Like all martial arts, we have standardised clothing that is used for iai. The ZNKR requirements are subdued colours for shiai, shinza and seminars – the most popular colours are black, white and dark blue. The clothing consists of:

  • Keikogi – jacket, usually with name/dojo in Japanese.
  • Hakama – baggy, pleated trouser-type garment.
  • Obi – wide belt to support sword – not grade-coloured like karate/judo.
  • Zori/Tabi – zori are outdoor footwear and tabi are optional for indoor use.
  • Kneepads – for protection during kneeling techniques.
  • There are three different swords that are used in iai practice:

  • Bokuto – wooden sword used by beginners or for kumitachi (paired practice).
  • Iaito – alloy-bladed non-sharp sword for general use.
  • Shinken – live-edged sword for senior practitioners.
  • Please do not buy a sword for iai practice until you have checked the suitability of such a weapon. There are a lot of swords not suitable for use due to build quality, weight etc.