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John Furgerson III
04-28-2009, 07:17 PM
When I studied Aikido with the ASU I got my hakama after my first test. The reasoning was the hakama helps one the focus on their center so why should one have to wait YEARS to wear one if it helps your Aikido by helping one to focus on their center.
I noticed that I was more aware of my center when I had a hakama on.Now I can't wear one until I become a 3rd kyu. Why wait if it helps one be more aware of their center???

Kent Enfield
04-28-2009, 07:50 PM
They're just pants.

Josh Reyer
04-28-2009, 08:24 PM
"In the street" hypotheticals are as trite and clichéd as the phrase "trite and clichéd", and certainly not all that budo is about, but I have to ask: what if you were forced to use aikido in the street? Is aikido completely out of the question because you're not wearing hakama? You have to learn how to focus on your center without hakama. Heck, I don't know how or why hakama would help you focus on your center, and just a belt with a big old knot hanging out right at your center would not...

Buck
04-28-2009, 08:43 PM
Excellent post Joshua!

Peter Goldsbury
04-28-2009, 08:51 PM
Hello,

A few comments in your very interesting post. So much folklore has grown up around the hakama (and O Sensei is also to blame for this, with his theory of the seven virtues supposedly to match the seven pleats) that it is easy to forget that it is simply a garment, usually worn according to the rules or customs of a particular dojo or organization. In my dojo, the hakama is worn only after passing the examination for shodan. Why? Because that was the custom in all the dojos where I have trained and is a rule in the organization to which I am affiliated (Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo).

When I studied Aikido with the ASU I got my hakama after my first test. The reasoning was the hakama helps one the focus on their center so why should one have to wait YEARS to wear one if it helps your Aikido by helping one to focus on their center.
PAG. Two comments. (1) Was the reasoning actually explained in this way and by someone like Saotome Shihan? (2) If that was the reasoning, why wait until the first test? Why not wear it immediately, together with the keikogi and obi?
I noticed that I was more aware of my center when I had a hakama on.Now I can't wear one until I become a 3rd kyu. Why wait if it helps one be more aware of their center???
PAG. What did this awareness consist in? If it is so important, I suggest that you find another dojo, where they will allow wearing of the hakama from Day One.

Best wishes for your future training, with or without hakama. :)

Joshua Sloan
04-28-2009, 10:03 PM
Hello all,

I first began studying Aikido in a small, unaffiliated club in which simply nobody, not even the sensei, wore a hakama; although unusual, this was simply the convention of this school, to train simply and practically and to learn to foster an awareness of one's center regardless of clothing, surroundings, or circumstances. I later moved and began studying in a school in which, as is John's case, student's begin wearing a hakama at third kyu, and I have been wearing a hakama for some time now after many years of training without one.

While I find the hakama does seem to help with one's awareness of center, as the general aikido folklore suggests, I also find it helps with my awareness of posture; whereas the obi alone can easily remind one of the center, the hakama adds the kushita plate in one's lower back to subconsciously remind one to keep the head over the shoulders over the hips.

However, despite these potential benefits, the fact remains that our students train in just a gi until third kyu. Our reasoning for this is fairly simple. When new students first come in the door and step onto the mat to train, they begin re-learning how to move and re-learning how to interact with others; they begin learning or re-learning about their center and about their balance, both static and dynamic. Often, there is a period, longer for some or shorter for others, during which balance, movement, control, and interactions are quite awkward, and the new student has plenty to think about and trip over as it is without adding a gigantic pair of Japanese bell-bottom pants into the mix for them to get their feet caught in while learning to roll or while learning tai sabaki.

Having said that, I've trained in several styles of Aikido as I've moved around, each with its own views and hakama rules, but at the end of the day, like Kent said, they're just pants, and it seems we should be able to establish and maintain center regardless of external circumstances.

Just a few thoughts,
Have a good one!

Josh

salim
04-29-2009, 07:49 AM
It should be a personal choice. If it's not needed or impedes move ability, then why use it? Perhaps out of respect of some custom. I'm glad it's not a requirement from our sensei, but we respect it's various meanings.

The hakama can be dangerous or cause serious disadvantage when sparring/live training. If stepped on or while in the clinch, it can be used to pin you.

Don_Modesto
04-29-2009, 11:11 AM
Hi, Peter,
PAG. Two comments. (1) Was the reasoning actually explained in this way and by someone like Saotome Shihan?IIRC, Saotome explains it as the abundance of cotton. Evidently, everyone wore HAKAMA pre-war. The war, however, brought on shortages of everyday necessities like...food...and cotton. Therefore, the requirement to wear HAKAMA was loosened and only YUDANSHA were obligated to wear them. But why restrict HAKAMA now? There's plenty about and we can all afford it. Ergo, MUDANSHA wear HAKAMA in ASU.

zak riley
05-02-2009, 06:53 PM
at our dojo hakama is worn after 3rd kyu as we feel studants are more likley to keep doing aikido after training for about 2 years to get 3rd kyu theirs not much piont in buying hakama and stop train after a few months

ninjaqutie
05-02-2009, 07:10 PM
At my dojo it is usually worn only if you are a yudansha. HOWEVER, if you are a 1st, 2nd or on rare occasions a 3rd kyu, Sensei may allow you to wear a hakama. He feels that if he knows you are going to stick around till black belt and if you have great technique, then he wants to get you in a hakama. In his opinion, he feels that people treat you differently if you are wearing a hakama (such as throwing you harder, look up to you, etc). I myself have a long way to go till I wear one. :)

Maarten De Queecker
05-03-2009, 03:54 AM
When I studied Aikido with the ASU I got my hakama after my first test. The reasoning was the hakama helps one the focus on their center so why should one have to wait YEARS to wear one if it helps your Aikido by helping one to focus on their center.
I noticed that I was more aware of my center when I had a hakama on.Now I can't wear one until I become a 3rd kyu. Why wait if it helps one be more aware of their center???
Tie your obi tighter. Since it sits where the centre is, you will be able to be more aware of it.

And I agree with the person who said that they are just another pair of pants.

Suru
05-03-2009, 03:24 PM
Whether the rite of passage comes at rokukyu or shodan, I do not know which is better. I remember getting mine after my first test and being thrilled. Whenever I go to a USAF dojo, I must remember not to wear it. Whether it centers me or not, I'm unsure, but wearing a hakama certainly gets me in a more serious mode for training.

Drew