Kyudo Notebook: Odds and Ends

It’s a miscellaneous time of year, which sounds like an American song from the 1940’s, but isn’t.

The most important thing going on at the dojo is gaining more control over my body in the various taihai moves, trying to do kiza with an injured foot, using my whole body in the draw, and then what I think of as nobiai to infinity, shooting the arrow as if the target were miles away (both in front and behind), rather than just 28 meters in front.

Also yesterday we were told to hold the bow differently in toriyumi no shisei, and to use a way that is closer to the tenouchi used when shooting. I suppose the idea is to create the correct form through constant repetition and use, but it’s awfully painful, at least right now.

And then, I ordered a tailor-made kimono and formal grey striped hakama. They’ll be delivered in about a month depending on the backlog. Prices offered by various shops were all over the map, depending on the material used. As a practice outfit my teacher recommended a synthetic (washable) kimono, but a good silk hakama because that’s something I’ll be able to use for years and years. For reference, the shop making the kimono can use any art work at all for the kamon, no extra charge, so that may be useful information for people reading from abroad who haven’t inherited one of the standard designs.

The hardest part was getting the measurements right, since I’m doing this all remotely. The best page I found for that is here. They say the most important one is the yukitake, the sleeve length, which for kyudo makes a lot of sense.

Prices are still stunning, so much that I’m embarrassed to mention them, but I’m pretty sure my total clothing purchases for the past decade (two?) won’t come up to the price of these two very simple bits of cloth. Kimono in particular don’t seem very complicated, so anyone with sewing ability might want to consider learning to make their own. A lot of people at the dojo also buy used kimono for their practice outfits: a few thousand yen and then tailor to fit. The trick is the mon, which you need for formal occasions. Unless you can use a family kimono, chances are that will have to be a custom order. Also, with used kimono, obviously you have to be careful of the sleeve length.

But I am thinking… once this kimono arrives, I will analyse it and try to make one myself, just out of cheap cotton. Once I figure out how it’s done, I could probably save a bundle.

This entry was posted in equipment, hanare, hikiwake, kyudo, kyudo notebook, taihai, tenouchi, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Kyudo Notebook: Odds and Ends

  1. "Kiyoaki" (Jaxon Nobori) says:

    I discovered your blog today and have read everything up to this point (February) in one go.

    On the subject of custom-made kimono, there are other options than retail kimono shops. However, you’ll need to do your homework to minimize the expenses. Nevertheless, over time the research effort should be worthwhile, since you’ll probably buy more than one set of wa-fuku.

    I’ve had a number of them made for around $300.00 (USD). That included the fabric, which I selected myself, and the cost for sewing. One note of caution here may be in order. I don’t recommend an amateur tackle the sewing. The apperance of the kimono may seem simple, but the subtleties of fit and finish required expert handling.

    The cost of silk isn’t prohibitive, but getting the wider bolts for non-Japanese wearers (i.e. taller and heavier) is somewhat of a chore. The risk here is that you may find one set of kimono and hakama may prove insufficient for all your needs. I have a half dozen which I used for ordinary practice, another 3 for more special occassions, and of course the required ‘montsuki’ for the most formal siutations.

    Hakama are much easier to find, despite the premium on the longer lengths. Most of the ready-made ones (in longer lengths) will not be in silk, but rather ‘jinken’ or other artificial fibers. In addition, the ‘umanori’ style, which I prefer (versus the ‘andon’/skirt) is harder to come by in those longer lengths. For a hakama of quality, for the oversized individual, a custom-made hakama may be the best way to go, You may just need to bite the bullet and work through a retailer.

    I’m fortunate in that I can find vintage pieces that fit. However, I still have the need/desire to custom order kimono as well. That need will probably never fade, although I’m well setup for another decade or so.

  2. karamatsu says:

    Thanks! In fact, looking at how it’s made I’m not so sure, as you say, about the sewing, though I did find a friend who makes her own and could probably be bribed. I”m thinking just for practice, of course, but the thing I find is that the shooting is a bit different in a kimono so I need to get used to it. And of course, the hadanugi moves. That’s proving to be quite a challenge in the heat and humidity this year!

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