Explaining The Bujinkan Uniform

In our Bujinkan dojo martial arts training students wear a specific type of training uniform, and in this post we are going to explore the ideas behind the uniform and how it might be different from dojo to dojo.

The training uniform of the Bujinkan dojo is a black martial arts gi, along with tabi footwear, a rank belt, and a training patch over the heart on the uniform.

The black gi consist of a training top, pants, and often a black or dark colored t-shirt is worn underneath the top. As a martial arts uniform the function is similar to other arts. A strong cotton uniform that can resist being thrown, pulled, and grabbed.

Along with this uniform a rank belt is worn around the waist- white, green, or black depending on the grade one holds in the dojo. Occasionally for female practitioners a red belt will be worn instead of a green belt.

The color of the belt signified where one is on the martial arts journey, and in a larger dojo or seminar setting allows students to know the level of the person they are training with, so both students can be mindful of ukemi.

Taking care of the feet, and being mindful of footwork is important in the training, so wearing tabi is also a part of the uniform. Tabi are traditional footwear that are light and comfortable to wear- keep in mind there are two types of tabi.

Ones for outdoor wear and ones for indoor wear- it would be improper to wear outdoor tabi indoors on the training mats.

Over the heart one wears the Bujinkan patch, which has a symbolic meaning for both the student and the responsibility of that student in the training. These patches are come in five types- kyu, dan, shidoshi, judan, and dai-shihan.

Regarding the Bujinkan uniform and different dojo.

Some dojo will always wear the full uniform, others dojo will wear it in different settings, so which is which?

The student should always have the traditional Bujinkan uniform for when it is needed, and when attending seminars and events like Tai Kai, as respect, tradition, and understanding that we are studying a Japanese art is important.

However, adapt it for the feeling of the dojo where one is training.

In our dojo, being a bit more informal, we use the following training uniform.

Conducting out training outside we wear light and comfortable sneakers, along with black gi or training pants and a rank belt. We don’t wear a gi top, but rather a Bujinkan inspired t-shirt either ideally in black or red.

Different dojo might do things a bit different, but all will have and expect the traditional Bujinkan uniform as and when needed.    


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Located in Westchester New York, the Bujinkan Shinmyoken Dojo is a martial arts training group founded in 2005 with the aim of coming together as martial arts friends to study the Japanese martial art of Masaaki Hatsumi through the lessons of the Bujinkan dojo.

As friends (buyu) we come together to grow, learn, and share our individual potential in this wonderful martial art.

Questions, comments, feedback, and inquiries may be emailed to the group here: BujinkanShinmyoken@gmail.com.