Let me start by saying naginata armor is a big investment, and nonetheless I had been thinking about buying my own anyway, though struggling over what to do with it when I eventually leave Matsue. However, the teachers at the Shimane Martial Arts Hall knew of my interest in eventually taking part in competitions and rounded together some used armor for me! At this point, I still lack a helmet/mask similar to the ones used in kendo, but I have a torso-guard, gloves suited for changing your grip on a long weapon, and shin gaurds for the ankle strikes.
So far I’ve only practiced in armor a few times, and have yet to spar. The main difference being that my partners–usually elementary school girls who are far more experienced than I am–hit my ankles directly instead of having me block them. I still need to gaurd my head, but since they all have helmets, I hit them directly when we practice. Of course, this has startled my friends who have come to watch my practices.