Choosing an Akido belt is an important choice however many people that practice Akido sort of choose their belt by happenstance. Many practitioners will grab the first belt that they see without paying much attention to width, flexibility or overall comfort.
Choosing the right belt can help to enhance your performance and of course look much better during tournaments.
Following this simple guide can help you to choose the best Akido Belt for your needs.
What You Need to Know About the White Belt
Typically, what you get from the training center or what is shipped with your beginners outfit is the white belt. It is thin, may not even be double stitched and may not even be really wide enough to work for you but we talk more about the width in the next section.
It is fine for beginners but even most beginners will want to upgrade their belt after a short period of time.
The thin white belt is not really appropriate to tie under a Hakama. Akido uses a Judo type belt instead of the thin white belts that are used in other martial arts.
There are certain situations when a thinner belt does work well. If your body style is thin or you are thin in the hip area and thinner belt may actually be the best option.
The thicker “meatier” belts may slip and slide up under the Hakama when you are thin this problem can be addressed with a high quality thinner style belt.
If you are average size or on the thick side than a thicker sized belt will work better.
You may have to try a few on before you find one that works best for your body style. You can ask friends that you train with if you can try on their belt.
The ideal body shape in Akido is typically slim but if your waist is thicker than your hips you will experience less “width” issues.
One of the biggest mistakes newcomers to the sport make is going with a belt that is too rigid. A belt that is too rigid can cause hip bruising during training. They can actually cause bruising and injuries to other areas as well.
Of course this can be a great problem to have to deal with. You want the belt to be wide enough and rigid enough but you do not want it to be too rigid. The perfect belt offers enough flexibility to avoid injuries but enough rigidity to do its job.
A semi-rigid belt is a far superior choice over a double layered rigid belt. The flexibility of the belt is determined by the cotton core and the type of stitching used on the belt. A more flexible belt will hold the knot better but you lose some of the ability to hold the Hakama in place.
The Length Also Is Important
If you choose a belt that has embroidery on it you likely will want it to be longer so that it can be seen but that can pose an entirely new issue. The ideal belt should fall right below the hips when knotted. It is typically best to choose a belt a little shorter than you think it should be.
A good rule of thumb when figuring the length that you need is multiply your waist circumference by two than add 80 cm to get the ideal length for your body style.
It is Worth the Trouble
It may seem like a lot to go through to find the perfect belt but it is well worth the effort. The belt is a very important part of the Hakama and is very important to your performance so giving it a little more thought can pay off nicely.