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Zoe S Toth
03-29-2012, 05:23 PM
Hi all (again),

I seem to be such a chatter box as of late, so I apologize for all the questions. Any way, here is another one spurred again by current events in my dojo. Sensei recently told me and another student we should learn to fold a hakama. I watched people on Monday and tried on Wednesday. (I felt I didn't do that bad of a job and the yudasha I asked to let me try to fold his hakama didn't refold it so I'll consider it a success.)

Anyway, to my understanding it is a tradition that the senior student present fold's the Sensei's hakama. This leads to a few natural questions:

1. Does this happen in your dojo?
2. If the senior student doesn't do it (ie has to leave early OR just dosen't do it) does it fall on the second most senior, ect.?
3. Do you only fold the Sensei of the classes hakama? (Ie if there are two yudansha would my boyfriend and I each fold one hakama?)

Thank you.

Rob Watson
03-29-2012, 06:00 PM
Hi all (again),

I seem to be such a chatter box as of late, so I apologize for all the questions. Any way, here is another one spurred again by current events in my dojo. Sensei recently told me and another student we should learn to fold a hakama. I watched people on Monday and tried on Wednesday. (I felt I didn't do that bad of a job and the yudasha I asked to let me try to fold his hakama didn't refold it so I'll consider it a success.)

Anyway, to my understanding it is a tradition that the senior student present fold's the Sensei's hakama. This leads to a few natural questions:

1. Does this happen in your dojo?
2. If the senior student doesn't do it (ie has to leave early OR just dosen't do it) does it fall on the second most senior, ect.?
3. Do you only fold the Sensei of the classes hakama? (Ie if there are two yudansha would my boyfriend and I each fold one hakama?)

Thank you.

Fold your own danged hakama ... or as is tradition let the wife do it! Of course if you offer to fold someone elses that is totally different than someone asking you to fold theirs.

robin_jet_alt
03-29-2012, 06:07 PM
Everywhere I have trained (at least 11 dojos in 5 different styles if you include the ones I just visited) everyone just folded their own hakamas. Having said that, learning to fold one properly is pretty difficult, and when I got my black belt, it took me a while to get it right. Being able to practice on other people's might have been a good way to practice.

Michael Hackett
03-29-2012, 06:42 PM
Generally our custom is to fold Sensei's hakama after class and it usually is performed by a mid-level student who will be wearing a hakama in the near future. No one is asked or told to fold the hakama, but we do it as a matter of respect. It is unusual for someone to fold a yudansha's hakama (unless he or she is teaching that class) but it sometimes happens if the individual is injured or something like that.

Shadowfax
03-29-2012, 08:51 PM
Where I train everyone folds their own hakama including sensei. If we have a guest instructor of high rank such as Heiny sensei then yes one of the students in the dojo will offer to fold her hakama for her.

Janet Rosen
03-29-2012, 09:45 PM
I have trained in dojos where each person did her own hak, where the instructor's was folded by a sr student, where all yudansha got their's folded by juniors....my personal preference is let each person do her own, but I am definitely a "when in Rome" person.

Lorien Lowe
03-29-2012, 10:14 PM
A story that is frequently told around my dojo (I didn't witness it, but it's about as traditional as Little Red Riding Hood) is that Sensei and his senior student were at another dojo once for a seminar, and after class Sensei handed his hakama to this senior student and told him to fold it. This wasn't something that was usually done, and the senior student flamboyantly wadded the hakama up and threw it in a corner. It was greeted with both gasps and uproars of laughter, depending on the outlook of the individuals watching.

GMaroda
03-29-2012, 11:15 PM
Where I train everyone folds their own hakama including sensei. If we have a guest instructor of high rank such as Heiny sensei then yes one of the students in the dojo will offer to fold her hakama for her.

I think the one they're letting me borrow until my new one gets in used to be Garth's. So technically I'm folding his hakama. :p

tarik
03-30-2012, 12:47 AM
I don't usually even fold my own hakama. The only way I'd fold sensei's is for the same reason I might fold anyone else's; as a favor or to help in a bad situation. To my way of thinking, it's rather like asking someone else to fold your pants. Oh wait...

Eva Antonia
03-30-2012, 01:40 AM
Hello,

her in Belgium I never heard of folding the teacher's hakama; even our old teacher folded his own when he was already 80 years old. First time that I saw at a seminar some student folding the shihan's hakama, it was a sort of minor cultural shock. I find that somehow disturbing - like Tarik's comparison to "asking someone to fold your pants".

Luckily, I fold my own in such an ugly way no teacher will ever risk his hakama to be put in my hands...

Best regards,

Eva

graham christian
03-30-2012, 03:14 AM
We had it and viewed it as an honor to fold the teachers Hakama. It was fun and a chance to thank the teacher in silence.

I don't know whether it was traditional or not but just seemed very natural.

Nowadays though I do not ask for the same. It is interesting though as to whether it was an old tradition or not.

Peace. G,

phitruong
03-30-2012, 06:48 AM
many moons ago, i went to a seminar where, besides the teaching sensei, i was the other asian. after class, everyone was folding his/her/its hakama; the entire floor of folks was folding. i walked into the dressing room, took out my hanger, and hung up my hakama and walked out. folks looked up and saw me with a hakama hung on the hanger and a grin on my face. it's kinda like you go to a chinese restaurant in the US, and all the western folks use chopsticks and the asians use folks and spoons. :)

Walter Martindale
03-30-2012, 07:12 AM
yeah, mixed bag. I've seen a guy from Singapore who never folds his hakama and I've seen where visiting shihan at seminars have a queue of yudanskis who want to fold his hakama for him. regular dojo sensei fold their own or (as in the case of the guy from Singapore) roll it up and put it in his gym bag...
Cheers,
W

Shadowfax
03-30-2012, 07:18 AM
I think the one they're letting me borrow until my new one gets in used to be Garth's. So technically I'm folding his hakama. :p

Hmmm come to think of it I wore that hackama for a while before I got my own as well.....It's a very well trained hackama. Practically folds itself. :D

morph4me
03-30-2012, 08:51 AM
The last time anyone asked to fold my hakama they did such a great job that I was reluctant to unfold it the next time I put it on. It was a thing of beauty,

We fold our own hakama or put it on hangars, depending on our preference.

akiy
03-30-2012, 09:49 AM
Here's a poll I took back in 2003:

Who folds your aikido teacher's hakama after s/he teaches class? - 3/1/2003
http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=154

-- Jun

kewms
03-30-2012, 10:06 AM
Some teachers expect it, some don't. The idea is that having someone else fold their hakama frees the teacher to do other things, like answer questions after class.

IMO the idea of junior yudansha having their hakamas folded for them is ridiculous. But then, everyone in the ASU wears one after their first test, so yudansha aren't up on the pedestal that they are some places.

Katherine

mathewjgano
03-30-2012, 10:40 AM
1. Does this happen in your dojo?
2. If the senior student doesn't do it (ie has to leave early OR just dosen't do it) does it fall on the second most senior, ect.?
3. Do you only fold the Sensei of the classes hakama? (Ie if there are two yudansha would my boyfriend and I each fold one hakama?)

Thank you.
Hi Zoe!
At our school, who ever the available senior student is will fold sensei's hakama and everyone else folds their own; when senior students teach, they fold their own hakama.
Take care,
Matt

Garth Jones
03-30-2012, 11:28 AM
Somebody has only ever offered to fold my hakama once. I just get no respect! :-)

Seriously, I like sitting on the mat chatting with everybody while we fold our hakamas. It's a nice way to wind down from class.

Malicat
03-30-2012, 02:05 PM
many moons ago, i went to a seminar where, besides the teaching sensei, i was the other asian. after class, everyone was folding his/her/its hakama; the entire floor of folks was folding. i walked into the dressing room, took out my hanger, and hung up my hakama and walked out. folks looked up and saw me with a hakama hung on the hanger and a grin on my face. it's kinda like you go to a chinese restaurant in the US, and all the western folks use chopsticks and the asians use folks and spoons. :)

My Sensei keeps his on a hanger as well, but I've been told that the kyu ranks all fold hakamas during summer camp and none of the yudansha fold their own, so he has been letting me fold his for practice. So far, I have determined that I should start apologizing to whomever owns the hakama I touch, because I am really lousy at it.

amoeba
03-30-2012, 02:16 PM
We fold our own, but after seminars someone normally folds sensei's. Just a nice gesture, the Swedish teachers that visit us fold their own hakama at home, I've trained there and witnessed it...

grondahl
03-30-2012, 05:03 PM
No. I have only seen at big seminars with foreign (japanese and american) instructors, dont belive that itīs common here.

hughrbeyer
03-30-2012, 07:19 PM
After class, usually the most senior student will fold our sensei's hakama. This seems to me right and proper.

After a class taught by our most senior student, I heard someone offer to fold his hakama. He responded, "Go away. You're embarrassing me." This also seemed to me right and proper.

Hanna B
03-31-2012, 03:03 AM
We fold our own, but after seminars someone normally folds sensei's. Just a nice gesture, the Swedish teachers that visit us fold their own hakama at home, I've trained there and witnessed it...

Nobody calls them "sensei" at home either. Not when talking Swedish.

lbb
03-31-2012, 03:57 PM
This is always such a great "this is how it's done and you're a dolt/oaf/cult member if you do it any other way" topic.

bothhandsclapping
03-31-2012, 05:38 PM
This is always such a great "this is how it's done and you're a dolt/oaf/cult member if you do it any other way" topic.

... there's an absolute in here I'm sure - what would we humans do without such quests?

James Davis
03-31-2012, 09:53 PM
My senior student hangs his hakama, and doesn't care to learn how to fold it. One of my other students doesn't wear one, but is interested in learning how to fold it. Sometimes, she'll fold it for me if I'm answering questions after class, or I'll fold it myself while she watches.

amoeba
04-03-2012, 11:39 AM
Nobody calls them "sensei" at home either. Not when talking Swedish.

Yes, I know, we don't do that here either. Or in Sweden. Just using the word here on aikiweb when talking about my teachers...;)

ChrisMoses
04-03-2012, 01:28 PM
My first Aikido teacher expected the senior student to sit in seiza immediately after class and wait for him to hand them his hakama. Then it had better be done by the time he got done changing and you better still be sitting in seiza where he handed it to you with both hands still holding the thing. He'd take it, feel it to see if it was flat enough and either put it on his desk, or flop it open and tell you to do it again if he could feel any bulges.

That's stupid. Really stupid, although I do fold a mighty tidy hakama now. :cool:

I have offered to fold people's hakama, but mostly as a convenience or a show of respect, sort of like saying, "Hey, you're busy and I know you need to get going, so I can fold that for you..." It's similar to in my sword school when I've offered to clean my teacher's shinken after class because I knew he was in a hurry. It's not grovelling, it's just being polite.

Hanna B
04-03-2012, 05:07 PM
Yes, I know, we don't do that here either. Or in Sweden. Just using the word here on aikiweb when talking about my teachers...;)

Okey dokey. I always find it so weird when people who I know don't adress their teacher "sensei" adapt that speach to adapt to Americans. But I don't find it a big deal.

Simone
04-04-2012, 01:04 AM
Some yudansha fold their hakama themselves and others don't fold theirs at all. But everyone does his/her own only.

Only yudansha wear hakama, so first time you fold a hakama will be your own after becoming shodan. So with your "expert" status in Aikido you are at least a beginner in something (folding a hakama) -> you'll realize probabely a bit later that you are quite a beginner in Aikido, too...

I guess I'm an exception in our group: I usually offer my teacher to fold his hakama after class.

@Mary: I'm enjoying this discussion because for me it is not the usual "this is how it's done and you're a dolt/oaf/cult member if you do it any other way" topic, but everyone just states how it is done where he trains and doesn't comment in this way on how others described their way...

Simone

Zoe S Toth
04-04-2012, 10:44 AM
Thank you everyone for such great responses. I'm trying to respond to my favorites below:

After class, usually the most senior student will fold our sensei's hakama. This seems to me right and proper.

After a class taught by our most senior student, I heard someone offer to fold his hakama. He responded, "Go away. You're embarrassing me." This also seemed to me right and proper.

I laughed my ass off on this one- mainly because it was so on the nose. Our senior student has been practicing Aikido with Sensei since 1990; he's a great teacher in his own right. Although he's modest that he would probably say that to us if we asked.

Here's a poll I took back in 2003:

Who folds your aikido teacher's hakama after s/he teaches class? - 3/1/2003
http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=154

-- Jun

Thank you Jun for this post. It was nice to kind of get a glimpse at the numbers. I'm not too shocked to find my dojo is in the minority in this poll mainly because I assume most of the people who responded where from America or other English speaking countries. I wouldn't be suprised if it was the opposite in Japan.

My first Aikido teacher expected the senior student to sit in seiza immediately after class and wait for him to hand them his hakama. Then it had better be done by the time he got done changing and you better still be sitting in seiza where he handed it to you with both hands still holding the thing. He'd take it, feel it to see if it was flat enough and either put it on his desk, or flop it open and tell you to do it again if he could feel any bulges.

That's stupid. Really stupid, although I do fold a mighty tidy hakama now. :cool:

I have offered to fold people's hakama, but mostly as a convenience or a show of respect, sort of like saying, "Hey, you're busy and I know you need to get going, so I can fold that for you..." It's similar to in my sword school when I've offered to clean my teacher's shinken after class because I knew he was in a hurry. It's not grovelling, it's just being polite.

Christian, I don't know how anyone tolerated that. Even at their worst, my drill sergeant in ROTC showed me more respect than that. I'm fine with the two handed bow to give the hakama; when I folded our Sensei's hakama on Monday happily did that. But I know Sensei would never throw it back at me.

I agree with your final statement: it is not groveling, it is being polite.

@Mary: I'm enjoying this discussion because for me it is not the usual "this is how it's done and you're a dolt/oaf/cult member if you do it any other way" topic, but everyone just states how it is done where he trains and doesn't comment in this way on how others described their way...

Simone

Simone, I couldn't agree more. It is nice for everyone just to say, well I do this but it dosen't matter if you don't. Usually there is such heated argument over such things.

lbb
04-04-2012, 11:08 AM
@Mary: I'm enjoying this discussion because for me it is not the usual "this is how it's done and you're a dolt/oaf/cult member if you do it any other way" topic, but everyone just states how it is done where he trains and doesn't comment in this way on how others described their way...

Really? Well, just let the thread go on for another page or two, and you're sure to see what I'm talking about. You could start by looking at the post right above mine.

SteliosPapadakis
04-06-2012, 06:22 AM
i do not even fold mine! i leave this for later, at the cosiness of my home.

ninjaqutie
04-26-2012, 07:13 AM
I folded up my previous sensei's on occasion when he asked. That was usually when he was about to travel for a seminar. He usually just hung his up like the rest of the yudansha at the dojo.

Edgecrusher
05-03-2012, 02:52 PM
I suppose I would if we were required to wear them. Being the senior student, I would almost expect to do that. Since we do not, I have never had the experience. Most Tomiki practitioners do not typically wear them because of the mat work we do, it could get in the way. However my sensei has informed me that on "special" ocassions we will put them on (black belts only).

Theijuiel
09-21-2013, 03:14 PM
As uchideshi, we always fold our sensei's hakama. If there are more than one uchideshi, then we wait as sensei removes the hakama and she will hand it to whoever she feels should fold it. When we have guest instructors, we quietly wait for the guest to remove the hakama and inquire if they would like it folded, then we fold our chief instructor's hakama since she will toss the hakama on the mat knowing it will be folded.

apomeraniec
09-22-2013, 08:51 AM
Some dojos care more about Japanese traditions and some just not.

I don't believe that folding you sensei's hakama will make a difference in the way you practice Aikido.

In my experience, I have never seen my sensei asking someone to fold his hakama.
I would like to add the fact that my Sensei is not Japanese. Probably to a Japanese sensei that will be as important as teaching techniques.

Chris Li
09-22-2013, 10:23 AM
Some dojos care more about Japanese traditions and some just not.

I don't believe that folding you sensei's hakama will make a difference in the way you practice Aikido.

In my experience, I have never seen my sensei asking someone to fold his hakama.
I would like to add the fact that my Sensei is not Japanese. Probably to a Japanese sensei that will be as important as teaching techniques.

I'll have to note that in over a decade of training in Japan, in a number of different dojo, I very rarely saw anybody fold a teacher's hakama. For the most part (99%+), they folded their own.

Best,

Chris

lbb
09-23-2013, 06:44 AM
Lather, rinse, repeat.

lbb
09-23-2013, 07:03 AM
OK...in a more productive vein:

This thread has taken a predictable and pointless direction, i.e., that of trying to establish which local custom represents the Path of Correct Behavior. I think, though, that the real intent behind the original question was probably less to figure out what the PoCB is, and more to figure out what's the right thing to do. I think that in this as in so many other things, "the right thing to do" is a matter of local custom. When you understand that, are aware that things are done differently in different places, and develop a sensitivity for local customs, you can travel with ease. If you don't get that, you'll just go through the world believing that everybody else is Just Plain Wrong -- a belief that some people find comforting, but you sure don't learn much that way.

Linda Eskin
09-23-2013, 01:09 PM
I see it's an old question, but of course is a perpetual one, too, with new people asking it all the time. So here's my $0.02 worth:

1. Does this happen in your dojo?
Sensei usually rolls his up and puts it in the corner of his desk. However, if he is busy speaking to a guest or visiting instructor, or has to head out right after class, one of us will watch for him to take it off, take it from him, and fold it for him. I confess to having completely spaced on noticing the opportunity more than once - an occasion for minor mortification.

Also, if Sensei has left his hakama draped over a chair or something we will make sure it's folded before we go home.

2. If the senior student doesn't do it (ie has to leave early OR just dosen't do it) does it fall on the second most senior, ect.?
It's not particularly a rank thing at our dojo. (Or at least I hope it's not - maybe I've been stepping on toes!) The yudansha have their own to fold (only yudansha wear hakama at our dojo), so usually someone around 2nd or 1st kyu will do it. No one lines up - that just seems silly. If someone is standing there waiting to take it, nobody else needs to bother. Sometimes a lower-ranking student will recruit one of the yudansha, collect Sensei's hakama, and then get the yudansha's help/supervision in folding it.

3. Do you only fold the Sensei of the classes hakama? (Ie if there are two yudansha would my boyfriend and I each fold one hakama?)
We would only fold Sensei's hakama, and of course extend the courtesy to any visiting teacher as well. I would also offer at a seminar, but usually there are more senior students who know the instructor already waiting.

As others have mentioned, I consider a courtesy, a convenience, and an expression of gratitude and respect - not a show of deference or subservience.

Adam Huss
10-03-2013, 09:40 AM
This is always such a great "this is how it's done and you're a dolt/oaf/cult member if you do it any other way" topic.

I've been away from here for a long time, just came back for a peak, and it seems like this is all any thread ends up being. That's too bad. If we all just get stitched pleats and hang our hakama, can we all be friends then?

I like the idea of having high kyu student fold hakama, whoever posted that earlier,...it seems like a good way to learn, I had no clue when I first got my hakama how to fold it. That would have helped me out. I'm still not good at it so I need the practice.

One explanation I've heard is student's fold their teacher's hakama so the teacher can spend that time taking care of dojo business or talking with students after class.

OwlMatt
10-03-2013, 10:02 AM
I have been in clubs where the folding of the instructor's hakama is the way students learn to fold the hakama. That seems sensible enough to me. I've never done it, though, so I'm probably going to be consulting YouTube someday when I get close to shodan.

tarik
10-05-2013, 07:27 PM
And then, just for fun...

... there are those who don't always wear hakama, except on formal or special occasions.

Hell, in my own dojo, I've been guilty of bowing into class in the middle of the week sometimes and doing nothing more than taking off my shoes and emptying my pockets before starting class.

Am I kicked out of the club? Is my aikido now less "real"?

(sorry, I guess I was bored)

lbb
10-07-2013, 07:09 AM
And then, just for fun...

... there are those who don't always wear hakama, except on formal or special occasions.

We had some no-hakama nights last summer when it was exceptionally hot and humid. It was awesome.

barron
10-07-2013, 08:29 PM
Before our Sensei ( Inaba Sensei 6th dan Calgary Aikikai) passed away it was considered an honour to fold his hakama. It was also the way we learned so when we finally earned ours we knew how he expected us all to fold. At the beginning as a 2nd kyu it took me 15 to 20 minutes to get it just right, although he never commented on a good or bad job. It was always a bit of a challenge especially to get the belts just right as they were "extra" long, but I finally got it right.

When I went to Japan two years ago as an uchi-deshi for one month at our Shihan's dojo, I swept the leaves up outside the dojo, I cleaned the dojo every morning before six am practice, folded or hung to air his hakama after each session and carried his bag if we visited another of his dojos.

I still owe my original sensei, Inaba Sensei, so much that I would have continued to show him my thanks and respect by folding to this day.

Since his passing ( 4 years ago) all our instructors, including myself, fold our own except on rare occasions when a 1st kyu wants to practice before they get theirs. Somedays I do a good job .... on others I try again the next practice.