How To: Make Your Own Kakiya

A note of thanks to Mario McKenna, who graciously posted a photo of the kakiya from Kyoda Juhatsu’s garden dojo, and provided me with some estimates of it’s height and arm length.

By Popular Demand

I’ve received a few emails asking about where a kakiya can be purchased or how it can be made. I don’t know of any place where one can be purchased. Below are the materials and steps that I used to build mine. If you aren’t into power tools and concrete, I am open to the possibility of assembling kits and selling them: contact me at REMsimpson at gmail dot com and make an offer. The reader assumes all risks from building and using this piece of equipment.


  1. One solid wood post, 8-10 feet long, at least 8 inches diameter. A hardware store or garden center may carry these. The post I used is a locust log. Locust is very solid and rot resistant enough to last for decades. Another hardwood, such as oak, may also work. Do not use maple or soft woods such as pine.
  2. Power drill with ½” spade bit and a 3/4” spade bit
  3. A ruler and pen
  4. Reciprocating saw/Sawzall with a wood cutting blade
  5. Two ¾” x 8” bolts, with three sets of matching washers and locking nuts. Get several  extra washers. Bolts must be long enough to pass through the post with enough sticking out to secure the bolt to.
  6. A few feet of hardware cloth/chicken wire, 2” wood screws
  7. One  5 foot length of treated 2×4
  8. Weight plates in 5 lb. increments
  9. Post hole digger/digging bar/shovel
  10. Two 80 lb. bags of concrete mix- more if you are a heavier person
  11. Two scrap wood sticks and 2” wood screws.
  12. Adjustable wrench
  13. Thick foam matting of some sort that can be wrapped around the post. ¾” Camping ground pads work GREAT.
  14. And of course, duct tape. At least a roll. Get the good stuff, not the lightweight versions that flake apart after a few punches.

Dig a Hole, Set the Post, Brace it, Pour Concrete

Choose your site and dig a hole 3 feet deep by 1 ½ feet wide. The finished kakiya will end up taking a lot of abuse and needs to be anchored solidly enough to resist force from multiple angles, as well as the force of punches, kicks and tackles. The finished kakiya’s height should be equal to your own or slightly taller. If you use an 8 foot post, this will leave you five feet of height above ground; if you are taller, use a longer post.

Using the wood screws, wrap a few feet of hardware cloth/chicken wire around the bottom of the post, leaving an inch or two between wraps. This will help to anchor the kakiya firmly into the concrete and prevent the base from cracking.

Set the post into the hole and center it. Make sure it is plumb and level. Attach the scrap wood sticks to opposite sides of the post at opposing 45 degree angles, screw into place, then wedge firmly into the ground. This will keep the post from moving off plumb/center until the concrete sets.

Mix concrete. Pour into hole around the post, use a stick to make sure that it fills in the spaces between the hardware cloth/chicken wire completely.

Now the hardest part- give the concrete a full 24 hours to cure. Leave the scrap struts in place to keep it from moving.

After 24 hours, remove the scrap struts. Mound the excavated dirt back up around the bottom of the post to encourage water run-off. Mulch around the base and area that you will be standing/moving in. If you are installing this indoors, you’ll need to figure out a metal plate to secure the kakiya to.

Cut Out Arm Pivot Hole, Drill Bolt Holes

Now the fun. Use the ruler to mark out a 3 inch wide by 4-5 inch tall rectangle. This is where the width comes into play- you’ll want to have at least an inch and a half of wood on the outside of the rectangle/post.

Use the power drill and ½ inch spade bit to drill a hole completely through each corner of the rectangle, on the inside of the corners. Drive as straight as possible through the post.

Using the reciprocating saw, begin cutting along the lines between the holes, again as straight and cleanly as possible. When you get to a corner, pull out, turn the blade to the next line, and cut to the next corner. Repeat until you have cut the rectangle free of the post.

Use the saw to smooth out any rough edges in the hole.

Move to the sides of the post and mark a circle directly in the center of the newly created hole. This is where the bolt that holds the arm will go. It must be as centered as possible, so measure your dots on each side well to make sure they match up.

Make and Install the Arm

Cut the 2×4 to a five foot length. Place it inside the hole so that the narrow face is pointing up. Roughly 1/3 of the length should be protruding from the front, 2/3 from the back. Mark the 2×4 squarely in the center by putting a pen through the bolt holes in the post and marking onto the wide face of the 2×4. Drill through the 2×4 using the 3/4″ spade bit.

Insert the ¾ bolt through the post and through the 2×4. If the arm is able to wobble from side to side, slide the bolt back out, and place a few washers on either side of the 2×4. Try it again- this will help to tighten it up. It can be very helpful to tape the washers together to hold them in a line once you know how many you need per side.

Once the arm is positioned where you want it, insert the bolt, thread a washer onto the other end, and thread a bolt onto the other end. Tighten it very well with the wrench.

Test out the arm. I built mine to be pointing at my nose when in a neutral position, since I’m shorter and most punches come in from this angle. Adjust it to your own height. If more than one person will be using this, another option is to cut a second hole lower, so that the arm can be moved there for shorter people.

Move to the back end of the arm. Using the ¾ spade bit, drill down through the narrow face of the 2×4. Insert a bolt up from the bottom, thread on a washer and bolt to secure it. This is the pin that will secure weights to the kakiya arm. Thread weights onto the pin, and then secure them with another washer and bolt. This way the weight can be adjusted for different people or to vary the resistance over time.

Wrap Job

Wrap the camping mat/foam matting around the bottom, at least three times. It should cover at least two feet of length on the post. Secure the top and bottom with a few passes of duct tape, and then begin wrapping the length of the mat tightly with more tape. Complete two or three total passes.

Cut off a piece of mat and wrap it at least twice around the front end of the kakiya arm. Wrap it with two or three passes of tape.

Cut another piece and wrap it two or three times around the top of the post, where the “head” is. Wrap with two or three passes of tape. It’s not a bad idea to fashion a “nose” and “ears” on the head, as well as draw in the eyes. Why? You can develop precise targeting for different areas of the face and head such as finger jabs to the eyes, and practice seizing the ears and nose as you strike the post.

One last bit: if you have a piece of sturdy rubber around, attach it to the back end of the kakiya arm, where the 2×4 contacts the top of the hole. I broke the first two arms that I put in my kakiya in less than two days time- this area receives an awful lot of force during usage. A piece of old car bumper, tire, or an industrial rubber bushing will work very well. The current arm on mine has lasted two years now with a piece of industrial bushing.

Bash and Batter

Now that it’s all together, start training on it! You can do many partner drills involving blocking, parrying, passing and ducking followed up by striking combos, knees, low kicks and body checks. Use some sense though- this is a solid post secured in 160+ lbs of concrete- it has no give except for the little bit provided by the padding. Hitting/kicking it as hard as possible isn’t a great idea.

For some training ideas, visit:

One request: if you end up building your own kakiya, please send us a link to some pictures of it and you using it, or email pictures to the email provided at the top of the article.


6 responses to “How To: Make Your Own Kakiya

  1. I like the duck tape idea. Much like Mcgyverizing it. I may not have spelled it correctly. I have a few students that could use that idea and run with it.

  2. Duct tape is the foundation of our approach. In some twisted way, MacGyver is a patron saint of TKRI. But he needs to learn to throw a better punch before we’ll start putting his face on our gi.

  3. Gillian Russell

  4. Pingback: Quality Time With the Kakiya | Fight Sciences Research Institute blog

  5. Pingback: Get More Out of Your Chishi With Proper Kinematics | Fight Sciences Research Institute blog

  6. Pingback: Back in the Gi » Blog Archive » DIY training equipment collection.

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