Tokaido SHIKON (TAW) 士魂

I purchased a size 6 Tokaido Shikon for myself about a year ago. The material and the stitching are both excellent. Although it's a "middleweight" gi, it feels thicker and snappier than most lower-tier "heavyweight" gis. For example, my previous gi, a 14oz cotton Tiger Claw Hayashi, feels lighter than my 10oz cotton Tokaido Shikon.

I'm subtracting one star because Tokaido's inflexible sizing does not work well for many westerners. I am a white American, 6 feet (183cm) tall, about 200 pounds (91kg), and the size 6 gi fits me poorly. The sleeves are too short by 3-4cm, the shoulders are too narrow by about 2-3cm, and the underarm measurement (the "E" measurement on the chart) needs to be let out at least 3-4cm. As it is, the sleeves rest almost comically short on my arms and my underarms are pinched.

Of course, it wouldn't be fair to subtract points simply because I ordered the wrong size. The real issue is that there's no possible correct size, short of paying double for custom tailoring at Tokaido's own website. There just isn't a good option for people who are wider or more muscular than the average Japanese person - a category that includes most average Americans.

For example, the size 6.5 Shikon would not help me because it does not increase the shoulder or underarm measurements at all, and adds only 1cm to the sleeves. A full size 7 Shikon would marginally improve these measurements, but it would add an extra 6cm to the overall length (the "A" measurement on the chart), which is just too much. Even the size 6 I own is already quite long for my taste.

It's too bad, because the material and the stitching are wonderful. If you are trim, this gi is likely to be a great option for everyday training. I just wish there was a good option for bulkier people.

James Buatti, 05/25/2016
4 of 5 Stars4 of 5 Stars