View Full Version : The first time you fell on your (_!_) thanks to your hakama

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11-27-2009, 03:12 PM
Well, after wearing a hakama for 7 months, Wednesday night was the chosen day for me to fall on my (_!_). Just goes to show you are never safe wearing one of these things. I was doing something that I do countless times in each iaido class (walk backwards), but somehow this didn't end up the same way. I stepped on it and could feel myself falling. I had several thoughts running through my head. The first was "So this is what it feels like to trip over a hakama..." and the second part was "Oh crap, don't land on your bokken and saya (which was put away in my iai-obi)!" Anywho, I managed to somehow get my bokken out of the way. Only thing that happened was I choked on my own spit. :crazy: Anywho, the first thing I did when I landed was look over at my husband and started busting out laughing. Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself. :D

The guy teaching looked over at me once I got back up and asked if I was alright. I kept coughing from choking on my spit, but I told him "I'm fine. I just kinda went with it." I wish I had it on video to see what I looked like. Too bad I wasn't cool enough to turn it into a roll and come back up standing.... maybe next time. HAHA!

Anyone want to share one of their stories? (doesn't have to be the first time you fell)

Linda Eskin
11-27-2009, 03:25 PM
Glad you came up laughing!

My own hakama is not something I need to worry about any time soon (thank goodness). LOL Only yudansha wear hakama at our dojo (I'm 6th kyu).

But I did see a little bit of a wreck the other day. One of the more advanced students was Uke for one of the yudansha, who was teaching the class. The technique involved a roll. As he rolled away from her and his heel came up, it caught in her hakama, pretty forcefully. It didn't quite take her balance, but did mess up his roll pretty good. He was fine after a little standing up and shaking it off, but yikes. There's something to be careful about, that I hadn't even considered before.

11-27-2009, 03:50 PM
Ah, yeah. Just this year I had quite a nasty fall involving my hakama. It was at a yudansha training session and I was uke for sensei. We were working at a vigorous pace when I was thrown by sensei. However, he had stood on my hakama in the process of doing his technique. So one leg was pinned as I rolled at high speed. Needless to say, I didn't finish my roll and I felt pain shoot through the top of my butt and my lower back as I was twisted.

As it turns out, a muscle deep in my buttocks took the brunt of the accident and not my lower spine! So my hakama has been responsible for a torn butt muscle :rolleyes:

Ellis Amdur
11-27-2009, 04:17 PM
Japan, 1976. I was an ikkyu at the Aikikai honbu and even so, was pretty well noticed by the various shihan. I was at just about every class, I trained like a fiend and I'm 2 meters tall - at that time, the highest altitude in the dojo. So I took ukemi for most of the shihan almost from the git-go (except Yamaguchi, who would only use you if you fell according to his criteria, which I never could figure out).
So after a couple of months, I got my shodan. There was a fashion then - maybe now - of having a hakama that covered your toes. (Bushi actually had a hakama at ankle height or higher - which you see in a lot of koryu. Think about it - the hakama was a riding cullotte, worn over the kimono. Without the cullotte, kimono opens up and that which makes a man most mister is flying in the breeze and getting caught in the saddle. But with an overlong hakama, you get off your horse, and what do you step in and drag into the house even if you take off your shoes? ).
Anyway, I had this specially made hakama - super long. I go to Masuda's afternoon class - about 80 people. I plant myself right in the center, front row, perfect seiza. As was my intention, Masuda sees me, and in his impeccable broken English, which he was very proud of, he says, "New brack beruto!" And he beckons me for a tenchi-nage - he's going to usher me into the world of the big kids with a thump and a crash, and I leapt to my feet and my toe catches on the hakama and I'm laid out horizontal, flying like an arrow towards him. He takes a step back and I pancake right on my face.
Japanese reserve, right! Gotta preserve someone's feelings in awkward moments, right? That's what they do over there, right?

Everyone in the dojo is laughing so hard, some people are crying. Masuda is just staggering around, guffawing and I lurched to my feet to attack him again and he keeps backing up, still laughing, waving me away, saying, "no, please no. No. No more. Please"
Back to my seat, I skulked. Took five minutes before the class started. Off I went to a tailor.
Oh yeah, I didn't know you were supposed to wash the hakama a few times in salt and vinegar (that's what people did) to fix the dye, and I left calligraphy of blue swatches all over the white mats. That, OTOH, was not considered funny, as waka sensei let me know later.

Ellis Amdur

11-27-2009, 05:13 PM
Linda, I have had some things happen to me as well when my feet get caught in others hakama. Seems to happen to Sensei's the most though because his is super long. A week or two ago I was Sensei's uke for something and my heel got caught during a roll. He just sort of hopped along with me until my foot came out. :D

Janet Rosen
11-27-2009, 07:25 PM
I'm pretty sure that The Mirror contributor Katherine's broken collarbone was from a fall when her foot got caught in the other person's hak.

Pauliina Lievonen
11-28-2009, 05:19 AM
Ellis that was great. :) My teacher has a hakama that drags on the ground under his toes, I can't figure out how he manages. :freaky:

I wear my hakama short and take the comments, rather than trip all the time. Too bad I still seem to trip all the time....

Peter Goldsbury
11-28-2009, 07:37 AM

What were your sempai doing? Did no one ever tell you about washing the surplus dye out of a cotton hakama? Shame on the Hombu's system for nurturing deshi. :D

Japan, 1976. Oh yeah, I didn't know you were supposed to wash the hakama a few times in salt and vinegar (that's what people did) to fix the dye, and I left calligraphy of blue swatches all over the white mats. That, OTOH, was not considered funny, as waka sensei let me know later.

Ellis Amdur

11-29-2009, 09:24 AM
I think it was last week. My partner and I were really having fun throwing each other around. I for get the techniques name.... anyway forward rolls were working great and the energy was going up. My partner got in a really good throw but I guess he surprised himself so that he didn't quite let go as I took off. Sent me into a really nice cross roll.

I was so taken by how great the roll was, in spite of the snag, that when I landed I was not paying a lot of attention to where my feet were and just tried to get right back up and go for another one... lol my foot was on my Hakima so the second I tried to jump up I fell right over backward. I think it took me about 3 tries to get back on my feet. So busy trying to figure out what just happened that I didn't realize right away that I was pinned to the floor by my own hakima.