1. Lay the hakama on a flat
surface and carefully align the
2. Fold the sides inward to
make the outside edges
parallel. (This step can be
skipped if the hakama will be
stored for a period of time.)
4. Takle the long obi
himo and double it
over twice, then lay
the folded himo
diagnally across the
top of the folded
5. Take the long himo
on the opposite side
and repeate step 4.
When completed, the
folded obi himo shoul
form a cross in the
center of the folded
|Alternate Method of Tying the Himo
6. Take the short
himo on the right
and lay it over to
the bottom center
of crossed himo.
7. Bring the short
himo over to the right
side of the cross.
8. Wrap the himo
under the upper
right section of
the crossed himo
and back to the
9. Lay the remaining
end across the lower
left segment of the
crossed himo. (If the
end is long, it can be
doubled over before
10. Repeat the
process for the
11. To complete
the process, lock
the end under the
loop created by the
first overlap of the
right himo. (If the
remaining end is
long, it can be
before tucking it
under the loop.)
3. Fold the length of the hakama
into equal thirds.
The keiko-gi, also called kendo-gi or do-gi, is a jacket-like garment made of thickly quilted cotton fabric.
The resiliency of the material provides a level of protection from bumps and stray strikes that may be
encountered during a kendo practice. The quilting helps absorb perspiration and facilitates drying. Keiko-gi
can be found in several different colors and patterns; the most common are solid colors of bleached white
and dark indigo blue.
The kendo uniform is comprised of the keiko-gi and hakama. These garments are well suited for the functional demands
of kendo. They are also complementary to kendoâ€™s overall aesthetic qualities.
The hakama resembles a pleated skirt in its outward appearance, but is actually a trouser-like garment with
individual pant legs. The hakama is well suited for kendo as it allows good air circulation around the legs and
lower body, and permits unrestricted movement. Hakama made for kendo are of cotton or Tetron
(polyester) material and, like the keiko-gi, are most commonly found in solid colors of bleached white and
The pleats of the hakama are symbolic of six fundamental virtues. Viewing the hakama from the front and
identifying the pleats from left to right, the first five virtues are Jin (mercy), Gi (righteousness), Rei (etiquette),
Chi (intelligence), and Shin (trust). The back pleat represents the sixth virtue of Makoto/Chu-kou
Wearing the Uniform
Proper uniform presentation is the first step in creating the correct tone and mindset for kendo training. Properly
dressed, the uniform should always appear smart and professional and will not become unfastened even during the
most rigorous practices.
1. Wear the keiko-gi with the left lapel
overlapping the right.
2. Secure the keido-gi with the munehimo
(cords), tying the end in a bowknot. Be sure
the knot is tied such that the loops rest in a
1. Holding the front of the hakama, step into the garment first with the left foot. When removing the
garment, step out with the right foot first.
2. Place the front of the hakama at waist level and wrap the maehimo (front cords) around the back of
the body and around to the front. Bring the maehimo across the front of the body about 6 to 10 cm
below the top edge of the hakama. At a point in front of the right hip, fold the himo that is coming around
from the right side of the body over the maehimo that is coming across from the left side. (See illustration
above) Bring the haehimo around to the back and secure the ends together with a horizontal bowknot.
3. Bring the koshiita just above the knot of the maehimo and wrap the ushirohimo around to the front of the
4. Crossing the left ushirohimo over the right, wrap it under and around all of the hakama himo.
5. Tie the ushirohimo in a square knot and neatly tuck the ends in the back.
6. Reach inside the side openings of the hakama and straighten the coattails of the keiko-gi. Pull any
slack on the backside of the keiko-gi to the sides so that the keiko-gi is neatly fitted to the back with
no vertical wrinkles.
Uniform Care And Maintenance
The keiko-gi and hakama should always be kept clean and presentable. They should be replaced if they become
faded, discolored, worn, or in any way unsightly. Proper care and storage of the uniform will prolong the life of the
garments and keep them looking crisp.
Tetron hakama should be cared for in the same manner as other permanent press garments. Prompt removal
from the dryer and immediate folding will help preserve the pleats and keep the garment looking neatly
Dyed cotton hakama and keiko-gi require a level of special handling. Dyed uniforms should always be
washed separate from other laundry, as the indigo dye will bleed from the material throughout the life of the
garments. New hakama and keiko-gi should be soaked overnight in a bath of vinegar and water or ammonia
and water. Add about Â½ cup of vinegar or ammonia to every gallon of water. The acidity of the bath will
set the dye and help reduce fading. After soaking, wash the garments using cold to lukewarm water and mild
detergent; old fashion soap flakes work well. Sequent washings may include additional vinegar or ammonia to
further slow fading. Hand washing is recommended for maximum color preservation â€“ the bathtub converts
to the perfect washtub for this task. After air-drying, the hakama and keido-gi should be properly folded and
stored to maintain a smartly pressed look. (Damp folding the hakama and letting dry on a clean, flat surface
will help set the pleats and reduce wrinkling.)
III. Wearing the uniform
IV. Uniform care and maintenance
|Mark Uchida - Copyright May 2002