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Tony Nielsen
08-07-2008, 12:55 AM
I have a question about the wearing of a Hakama. We had a visitor attending our dojo this evening, and when we were in getting dressed prior to the class he wore a Hakama. After I introduced myself, welcomed him and as we started talking...he said he'd been studying the art for 2 years...(hmmm..2 yrs and already a black belt..I wondered to myself)

On to the class..the Sensei asked what rank he was and he said 3rd Kyu. (I realize literally anyone can buy a Hakama and put it on) but the only folks I've ever seen wear one at my dojo were all 1st Dan's..

I realize there are variations from dojo to dojo, and among styles.. but is this typical?

Shany
08-07-2008, 01:08 AM
Usually a black belt is a 1 year of training (full time), if he practices full time, than there ya go.

some affiliates (Like min) can wear Hakama at 4th Kyu.

Dieter Haffner
08-07-2008, 02:11 AM
Some federations start wearing them from 1st dan.
Others use them from 3th kuy.
Others have even no rank requirements.

So hakama =/= 1st dan.
Although it is always nice to ask the teacher if it is ok to wear your hakama if you are not familiar with the dojo etiquette.

dalen7
08-07-2008, 03:35 AM
As other posters put it - it can vary.

Our dojo starts Hakama at 3rd kyu if you want - but at that point your pretty good already.

Even though its not that easy to spot initially, a black belt still has his black belt on with a Hakama, and a kyu rank wears a white belt typically. (See on the sides of the hakama.)

Probably, when in Rome, he should do as the Romans.
i.e. - wouldnt have been that difficult for him to see your dojo standards and just leave his hakama in his sport bag. :)

Peace

dAlen

bkedelen
08-07-2008, 11:17 AM
The ASU handbook states that ASU students are not only able, but in fact expected to wear a hakama after attaining the rank of 6th kyu. This constitutes permission and instruction directly from Saotome sensei. Obviously this only pertains to ASU members, but if an ASU member visits your dojo, do not be surprised when they wear a hakama, since the mandate is so clear and comes from the top.

Trish Greene
08-07-2008, 11:57 AM
Hello all

At our dojo the males can wear a hakama at 3rd kyu. The females can wear hakama after their first rank testing.

If I travel to a different dojo, I would probably ask first what the etiquette is so that I don't end up inadvertently offending someone.

dalen7
08-07-2008, 12:30 PM
...but if an ASU member visits your dojo, do not be surprised when they wear a hakama, since the mandate is so clear and comes from the top.

"Coming from the top" and "mandate" is a matter of perspective in the situation that you describe above.

It could be conceived as arrogant for someone to hop across organizations, enter a dojo, and take the stance the way it was detailed as above.

Again, Im sure you did not mean it to come across that way. :D

The point, to clarify, would be that if a person is under so much conviction of a given 'mandate' within an organization, then it sounds unlikely they would just wonder into a dojo they are unfamiliar with...as well as not affiliated with. (Emphasis is on the person with that level of 'zeal' as you seemed to described.)

"To Hakama, or not to Hakama...this is the question, etc." ;)
Im sure once I get my green belt (3rd kyu) I will pick me up a hakama and adopt wearing the white belt underneath. :)

Before visiting a dojo to practice with them, I would probably ask them (if they were hakama wearing, and I did not have one) if that would be fine with them. - I would not just want to be presumptuous and break the harmony of the dojo. :)
And if I were to keep training there, obviously I would be expected to adopt their ways.

So again, its all with the attitude and mindset when you go into the dojo.
Your the guest, are you there to participate or is it an ego game of sorts? (This is just a comment in general, not pointing at anyone in particular.)

Peace

dAlen

bkedelen
08-07-2008, 02:50 PM
If you see it as arrogant, you will have to take it up with Saotome sensei. In my experience serious Aikido people are too dignified to chastise visitors, even less for their choice of pants.

yojimbo
08-07-2008, 03:08 PM
in our organisation,hakama is awarded at shodan but permission can be given to wear it at 2nd kyu if student is diligent and is sincere and shows a fair technical ability.however if somebody turned up,did not check out with sensei that it was ok to wear hakama at a fairly low grade and was mistaken for a senior student and then got damaged because they could not take ukemi.well lets say that it is arrogant to assume that just because you are entitled to wear it in your organisation it means that you have reached the technical and maturity level to wear it in another who have different opinions re hakama.
scott www.thistleaikikai.com

BWells
08-07-2008, 03:46 PM
My dojo is a ASU dojo, so students are allowed (but not required) to wear a hakama after they pass their 6 kyu test. Most seem to buy them at 5th or 4th kyu. We tell our folks that if they travel to a non ASU dojo to call ahead ask the rules. Plus, to remember in many dojo's if you wear a hakama it is expected that you can take ukemi at the black belt level

Janet Rosen
08-07-2008, 03:56 PM
Bruce, what a pleasure to see you here!

aikitraveller
08-07-2008, 06:39 PM
Funny how a pair of baggy pants is such a huge issue at some dojo. As long as the guy's there to train, he can take ukemi, he's not being full of himself, he's doing what he was showed to do at that time and not doing it "his way" then I'd certainly welcome him back anytime regardless of what he wears, gi &hakama or spandex.

Keith Larman
08-07-2008, 09:06 PM
I have a question about the wearing of a Hakama. We had a visitor attending our dojo this evening, and when we were in getting dressed prior to the class he wore a Hakama. After I introduced myself, welcomed him and as we started talking...he said he'd been studying the art for 2 years...(hmmm..2 yrs and already a black belt..I wondered to myself)

On to the class..the Sensei asked what rank he was and he said 3rd Kyu. (I realize literally anyone can buy a Hakama and put it on) but the only folks I've ever seen wear one at my dojo were all 1st Dan's..

I realize there are variations from dojo to dojo, and among styles.. but is this typical?

Just fwiw within Seidokan hakama normally are indicative of nikyu or higher.

I think the more important point to be made isn't that there is a lot of variation in when hakama go on (styles do vary), but about how you present yourself at a dojo outside your system. Most consider the proper etiquette to be to present yourself, ask for permission to train, detail your experience, and then ask whether you should wear your belt showing rank from your own group or wear the white belt. Then whether you should wear your hakama. When I'm visiting someone else I'm there to learn from them. And if they want me without hakama with a white belt, fine. If they don't mind the black belt but no hakama, that's fine too. Whatever, I'm there to learn and whatever they'd like is fine with me. It is just a uniform. I'll suit up however *they* feel is appropriate for their dojo. I ain't there to teach -- I'm there as a student.

The bigger question is about proper manners before you ever step onto someone else's mat to train. And it helps the sensei in that they don't have to ask your rank during class. That should have been clarified before you ever stepped onto the mat. That is common courtesy in most dojo settings.

And fwiw you might also ask about protocol for lining up to open class. I *always* sit in the super newbie position if I'm visiting a dojo because I *am* the super newbie there. They may ask me to move according to my rank within my own style, but that's up to them to decide.

Will Prusner
08-07-2008, 11:09 PM
I sure am glad there's not so much contention over the regular gi pants as there is over the fancy samurai pants. If I had to pass a test to wear regular gi pants, i'd still be practicing in my boxers. Fashion:disgust:

note: I know a guy who doesn't wear gi pants under his hakama, just colorful briefs...anyone have an opinon on that?

ramenboy
08-07-2008, 11:39 PM
Usually a black belt is a 1 year of training (full time)...

whoa... you can get shodan in 1 year? holy canoli...

will,
pretty much the only martial art that where's gi pants under the hakama is aikido. in iaido, our jackets are longer... hides our legs from the openning in the hakama. then again, we don't take breakfalls or any rolls in iaido, so there's no chance of showing that we're going 'full metal' under the hakama...

Will Prusner
08-08-2008, 12:14 AM
will,
pretty much the only martial art that where's gi pants under the hakama is aikido. in iaido, our jackets are longer... hides our legs from the opening in the hakama. then again, we don't take breakfalls or any rolls in iaido, so there's no chance of showing that we're going 'full metal' under the hakama...

Personally, I think it's a great idea. Living in Miami, the more air flow (big pants) and the less layers (no gi pants underneath), the better (especially during the summer).

Thanks for the information regarding Iaido, I had no idea. Never even stopped to think about it. Just assumed that everybody had gi pants on under there. Interesting. Learned something new. Many thanks.

W.

Janet Rosen
08-08-2008, 12:22 AM
I've known folks to wear bike shorts instead of gi pants under a hak. In cold weather I put on long undies.

Tinyboy344
08-08-2008, 12:49 AM
I have a question about the wearing of a Hakama. We had a visitor attending our dojo this evening, and when we were in getting dressed prior to the class he wore a Hakama. After I introduced myself, welcomed him and as we started talking...he said he'd been studying the art for 2 years...(hmmm..2 yrs and already a black belt..I wondered to myself)

On to the class..the Sensei asked what rank he was and he said 3rd Kyu. (I realize literally anyone can buy a Hakama and put it on) but the only folks I've ever seen wear one at my dojo were all 1st Dan's..

I realize there are variations from dojo to dojo, and among styles.. but is this typical?

Tony, it was an honor to train at your dojo. I did learn some really interesting stuff and senseis were very helpful to show me when I had difficulties. But please, feel free to toss me around all you can when we have another chance to train with each other. Thanks again for training with me last night. :)

dalen7
08-08-2008, 03:46 AM
If you see it as arrogant, you will have to take it up with Saotome sensei. In my experience serious Aikido people are too dignified to chastise visitors, even less for their choice of pants.

See, I think we agree - for indeed, as you put it, who cares about the pants. ;)

Peace

dAlen

dalen7
08-08-2008, 03:51 AM
I think the more important point to be made isn't that there is a lot of variation in when hakama go on (styles do vary), but about how you present yourself at a dojo outside your system.

...I'll suit up however *they* feel is appropriate for their dojo. I ain't there to teach -- I'm there as a student.

The bigger question is about proper manners before you ever step onto someone else's mat to train.

...I *always* sit in the super newbie position if I'm visiting a dojo because I *am* the super newbie there. They may ask me to move according to my rank within my own style, but that's up to them to decide.

You eloquently stated what I tried to say. :D
Nice post.

Peace

dAlen

shadowedge
08-11-2008, 05:08 AM
Took me 3 years to get to 1st dan. And our dojo`s policy is for yudansha olny to wear the hakama.

I moved around a lot after my training with my original sensei, and I`ve trained in several different dojo afterward. What I do is, I never take the Hakama with me and just put on a white belt. When people ask me about my skill or how long ive been an aikidoka, i tell them the truth, and it ends at that. And things always went well for me that way.

Truth is, i wasnt thinking about the color of the belt i was wearing, and I only wear my hakama and black belt whenever i would visit my original sensei.

The way I see it, you are a newbie when you step into a new dojo. New sensei, different rules mabye. I enjoy re-learning things from scratch. That`s all that matters to me.

deathlinenetworks
08-11-2008, 11:14 AM
Is always good to ask first. It shows you are polite.

patf
08-11-2008, 06:37 PM
Personally I don't see any issue with < shodan wearing hakama, though I prefer simple gi and white belt (too much hassle keeping the hakama clean and folded, and putting it on). However, I do believe that hakama-sabaki is something that should be taught pre-shodan. I studied iaido for a while and it was an important part of the training (nothing worse than tripping on your hakama with a live blade in hand!!). In iaido it is part of the uniform and not a symbol of rank and I doubt it was intended as a symbol of rank in Aikido either. I train in 2 different dojos, one which "awards" hakama after shodan and one which allows hakama after 4th or 5th kyu. I have no problem training in either scenario and it doesn't take long to figure out what level the other person is at.

One minor negative point towards wearing Hakama too early is that it may obstruct the instructors view of students feet, possibly preventing the instructor from correcting a students improper footwork.

I'd be curious to know though if dojos which allow Hakamas pre-shodan, require the student to wear or remove hakama for shodan test.

Charles Hill
08-11-2008, 09:37 PM
whoa... you can get shodan in 1 year? holy canoli..

Kazuo Chiba got shodan in 11 months and that included an unspecified period where he was not allowed to train, only clean.

Charles

ramenboy
08-11-2008, 10:14 PM
Kazuo Chiba got shodan in 11 months and that included an unspecified period where he was not allowed to train, only clean.

Charles

hey charles

ohisashiburi desu ne! when are you heading back to the midwest for a visit? life a geac isn' the same :P

i think that's apples and oranges... kazuo chiba being compared to ...

James Edwards
08-14-2008, 09:25 AM
I thought Chiba sensei wasn't allowed to train in the whole of his first year? So it might be 11 months after he was first allowed to train.

The hakama is basically just trousers anyway while your gi trousers are underwear :P Osensei apparently used to tell his students to wear hakama right from the start, even banning some people to train when someone who owns one forgot to bring it. He said that it's rude to train in your underwear :p: But then lots of people still trained in gi since they couldn't afford a hakama anyway. Oh and in rendez-vous with adventure we can see the host of the documentary wearing one right from the start even though he just started.

I think in hombu and lots of dojos the tradition is that women can wear a hakama from 3rd kyu while men from 1st kyu. I've heard teachers letting students wear hakamas early due to special reasons or because they started teaching early. I guess it's just politeness for women and for respect of people who assist in teaching.

As with what people wear underneath, I've heard of someone who made a hole in his gi pants to make going to the toilet easier... It's always quite funny when people in hakama really need to go :p:

David Maidment
08-20-2008, 05:17 PM
At my dojo the hakama is reserved for Shodan and above, which I can see being a good and a bad thing:

Amongst the higher kyu grades the hakama is something to aim for, and so is very much respected and revered. But then I've also heard many a black belt complain about having to learn footwork all over again to avoid tripping.

To that end, one of the first things I done when hearing these stories was to purchase a cheap hakama to wear whilst practicing outside of the dojo, even though my experience is only to 4th Kyu level. When I finally earn the right to wear one in the dojo, hopefully I'll be used to it enough that my footwork won't suffer.

Dieter Haffner
08-21-2008, 12:33 AM
At my dojo the hakama is reserved for Shodan and above, which I can see being a good and a bad thing:

Amongst the higher kyu grades the hakama is something to aim for, and so is very much respected and revered. But then I've also heard many a black belt complain about having to learn footwork all over again to avoid tripping.

To that end, one of the first things I done when hearing these stories was to purchase a cheap hakama to wear whilst practicing outside of the dojo, even though my experience is only to 4th Kyu level. When I finally earn the right to wear one in the dojo, hopefully I'll be used to it enough that my footwork won't suffer.
Nothing better then to put a brand new black belt straight to its place.
That is: all the way at the bottom, with the ones that know nothing.

A hakama can do that (partially) for you.
Struggling to put on their hakama, is like a small child tieing its shoes for the first time.
Watching the new hakama people fall over it while moving/getting up from ukemi, always puts a smile on everybody's face.
It tells them that something new is going to start, and they are just at the beginning of it.

And you are trying to skip this wonderful experience?
You refuse to make a fool of yourself among your fellow students?
Shame on you, little cheater. :D

David Maidment
08-21-2008, 02:43 AM
Shame on you, little cheater. :D

Aye, that might be the crux of it! Still, nothing like an unexpected kote gaeshi to put one in their place, if they get too big-headed... I'm sure one sensei or other would have no problem setting one aside for me!

Tkoyama
08-23-2008, 10:39 AM
I come from an ASU dojo as well and I believe that all students should wear Hakama. That's just my opinion. Saito sensei said that they started doing the whole black belt only gets to wear hakama thing after the war when buying hakama and/or making them was very hard due to the aftermath of WWII. However, the dojo that I go to over the summer only lets shodan wear Hakama and I respect their rules. However we must remember that in the past when Osensei taught, everyone wore Hakama no matter what rank you were. My shihan stated in an essay that one day he had forgotten to wear his Hakama and Osensei would not let him train that day. Every dojo has their philosophy I guess but when a visitor comes and trains at your dojo and wears Hakama, try to be more open minded about it as opposed to jumping to conclusions that he's/she's arrogant or thinks himself to be higher than others. He/she probably just came from another dojo that encourages Hakama wearing.

Cynrod
08-23-2008, 01:22 PM
As many styles of Aikido came out so many new rules about wearing hakama were made.

Shigenobu Okumura Sensei: "When I was a uchi deshi to O Sensei everyone was required to wear hakama for practice, beginning the first time they stepped on the mat. I vividly remember when I forgot my hakama I was preparing myself to step on the mat for practice wearing only my dogi when O Sensei stopped me "Where is your hakama?" he demanded sternly. "What makes you think you can recieve your teacher's instruction wearing nothing but your underwear? Have you no sense of propriety? You are obviously lacking the attitude and the etiquette necessary in one who pursues Budo training. He told us the the hakama was traditional garb for Kobudo students and that the seven pleats or the seven folds of the Hakama symbolyzes the seven virtues of Budo. Aikido is born of the Bushido sprirt of Japan and in our practice we must strive to polish the seven traditional virtues.

Currently, most Aikido dodjo do not follow O Sensei's strict policy about wearing the Hakama. It's meaning has degenerated from a symbol of traditional virtue to that of a status symbol of a Yudansha. I have traveled to many dojo in many nation. In many of the places where only the Yudansha wear hakama, the Yudansha have lost their humility. They think that the hakama is a prize for display, as the visible symbol for their superiority. This type of attitude makes the ceremony of bowing to O Sensei, with which we begin and end each class, a mockery of his memory and his art. Worse still in some dojo women of kyu ranks (and only the women) are required to wear hakama, supposedly to preserve their modesty. To me this is insulting and discriminatory to women Aikidoka. It is also insulting to male Aikidoka, for it assumes a low mindedness on their part that has no place on the Aikido mat. To see the hakama to such petty use saddens me. It may seem a trivial issue to some people, but I remember very well the great importance that O Sensei placed on wearing hakama. I can't dismiss the significance of this garment and no one, I think can dispute the great value of the virtues it symbolyzes. I feel that wearing the hakama and knowing it's meaning, helps students to be aware of the spirit of O Sensei and keep alive of his vision.

If we can allow the importance of the hakama to fade, perhaps we will begin to allows things fundamental to the spirit of Aikido to slip into oblivion as well if, on the other hand, we are faithful to O Sensei's wishes regarding our practice dress, our spirits may be more faithful to the dream to which He dedicated His life"

:ai: :ki: :do:

Shany
08-23-2008, 01:24 PM
is it really an honor to wear a pyjamas (GI) in a dojo ? Not according to old Japanese senseis .. so i dunno what everyone's stand point on it, that's why there is no strick role on which kyu can you wear an Hakama.

tobiasfelipe
08-24-2008, 11:01 AM
Hakama is terribly hot in tropics, here lighter clothes is better. I use a "karate gi", without hakama, the same as yudanshas in my class.

Tkoyama
08-24-2008, 03:44 PM
Well, if you were to wear a Hakama I think you should be responsible about it. Learn how to fold it the correct way and such.

Diane Stevenson
08-26-2008, 09:12 PM
Personally, I miss my hakama. I started out in Aikido way back when Satome Sensei's school was "Aikido of Ueshiba". Everyone was encouraged to buy a Hakama after they passed their first rank test.

Poor thing is hanging in my closet now. Different dojo -- different policy.

But I liked the weight of it; the way it felt when doing tenkan. And after practice, as we all folded our hakamas, it was a nice informal Q and A time. I learned a lot about the history and philosophy of Aikido during those relaxed discussions. And I got to know the yudansha and sempai better, too.

I definitly would not want to give the impression that I'm someone I'm not, but I would rather wear the hakama than not. Besides, now I'm starting to worry that I'll spend the year after making shodan learning how NOT to trip on my hakama, :eek:

Mark Uttech
08-26-2008, 09:34 PM
As many styles of Aikido came out so many new rules about wearing hakama were made.

Shigenobu Okumura Sensei: "When I was a uchi deshi to O Sensei everyone was required to wear hakama for practice, beginning the first time they stepped on the mat. I vividly remember when I forgot my hakama I was preparing myself to step on the mat for practice wearing only my dogi when O Sensei stopped me "Where is your hakama?" he demanded sternly. "What makes you think you can recieve your teacher's instruction wearing nothing but your underwear? Have you no sense of propriety? You are obviously lacking the attitude and the etiquette necessary in one who pursues Budo training. He told us the the hakama was traditional garb for Kobudo students and that the seven pleats or the seven folds of the Hakama symbolyzes the seven virtues of Budo. Aikido is born of the Bushido sprirt of Japan and in our practice we must strive to polish the seven traditional virtues.

Currently, most Aikido dodjo do not follow O Sensei's strict policy about wearing the Hakama. It's meaning has degenerated from a symbol of traditional virtue to that of a status symbol of a Yudansha. I have traveled to many dojo in many nation. In many of the places where only the Yudansha wear hakama, the Yudansha have lost their humility. They think that the hakama is a prize for display, as the visible symbol for their superiority. This type of attitude makes the ceremony of bowing to O Sensei, with which we begin and end each class, a mockery of his memory and his art. Worse still in some dojo women of kyu ranks (and only the women) are required to wear hakama, supposedly to preserve their modesty. To me this is insulting and discriminatory to women Aikidoka. It is also insulting to male Aikidoka, for it assumes a low mindedness on their part that has no place on the Aikido mat. To see the hakama to such petty use saddens me. It may seem a trivial issue to some people, but I remember very well the great importance that O Sensei placed on wearing hakama. I can't dismiss the significance of this garment and no one, I think can dispute the great value of the virtues it symbolyzes. I feel that wearing the hakama and knowing it's meaning, helps students to be aware of the spirit of O Sensei and keep alive of his vision.

If we can allow the importance of the hakama to fade, perhaps we will begin to allows things fundamental to the spirit of Aikido to slip into oblivion as well if, on the other hand, we are faithful to O Sensei's wishes regarding our practice dress, our spirits may be more faithful to the dream to which He dedicated His life"

:ai: :ki: :do:

Onegaishimasu. The story you told was actually an anecdote told by Saotome Shihan and it is in his book: The Principles of Aikido. Please give proper credit where it is due.

In gassho,

Mark

Andrew S
08-26-2008, 11:25 PM
I remember Kobayashi Sensei talking about his time as an uchideshi and saying how in the decade following the war there was not enough material around for everyone to wear hakama, so only the dan grades started wearing them.
I've heard tell that a lot of early post-war hakama were made from air raid black-out curtains!

patf
08-27-2008, 06:48 PM
Onegaishimasu. The story you told was actually an anecdote told by Saotome Shihan and it is in his book: The Principles of Aikido. Please give proper credit where it is due.

In gassho,

Mark

Nicely spotted!! I suspect cut&paste error from a web-page. Previous article author mixed with next article. Innocent mistake I'm sure.