image of obi creating a V shape

then create a V on one side


image of obi pleating and flipping over

pleat and flip the Obi over


image of obi positioning

and tie the Obi relatively low but not too low


image of hera putting into the obi

Put the Hera(peg) into the Obi


image of obi being held

and hold Obi on both sides


image of obi being flipped in the front

Flip the Obi in the front,


image of obi being tied around the Hakama

cross and tie it around the Hakama's previous knot


image of obi end putting on the side

Put the Obi end on the side


image of keikogi getting straightened

Straighten the Keikogi to get rid of the wrinkles


You are now wearing your gear properly and have proper Chakuso.

3. Choose a Bogu that has been made with care

Kendo is popular all around the world, its popularity attracted different type of sellers providing gear of varying levels of quality.

When choosing the cheapest priced Kendo Bogu available, you also choose the cheapest quality on the market.

At Tozando we only sell complete Kendo Bogu sets. Using the skill of Japanese experienced craftsmen ensure a sturdy, proper look and feel to your gear. We fight to provide you the best quality at the best price.

A properly made, High Quality Bogu will always be one of the most important thing for any kendokas, at any level. After all, this is the only thing separating you from your opponent strikes.

Customer Voices

five stars ratingGulbakhar Burkhanova from Sweden
I really like my bogu . It suits me very well and the material is really thick. And I am very glad that my first bogu I ordered from TOZANDO!!!
five stars ratingKlaus Zuidwijk from Argentina
We have 5 of these bogus in our dojo now and we love them. The quality of the bogu is excellent with the kotes shining the brightest. Excellent cushioning for beginner and advanced kendokas!
five stars ratingArturo Torres Landa from Mexico
Very fast shipping and great quality! I really liked that is so light but also protective... also loved the mune design! I'm really happy with it.

Choosing the right gear and wearing it properly will improve your Kendo faster. By only changing the way you look, the impression given to the opponent changes considerably.

In a match, mindset and preparation plays a big role in building confidence and overcome your opponent.

If you were not aware of the importance of Chakuso before, apply these principles in the future, then check yourself in the mirror and see the difference for yourself!

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