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rachmass
07-24-2002, 03:32 PM
Hi all, how about a discussion on wearing hakama if you are not a dan rank? How do you feel about it? What about organizations where women wear hakama, but men do not?

rachmass
07-24-2002, 04:16 PM
Guess that since I posed the question, I'll have to put in my two cents first ;)

I would love to see uniformity among the different organizations (even within) about this. In some dojos, women wear hakama as soon as they step on the mat. I know this has to do with modesty issues, but it puts women at a disadvantage. I've seen situations where women are just assumed to be beginners and the junior man starts "teaching" the woman how to do aikido. Or otherwise, looking around to see the color of her belt. IMHO it just puts women into another class.

Another instance can be that a newer person is wearing a hakama and you just expect them to be able to take ukemi (okay, that would be my fault for not being a bit more sensitive), and train a bit too vigorously, and maybe hurt them (and that would be awful).

Okay everybody, write away :)

Nacho_mx
07-24-2002, 04:49 PM
My school is Aikikai affiliated, so all yudansha are required to wear the hakama. For the women the hakama is optional up until their dan test. Some wear it, but most not (after all at $200 U.S.D. a piece itīs expensive, specially for a beginner). Since we have very few women, itīs easy to keep track of them, so there are no confusions.

Thalib
07-24-2002, 04:57 PM
Well... when O-sensei started Aikido, all his students where Hakama, if I'm not mistaken that is.

In our organization, women of 3rd kyu could start wearing Hakama and, for men, 1st dan. This bothers none.

Just remember, when one starts wearing Hakama, there is a responsibility that comes with it. Many only treat it as a piece of fancy clothing, but in Aikido the Hakama worn is the Samurai's Hakama. "What's the difference?", one might ask. The Hakama that is worn for an Aikidoka has 7 folds, each representing the 7 pillars of Budo. The Iga Hakama that is worn by Ninjutsu practitioners has no folds at all, to them such code is pointless.

Erik
07-24-2002, 05:07 PM
I know this has to do with modesty issues
What modesty issues? So I can't see your underwear when your pants fall down because of the cheap-ass waist strap on the cheap-ass gi you were sold? Hell, I can see way more walking down the street. And it's not immodest when some guy's pants drop and he gives us a prime shot of his hairy butt? It's not modesty. A gi is about the most sexually neutral clothing worn on the planet, particularly a Judo heavy weight gi.

It's absolutely discriminatory. I'll go on record and say that I think having a different standard in this case is 100% ASININE. Women karateka, TKD players, Judoka and whatever other martial art you choose all manage just fine in their gi's. We can manage fine too.

Bruce Baker
07-24-2002, 05:11 PM
I understand the concern of women who are treated like beginners, but as much as I visit different dojos and meet different people, I cannot count on my fingers and toes, the times well studied students tried to teach. This is not with advanced kyu rank students, but with dan rank holders who regard men with hakama's as seasoned practictioners. Maybe they are looking for an overall skill level, but most times it is a bad judgement based upon viewing a black belt of hakama.

My talent is not to use muscle, but to effect my training partners movement within a wave of energy, not muscle.

Some people have an affinity to throws, some to falls, some to being uke, and some to nage, but my specialty is being able to feel the tension in my partner. Maybe that is a holdover from my karate / jujitsu training where a cry of pain or fervent slap was the indicator of enough pain. Sometimes not draging uke around like a rag doll indicates less skill to the senior students of a dojo.

This seems to be a bone of contention when visiting new dojos or meeting new people who expect that all students are advance by fast flying ukemi or that those wearing hakama's are the leaders of the dojo who must acclamate the lesser skilled students.

Whether it is the woman who wears a hakama, or a visitor who at first doesn't do everything quite the way sensei is teaching, putting up with this teaching attitude is part of the learning curve. Some beginners are incensed, others are put off, but ... sooner or later, as you advance you will be asked to show basics to someone someday. If you don't like it, find another teacher, or dojo.

Until you can put aside your own ego, take it as a learning curve, or until you have to hold back from really hurting your partner, you are just gonna have to put up with it. Once you get really good, you can laugh because your Aikido is really on track, and physically happening, I don't think that it really matters at that point anymore. But it will take a while to get there.

My own opinion of Hakama's is that it should not be an option for anyone to wear until first kyu, when most practitioners begin to teach. Either that, or until you pass first dan.

I really don't like colored belt testing either. The simplicity of White Belts and Black Belts should be enough.

Western vision? Maybe. But then again, we are taking what works for us and changing it, no doubt we will soon have more names for the variations that are taking place as Aikido will be forced to examine larger area of knowledge in martial arts.

Aikido that is not Aikido but it is Aikido?

Just like hakama's going out of style, it just might happen.

akiy
07-24-2002, 05:12 PM
Some wear it, but most not (after all at $200 U.S.D. a piece itīs expensive, specially for a beginner).
I don't think I've ever paid $200 for a hakama. The most expensive hakama from Bu Jin Design is $160 and the cheapest $100. Mugendo Bugodu sells hakama as cheap as $50. I think the most expensive I've paid is $150 for a cotton, indigo hakama from Iwata. Of course, you can pay more, but it's not necessary to spend $200 for a hakama.

Here's the results of the poll I held a couple of years back which asked, "Do you think everyone, regardless of gender and rank, should wear a hakama in aikido? "

http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=21

I've personally worn a hakama since near the beginning of my training -- probably at or right after my first test?

-- Jun

Nacho_mx
07-24-2002, 05:30 PM
In Mexico there is not a national manufacturer of martial arts clothing that produces hakamas, nor many martial art stores or sports equipment suppliers that carry them, so they have to be imported directly from Japan (Iwata, cotton, indigo or black, very good quality) and they have to pay a high import tax plus shipment costs. I agree itīs expensive.

Steven
07-24-2002, 05:33 PM
What modesty issues? So I can't see your underwear when your pants fall down because of the cheap-ass waist strap on the cheap-ass gi you were sold? Hell, I can see way more walking down the street. And it's not immodest when some guy's pants drop and he gives us a prime shot of his hairy butt? It's not modesty. A gi is about the most sexually neutral clothing worn on the planet, particularly a Judo heavy weight gi.

It's absolutely discriminatory. I'll go on record and say that I think having a different standard in this case is 100% ASININE. Women karateka, TKD players, Judoka and whatever other martial art you choose all manage just fine in their gi's. We can manage fine too.
Not to derail this but on the same line, at my home dojo we had a guy who wore quite a variety of colored and patterned boxers. All of which could be seen through his lightweight karate gi worn during the summer. Add sweat to that and you have quite a colorful rear side. I think the ladies got the biggest kick out of it as they had a pool going as to what pattern/color he'd be in for the next class.

LOL!

Nacho_mx
07-24-2002, 05:43 PM
In Japan they seem to regard the gi as some kind of underwear, so the japanese gentlemen in the locker room didnīt wear any (underwear that is)under their pants.

Kevin Wilbanks
07-24-2002, 05:58 PM
I come from an ASU school where anyone can wear a hakama whenever they choose to. According to Saotome Sensei (from one of his books), O'Sensei REQUIRED everyone to wear hakama, or they were not allowed to train. Saotome says that they are a traditional part of the art, and that you should wear one as soon as you feel committed enough to buy one - that any association with rank is a new and unfortunate invention, and sexist rules even more unfortunate. His thoughts are the most reasonable I've read on the subject.

Why anyone is in favor of using the hakama for the purpose of highlighting hierarchical or sexual differences between students is beyond me. They are tradition, and they add dignity and beauty to Aikido practice, and that should be that.

On a humorous note, I already had a hakama when I started Aikido (from prior Iaijutsu study). I began wearing it my first week, whereas most people at our dojo wait many months. Further background: I am a fast learner, and am endowed with perhaps too much confidence in many things. Anyway, a couple weeks later, during free practice, I got thrown on my head with a sacrifice throw, because my Nage assumed I had far more experience than I did. Oh well. Also, within the first few months, I got punched in the nose by Sensei, hard! Didn't break it, though. I actually enjoyed the challenge of launching myself into intense practice right away. I got banged up a bit, but it was a great education.

K.

rachmass
07-24-2002, 07:12 PM
The modesty thing was told to me by someone in a dojo who requires all women to wear hakama. She said that the dojo-cho considered the gi as pajamas for women (why not men?) and it was immodest to be on the mat without a hakama. For that matter, women were also not allowed to fold their hakama on the mat and had to do that in the dressing room. This is for clarification for Erik Haselhofer who might not have understood where I picked this up.

jimvance
07-24-2002, 07:59 PM
The modesty thing was told to me by someone in a dojo who requires all women to wear hakama. She said that the dojo-cho considered the gi as pajamas for women (why not men?) and it was immodest to be on the mat without a hakama. For that matter, women were also not allowed to fold their hakama on the mat and had to do that in the dressing room.Kimono (clothing) for women are by their very nature de-feminizing (is that a word?). The male dominant society of Japan does not like to include women for much. They have a particular aversion to seeing women as curvy and feminine, as is typical or maybe a little overdone in the West, and heaven forbid seeing legs and a crotch. (Sailor Moon is popular with boys and girls for this very reason.)

This is the same society whose national sport consists of two large, mostly fat men dressed in an oversized loincloth ramming into each other (I love sumo, by the way). If men and women in Japanese society are going to participate with one another, there are very clear lines of engagement. If they are going to practice budo, touch bodies and rub around on each other, well then better make sure there are really clear lines of engagement....

Sound crazy? Maybe, maybe not.

Jim Vance

guest1234
07-24-2002, 10:08 PM
Rachel--I think Erik understood the rationale you'd been told (we've all heard it before) he was just pointing out how really stupid it is (as in, oh, women 6th through 4th kyu can be immodest, but modesty begins at 3rd, not until dan for men...just plain dumb).

As for guys assuming women don't know anything and 'teaching' a senior, happens no matter what either is wearing. Trust me. When I get tired of being 'taught' I usually dump them really hard on their butts. If I'm lucky I get to do it twice before they catch on and shut up.

Ignacio--good point about the import costs, import tax was what I assumed when $200 was mentioned, a lot of Americans forget what things can cost in other countries.

I think hakamas should be gender-neutral, I don't really care when one starts to wear them, but it should not be based on what equipment is hidden beneath the hakama.

SeiserL
07-24-2002, 10:13 PM
At our school, Tenshinkai Aikido, women can wear a blue hakama for modesty, brown belts wear a blue hakama too. Black belts and above wear black.

I thinks its up to the style, the Sensei, and the school to establish what works for them. Its not for me to say. More of that enter and blend with what is.

Until again,

Lynn

MaylandL
07-24-2002, 10:29 PM
Hi all, how about a discussion on wearing hakama if you are not a dan rank? How do you feel about it? What about organizations where women wear hakama, but men do not?
Hello Rachel

There is some comments about wearing a hakama on:

http://www.aikidofaq.com/misc/hakama.html

IMHO, I subscribe to the view that anyone who wants to can wear a hakama and the comments in the article on the above website. That's a personal opinion. I train at two dojos where the rules regarding hakamas are different. One dojo, only yudansha grades can wear hakamas. Women with kyu grades can choose to wear a hakama if they want. The other dojo I train at: yundashas wear a hakama and kyu grades with the permission of Sensei can wear a hakama if they choose.

There are women and men who do not wear hakamas at the dojos that I train at and there are absolutely no modesty problems that I have encountered.

The use of the hakama at the dojos that I train at is more of a symbol of rank and seniority than anything else. Personally I don't agree with this but I understand that there are some rules and practices that are specific to dojos.

Its an interesting question though and I think I'll ask my Senseis at both Dojos for their thoughts on the matter. It'll be interesting to see the origins of the practice.

All the best for training and the best of luck for your dojo.

Choku Tsuki
07-24-2002, 11:25 PM
Sensei told me hakama is to differentiate between those who can take ukemi and those who can't. When he calls on someone he looks for a hakama, that's all. And that starts at 3rd kyu (it's a hefty 3rd kyu, fyi).

--Chuck

akiy
07-24-2002, 11:32 PM
Sensei told me hakama is to differentiate between those who can take ukemi and those who can't. When he calls on someone he looks for a hakama, that's all. And that starts at 3rd kyu (it's a hefty 3rd kyu, fyi).
Does that mean that in order to attain 3rd kyu, a person has to have a certain level of ability in ukemi at your dojo?

-- Jun

Erik
07-25-2002, 01:03 AM
The modesty thing was told to me by someone in a dojo who requires all women to wear hakama. She said that the dojo-cho considered the gi as pajamas for women (why not men?) and it was immodest to be on the mat without a hakama. For that matter, women were also not allowed to fold their hakama on the mat and had to do that in the dressing room. This is for clarification for Erik Haselhofer who might not have understood where I picked this up.
Hi Rachel! Colleen is right. We've been here before.

Anyways, I recognize my first post was a bit strong but it just drives me nuts that we do this.

erikmenzel
07-25-2002, 03:41 AM
Isnt the entire discussion at which grade one ought to wear a hakama just a cleverly disguised discusion of satisfying ones ego by wearing some visible markers?

Just like a obi a hakama is just a piece of cloth anyway.

Randy Pertiet
07-25-2002, 07:28 AM
At our club, 1st kyu on up wear a black hakama for both women and men. I myself am looking more forward to the hakama than shodan at this point.

rachmass
07-25-2002, 07:50 AM
At our dojo, only yudansha wear hakama. Pretty much everyone wears white belts, yudansha and mudansha alike. Some wear black belts when away from the dojo. Sensei wears a white belt. It is really interesting to hear everyones comments, and what is standard in their dojo. There really is a broad spectrum of how/when it is worn. Thank you everyone for your comments.

JJF
07-25-2002, 07:57 AM
We wear a white belt and no hakama until 3. kyu. 3. to 1. kyu wear white belt and a hakama and shodan up wears a black belt and a hakama. Black is traditional hakama-color but dark blue is accepted.

EXCEPT when we do Iaido where everyone can wear a hakama if they want to.

erikmenzel
07-25-2002, 09:22 AM
At our dojo everybody, including the teacher wears a white belt.

Most people training over 2 year at our place wear a hakama. It is just part of the uniform.

aiki_what
07-25-2002, 09:38 AM
Interesting Story.....

When I was a relative newbie (5 kyu) I was traveling alot and getting exposed to a wide variety of Aikido schools. I would pack my gi and hakama everwhere I went. I made the naive assumption that everyone wore the hakama once they were comfortable with it ( I come from an ASU dojo). I went to a dojo in San Diego and got pretty well thrashed to show me the "error of my ways". Nothing overt and all done in the course of "practice" but it left a very bad taste in my mouth.

BC
07-25-2002, 09:45 AM
The modesty thing was told to me by someone in a dojo who requires all women to wear hakama. She said that the dojo-cho considered the gi as pajamas for women (why not men?) and it was immodest to be on the mat without a hakama. For that matter, women were also not allowed to fold their hakama on the mat and had to do that in the dressing room.
I practice in a dojo where the policy is exactly as described above. When I visit my parents in another state, I will often visit a dojo where everyone wears hakama after their first kyu test. And every time I visit, the host instructor offers to let me borrow a hakama to use while I'm there. And every time I respectfully decline, citing my late Sensei's preference (he was a VERY traditional Japanese instructor from Aikikai Hombu dojo). This host instructor is kind enough to respect my wishes, since he knew my Sensei. After that, it usually takes a technique or two until his students realize that I'm not a completely new beginner. All-in-all, it makes for some amusing conversation after class.

Does it matter to me whether or not I should be allowed to wear a hakama? Not really. Does it matter to the female mudansha in our dojo that they have to wear hakama? I think maybe on hot summer days. Cost really isn't too much of an issue, since we make sure they can either borrow hakama from seniors or purchase them cheap. To me one possible advantage for not having to wear a hakama is that it makes it easier for instructors and sempai to spot problems with my footwork so that I can correct them.

Just my two cents (again).

Kevin Wilbanks
07-25-2002, 10:15 AM
For me, on the few occasions when I trained without a hakama, after being very used to one, I felt like a dork. With the hakama, I feel like I'm working with a wide, solid foundation, and without it, I feel like there are spindly little sticks holding me up. I don't really have skinny legs, either. It's just a weird psychological thing that's built up. Although it doesn't bother me when I'm doing non-Aikido stuff in a gi.

From a practical viewpioint, we'd be better off without hakama, or even obi. I have practiced an interactive, relaxation game that is like a dynamic, wide-open version of pushing hands (developed by Peter Ralston). Since there were no uniform rules I just wore a karate gi top with the strings tied on the sides - no belt. The automatic increase in relaxation and freedom of movement was very surprising.

bcole23
07-25-2002, 11:32 AM
I think that the main reasons that most dojo's choose to only let more advanced students are as follows:

1. Beginners NEED to learn footwork.

2. It helps differentiate between relative levels of experience.

3. When one is no longer a guest but a true part of the dojo and can acceptably represent Aikido.

I also think that it may have a bit to do with the fact the we're mostly gaijin (foreigners) and the hakama is a definite Japanese thing. Once you get the hakama it's also an indication that you "get" the Japanese way of thinking just a little.

But all this is so different all over the place and I'm not sure if some people even think of why they form their rules the way they do. In Japan, you'd be required to perform in the full outfit if you were protecting the shogun etc etc. It's analogous to putting on full combat gear in the army, or the average TKD'ist being able to do jumping quintuple super monkey kill kill floating butterfly astro kicks in their normal clothes.

Which leads to an interesting question. How good is your akemi in the clothes you wear every day? How many of you think about the clothes you wear and buy clothes that allow freedom of movement rather than butt shaping glory?

P.S. differentiating between the clothing women and men can wear is wrong.

Erik
07-25-2002, 12:04 PM
I'm surprised that no one has brought up the Japanese culture on this one. Change is often slow in certain areas.

I found this article interesting.

http://www.askasia.org/teachers/Instructional_Resources/Materials/Readings/Japan/R_japan_47.htm

Kat.C
07-25-2002, 12:17 PM
In our dojo only the senior students wear hakama, I don't remember if they start wearing hakama at 3rd kyu or when sensei starts them teaching. All students who wear hakama at our dojo teach by the way. Nobody seems to attach any importance to it other than these are the best people to go to for help (if you can't get sensei),and one of them has to be there if you wish to practice after class. It works quite well and has never been an issue so far as I know.

P.S. differentiating between the clothing women and men can wear is wrong.
Both women and men wear hakama,so it's not different clothing,just in some dojos they start wearing it at different times, it's really no big deal. But men and women do wear different clothing,at least usually. Women often wear dresses, men usually don't. Do you think this is wrong?

I'm not trying to be annoying or anything but as we often wear different clothes outside of the dojo why is it such a problem in the dojo?

I'm lucky though,as a child and later on in life I was exposed to a people with a variety of different cultures and customs,so I don't get offended or insulted easily by different rules.Besides I'd just be happy to be training.

jimvance
07-25-2002, 02:34 PM
I'm surprised that no one has brought up the Japanese culture on this one.Unless I am on everyone's ignore lists, I thought I had mentioned the different standards of Japanese dress-code in my first post.

<sniff; wipes eyes dry>

Jim Vance

Erik
07-25-2002, 02:41 PM
Unless I am on everyone's ignore lists, I thought I had mentioned the different standards of Japanese dress-code in my first post.

<sniff; wipes eyes dry>

Jim Vance
I blew that one. Too much scanning combined with too little reading.

There's only one fellow on my ignore list and I assure you, you ain't him.

rachmass
07-25-2002, 03:02 PM
Hi again,

Yes, it is a Japanese martial art, and Japanese culture cannot be ignored, but why is it that if a gi is considered immodest, that it is only immodest for women and not men? Why must a woman cover with a hakama, while a man needn't?

Guess I am being a bit daft here, so if anyone has a really good answer, please let me know;)

Kat.C
07-25-2002, 03:24 PM
Hi again,

Yes, it is a Japanese martial art, and Japanese culture cannot be ignored, but why is it that if a gi is considered immodest, that it is only immodest for women and not men? Why must a woman cover with a hakama, while a man needn't?

Guess I am being a bit daft here, so if anyone has a really good answer, please let me know;)
No the people who are being daft are the ones who consider it immodest for one sex and not the other, or immodest ar all. When I was in karate everyone wore a gi but no one wore hakama, never saw one until we had an aikido sensei at our karate camp. As a few people have stated in other threads about hakama the tradition of wearing them has become a bit skewed.

jimvance
07-25-2002, 03:30 PM
...it is a Japanese martial art, and Japanese culture cannot be ignored, but why is it that if a gi is considered immodest, that it is only immodest for women and not men? Why must a woman cover with a hakama, while a man needn't?Who is considering it immodest? Let me be blunt.

A woman's legs, hips and crotch make most Japanese men uncomfortable. It is kind of like going into the girl's locker room, a social taboo. In Judo, for example, men and women normally don't train together, and they don't wear hakama. Aikido has a greater percentage of women involved, and the training is co-educational. So there has to be some rule to prevent impropriety. Voila, all women wear hakama.

The real question is not about hakama at all, it is about the transfer of cultural standards. What we consider a breach of civil rights is to the Japanese the most natural thing on Earth.

Jim Vance

rachmass
07-25-2002, 03:35 PM
Jim says:

"Who's right? Who cares? Do what your teacher tells you, and if you disagree, find a new teacher."

Hey, it's just a conversation ;)

I wear a hakama, but that is because I am a dan grade. That is the custom in the dojo in which I train.

I like my teacher :)

AikiAlf
07-25-2002, 04:20 PM
well, in the US going topless is considered immodest for women, but not so socially taboo for men.

In my dojo all people can wear Hakama from the get go, but people gradually start to adopt them whenever they feel 'ready'.

Some people do so earlier than others. It doesn't change much except for the initial adjustment time.

It's nice to see some uniformity in the room, but it's a purely aesthetic consideration I think. That's not to downlplay the aesthetic aspect either.

Leslie Parks
07-25-2002, 04:21 PM
I wear hakama and black belt because I am a dan grade and that is the way we do it at our dojo.

And as Rachel, Jim and others say, 'Who cares?', listen to your instructor, and I will only add that when you visit another dojo, inquire as to their standard policy (when in Rome) and be ready to leave the hakama in your bag.