We recommend everyone get their own bogu though rental is an option for those who might be hesitant or need more time to decide on a bogu. It is different with juniors as they often grow fast and it might not be economical to purchase a new set for 2-3 kids per family every few years. New bogu tend to shape itself into the person’s head shape on the men part. If you are a beginner ready to purchase a new bogu, the first suggestion is that you do not spend too extravagantly on the first set. After you reach 1-kyu to shodan levels in kendo, you will have probably committed to kendo and can look at a more longer term and perhaps more expensive bogu set.
There are without exception numerous choices in bogu equipment. Prices invariably differ depending on craftsmanship, material, country of origin, the supplier’s reputation and many other factors. Generally, the lower cost bogu will offer much less protection and not wear well. Consequently, this could eventually lead to the user wearing extra protection and thus restricting full movement. In particular, this includes usually having to use extra padding on the wrist or on top of the men which might not help in the end either with more protection. Keep in mind that if you decide to purchase bogu from an overseas based company, custom taxes might be added on top of delivery costs. We recommend prioritising protection, comfort and durability rather than the extras such as decorations and embroidery.
The selections of bogu is extensive and often there are many choices. One of the main differences have been the width between horizontal/vertical stitches on the bogu in millimetre (mm). Depending on your budget, a 2mm will be very long lasting, but sometimes can take some time to break into and get comfortable. The 3mm is usually a bit more affordable. Keep in mind that these are for the traditional horizontal/vertical stitching. The other variations of cross stitched, etc. are not considered here as they can offer very good protection but will not follow the 2-3mm recommendation in widths.
Most machine made bogu are made in China either in parts or in entirety even if it the vendor is based in Japan, Korea, the USA or Europe.
Deer palm is usually better than cow leather.
MEASURING FOR BOGU:
Please not measure yourself to get your measurements for bogu. Get someone to else to do it so you can avoid delays or return hassles. There are plenty of resources available to measure yourselves with an online search or through most of the supplier websites. Each supplier will have their own chart for measurements.
We recommend that once you have decided on bogu to also order a zekken/nafuda. The format for Oxford Kendo is:
Middle: [Name or Surname in Katakana / Kanji]
Bottom: [Romanised Name]
Please ask about the katakana or kanji. We can provide these for you. We require that all members keep the same format and do not recommend any extra decoration. It is better to show your good kendo instead. Please consult the senseis if you are thinking to add anything extra to the zekken/nafuda.