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Cass
01-26-2017, 03:32 PM
So this is actually a question of two parts, I have not earned my hakama yet but have noticed a difference on the mat in regards to how the hakama is worn in two ways. The most common and traditional method seems to be "long and low" worn on the hips touching the sides of the feet coming just below the ankles. However my sensei and one or two other students seem to wear the hakama "short" so that it flares outward and shows a little bit of the gi pants below and stays pretty clear of the feet. This is hard to explain, so I'll show visually what I mean:

https://scontent.fath3-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/15665562_948192868646359_7479551001273828008_n.jpg?oh=53929050ec5b1bc50f3b3fce75 364d0b&oe=591EE9CF
Both aikidoka here are wearing the hakama high.

https://scontent.fath3-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/14720347_901186990013614_3947865059901907049_n.jpg?oh=00514ec5848b194cae54bf4399 0d7c5c&oe=59010049
A clearer view of the hakama from behind, my sensei is the one closer to the camera. His uke as you can see wears the hakama in the more traditional manner.

I suppose I have some questions, firstly how do you tie is like this? You have the hakama the same length as anyone else but tie the obi differently? Is it a traditional and accepted way of wearing a hakama? My sensei was a bit evasive when I asked him about it, saying he didn't do anything different but he believes the hakama changes and adapts to the wearer and implied that it was more about his style of aikido that made it stand out. Perhaps true, but not helpful on the subject. A friendly yudansha I asked that wears the hakama like this told me he ties it like this because it is less distracting as you won't trip or slide or catch it as much as the other way. I love the look of it and in the future would like to wear mine like this but I haven't seen it around before and can't find anything on the web about wearing it as such.

The other (related!) question I have is regarding women wearing the obi and hakama higher at the waist (sometimes called "the wasp" method I believe). I currently wear my obi at my waist because I find if I try to hang it lower it often slips upward due to a more "hourglass" figure. Do you have to account for this with a hakama in terms of length? Will it cause issues to wear it so high? Or will it be fine at the hips unlike the obi due to being thicker and more secure? Thoughts about wearing obi and/or hakama at this point? When I started wearing it at the waist at first it caused severe bruising on my spine as I was just learning ukemi but since then as my ukemi have improved I've not had any issues.

Janet Rosen
01-26-2017, 10:39 PM
I am a hippy woman and my belt and hakama are always tied at my waist because there is simply no other way. Hakama are sized by length, so you do want to account for waist vs. hip location when it is time to order your's.

I prefer a hak that is a bit shorter for safety (yes, people break bones when their falls are hindered by a foot caught in the hakama...good friend broke a collarbone...) and for cleanliness and for ease of demonstrating footwork. If you look at Japanese movies you see they don't drag on the ground or "hide the feet."

There is a fair amount of variety within aikido in terms of how to wear and tie (In koryu, not so much: there is THE right way in an art to wear and tie your hakama so that your saya stays securely attached to you with just the right amount of give.), Personally, I like to tie the front first and then the back: that way if I need to run to the bathroom I can "Doctor Denton" my hakama to use the toilet without totally removing the garment (non Americans: this is a reference to an old-fashioned kids pajama that had a button flap at the back for....well, for ease of using the toilet!).

shuckser
01-27-2017, 05:14 AM
The "flaring" you see is because the hakama is "tucked in", usually done to show footwork more clearly.

Have a look at this video and you'll see the teacher lift/hitch/tuck-in their hakama at about the 8:40 mark: https://youtu.be/DV78wSejs3s?t=8m38s

No changes have to be made in how you tie the hakama in order to do this. You just slide the top of the material under your belt.

Concerning the second part of your question, men wear hakama on the hip, and women wear it above. A female student I know wears a hakama that is the same length as mine (size 27) despite her being much shorter than me.

Susan Dalton
01-27-2017, 12:22 PM
I agree with Janet. I wore my hakama long because it looked better, but the only bad injuries I have ever had in aikido involved being caught in my own hakama or having someone inadvertently stand on a bit of it as he threw me. Now I wear my hakama shorter. Having one's gi pants hang lower than one's dogi britches is supposedly like having a slip hang lower than a dress, so I hemmed my gi pants shorter, too.

Ellis Amdur
01-27-2017, 04:03 PM
The hakama traditionally (and I mean even modern traditional) should show the ankles. Here's Takeda Sokaku - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b6/Takeda_Sokaku.jpg/250px-Takeda_Sokaku.jpg

The hakama, properly speaking, were originally riding cullotes over a kimono, so that a) your legs were protected and b) you wouldn't show your crotch while riding a horse, When it became the daily wear, that meant that you were walking outside wearing them. The reason Japanese take their shoes or zori or geta off is to not to track filth into the house. If your hakama dragged on the ground, you leave a trail of dirt behind you, and even if not that long, it's not high enough, the heel of your zori or geta would flip up dirt with every step.

It should NOT show the keikko-gi pants (real traditional, you don't wear keikko gi pants, as the hakama was accompanied by a kimono and men wore fundoshi and women wore . . . nothing. So you should cut your gi-pants shorter

There was an affectation around the nobility of a hakama that covered the feet, but this was sort of the equivalent of codpieces or those shoes of the Middle-ages with the absurdly long toes. Folks in postwar aikido started wearing their long so that the feet were covered. It does make you look like you are gliding, but sooner or later you will trip.This is an ahistorical affectation.

Ellis Amdur

Cass
01-29-2017, 03:45 PM
Thanks everyone for the great responses! Interesting that everyone agrees with wearing the hakama at the waist for women - I brought it up in discussion once during a post-seminar coffee gathering of primarily yudansha and the majority seemed to believe this was the "wrong" way of wearing it. For women at my dojo it seems to be a 50-50 split on wearing the hakama at the hips or at the waist. Personally though if it meant tying the belt at the hips I don't think I could do it, the front comes a little open as it is let alone if it were put there to slip around.

So the general consensus of the hakama length is short enough to not trip but the keiko gi pants must be shorter once again to not show? Regarding the tucking, I kept an eye out for it and that is absolutely what it happening (from the video actually Tissier who is shown is my sensei's teacher! so it's quite possibly where he acquired the habit). This always seems to "fall out" though after a short amount of time, is there some way to tie the tucked parts so that they remain high? Or is it just something to sacrifice (retucking) to sport this particular appearance?

shuckser
01-29-2017, 05:39 PM
We have (and have had) a few hakama-wearing female students in our club, a couple Japanese, and all wear the hakama at the waist. Anatomical concerns take priority over what is "right", and it seems the girls we've had generally find it more comfortable to wear their garments at the waist. One of them tried it on the hip, but it didn't hold up, so it's interesting to hear that some of your fellow practitioners have had success with that.

In my experience, tucking the material in from the top between the hakama-straps and the keikogi, rather upwards through the belt only, is the best way to keep it hitched. You could also opt for pulling/pushing more material through the belt(s) to add friction, so perhaps buying a slightly over-long one would be a good idea if you plan on keeping it permanently hitched but don't want to wear it too short after doing so. I'm planning on trying this out when I get round to buying a new hakama.

Concerning the length of the hakama and the danger it imposes during practice, I find that "tucking" or just wearing a hakama "short" can be just as treacherous as wearing the hakama "long", especially for Uke. Flared or not, in my experience a shorter length makes it easier for Uke's foot to be caught in the material as they take a high fall, or even a basic forward roll. With experience and attentiveness this becomes easier to manage of course, but sometimes at the cost of a few painful groin stretches. I know your teacher has a very good level at his club, with high-falls taught and practiced regularly, so perhaps you could ask how often students have found their feet getting caught-up?

Long hakama encourage more exaggerated legwork and longer stances to move the material around, which is a good habit for Aikidoka to develop anyway, of course. When standing, the hakama should fall down to the ankles as Ellis said, or just below. My own teacher has a ridiculously long hakama that has material pouring all over the tatami, but he gets away with it somehow. I think this is an exception rather than a rule. :D

Peter Goldsbury
01-29-2017, 08:55 PM
Thanks everyone for the great responses! Interesting that everyone agrees with wearing the hakama at the waist for women - I brought it up in discussion once during a post-seminar coffee gathering of primarily yudansha and the majority seemed to believe this was the "wrong" way of wearing it. For women at my dojo it seems to be a 50-50 split on wearing the hakama at the hips or at the waist. Personally though if it meant tying the belt at the hips I don't think I could do it, the front comes a little open as it is let alone if it were put there to slip around.

So the general consensus of the hakama length is short enough to not trip but the keiko gi pants must be shorter once again to not show? Regarding the tucking, I kept an eye out for it and that is absolutely what it happening (from the video actually Tissier who is shown is my sensei's teacher! so it's quite possibly where he acquired the habit). This always seems to "fall out" though after a short amount of time, is there some way to tie the tucked parts so that they remain high? Or is it just something to sacrifice (retucking) to sport this particular appearance?

Some instructors in the Tissier lineage do tend to pull up the hakama at the sides and tuck it in, but I have always regarded it as something of an affectation, without much relevance. When there is a need to show footwork clearly, I usually take the hakama off. Learning not to trip over the hakama when doing ukemi is a rite of passage for most junior yudansha, as is learning the correct way to tie it. Again, there is conflicting doctrine here and it is all part of Hakama Folklore. Do you tie the front end first, or the back end? Then there is the matter of the pleats and their supposed symbolism. There are seven pleats and they supposedly symbolize the seven virtues that samurai are supposed to display. O Sensei, of course, is invoked as the promoter of the seven virtues, even though he was never a samurai.

There is Obi folklore as well. One famed Aikikai instructor, now no longer with us, swore by an extra wide obi, wound round the waist from one end with the other end tucked in either above or below. This was at least twice as wide as the regular judo obi and had the advantage of no crossover at the back, which has sometimes been the cause of ukemi injuries. However, there is no knot and so an important part of aikido symbolism is lost. This is the Symbolism of the Centre/Center. The knot is supposed to be tied just above the One Point, from which all one's aikido movements are supposed to originate. Tying the obi round the waist removes the basis for such symbolism. However, a normal judo obi could also be tied in such a way that there was no crossover at the back and I sometimes use this way, borrowed I am told from Brazilian jujitsu. But the knot also becomes less prominent and so you might forget the important truth that all your movements should originate from the One Point.

Finally, I have had many teachers in my time--all except one direct students of the Founder, and none of them ever explained to me the important points sketched out above.

Best wishes - and apologies for not italicizing all the foreign words. Use the information as necessary on your Aikido Journey...

Janet Rosen
01-30-2017, 01:49 AM
Re not having gi pants lower edge not show under the shorter hakama: I always hated keikogi pants and see no reason to wear them under my hak. In cold weather, black leggings keep me warm, move with me, and are invisible. In hot weather, black bike type shorts.

Shadowfax
05-10-2017, 05:18 PM
Late to the thread but thought I would comment anyway.

In my observation most female aikido students do prefer to wear the hakama tied at the waist. Personally I find this incredibly uncomfortable and it hinders some of my movement. I prefer to have mine just at the top of the hip. It did take me some time to work out how to tie it so it would stay put there but after 8 years or so of wearing one I ve gotten the knack.

A female instructor of mine wears the wide obi instead of the traditional belt and says she prefers it and that it allows her to wear her hakama tied lower more easily.

I think generally where you wear it is up to your personal preference.

I also ,like Janet, don't wear keiko gi pants under my hakama. I have yet to find a gi that fits me properly and the pants in particular have always been a real issue. Again very uncomfortable to me. So I and most of the women in my dojo prefer to wear leggings under the hakama. I have been told that black is best but I see members of the dojo often wearing vibrantly colored and patterned leggings. I suspect this detail should be discussed with your instructor before you buy them for this purpose.

Tim Mailloux
05-10-2017, 06:45 PM
Re not having gi pants lower edge not show under the shorter hakama: I always hated keikogi pants and see no reason to wear them under my hak. In cold weather, black leggings keep me warm, move with me, and are invisible. In hot weather, black bike type shorts.

We always did a lot of shiko and swariwaza. I personally found that gi pants in addition to a heavy weight cotton hakama made those classes of nothing but swariwaza technique more tolerable.

oisin bourke
05-11-2017, 06:47 AM
Following the comments about hakama height, indeed it should be set above the ankles. This is for both safety and also helps keep the shape of the hakama. It keeps the pleats of the hakama straight. For this reason, the hakama should also be solidly tied and knotted around the hips. AFAIK, how one ties the hakama depends on whether one will place weapons in its belt or not. IMO, it should be firmly tied. I don’t wear an obi beneath the hakama as it ruins the shape and constricts the lower back which is absolutlely a no-no. I don’t think much of the loose hanging of the hakama laces for reasons similar to the leggings reaching below the ankle: It looks sloppy and it makes the hakama lose its shape. If you have to constantly readjust your hakama doing practice, you’re not moving properly!

On women tying it high up the waist, I think that this is not good thing: It constricts the waist and lower spinal muscles which should be stretched and relaxed. I think the approach of hakama wearing in the yoshinkan is a good approach: People can wear it at around third dan (I believe) and mostly for instruction and demonstration. Yoshinkan people tend to wear it short and and neatly, which reflects well on their carriage and posture IMO.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/FC7KpjQ8bMo/hqdefault.jpg

https://scontent-ams3-1.cdninstagram.com/t51.2885-15/e15/c82.0.448.448/14374280_552941854888992_4926654550271590400_n.jpg

https://cdn-az.allevents.in/banners/ca1b7885125619951a5aa43a3ff8c0fb

phitruong
05-11-2017, 08:24 AM
i take it that it's not ok to wear the hakama in scottish style? i was looking forward to show off my legs down the catwalk. :)