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View Full Version : About when typically is it acceptable for an Aikidoka to wear a Hakama?


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Taj Mikel
06-22-2009, 09:35 AM
I assume this probably varies by dojo, but in your experiences, when was it acceptable or appropriate for a beginning Aikido practitioner to start wearing a hakama?

Most of the students in my dojo have one, and when asking I was given the response, "After you've trained for a little while" so I'm just curious what your experiences of "a little while" have been :)

Thanks in advance :D

ruthmc
06-22-2009, 09:49 AM
When Sensei says you may :D

In your dojo, you do as the culture there permits.

Not sure what your hurry is? - the hakama adds additional complications to your training as it is much easier to get caught up in one while moving :uch:

Most schools tend to wait until shodan (first black belt) before insisting on hakama, as by then you've learned how to move well enough not to look too silly in a hakama ;)

I personally wouldn't put a newer student in one because most of them have enough trouble learning the footwork in Aikido as it is!

Ruth

Scott Stahurski
06-22-2009, 09:52 AM
I think its an organization/dojo decision. Ask your instructor for your dojos policy. And if you are visiting another dojo, its always best to talk with the instructor before hand about belt and hakama policy, and it will go over well with the instructor that you are mindful and respectful of the dojo.

USAF usually has people wear hakama when they get their shodan.
Some exceptions occur, usually for new dojos and senior students. ( I wore hakama at a seminar once at 1st kyu ) and I've hear of others wearing it for that reason as well.

But it also depends if the sensei also sells hakama as well. :D
I know a dojo in CO that the sensei also sells them and his students wear then much much sooner.

My personal opinion is that of wearing hakama at shodan. Just too many reasons especially if dojos are on a white/black belt only system.

lbb
06-22-2009, 10:03 AM
Not sure what your hurry is? - the hakama adds additional complications to your training as it is much easier to get caught up in one while moving :uch:

He may not be in a hurry, just wondering...but even so, the right people to ask are the ones at his dojo.

Hakama are expensive and a pain in the parts.

Dazzler
06-22-2009, 10:13 AM
He may not be in a hurry, just wondering...but even so, the right people to ask are the ones at his dojo.



Have to agree. No need to ask Sensei...just ask the students that have them

Taj Mikel
06-22-2009, 10:25 AM
Sweet, thanks for the replies guys! :D

Yeah, not so much in a hurry was just curious :) I can definitely imagine how a hakama would make training at my level more difficult, haha. Only been at it for around 2 months now :p

Thanks again, y'all!

Dan Richards
06-22-2009, 12:09 PM
Sweet, thanks for the replies guys! :D

Yeah, not so much in a hurry was just curious :) I can definitely imagine how a hakama would make training at my level more difficult, haha. Only been at it for around 2 months now :p
Hey, Ty, there's the another possibility that wearing a hakama could offer a different level of training for you.

You have to keep in mind, that as Ueshiba Sensei was forming his school, everyone on the mat was required to be in a hakama. The shift to people reaching shodan before wearing a hakama in his dojo was a solution that came after the war when there was a shortage of materials in Japan. With some modern schools adopting a shodans-only-in-hakama policy, consequently, what is a traditional Japanese garment has become a cloth of pride and vanity. Many points could be made on how this is not in line with the founder's teachings.

Another aspect of this is that we need not be overly concerned with training only in a specific uniform. It is the training that is ultimately important, and not whether we wear a hakama, t-shirt and shorts, or even a business suit.

Joyful training to you.

My 2.

Peter Wong
06-22-2009, 01:14 PM
In the dojo where I train (U.S.A.F.) only black belts were allowed to wear hakamas until a few years ago when a group of young ladies (5kyu and 4kyu) "heard" that gis were underwear snd asked Sensei if they could wear hakamas. Sensei is very easy going and now allows women to wear hakamas at any rank.

Ron Tisdale
06-22-2009, 03:22 PM
Hakama are expensive
Yes.
and a pain in the parts.
I think I can unequivically state that my Hakama has NEVER been a pain in my "parts" :D Thumbs (actually, those were *other* peoples hakama), toes, face (occationally, when I fell on it), but **never** my "parts" :D

B,
R (sorry, couldn't help it) :eek:

Dunken Francis
06-22-2009, 03:36 PM
Here in New Zealand many students wear hakama from 2nd kyu/blue belt, although in our dojo, being rooted in the UK, we wait until shodan. I have trained at clubs where all students weer hakama from day one, and frankly, it can be dangerous as it is easy for visiting yudansha to make assumptions as to their partners experience level.

Dan Richards
06-22-2009, 08:43 PM
I have trained at clubs where all students weer hakama from day one, and frankly, it can be dangerous as it is easy for visiting yudansha to make assumptions as to their partners experience level.
Or it might be the danger is not in the hakamas, but rather in the visiting yadansha making assumptions.

ninjaqutie
06-22-2009, 10:09 PM
In my dojo black belts wear hakamas. There are a few who aren't black belts who do wear hakamas. Sensei explained that those he knows are going to stick around to black belt (and are 1st kyu) who also have great skill and ukemi get to wear them.

Anidan
06-23-2009, 12:12 AM
We have no written policy on it as far as I can tell from our available information, but there is most definitely an unwritten 'wait until shodan'.

When the time comes I'm determined to make mine a deep red. Just because :)

Josh Reyer
06-23-2009, 02:39 AM
When the time comes I'm determined to make mine a deep red. Just because :)
Because you plan on becoming a shrine maiden?

Scott Stahurski
06-23-2009, 11:50 AM
Or it might be the danger is not in the hakamas, but rather in the visiting yadansha making assumptions.

Yes that can be dangerous....its very easy for a visiting yadansha to make an assumption.
But also, as a visitor, you shouldn't be throwing that hard in a strange dojo, at least until you are known, and you know the people there....

Also, a good time to wear hakama is when you forgot your gi pants at home. :D

CitoMaramba
06-23-2009, 01:42 PM
When the time comes I'm determined to make mine a deep red. Just because :)

Are you planning to emulate Shinguji Sakura from "Sakura Taisen"?
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c284/ClintHoyt/swpos7.jpg

She's a Hokushin Itto Ryu practitioner by the way :D

ninjaqutie
06-23-2009, 02:15 PM
I would love to wear a different color besides navy or black.

lbb
06-23-2009, 03:20 PM
I'd love to train at a dojo where everybody can wear whatever color hakama they want after they've been training for two months.

Really. No, really.

(big floppy shoes optional, of course)

ninjaqutie
06-24-2009, 11:18 AM
I found an awesome pink hakama.... haha. Sensei now teases me. I got a new bokken with a saya and he asked me "What, it didn't come in pink?" :O)

jason jordan
06-24-2009, 05:17 PM
Be careful with that one. I know of a Shihan who went into a seminar, and called on a guy wearing a hakama to uke for him. Well the guy was like 5th or 4th kyu, and the Shihan threw him harder than he was able to handle...of course because he was only a beginner. The Shihan thought (acustomed to) that because he was wearing a hakama that he was at least shodan.

Josh Astridge
06-24-2009, 09:27 PM
I think in Hombu Dojo, at least (or any Aikikai affiliated dojo?) Woman may wear from 3rd Kyu, men from Shodan. For woman at Shodan it is required.

At my dojo men is Shodan
We haven't got any women at 3rd kyu yet so I don't know ;)

lbb
06-25-2009, 08:06 AM
Be careful with that one. I know of a Shihan who went into a seminar, and called on a guy wearing a hakama to uke for him. Well the guy was like 5th or 4th kyu, and the Shihan threw him harder than he was able to handle...of course because he was only a beginner. The Shihan thought (acustomed to) that because he was wearing a hakama that he was at least shodan.

Yeah, that's the disadvantage with wearing something that leads people to think that you've got some level of proficiency...which, I suspect, is why so many people are intrigued with the idea of wearing one. In this story, I wonder why nobody clued this guy that wearing a hakama to a seminar wasn't a great idea.

Peter Goldsbury
06-25-2009, 08:16 AM
I assume this probably varies by dojo, but in your experiences, when was it acceptable or appropriate for a beginning Aikido practitioner to start wearing a hakama?

Most of the students in my dojo have one, and when asking I was given the response, "After you've trained for a little while" so I'm just curious what your experiences of "a little while" have been :)

Thanks in advance :D

Hello Ty,

In my dojo, here in Hiroshima, this is a no-brainer.

I am the shihan, the dojo-cho, and students wear the hakama when I allow them to, which is not before shodan. There are no exceptions, for either sex.

Best wishes,

ninjaqutie
06-25-2009, 10:53 AM
Well, I go to an Aikikai dojo and we have a third kyu female and she isn't allowed to wear a hakama. We also have a second kyu male and he isn't allowed either. I only see shodans and a couple first kyus wearing them. I think each dojo has a bit of room to decide for themselves what they want.

jason jordan
06-25-2009, 12:17 PM
Yeah, that's the disadvantage with wearing something that leads people to think that you've got some level of proficiency...which, I suspect, is why so many people are intrigued with the idea of wearing one. In this story, I wonder why nobody clued this guy that wearing a hakama to a seminar wasn't a great idea.

Maybe because there are more than a few people who consider themselves to be more proficient than what they really are in that dojo.

Sad.

lbb
06-25-2009, 01:20 PM
Maybe because there are more than a few people who consider themselves to be more proficient than what they really are in that dojo.

Sad.

Meaning, they really thought that this guy (at 5th kyu or whatever) was ready to do the kind of ukemi that you'd expect from a shodan?

brUNO
06-25-2009, 01:32 PM
I think my teacher said when asked that question, "O'sensei said from first day on the mat to the day off the mat. But I think..."

That's all I can "quote" from memory so I'll give you the jist. Women can wear one from day 1. Men usually wait till at least yonkyu, but he prefers sankyu, but definitely by shodan. He think yudansha should wear one for many reasons (some of our judoka that also practice Aikido aren't too keen on the hakama, especially for newaza, which we do frequently because we practice Aikibudo. But we don't wear them if newaza is pre-scheduled.). One reason being, to set them apart from the beginners, so kohai know who the sempai are (for help), and another because it's part of our uniform, just as japanese terminology is part of our technical language.

Keikogi worn alone, as in Judo, by yudansha in formal practices like Aikido, Kendo, etc. is considered almost similar to a keynote speaker and the members of the head table wearing just their LongJohns or underwear to a black-tie dinner. But the keikogi does have its place, it IS part of the uniform also, just as the speaker & members of the head table would be wearing underwear under the tuxedos at that dinner.

I think beginners have enough to think about instead of focusing on how to tie it & fold it, what does it mean, how do I move in this or take a fall, etc? It's like a rite of passage, more responsiblity, and a tradition you have to uphold. Think on these things when you're kihon & ukemi don't suck.:crazy: :D

L8r,

Anidan
06-28-2009, 11:22 PM
Are you planning to emulate Shinguji Sakura from "Sakura Taisen"?

She's a Hokushin Itto Ryu practitioner by the way :D

Not exactly my intent! I believe traditionally red hakama are worn by Japanese temple/shrine maidens. Honestly, I just like red :)

salim
06-29-2009, 10:06 AM
Wearing the hakama or any other dress, want help improve your abilities. Actually it may make it worse. The more important question is a person's abilities.

Lyle Bogin
07-03-2009, 03:00 PM
I've come to think of the fancy pants as a requirement, rather than a badge of honor. It is a service to maintain full dress during rigorous practice. Back in the old dayz *cough - wheeze* we just strip down to shorts and kick the crap out of one another :).

I do like the aiki-outfit though. Very "dramatic play". And it gives you an excuse to chat, or to sit in meditation, while you futz around with it.

dalen7
07-08-2009, 04:30 PM
Well, as you have noticed by now... it varies. ;)

Just the same as how the levels in Aikido, as well as the contents of the test, vary from dojo to dojo. :)

For our dojo it currently stands as this:

- 6 kyu ranks for adults before testing for Shodan.
A lot of places, both stateside and in western Europe have 5 kyus.

[How this actually translates for someone moving from 6 to 5 kyus is of interest, due to the extra time put in as well as the test being a bit more comprehensive as well - though I will make no assumptions.]

- Our dojo does go by the color belt system, which seems that is more commonly found in places with 6 kyu ranks. [again, this does not mean or imply the testing criteria is the same... eventually it all evens out...]

- When I first started, I believe that Hakama was permitted to be worn at 3rd kyu, however that for sure has been changed by our Technical Leader to be exclusive to 2nd kyu [blue belt] and above.

[though it is optional in our dojo for 2nd & 1st kyu to wear them...]

I would tend to agree that beginners would be better off not wearing the hakama - in seminars its a lot easier to quickly assess where someone 'should' be at this way... thus why I like colored belts.

note: yes, color belts do not necessarily mean peoples skills are on the same level - even within a dojo, but its not a bad indicator to get started.

So when you see someone with a Hakama you are pretty sure you will get someone who knows what they are doing. [people can start teaching at 2nd kyu here... while it is rare, one police officer [2nd kyu] from our dojo teaches in the neighboring city - smaller city, etc.]

Peace,

Dalen

MikeE
07-09-2009, 04:11 PM
In our dojos (MAAF) which is the style we like to call Sosa-ha Seidokan Aikido (I can hear the eyebrows raise from here :)) we wear hakama at nikyu.

ninjaqutie
07-10-2009, 11:07 AM
Our dojo has 6 kyus (start at 6th). It is interesting to see how some dojos do colored belts and others don't. You are either a white belt or a black belt at my dojo. It was frustrating for me at first until I figured out who was where (when it came to asking a few questions). Now I pretty much know where everyone stands. It is kind of funny when students who have been gone a while come back and they don't know me. They sit and watch me for a while to see where I am on the totem pole. It doesn't take them long to figure out that I am new though. HAHA.

gdandscompserv
07-11-2009, 03:48 AM
When you can navigate stairs without tripping!:D