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Shouri (Steve)
07-24-2000, 03:55 PM
Hello all,

I have a question that I find rather serious. It is about the wearing of the hakama. Who should be allowed to wear the hakama?

It seems that in modern Aikido training the hakama represents yudansha. Those without hakama are automatically considered mudansha. It is a matter of honor to wear a hakama, a sign that you have reached "black-belt" status. But is that (egoistic-)concept itself counter-productive?

However, traditionally, the hakama was worn by ALL Akidoka. In fact, it was required wear by O Sensei. There is a super article on this on AIKIFAQ at http://www.aikidofaq.com/misc/hakama.html that is worth reading (and possibly before responding to this). The hakama represents the spirit and formallity of Aikido.

In light of this, should not all Aikidoka at least be allowed to wear the hakama regardless of grade, if not be required to wear the hakama?

Aikido is such a beautiful, graceful and loving art. It seems that the hakama only add to this, given that the hakama is formal-wear and not a badge of honor. Or should we retain the aspect that the hakama should only be worn after reaching Shodan?

I would love to get your opinions. Especially the opinions of any sensei here.

And kudos to Jun for Aikiweb. Awesome site, thank you.

Aikyou,

-Shouri

DJM
07-24-2000, 04:26 PM
Steve,
Great post.. I was especially interested in the info on hakama in the FAQ, as I'd never heard of their general usage under O Sensei..
After reading the FAQ I'd probably agree that hakama should open to be worn by everyone. With one proviso - they make it very difficult to see what your feet are doing, which is important for us beginners - so I'd be inclined to suggest that 6th kyu don't wear them, purely from a learning point of view..

My 2p worth :)

Peace,
David

akiy
07-24-2000, 05:05 PM
A hakama is just a piece of cloth. There's nothing special about it except for that which people place onto it.

At our dojo, we're allowed to wear a hakama whenever you want to regardless of rank or gender. In fact, all of the schools I've regulardly trained at have had this policy as well. I think I was 6th or 5th kyu when I started wearing my hakama...

There are other schools I've been to which have stricter rules that follow their own tradition and I'm OK with that. To each their own, I think...

-- Jun

Mike Collins
07-24-2000, 07:05 PM
I don't think a hakama makes your Aikido better, I don't think a hakama makes your Aikido worse. In my case my Aikido doesn't make my hakama look better either. Hakama is like colored belt- some schools see fit to wear them, some do not. It is probably best to not give the matter too much weight, and when in Rome do as the Romans.

JO
07-24-2000, 08:25 PM
I agree with Jun and Mikey but I have one question. What if I were to visit a dojo where everyone wears a hakama but did not own a hakama. Would this cause any problems?
I don't own one and wouldn't really know how to put one on. I'm also not likely to buy one soon as I am only 5th kyu and only yudansha wear hakama where I train (which puts off the purchase for several years at best unless I decide to start iaido).
It would be hard to do as the romans do without the needed gear.

guest1234
07-24-2000, 09:04 PM
I can't imagine a dojo that would expect a visitor to go out and buy a hakama to train with them, or even a colored belt. I'm sure they'd welcome you in whatever you normally wear at your home dojo. At least that is how it has been at every dojo to which I've belonged or visited, and being in the military, I've had the opportunity to visit a lot of places. At my last dojo I wore a hakama, as did everyone above 6th kyu. While visiting the dojos in my new town after this move, i did not wear it, trying to fit in with the Romans. It was good for my ego that at one large dojo, the instructor came up to me as class was nearly over to correct a few things, saying "not bad for your first night of Aikido, but try doing this..."

akiy
07-24-2000, 11:16 PM
I'd say that 90+% of the people in our second evening class (the "open" class) wear hakama. That said, visitors are basically welcome to wear whatever they normally wear at their home dojo.

Mikey, a hakama does make doing suwariwaza a lot easier, though...

-- Jun

adriangan
07-25-2000, 01:34 AM
In our dojo, only those with yudansha grades are allowed to wear hakama. I guess it gives the wearer a sense of achievement, something that separates them from the rest.

Everytime we have visitors from other dojos who practice and we see them wearing their hakamas you'd hear whispers of "yudansha" circulating around. It kinda gives you an idea how much we look up and admire these guys for their skill and dedication to the art.



- Adrian

JJF
07-25-2000, 03:49 AM
I'm a newbee in this forum, so please forgive me if I should write something that could be considered out of line.

I would like to turn this discussion into a new direction. I have read quite a few opinions concerning when a Aikidoka should put on a hakama, and I have read the part of the above mentioned FAQ concerning O-senseis opinion on hakamas, but I have not been able to find anything that can explain why a hakama should be either black or dark-blue. I used to study Kendo and Seitei Iaido, and I know that it is common for Kendoka to wear darkblue hakama and for Iaidoka to wear black hakama. In the Aikido dojo I practice in, I see both sorts, but none with any kind of patterns or other colors.

Once I went to at Kendo seminar and the teacher was wearing a white hakama and gi. I asked him when that would be considered correct and then he just smiled at me and said that white would be proper, if you were so good that you could avoid being hit by the opponent and thereby getting your outfit ruined by the dark marks left by a shinai.

Could anyone please explain to me, if the current tradition for black hakama's is just a de facto standard or if it has got any specific reason.

By the way: in 'my' dojo it is common that you wear a hakama from 3. kyu . Supposedly to be equivalent to a brown belt in karate or judo. I guess the reason for this is that for a long period of time our sensei didn't do graduations but just awarded each aikidoka with permission to wear either a hakama or a black belt whenever he felt they had reached the necessary level.

andrew
07-25-2000, 05:34 AM
Here in Ireland, most people start wearing a hakama between second kyu and shodan. If a hakama is an ego trip for somebody, they have an ego, and giving hakama to everybody won't stop that. However, here the hakama serves the very useful purpose of letting beginners know who they can learn most from, and even for visiting instructors to see who they can best demonstrate with.
Also, in clubs where the hakama isn't worn by beginners, it begins to carry with it certain responsibilities. The wearer is sending out the message that he can take good ukemi, and you can take this into account in your training with them.
However I'd have to agree with mikey when he said:
"It is probably best to not give the matter too much weight, and when in Rome do as the Romans."

Guest5678
07-26-2000, 11:54 AM
In our dojo, it's sort of a defacto standard that after your first test you should invest in a hakama. I don't know how this came about, I guess if you stuck with the training long enough to test, chances are you'll probably hang in there....

One thing to think about is that the hakama is actually a training tool as well. How many of you ate it big time the first time doing randori in your new hakama? I did several times. What it taught me was to keep my feet closer to the ground when I moved. This may not sound like much of a lesson, but think about how much more unstable you become as your feet get further away from the ground. The other purpose it serves (whether intentional or not) is to hide your footwork. It's harder for Uke to guess/anticipate which direction you're going when they can't see your feet.

Training you to move with the feet lower to the ground is what I consider the most important function though. For that reason alone, I personally think Aikidoka should start wearing a hakama as soon as possible. Rank is rank, and has little to do with the outfit you have on........

two pennies in the pot.

Regards,

Dan Pokorny - Mongo

BC
07-26-2000, 12:51 PM
In the dojo where I train, females of all ranks (due to "modesty") and only male yudansha wear hakama. Yes, they do look cool, but as a male mudansha, I'm actually kind of grateful that I don't have to wear one, so I can avoid tripping on it (I do that enough without a hakama), and I feel sorry for the beginning women for that reason (plus, hakamas aren't cheap). We're having yudansha tests next week, so I imagine that afterward we'll be seeing some interesting moves from some of the newer yudansha as they adjust to their new attire on the mat!

bsnyder
07-26-2000, 01:00 PM
I believe that your Shihan should and already have made the call on this issue; and I know they are very firm on this.

When I first started practicing Aikido, a little more than twenty years ago, I had to wear a hakama all the time. That was what the teacher said, so that's what I did. I reached Sandan within that style; Shin Shin Toitsu, and after my sensei moved back to Japan, I searched, after about six years of being alone and found a USAF dojo in Atlanta, GA that I could associate myself with.

I was never really big into policies. I just wanted to practice. I was accepted into the USAF as a student and to show my allegence to the Shihan of that organization, I took off my hakama and black belt. If the Shihan thought that my rank should transfer over then that would be cool. If not, then that would be cool as well. One hitch, I ran my own dojo in Chattanooga, TN. Yamada Sensei's advice? Wear the hakama over the white belt while teaching. That's a USAF standard. I said, "Yes Sensei." and everything was cool. When I would go to seminars, I would take the hakama off. I'll be honest though; Without the hakama, my tai sabaki stunk. The hakama really lets us feel our center.

I went to my first big USAF seminar in Nov. of 1991. The instructors were Yamada, Kanai, & Iwagaki Senseis. That's the first time I had ever seen them and I was blown away. I also took my Shodan test to be recognized by the USAF. I failed. Later, well after I had passed my Shodan exam, I asked Yamada Sensei at a seminar just why he failed me. I said, "I failed you because I wanted you to get better."

No matter now, I still have my allegence with Yamada and Kanai Senseis as well as a few of the USAF Shidoin; but I do go to seminars where other Shihan are teaching-Saotome and Ikeda Senseis to name two. I know that the ASU has policies regarding the hakama that differ from the USAF. That's ok with me. Yamada and Kanai Senseis govern what I do; but if I go to another Shihan's seminar I abide by their rules. I guess if the USAF said that from now on all males will wear black hakama and females will wear blue, then I guess I'll be getting a black hakama.

Cheers

Erik
07-26-2000, 01:51 PM
BC wrote:In the dojo where I train, females of all ranks (due to "modesty") and only male yudansha wear hakama. Yes, they do look cool, but as a male mudansha, I'm actually kind of grateful that I don't have to wear one, so I can avoid tripping on it (I do that enough without a hakama), and I feel sorry for the beginning women for that reason (plus, hakamas aren't cheap). We're having yudansha tests next week, so I imagine that afterward we'll be seeing some interesting moves from some of the newer yudansha as they adjust to their new attire on the mat!

It isn't like you have to learn to walk all over again. They really aren't that bad.

A general question but does anyone out there have a valid reason for why women can wear hakama and men can't until shodan? The only valid reason I can find is that someone said so. I've heard the modesty argument many times and it doesn't wash in this century.


[Edited by Erik on July 26, 2000 at 02:26pm]

Bob
07-26-2000, 02:25 PM
Well, this is my first attempt at posting so if I go wrong I hope someone will set me straight.

Coming to aikido from a judo and karate background where we wore no hakama, it has always interested me. It generates so much energy on so many peoples' part, discussing this, arguing about that, fretting about this and that, that I sometimes wonder if the hakama problem isn't put upon us just to help us tackle our ego problems.

In the Canadian Aikido Federation (Aikikai) women generally wear hakama from 3rd kyu and men from shodan, although individual dojo instructors can make changes. I was allowed to wear one at 3rd kyu (I guess I should say here that I am male!) because I was assisting a yudansha in teaching the kids' class. And it was no big deal, in fact I tired of folding it and tripping over it, etc within a week. Now I don't think about it much. The interesting thing is that five of my students just earned shodan and they say that the heaviness of the knot at their center is making a big difference to their aikido! So is there something in the fact that at 3rd kyu I found it no big deal but at shodan my students find it immensely helpful? Not a very broad study, I'll admit but it just might be that it makes a serious reinforcement just when it is needed - at shodan.

bsnyder
07-26-2000, 02:28 PM
Erik wrote:
BC wrote:In the dojo where I train, females of all ranks (due to "modesty") and only male yudansha wear hakama. Yes, they do look cool, but as a male mudansha, I'm actually kind of grateful that I don't have to wear one, so I can avoid tripping on it (I do that enough without a hakama), and I feel sorry for the beginning women for that reason (plus, hakamas aren't cheap). We're having yudansha tests next week, so I imagine that afterward we'll be seeing some interesting moves from some of the newer yudansha as they adjust to their new attire on the mat!

It isn't like you have to learn to walk all over again. They really aren't that bad.

A general question but does anyone out there have a valid reason for why women can wear hakama and men can't until yudansha? The only valid reason I can find is that someone said so. I've heard the modesty argument many times and it doesn't wash in this century.


Aikido is O'Sensei's budo. It lives on through his uchi-deshi. So IMHO, it's really the Shihan's Aikido. It's not yours or mine. Now I realize that we practice and develop our individual ways and means of movement; but we do this by mimiking the Shihan that we study under. The way of Aikido is a Japanese way not a western or Euraisian way. I think that in the facets of the art itself, we need to look at what Aikido is: a Japanese martial art with Japanese etiquitte. I see non Japanese dojos who try to be "maverick" move away from these policies. Everything from not bowing to waring street clothes on the "mat". If this is your bag, fine. I have known some of these people and a few are very nice; but it seems that if we are to embody the true essence of "real" aikido practce, we need to just do what our Shihan say and live as well as practice by their exapmle; regardless of what that is.

liam
08-17-2000, 08:27 AM
Erik wrote:
[QUOTE]BC wrote:In the dojo where I train, females of all ranks (due to "modesty") and only male yudansha wear hakama. <-Snip->
A general question but does anyone out there have a valid reason for why women can wear hakama and men can't until shodan? The only valid reason I can find is that someone said so. I've heard the modesty argument many times and it doesn't wash in this century.

[Edited by Erik on July 26, 2000 at 02:26pm]

I'd appreciate a straight answer to this too. I am quite ignorant about how one might have dealt with menstruation in a white gi without modern sanitary products. I'd imagine that this could have provided some embarrassment to women at the time. With a hakama, if a period came early it would have offered some degree of concealment.

Am I correct or is this not a consideration? Perhaps there were tampons at the time (I guess I'm talking the postwar period, when kyu grades were regularly beginning to neglect hakama) that could do the job effectively.

Are there any women who could please let me know if this reason might have contributed to the women-in-hakama rule? It sounds more practical than just "modesty" and I guess it would have helped make aikido more accessible for more of the time.

andrew
08-18-2000, 07:28 AM
Originally, everybody in Aikido wore a hakama, but there was a cloth shortage in Japan after the war...
And keikogi are underwear, people. As I read someone say anyhow, the whole "modesty" thing assumes sentiments unappropriate to Aikido on the mat and it's a wee bit insulting to aikidoka.

BC
08-18-2000, 11:07 AM
This question actually came up during a discussion session at our summer camp a couple of weeks ago. The senior instructors from our organization were in agreement that the reason Hombu changed from having everyone wearing hakama to just yudansha was, as Andrew stated, due to a cloth shortage and economic downturn in Japan immediately after WWII. Therefore, in order to ease the financial burden on aikido students, only yudansha were required to wear the hakama.

Andrew, I'm not clear on your statement about inappropriate sentiments and insults to aikidoka. Was it relating to the previous post?

Anyway, I was recently reading a review on women's dogi jackets by Susan Perry in ATM #64 (Vol. 13, No. 4, July /August '99). In that review she references a book, "Kimono" by Liza Dalby, which states that both the keikio gi and the hakama started out as womens' clothing, and eventually evolved in to being the attire worn for martial arts training. Just thought I'd throw that out.

liam
08-19-2000, 07:23 AM
'offend'?

I certainly didn't mean to offend anyone, and apologise to those who find women's issues unpalatable.

Neither Andrew nor BC managed to answer my question, though -- which centres around the women-specific hakama rule.

I've just come across a passage in C.M. Shifflett's Aikido Exercises for Teaching and Training (1999) that says: Americans might recall that in the US through the 1940's and 1950's, women in pants were considered improper or downright immoral. In some areas this is still true. However, to many Aikidoists the "hakama for modesty" rule seems a tad odd when ladies change after class into shorts and tank tops.

If C.M. Shifflett is female, the book doesn't say so but I believe her first name is Carol, then at least I've read one explanation from someone who is female and it makes more sense than others I've read or heard of.

The point of this line of discussion is for me to confirm that this peculiar women-in-hakama rule was to keep women on the mats for more extensive lengths of time than what might have otherwise have been possible.

In other words - it's not to mark women out for special treatment, or to patronise them with a uniform that's normally reserved for higher ranking students, but to give them equal access to mat-time.

It's the optimist in me trying to interpret the rule positively, in contrast to the interpretations I've heard in western countries associating it with stories of Japanese male chauvinism.

As far as the reasons for dropping the hakama requirements from kyu-grades, I remember reading in Pranin's Pre War Aikido Masters that this was especially practised in the USA because hakama were difficult to get hold of and therefore an unnecessarily expensive item for beginners.

Thanks for your comment, BC, I'd never heard about the gi and hakama originating from women's clothing. I wonder what the men wore for martial arts training - perhaps armour.

Liam

andrew
08-19-2000, 09:48 AM
"Andrew, I'm not clear on your statement about inappropriate sentiments and insults to aikidoka."

Pardon me. I read it in an article on aikidofaq.com
My understanding of what I read was that the "modesty" aspect tended to imply that male aikidoka might be unduly distracted by the sight of a lady in her underwear, unlike presumably the ladies viewing menfolk thus attired. I gather the insult was assuming men would behave like Animal when Spohia Loren was on the muppet show, albeit in a far less entertaining manner to the general public.
That other point somebody else made about hakama in the states and their expense is the same reason as Japan really, isn't it?
A friend of mine reckons that, for all they look good on men, they look REALLY good on women, but I believe that too might come under the heading of "inappropriate" as a reason.

guest1234
08-19-2000, 04:03 PM
all right, i can't stand it any longer...no, i do not think the hakama for women at lower ranks rule had anything to do with allowing them to train during a time of the month that they might get blood on their gi, for two reasons: 1) i believe any kind/color of hakama was used during the early days of Aikido, not just dark blue/black...2) while dark blue/black will hide a stain, if it is wet and it hits the mat, a mark will be left---i'm sure then, as now, ladies who thought they might get blood on the mat got off of it, or stayed off of it as needed. it undoubtedly was, as i think it was Andrew who pointed out, an out-dated and insulting (primarily to male Aikidoka) rule that implied men would be distracted by females in 'underwear'...much the same as two things i was taught when i joined the AF (too) many years ago: women could not sit in the front row of an auditorium in uniform, since the uniforms had skirts and so needed at least one "modesty row" (AF terms, not mine) of seat backs between me and the lecturer, and that female uniforms were DESIGNED to be unattractive, so as not to distract the men in uniform from their job.
and in my opinion, they look much better on men than women.

liam
08-19-2000, 09:09 PM
ca wrote:
all right, i can't stand it any longer...
Pleased to see that whatever's been holding you back didn't get the better of you :)
much the same as two things i was taught when i joined the AF (too) many years ago
Wow! Thank you very much for relating these two things. Isn't it great that things have moved forwards since then. (They have moved forwards in the AF, right? ;))
Our female aikidoists requested our hakama rule be only skill-based some time ago, but I saw the old rule in force when I was visiting Japan recently so it made me wonder about whether the old practice still had a place in modern dojos.
And Colleen, I'm led to believe there is a big difference between flow-that-marks-gi-hakama-and-floor and flow-that-marks-gi, but I'm happy to accept that the rule wasn't made for practical concerns to help keep women on the mats.
Thanks again.

liam

Nick
08-20-2000, 07:46 PM
andrew wrote:
And keikogi are underwear, people

Really? Wow, I guess I know my sempai better than I thought ;).

Adding some meaningless dribble to a serious conversation,

-Nick
The Muddled Mudansha

Aikisho-1
08-21-2000, 10:44 AM
Hello-


I think that the hakama is a good learning tool.For some reason it does help you to find your center easier.Plus it gives you a sense of belonging to aikido, traditionally.I used to be affiliated with ASU,and they never discouraged anyone from wearing hakama.With the exception of seminars.I totally agree with this,because I remember attending a seminar with Wendy Whited Sensei (5th Dan).I was called on as an uke when I was 5th Kyu.I was one of those people who could take ukemi pretty well so she assumed I was a higher rank.I wasn't and I should have listened to my sensei,and removed the hakama during seminars.She clobbered me,and I learned my lesson.

But in general training I think it's helpful.Although to a beginner,a hakama clad individual... can appear intimidating.Plus there are those with egos.

I think it's important for the yudansha to remember that they too were once beginners,and try to remember all the mixed feelings they had in training.And try to help all beginners,because they are the future of Aikido.

akiy
08-21-2000, 10:56 AM
Aikisho-1 wrote:
I was called on as an uke when I was 5th Kyu.I was one of those people who could take ukemi pretty well so she assumed I was a higher rank.I wasn't and I should have listened to my sensei,and removed the hakama during seminars.She clobbered me,and I learned my lesson.
Did you get hurt?

Maybe she called on you because you could take ukemi pretty well and not because she assumed you were a "higher rank." Did you ask if she thought you held a higher rank or is this your own assumption you're bringing in here?

If you can take the ukemi, what difference does your rank make?

-- Jun

chrisinbrasil
08-21-2000, 05:32 PM
Hey there,
Where I train only black belts are "allowed" to wear hakama. I´m in Brazil and speaking for most, not all, of the associations here. On one hand it´s a definate ego inflater BUT I believe it´s more than that. I´ve found that throughout the years, the hakama has become a symbol of preserverance, determination, sweat, years of mat time, and a general motivator for all those bright-eyed bushy-tailed newbies that come in drooling for some training. I enjoyed training with the hakama wearers because it usually meant guidance, correct and effective techniques, good explanations, and role models guaranteed. It gives people something to shoot for; it helps people grow when worn by the right people. In my dojo I don´t wear a hakama myself, nor did my sensei at times. The motion of the feet need not be concealed at all times, especially when teaching.
At your service,
Christopher

jrfreed353
08-25-2000, 12:21 PM
Most of this discussion has been based on extrinsic reasons for wearing a hakama. How do others view you and your rank, a sense on unity with your dogo, rank, achivement, and etc. But aikido training is much more about intrinsic (inner-self) than what kind of attire you wear on the mat.

Being a member of my dogo (ASU), the hakama is encouraged by all students regardless of rank. And by this, the hakama is somewhat of a non-issue. In my opinion, the hakama is nothing more than my commitment to the art of aikido...nothing more.

-JRF

Steve Mullen
08-11-2004, 02:49 PM
hi all, this is my very first post on this really cool site (wow), I train in the White Rose organisation in England. Our founder Sensei Riley allows females to be awarded hakama at 2nd kyu, and males at 1st kyu, but this is generally for an exceptional grading. His idea is that a hakama signifies that the wearer is one of his senior students.
Just another point White Rose students wear a white belt until they take their Shodan. what are other styles' view on this?

Ron Tisdale
08-11-2004, 03:07 PM
While yoshinkan students often get a hakama at shodan, its usually not worn that much for training until sandan. At most seminars, its the instructor and his/her assistants who wear hakama...most just wear dogi and obi. I believe the shodokan (Tomiki) associations are pretty much the same.

Since I've spent sometime at seminars and a few classes in the aikikai, I've gotten somewhat used to training in the hakama, but it still seems to me I can work a little more freely without it. Different strokes and all that...

Ron

Lan Powers
08-11-2004, 06:24 PM
Just a quick note to all interested folks....Bu Jin has (on their clearance rack) an assortment of hakamas of various sizes, koshita styles, and choices of colors (blue or black) :) for $55 hemmed to your length.
Enjoy
Lan

Lyle Laizure
08-11-2004, 08:26 PM
(due to "modesty")

I have heard this argument before. I read an excerpt from one of Saotome Sensei's books (sorry I don't reccollect which one) where he says that this is (and this in my words not Saotome Sensei's) rediculous. If Aikido is about everything it is supposed to be about then even suggesting that someone would be having improper thoughts about the women in class because they are not wearing hakama defeats the purpose.

Not as well put as Saotome Sensei put it.

My understanding is that the hakama was initially required as it was part of formal wear. Those who didn't have one could not practice. Therefore one had to beg, borrow, or buy a hakama to attend practice. Then afte WWII, fabric being so scarce, it was allowed to practice without.

Zato Ichi
08-11-2004, 09:16 PM
At most seminars, its the instructor and his/her assistants who wear hakama...most just wear dogi and obi. I believe the shodokan (Tomiki) associations are pretty much the same.

In my limited time at Shodokan honbu, I've never seen Nariyama-shihan, his deshi, or any of the top ranked sensei wear hakama. One of the first things I was told when I came to honbu was, "We don't wear hakama. It's too dangerous for practice." We basically run around in dogi and obi, like Ron said.

I have seen some of the university students wear hakama for enbu, but that's pretty much the extent of it.

batemanb
08-12-2004, 02:34 AM
I don't think a hakama makes your Aikido better.....

I disagree with this :), the hakama definately helps improve your kaiten movement. Being 6' 2", without a hakama I look like a beanpole and feel like a plank of wood when moving about just in dogi. As soon as I put a hakama on, it all starts to flow, my movement is much smoother.

When I joined my dojo, at that time we were told by our Sensei when to put a hakama on. In those days we didn't grade very regularly (not that we're much better now :)) I'd been doing Aiki about 2 years and was 5th kyu when he suggested I get one. Times have changed, we now have different sensei at the club and we belong to a different organization, now hakama is still by decree of our senior instructor, but the association reserves it for 1st kyu (maybe 2nd kyu), and a couple of our legacy students who have been wearing them for years but haven't graded up.

When I moved to Japan, I joined the Aikikai, dropped my grades and went back in without a hakama. Every time I walked onto the mat in my dogi I still felt like a plank of wood. When I graded to shodan, my Sensei in Japan gave me a kuro obi embroidered with the kanji "$B0RIwF2!9(B" (ifuu dou dou - which translates to majestic and dignified), the hakama is most definately a contributary factor in attaining this.

rgds

Bryan

batemanb
08-12-2004, 02:46 AM
What it taught me was to keep my feet closer to the ground when I moved. This may not sound like much of a lesson, but think about how much more unstable you become as your feet get further away from the ground.

Your feet shouldn't really leave the ground when moving in Aikido, whether you're wearing a hakama or not :). We shouldn't lift our feet up ala walking when we move, but should glide across the mat with the sole of the foot maintaining a light contact at all times. The hakama can be a great reminder of this, I once watched a friend being uke for the instructor in class (many years ago), as he stepped forward during his movement his foot went up inside the hakama and his toes caught as he went to plant his foot. It was a great kuzushi movent because it somehow managed to flip him 180 degrees upside down instantly, the only problem was that he dislocated his collar bone when he hit the mat :eek: .

rgds

Bryan

happysod
08-12-2004, 03:13 AM
Your feet shouldn't really leave the ground when moving in Aikido, whether you're wearing a hakama or not . We shouldn't lift our feet up ala walking when we move, but should glide across the mat with the sole of the foot maintaining a light contact at all times. While this may be true for your style Bryan, I can assure you this is not a cast-iron rule universally applied across all styles of aikido. Interestingly enough, lifting your feet does wonders for your aikido when you're outside and the terrain is more random.

PeterR
08-12-2004, 03:59 AM
While this may be true for your style Bryan, I can assure you this is not a cast-iron rule universally applied across all styles of aikido. Interestingly enough, lifting your feet does wonders for your aikido when you're outside and the terrain is more random.
Yes let's not forget the Tohei hop.

batemanb
08-12-2004, 04:03 AM
While this may be true for your style Bryan, I can assure you this is not a cast-iron rule universally applied across all styles of aikido. Interestingly enough, lifting your feet does wonders for your aikido when you're outside and the terrain is more random.

Actually I'm a typical Aikido hypocrite here :), I often fail to adhere myself, although I am working on it. You are correct, it's not a cast iron rule. I do do exercises that specifically involve standing on one foot occasionally, but when I was in Japan, Sensei in three diifferent dojo's used to reprimand me for lifting my feet when moving :( (and they taught exercises standing on one foot too :freaky::).

Like a lot of things in Aikido, there are correct ways, and not correct ways, until the time when the not correct way is the correct way :hypno: :)

rgds

Bryan

happysod
08-12-2004, 04:05 AM
[sniffy voice]We prefer to call it a bounce [/sniffy voice] ... shodokan bullies, always making fun of the more enlightened, I get so mad I could meditate!

Peter Seth
08-12-2004, 06:58 AM
Imagine - you are in a large class, a guest at a new class, on a course etc etc, where not everyone is known to you. You may be training with people who are wearing hakama's, some wearing coloured belts, some wearing white belts. How do you know the skill level/experience each person has, can they cope with breakfalls, positive application of techniques, are they beginners etc?
If it is not obvious, I personally ask the person I am about to train with (if I dont know them), what grade/experience they have and tailor my training to suit.
My point being, with such diversity in clubs/organisations about wearing hakamas and not wearing coloured belts untill they grade to shodan, there could be some Health and safety/insurance issues. Especially so in this litigation culture. Injuries or worse, could occur due to for example an inexperienced aikidoka wearing a hakama being mistaken for an experienced black belt and thrown at that level. Or, a 1st kyu wearing a white belt applying technique at that level to a 5th kyu wearing a white belt. I totally support the freedom of organisations to apply their own 'dress code' as it were, but I would say to everyone, if you don't already know, please ascertain the experience of the person you are training with.

ruthmc
08-12-2004, 08:51 AM
I don't wear my hakama when teaching weapons, because I want the class to be able to see my feet, knees and hip movement clearly. Some folks consider this a breach of ettiquette, but I'll take practicality over ettiquette every time!

Often an instructor ends up hitching up the hakama and tucking it into their obi while teaching, as the students just can't see the leg movements clearly under the hakama. This makes me question the practicality of the hakama for teaching purposes, never mind training..

Personally I don't think my training gets any better or worse according to what I'm wearing!

Ruth

David Humm
08-12-2004, 09:47 AM
Is it not an Aikikai directive to it's members and affiliates not to wear hakama before Yudansha, unless specifically authorised ?

I can't comment on other Hombu regulations however, as a 1st kyu I was authorised to wear hakama but, when I travelled to the New York Aikikai, I was advised only Yudansha were permitted.

David Humm
08-12-2004, 10:10 AM
Imagine - you are in a large class, a guest at a new class, on a course etc etc, where not everyone is known to you. You may be training with people who are wearing hakama's, some wearing coloured belts, some wearing white belts. How do you know the skill level/experience each person has, can they cope with breakfalls, positive application of techniques, are they beginners etc?
If it is not obvious, I personally ask the person I am about to train with (if I dont know them), what grade/experience they have and tailor my training to suit.
My point being, with such diversity in clubs/organisations about wearing hakamas and not wearing coloured belts untill they grade to shodan, there could be some Health and safety/insurance issues. Especially so in this litigation culture. Injuries or worse, could occur due to for example an inexperienced aikidoka wearing a hakama being mistaken for an experienced black belt and thrown at that level. Or, a 1st kyu wearing a white belt applying technique at that level to a 5th kyu wearing a white belt. I totally support the freedom of organisations to apply their own 'dress code' as it were, but I would say to everyone, if you don't already know, please ascertain the experience of the person you are training with.

Hi Peter..

The issues you raise in the context of wearing hakama also directly concern the coloured belts vs. white debate and, the individual standards that can and often do, vary vastly between organisations.

I would hope that in any organisation worth its salt, students are taught to be respectful of one another to the point of understanding one's partner's standard (grade at least) just prior to technique to prevent the problems you rightly highlight in your post. I therefore don't see the wearing of a hakama to be more than an issue than standing in front of a white belt wearer and before I apply technique, asking "have you been training long ?"

As a personal preference, I'd rather all mudansha wear white belt, it evens out status and it forces us to at least be a little cautious in our first techniques with those we don't know.

As for hakama, as Jun states its nothing more than bit of material. Which, some of us unfortunately put on a pedestal, I really don't have any strong feelings on whom should wear the garment. From a purely aesthetic point, It looks uniform within a dojo if everyone is wearing the same.

Until the Aikikai change their regulation on the matter, dojo within that organisation must maintain the hakama at shodan rule.

Yann Golanski
08-12-2004, 11:05 AM
David,

I've trained in different Aikikai dojo in the UK and the states and in one I was told to wear a White belt in the other I was told wear what I wanted (black belt and hakama). As for who wears a hakama. I've seen it all from everyone to no one. I've even seen a 7th dan wear no hakama and a white belt. It was refreshing to be able to see what his legs were doing.

Frankly, who cares? It's just trousers... I seem to wear my hakama to go clubbing and it's always a hit. Many people want to know where I can get such funky trousers. *grins evilly and waits for the outrage and flames*

David Humm
08-12-2004, 11:10 AM
lol @ Yann.. Nice one mate... Which club you go to.. ? :D

p00kiethebear
08-12-2004, 03:05 PM
I think the "yudansha only get to wear nice swishy pants" rule is stupid. I did kenjutsu for a year before i started aikido. Everyone was allowed to wear hakama in that class. When i joined aikido i felt naked working without it.

But for me my reasoning is actually a little more simpler.

It was o sensei's wish that his students wear a hakama at the dojo.

Since in most dojos, we are practicing in the presence of o sensei (you know, the picture on the shomen and all?) then i think it would be best for us to train with our pants on, and not, as he put it, in our underwear.

Robert Cowham
08-13-2004, 06:09 AM
I find the hakama does have an effect on my center which helps my practice. In fact this is also a contention in a paper by Inaba sensei of the Shiseikan in Tokyo ("Developing the Fundamentals of Mind and Body for Budo").

He refers to the use of the hundoshi (loin cloth), which used to be traditional, but is seldom worn these days. He refers to the Imperial Navy strategist AKIYAMA SANEYUKI who wrote "The HUNDOSHI Thesis", a note about cultivating spirit. "In battle, by tightening my hundoshi, I was sure that I could prevent my SHINKI (mind-KI) from wavering."

This is related to why sumo wrestlers wear a hundoshi.

"Keeping SHINKI in the TANDEN" means "preventing blood rushing and making possible the free expression of intelligence and KI RYOKU."

The HAKAMA, worn in BUJUTSU practice, has a similar effect to a HUNDOSHI, except for tightening a man's private parts. With the belt and hip strings tightening around the hips and the HARA below the navel, the SHINKI drops into the TANDEN, the HARA keeps the body power, and the TANDEN and the centre of gravity become unified. Breathing in this state during practice naturally becomes the TANDEN KOKYU that is necessary for BUJUTSU.

Robert

gilsinnj
08-13-2004, 10:16 AM
In our style (Kinokawa (http://www.kinokawa.org/) and specifically our dojo Aikido Mt. Airy (http://www.aikido-mtairy.com/)), we wear hakama as yudansha. This is more of a business thing, though in our case. It is difficult for new students coming into a dojo to figure out who is leading class unless they see the black belt or something that stands out.

We are an independant organization, and don't have many yudansha at our dojo. By wearing hakama, we are easily recognizable when new students come in to join. Since we don't have a large pool of yudansha to work from, our shodan's haven't gotten the big head sometimes associated with yudanship at some other dojos. We've all been humbled at one point or another by our main instructor.

-- Jim

Ron Tisdale
08-16-2004, 01:40 PM
Hi Robert,

Is that fundoshi or hundoshi?

Thanks,
Ron (linguistically impaired...)

I find the hakama does have an effect on my center which helps my practice. In fact this is also a contention in a paper by Inaba sensei of the Shiseikan in Tokyo ("Developing the Fundamentals of Mind and Body for Budo").

He refers to the use of the hundoshi (loin cloth), which used to be traditional, but is seldom worn these days. He refers to the Imperial Navy strategist AKIYAMA SANEYUKI who wrote "The HUNDOSHI Thesis", a note about cultivating spirit. "In battle, by tightening my hundoshi, I was sure that I could prevent my SHINKI (mind-KI) from wavering."

This is related to why sumo wrestlers wear a hundoshi.

"Keeping SHINKI in the TANDEN" means "preventing blood rushing and making possible the free expression of intelligence and KI RYOKU."

The HAKAMA, worn in BUJUTSU practice, has a similar effect to a HUNDOSHI, except for tightening a man's private parts. With the belt and hip strings tightening around the hips and the HARA below the navel, the SHINKI drops into the TANDEN, the HARA keeps the body power, and the TANDEN and the centre of gravity become unified. Breathing in this state during practice naturally becomes the TANDEN KOKYU that is necessary for BUJUTSU.

Robert

Chuck.Gordon
08-16-2004, 02:31 PM
I've always heard Fundoshi, but the Japanese F and H are sort of interchangeable, depending on dialect and such ...

Chuck

Ron Tisdale
08-16-2004, 02:43 PM
That would explain it...thanks!

Ron (still linguistically impaired, but learning...)

Jeanne Shepard
08-16-2004, 08:31 PM
[QUOTE=Lyle Laizure]I have heard this argument before. I read an excerpt from one of Saotome Sensei's books (sorry I don't reccollect which one) where he says that this is (and this in my words not Saotome Sensei's) rediculous. If Aikido is about everything it is supposed to be about then even suggesting that someone would be having improper thoughts about the women in class because they are not wearing hakama defeats the purpose."

What if we have improper thoughts about people who ARE wearing hakamas?!

Jeanne :p

Karen Wolek
08-16-2004, 11:28 PM
Jeanne!!!!!! ROFLMAO!

Thanks, I needed that!

Chris Li
08-17-2004, 01:21 AM
I have heard this argument before. I read an excerpt from one of Saotome Sensei's books (sorry I don't reccollect which one) where he says that this is (and this in my words not Saotome Sensei's) rediculous. If Aikido is about everything it is supposed to be about then even suggesting that someone would be having improper thoughts about the women in class because they are not wearing hakama defeats the purpose.

Not as well put as Saotome Sensei put it.

According to Koichi Tohei, in "Ki no Kakuritsu", Morihei Ueshiba required women to wear hakama because women rolling around without them distracted him.

Best,

Chris

Bronson
08-17-2004, 02:57 PM
According to Koichi Tohei, in "Ki no Kakuritsu", Morihei Ueshiba required women to wear hakama because women rolling around without them distracted him.


HERETIC!!! How dare you suggest that O-Sensei was a human being and subject to the same human wants, desires, and distractions as the rest of us.

;)

Bronson

Joezer M.
08-17-2004, 09:06 PM
In my dojo only yudansha wear hakama... so after practice they can look busy folding their hakamas while the rest of us clean the dojo :)
... and after several times receiving the honor of having to fold my sensei's hakama ("Hey, you're going to be shodan soon... why don't you practice folding with my hakama while I grab a clod one?"), I can't say I'm actually looking forward to having to wear it every time I practive :D

Reagards,
Joezer

Anders Bjonback
08-18-2004, 12:27 AM
This may seem really shallow... but hakama are just so cool! I think I've been wearing once since a little before my sixth kyu exam (now I'm 3rd kyu), and aikido just isn't the same without it. It makes cool swishing sounds and just look aesthetically pleasing, cool (as in "totally sweet"), and exotic. They're awesome!
During this period of my life, when I'm thinking I'll probably not be doing aikido when I get out of college, I think that maybe I shouldn't be wearing a hakama. But I really love aikido, and if you define devotion as a kind of love, then I guess I'm devoted despite whatever my future with the art is.

L. Camejo
08-18-2004, 12:48 AM
In my dojo only yudansha wear hakama... so after practice they can look busy folding their hakamas while the rest of us clean the dojo :)

Hehe I like this post.

It reminds me of training at an Aikikai dojo and seeing this phenomena for the first time. Being the official bonafide Aiki-heathen that I am :) (wearing only black belt and gi), I proceeded to get all the other folks together (mainly mudansha) and leave early for a cold one while the other Yudansha were still folding.:)

Personally though, one great deterrent to me for wearing hakama (besides our official stance that it is dangerous) is having to take so much time to fold it afterwards (folding is not my area of expertise). I once considered wearing one, but thought of the looks I'd get when I folded it like my gi and tossed it into my bag without "lining up all the pleats".:)

Just my 2 cents.
LC:ai::ki:

Zato Ichi
08-18-2004, 01:11 AM
It makes cool swishing sounds and just look aesthetically pleasing, cool (as in "totally sweet"), and exotic. They're awesome!

Wow, Anders! Your hakama must have REAL ULTIMATE POWER!! :D

Troy
08-19-2004, 09:11 AM
At my Dojo, Aikido-ka are aloud to wear the Hakama after reaching 1st Kyu, so we can get used to wearing them before our Shodan test. I would really like to wear the Hakama sooner though. But, I do like the idea of earning the right to wear it. It shows that you are committing everything to your Aikido.

David Humm
08-19-2004, 10:37 AM
Here's another slant on this thread..

Why do we think the likes of Aikikai Hombu (and or others) adopted the hakama at Shodan rule ?

No one I’ve spoken to seems to know a definitive answer

Yann Golanski
08-19-2004, 11:15 AM
As far as I know it dates from WW2. After the war, there was a shortage of cloth and so Doshu instigated the rule of hakama at shodan to make sure new students were not put off because of the price of a dogi and a hakama.

bruce bryan
08-25-2004, 05:06 AM
The Hakama question has opened much debate.

Whilst the Hakama may be seen as just a 'Bit of cloth' of which people place 'Too much significance', I feel that it is a very significant article of clothing personally.

From the very first day, stepping into a Karate Dojo (many years ago) as a brand new white belt, I was amazed at the skill and knowledge of 'Those brilliant Black Belts', and vowed that some day i would be as skillful and knowledgable, and would earn the honour of being awarded one of those Black Belts. Many years later, having trained day after day, studying, attending camps and seminars and 1:1 tuition, I gained my Shodan. That was a proud and humbling moment. Earning my Nidan years after was no less difficult or humbling an award.

Now, as a White belt once again, begining my Aikido journey, watching the Yodansha in their Hakama, I am no less amazed as i was all those years ago, and once again have made the vow that I will one day through hard training and study,earn the coveted Hakama. Whilst I understand that everyone in the Dojo are more knowledgable than I, as a beginner, looking around an unfamiliar Dojo, at unfamiliar faces, I know who I can turn to for the correct help and advice through the difficult beginners stage and beyond.

There is no Ego in wearing a Hakama. It is a sign that the wearer has dedicated themselves completely to Aikido, and has earned the right to wear it. Therefore i feel that all grades wearing the Hakama takes away it's special meaning to those awarded it. We may as well do away with the whole belt/grade system, and also the Black Belt.

I personally feel that the Hakama is as much an award as the Black Belt worn underneath it, and look forward to the day that I am knowledgable and Skillful enough to wear one.

Just my view guys.

Domu.

Derek Webb
08-25-2004, 09:41 AM
Personally I see wearing the hakama and the award of black belt very much as a rite of passage. Years of hard practice, travelling thousands of miles, losing touch with old friends because aikido came first (though making many new ones in the process), the constant re-evaluation of technique and attitude and then the realisation that this is only one stage on the path.

Folding the hakama serves at least two purposes - a form of self discipline and more important provides time to reflect on the class and/or general gossip about anything.

Don't have any problems with any way various organisations deal with the hakama question. After all when in Rome.........

Regards

Delboy

Mludwick
12-15-2006, 05:20 PM
A Hakama is a skirt like garment meant to cover a Kimono for formal occasions. If the garment has seperate legs it is not a Hakama and used while riding horses. There are many types of Hakama anything from a thin one used for woodworkers to keep thier undergarnments clean to a Womans version.

The myth that a Hakama is to hide leg movements is a fairytail. Never has it been intended for this and it hardly would work. Samurai before battle would pull up the Hakama several inches to free up thier movements. People that say it's gives the illusion of floating have been watching too many science fiction movies.

Wherever you train if the policy is not to allow you to wear the Hakama then I guess you have to live with it. The garment alone is hardly an indication of proficiency.

Go out, buy a silk kimono,Hakama and an Obi. If you can figure out how all the knots should be tied and garments layered go out and have some Sushi. Nobody will mistake you for a 5th Dan.

Michael Ludwick

P.S> I hope this clears things up. Good Health.

DonMagee
12-15-2006, 08:47 PM
I actually have no desire to wear the magic pants...err Hakama. I find them a pain for even my seniors to wear them. I can't see the feet of people trying to teach me when they wear them, and I see the process of putting them on and taking them off as really annoying. In fact, from day one my first question to my teacher was "Do you have to wear a hakama?".

Lucky the club I train prohibits wearing one until 2nd kyu. Even then it is optional. Personally, I perfer to wear a pair of fight shorts and a rash guard, but I can still understand functional reasons for wearing a gi, the hakama however just seems like a layer of humdrum used as a motivator and a symbol of status (at least in my club). There is nothing wrong with that, I see how it inspires people to train harder, and it is useful in learning who the guys to ask questions are (although our club is small and after a month or two, you know them all by heart anyways). I still find it more of a time consuming distraction anyways.

But maybe that is just because I'm not allowed to wear one? :) If I do ever reach a rank in which I can wear one, I will probably wear one just so I don't upset the balance of the class. It's not like it will hurt anything by wearing one.

ykrhanshi3
10-29-2014, 11:06 AM
O-Sensei accepted no excuse for not wearing hakama. If one is to respect the art and the founder, then the hakama should be required in all dojo and seminar activities.

phitruong
10-29-2014, 12:41 PM
noooooo not the zombie thread on hakama!

it is almost as bad as zombies wearing hakama. picture this: the walking dead wearing pink polka dot hakama! ooooooo the nightmare and suffering! years of big ugly stick therapy!

Steven
10-29-2014, 08:11 PM
O-Sensei accepted no excuse for not wearing hakama. If one is to respect the art and the founder, then the hakama should be required in all dojo and seminar activities.

And yet there is evidence to the contrary like this...

http://www.aikidosansuikai.org/imagenes/Morihei_Ueshiba114.jpg

sorokod
10-30-2014, 09:16 AM
And yet there is evidence to the contrary like this...

http://www.aikidosansuikai.org/imagenes/Morihei_Ueshiba114.jpg

Lifting his arm in despair for lack of hakamas

Walter Martindale
10-30-2014, 09:41 AM
Wow... 28 posts in 2000, 36 posts in 2004, 2 posts in 2006, and 3 so far in 2014.. oh, no, wait, this one makes 4 in 2014... so far...

Haven't worn the hakama for a while, but that's only because I'm not practicing that much these days. I miss it... I guess that's why I keep checking in at aikiweb..

I like wearing the hakama during practice - the extra layer of fabric helps during shikko - one layer rubs the mat, one layer sticks to the skin, and the two layers slide on each other, reducing wear and tear on the skin...

Steven
10-30-2014, 11:05 AM
:D

Lifting his arm in despair for lack of hakamas

Greg Jennings
10-30-2014, 11:55 AM
When in Rome, dress for keiko as the Romans do.

GMaroda
10-30-2014, 12:04 PM
When in Rome, dress for keiko as the Romans do.

TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!

I keep threatening to get an American flag pattern hakama. Or maybe gold lamé.

Adam Huss
10-30-2014, 05:53 PM
When in Rome, dress for keiko as the Romans do.

That would be naked.

Adam Huss
10-30-2014, 05:54 PM
Lifting his arm in despair for lack of hakamas

awesome

PeterR
10-30-2014, 06:28 PM
And then we have

Greg Jennings
10-31-2014, 07:36 AM
That would be naked.
Metaphor. Besides, I think perhaps naked would be more Greek than Roman.

Mary Eastland
10-31-2014, 09:38 AM
I wear hakama but no belt.

phitruong
10-31-2014, 11:06 AM
I wear hakama but no belt.

i wear belt but no hakama, in Greek style :D

Mary Eastland
10-31-2014, 09:41 PM
You are just gross, Phi...consistently though :)

Dan Richards
10-31-2014, 11:16 PM
Phi brings so much to this community in terms of sobriety. He's like the dog that lies around at a big family reunion and licks his balls.

Adam Huss
10-31-2014, 11:49 PM
Metaphor. Besides, I think perhaps naked would be more Greek than Roman.

I was just making a joke. It does originate from Greece , the word gymnos, meaning naked, is where the Romans eventually got gymnasium from....where they would train for war naked and compete in gladiatorial events the same way. As sport, or training, were to help condition and prepare for combat.

Janet Rosen
11-01-2014, 08:53 PM
Phi brings so much to this community in terms of sobriety. He's like the dog that lies around at a big family reunion and licks his balls.

Must be why I enjoy Phi so much. At family reunions and big parties I get bored or stupefied and look for the nearest dog to sit on the floor and hang out with.....(noting they are generally quick to stop licking their balls when a human is willing to talk and play) :D

TonyBlomert
11-18-2014, 08:49 PM
OMG - this hakama topic raises it's (ugly and graceful) head periodically. After reading everyone's posts, I just can't resist weighing in!

First and foremost, Aikido is considered by most to be a traditional martial art. Research into the hakama's history ties it to feudal Japan and the Samurai. Our budo is closely tied to our warrior roots! Aikido uses a joba hakama, to differentiate from other types and ceremonial formal wear. The joba hakama loosely translates into a "horse-riding type of contraption you step into (the divided skirt makes straddling a horse easier). Yes it was used by Samurai horseman and continued to be worn after the bushi become "on foot" soldiers. O'Sensei, being a traditionalist, understanding the formal wear of this times and based on his personal opinion chose to include the hakama as part of Aikido's training uniform. Because he wore a hakama (often white) it is part of Aikido today.

While it can be found in various colors, patterns and style variations - just like our traditional white / cream colored dogi - the most common color is black or dark navy. I don't know of any reason other than these colors are subtle and traditional to the martial arts. Perhaps they suggest a less ostentatious appearance. Again, just because it's common doesn't make it the only "proper" color. I've seen and trained with people wearing everything from "red and white" to "real tree camo" patterned hakama.

Those of use who are not native Japanese, need to keep in mind that overall Japanese society is conservative compared to our western/european way of thinking. What we may characterize as "sexist" relative to the different treatment of men and women, is just ingrained cultural habit to the Japanese. That said, I have not met a more polite and differential group of people than native Japanese.

Each Aikido organization (their leadership) can and should determine their own practices regarding all manner of things, including the use of hakama. In today's western world (IMHO), there is no valid reason for having different rules for men and women. As has been stated more than once on this thread, when in Rome do as the Romans. But organizations that have different gender rules should really reconsider the message they are conveying to their student / members.

I personally think using the hakama as a training tool early is a good practice. As some folks have posted, wearing a hakama does effect footwork. I also believe that it is important to differentiate Aikido by appearance and action. Aikido should ooze TRADITION. Something that needs to be passed on to this and subsequent generations. The hakama is a symbol of our budo roots. Symbols should have meaning towards a purpose, ours being to develop physical and spiritual enlightenment.

lbb
11-19-2014, 09:30 AM
Aikido should ooze TRADITION.

It's less than a hundred years old. How much ooze can there be?

Carsten Möllering
11-19-2014, 10:24 AM
It's less than a hundred years old. ... That depends ...
Exploring and using aiki in budō is much older than Ueshiba or Takeda.
The etiquette we are used to in most aikidō dōjō is much older than Ueshiba or Takeda.
The use of hakama is much older than Ueshiba or Takeda.

ken king
11-19-2014, 10:44 AM
While I think hakama gives a cool whooshing noise and looks fancy, I see little practical value in wearing them and many disadvantages. Added cost for training uniform, wasted time putting them on and folding after class and potential for injury to name a few. The only advantage I see is some added comfort during suwari waza due to fabric sliding.

Keith Larman
11-19-2014, 11:26 AM
When the wife commented that I needed a haircut, I just told her that I'm letting it grow out so I can do a proper top knot. I'm going to out Japanese all those folk at the dojo! Ha! So there! Now where are my geta and baka gaijin t-shirt...

phitruong
11-19-2014, 12:21 PM
It's less than a hundred years old. How much ooze can there be?

the ooze is very secret. we have to send in a bunch of mutant ninja to find out http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103060/

phitruong
11-19-2014, 12:22 PM
When the wife commented that I needed a haircut, I just told her that I'm letting it grow out so I can do a proper top knot. I'm going to out Japanese all those folk at the dojo! Ha! So there! Now where are my geta and baka gaijin t-shirt...

dude! don't forget the loin cloth (if you know how to work the thing, otherwise, i would suggest duct tape).

Keith Larman
11-20-2014, 09:15 AM
I just find it interesting that this discussion comes up so frequently. I remember a guy a while back who was thoroughly disgusted that we didn't do all the clapping stuff as part of our etiquette. Another guy who thought warming up was the duty of the students prior to class and didn't understand our Aiki Taiso practice. Another guy constantly corrected my Japanese pronunciation even though you could hear his New York accent in his.

Now I couldn't possibly care less about what other folk do in their own dojo. We have our own history and as a result we have our own traditions and attitudes about them. And even though I'd grant that some of what is in Aikido goes way back, much of it simply doesn't -- I mean, seriously, aikido isn't some obscure koryu but is a fractured mess of all sorts of paths even from the early days of Aikido.

So I'm cool with those who seem to think that only black hakama are proper and they must flow exactly so many mm's from the floor and that one must only pee angling to the left side of the toilet bowl. Fine. When in Rome. But I'll reserve my incredibly anal attachment to the tiniest of details to other parts of my life where there really is a definite and significant long term history of any substance.

Yeah, I know that last sentence will bug some. So please, by all means take it as seriously as you wish. I just find the tone of some that *everyone* must do this or that, wear this or that, bow this way or that, kind of silly. Hell, most wear judo keikogi which is not exactly traditional Japanese clothing. With riding pants over it? It's like we're reproducing the look brought on by trends of judo being popular combined difficult time in Japanese history with WWII raging...

Now if I was studying a koryu, well, there's a sort of historical preservation society aspect to it. I get that one. Aikido? Kind of a stretch IMHO.

kewms
11-20-2014, 10:32 AM
Bleh. Whatever local etiquette you might encounter, critiquing someone in his own dojo is just rude.

Katherine