Wearing Bogu

Many people have small variations in how they do this – this is how I do it.

Start with your bogu neatly placed in front of you. Have the all the Himo (strings) tucked in tidily. When placing the Tare in front of the Do loosely tie the Himo in a basic knot behind the men so that it stands up prettily.

 Do Futon (Urabuton)

There are many different types, this is a fairly common style using velcro.

Put the futon on your left shoulder and ensure most of the padding is at the front over your heart. Many futon are reversible (for tankendo use) so it is possible to put it on backwards. I have done this, it hurts.

If you have Keikogi which allows you to hold the sleeve in your hand you get less bunching up under the armpits.

Slide the velcro through the loop and fasten. Make sure this is not tight. You need to be able to expand your lungs completely without pressure or you will run out of breath. I have done this, it isn’t fun.


Place it over the Do futon. Probably a little higher than you would for kendo or naginata as you will probably be tying your Do higher as well. Loop the Himo around your body and tie under the central flap.


Place the Do on your lap. I like to take both the top Himo over the shoulders at the same time. Partly because it helps set the Do evenly compared to one string at a time but mostly because I think it looks cool.

Tie the top Himo with a basic slipknot. Ensure that the left side of the Do is giving your heart good coverage. Ensure the Do will be under the Nodo Dome. This usually means quite high and also for many people slightly off level with the right side higher than the left. This is especially the case for a non jukendo Do which will be missing the extra reinforcing padding on the left.

Tie the bottom two Himo behind you in a bow. This bow should be horizontal. If your bow is vertical you need to change which hand goes over the other when tying the bow.


If wearing a Men put it on now. I tie mine the same as for kendo or naginata. Again a horizontal bow, also ensure the himo are the same length at the back.


Put the Himo to your side so it is easy to find in a minute. Grab your sleeve in your hand and pull the kata up to your shoulder. The vertical ridge of the kata should be above your shoulder.

Pull the Himo around your back and make sure it is not caught under or on the Do sides. It will come loose and then the kata will be loose. I pull the himo right up under my right armpit to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Run the himo through the bottom loop on your tare then up through the top loop of the kata and back to the bottom loop. Note the directions for passing through the loops and that it is from underneath each time. This helps prevent having bits of Himo which your hand / mokuju will catch on.

At this point I pull the Himo very tightly to make sure there is no slack in the rope and that the kata is well seated on my shoulder. Than I stretch my shouders back to loosen the Himo so I can breathe fully without rstriction. I repeat this a couple of times. A tight kata will again stop you breathing. I have done this, it isn’t fun.

Tie the bottom slip knot by reaching your right hand under the twin Himo and grabbing the free Himo.

Pull the free Himo back under the twin Himo and make a loop (still holding the end of the Himo in your left hand).

Hold the loop open with your thumb and finger and reach through the loop with another finger to grab the free himo a couple of inches down.

Draw the free himo back through the loop forming another loop.

Firmly tighten the knot and adjust the new loop and the end of the Himo so they are the same length.

Tidily wrap the loop and end of the Himo around the bit going behind your back. Make sure this is even and doesn’t have bulges of rope which will alter catch your hand / mokuju. Most people do this one handed. My hands are not the most dextrous.

Slap the wrapped Himo down firmly so it stays in place. Remember we get Hansoku for bogu that comes loose in shiai.


Put the skinny glove on. If you don’t have a textured glove and don’t sweat a lot you may wish to spray this lightly with water to improve grip.


Put it on. If you have tight kote remember that pushing the kote on / off will do less damage to them over the long run than pulling them on / off.

Smile knowing you shouldn’t get hurt now!



In the “Dangerous, too low” section the Kata and Do almost look okay when relaxed. When opening for Shita you can see that there is a big hole. This would be even worse with a Non-Jukendo Do. If the futon happened to be backwards as well this is a good way to get a cracked rib. I have done this. It isn’t fun.

Check in a mirror if you aren’t sure and check each other when training.

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