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SeanToner
01-09-2004, 12:50 AM
Sorry if this topic has been covered before.

I was wondering how people felt about non-yudansha being able to wear the hakama in practice. I read Saotome Sensei's book, the Principles of Aikido where he mentions that O-sensei required everyone, even brand new beginners to wear the hakama if they wished to train. O-sensei's stand on this was that the hakama represented the seven virtues of bushido.

I will (hopefully) be training soon with a sensei who studied under Saotome Sensei and encourages those of 6th kyu and above to wear the hakama. I find this rather refreshing, as unfortunately, I've met some yudansha who feel that wearing the hakama is a rank of status. I feel that this goes against the grain of the spirit of aikido...not just because O-sensei said so, but because to me, it smacks of being too concerned with status and being recognized externally for one's skill or effort. And some even think it's an aikido tradition, even though they may know that Iaido, Kendo and Kyudo beginners all can wear the hakama.

How many people here are in classes that don't allow non-yudansha to wear the hakama? If so, do you feel that it's the Sensei's right to not allow non-yudansha to wear the hakama?

Hanna B
01-09-2004, 02:11 AM
How many people here are in classes that don't allow non-yudansha to wear the hakama? If so, do you feel that it's the Sensei's right to not allow non-yudansha to wear the hakama?
Hakama or no hakama, it is really not important. As with all unimportant things, it is better to follow the general pattern instead of making a big fuss.

shihonage
01-09-2004, 02:26 AM
Hakama or no hakama, it is really not important. As with all unimportant things, it is better to follow the general pattern instead of making a big fuss.
This is very well put and I think it should be put on top of the screen every time one is about to post a thread.

It may just serve as a bit of a sobering-up call and make people come to their senses before they post another thread about whether hakama is trapezoid in shape and if it is, what are the base angles...

ian
01-09-2004, 02:52 AM
As I understand it the reason why hakama use for lower grades stopped was the expense of cotton during the second world war. Higher grades appealed to O'Sensei on their behalf and got a dispensation for them.

Following this vein I only allow people to wear Hakama when they've trained enough that it is worth them spending the money on one.

Also, I've noticed absolute beginners look up to people wearing a hakama, therefore I would also like hakama wearers to have enough understanding that they could justify this extra respect; Grades are irrelevant.

Ian

Creature_of_the_id
01-09-2004, 03:58 AM
I understand what you are saying.

but i personally find it helpful when people have a visible rank (coloured belt) as it gives me a general idea of where their ukemi is at.

SeanToner
01-09-2004, 06:59 AM
Hanna Bjork, I agree. Which is why I feel that non-yudansha should be allowed to wear hakama if they feel it is important to them. In other words, it should be up to the individual to chose if they want to wear one or not. The fuss will only be created if yudansha feel upset by this or somehow violated. Afterall, a non-yudansha wearing a hakama isn't really going against the flow or being disrespectful to O-sensei's original wishes.

O-sensei himself said that Aikido begins and ends with formality, so I think that wearing the hakama does help one connect himself with the 7 virtues. Moreover from a practical stand point, from what I understand, the obi and kutshita(sp?) help the wearer feel his hara better. And if one uses the argument that it is simply tradition that yudansha only can wear hakama, then why not just have all classes forego wearing dogi at all? Afterall, it would be cheaper to just wear sweat pants and a tee shirt, not to mention wearing shoes which is more practical.

What concerns me is yudansha who feel it is a privelege or right for only them to be able to wear the hakama. It is their choice of course, and ultimately, I feel that one should respect the wishes of one's instructors. It is rather the principle of the matter, and not the right or privelege that concerns me. The principle being that as with many other formalities, traditions can help us relate to the past and encourage us to follow certain behavioral patterns.

justinm
01-09-2004, 08:17 AM
Interesting points, Sean. The principle, to me, is that it is up to the dojo Sensei. It's his dojo so he gets to choose. If that means t-shirt, hakama or running shorts so be it.

As an aside, in Yoshinkan aikido, hakama are rarely worn and I have often trained under a 6th dan who did not wear one. Although we are a yoshinkan club and wear hakama at shodan, and sometimes at kyu grades.

Ron Tisdale
01-09-2004, 09:48 AM
I'm in the same position as Sean (yoshinkan) and I also feel there are issues with safety and with training.

Ukemi is difficult enough to learn properly without a hakama. I don't personally see the point in beginners risking their bodies just to wear something that has only symbolic meaning. I've even heard some address the hakama as part of 'role playing'...while I don't go that far myself, I just can't see the value of risking injury to newbies. Too many broken toes, and worse from trying to push ukemi skills in a pleated set of baggy pants.

The training issue is that at least in the yoshinkan, instructors want to see your whole posture, hips, legs, foot positions, everything. I think that is part of the reason they don't use hakama til third dan. In the rougher styles of aikido (yoseikan, shodokan in particular), the hakama also impeads 'mixing it up'.

These are style specific things though...when in Rome...

Ron

Lyle Bogin
01-09-2004, 10:04 AM
Hakama are expensive. It was nice not to have to commit to purchasing one for a while. But when the time comes, when ever that is, a uniform is a uniform.

akiy
01-09-2004, 10:24 AM
Hi everyone,

I've taken a few polls on the topic of wearing a hakama over the years:

Do you normally wear a hakama during aikido practice?

http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=13

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

What do you think of wearing a hakama during aikido training?

http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=165

How much safer do you think aikido training would be without people wearing the hakama?

http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=176

-- Jun

itdoka
01-09-2004, 10:58 AM
I know the post is off topic, but Jun in all your posts it says I do not do aikido. Who are these folks and why are the visiting a forum dedicated to aikido? Just very curious ;)

akiy
01-09-2004, 11:36 AM
Hi Rich,

Heh. Maybe I'll do a poll on why people aren't practicing in aikido some time...

Any way, back on topic, I think that people who would "covet" a hakama as a status symbol would only put such thoughts into some other thing (having a frayed collar, needing to patch their dogi/hakama knees, etc) if everyone were allowed to wear a hakama at their dojo.

I've trained with teachers who wear hakama all time time, as well as those who don't. As Ron says above, "When in Rome." Then again, I did go for months without wearing a hakama last year...

-- Jun

Michael Hackett
01-09-2004, 12:25 PM
Is it "poe tay toe" or "poe taw toe"? Please forgive my ignorance, but I've heard the word hakama pronounced in two ways, sometimes by the same person. Is it pronounced "ha kaw ma" or "hack a ma"? God knows I can butcher english badly enough, so I imagine my japanese is even worse.

akiy
01-09-2004, 12:56 PM
Is it pronounced "ha kaw ma" or "hack a ma"?
Check out:

http://www.aikiweb.com/language/audio.html

-- Jun

aoerstroem
01-09-2004, 05:40 PM
In our dojo we start to wear the Hakama from sankyu and up.

As a 7th kyu I dont get to wear one, and although I would really like to, I can see why I shouldn't. My instructors can evaluate my posture and footwork more easily and it is a great incentive for me to train and be able to wear that some day.

Regarding the question of importannce of the hakama, I strongly believe that it is an important part of the aikido training. For me it symbolises the 7 virtues, and reminds me that I am studying a civilised and noble art.

Just my two cents.

Rich Stephens
01-09-2004, 06:19 PM
At my dojo in Japan only the yudansha and sensei wore Hakama. However, when teaching the children's classes, if a kyu level adult was acting as an assistant teacher that day, Sensei would have them put on hakama. (but kids classes are different: they gave them colored belts too, to motivate them).

One of the most embarassing days for me was when as a 5-kyu I somehow showed up with my gi, but no belt. Our Sensei was out and the class was being handled by one of the higher ranking students (3 or 4 dan?) and his solution was "no problem, here, just use this belt," and handed me an extra black belt that belonged to our Sensei! I protested but he insisted that it was no big deal and was certainly preferable to me sitting out the class. So I put it on, much to the amusement of the other kyus in attendance. Things only got more embarassing when Sensei arrived later and joked that I must have learned a lot in the first half of that day's class to make it to shodan already, ha!

-Rich

SeanToner
01-09-2004, 11:10 PM
I'm a student, so I basically don't have lots of money to spend on a hakama (which seem to be very expensive...at least for the 100% cotton ones), so I probably won't be getting a hakama for awhile. But I would like to wear it simply to connect myself to tradition and the virtues they represent.

My biggest worry is that the hakama is seen as a status symbol. If a sensei feels there are training or safety issues, then I would definitely respect his or her position and experience on that point. But if his attitude is that wearing a hakama is a privilege, then I would have an issue with that. I have and would train under senseis like that, but deep down, I would feel somehow put down. To me, if hakama are seen as status symbols or badges of rank/experience, then it is merely another form of competition, and a fueling of the ego...which Aikido should lessen.

Getting on a related tangent, to me tradition is important. I would probably scratch my head if I saw an instructor teaching a class full of students in sweat pants and t-shirts. Not that I find that wrong, because in some ways it is more realistic, but I'd wonder why. I think that following tradition is valuable. For one, it shows a respect for the culture from which the art came. Secondly, it helps us remember what aikido truly is...budo. The path of a true warrior. If you think about it, why do we bow to the shomen when we first enter the dojo? Why do we say in Japanese, "Onegai shimasu" to request instruction and "doomo arigatoo gozaimashita" to say thank you after a lesson when we could easily say it in the language of what ever country we practice in? Why do we sit in seiza or maybe zazen and follow a breathing pattern (at least we do in kodokai) to the rhythm of two clapping wood boards? Not all traditions may be correct by our modern standards, but at least it shows our respect. I would at least wonder why someone would not want to pay their respect by not following certain harmless traditions. So it is also with wearing a hakama.

SeanToner
01-10-2004, 12:21 AM
Michael Hackett, don't know if this will help you or not...

In Japanese, all the vowels are pronounced thusly:

A as in aww (rhymes with law)

I as in ee (rhymes with key)

U as in ooh (rhymes with you)

E as in ay (rhymes with day)

O as in oh (rhymes with toe)

So the full list is:

k s t n h m y r w

a ka/ga sa/za ta/da na ha/ba/pa ma ya ra wa n

i ki/gi shi/ji chi ni hi/bi/pi mi ri

u ku/gu su/zu tsu nu hu/bu/pu mu yu ru

e ke/ge se/ze te/de ne he/be/pe me re

o ko/go so/zo to/do no ho/bo/po mo yo ro wo

The nice thing is that the sounds are pretty much universal as there are few exceptions (though my experience with Japanese is limited to one year in college, so I could be wrong here). The other quick guide line is that everytime you see a vowel, that's one syllable. So for example, keikogi it is pronounced kay-e-ko-gee (gee rhymes with see). The kay-e part kind of runs together very fast though.

If you see the letter 'n' (or 'm' sometimes) , then technically it is it's own syllable, but really it gets included in the syllable of the vowel just before it. For example, senpai is pronounced sen-pah-ee (but the last two syllables are spoken so fast, it sounds like one syllable...this is generally though not always true whenever you see two vowels together, so really it sounds more like sen-pie). Another example is sandan (sahn-dahn). There's a catch though, and unfortunately you need to see the kana or kanji to really know how to pronounce it, since there is an 'n' sound all by itself, and also the phonetic sounds, na (nah), ni (knee), nu (new), ne (nay), no. The rule of thumb here is that if you see a vowel, followed by 'n' which is then followed by a consonant, then the 'n' sound gets attached to the vowel preceding it.

Another key to help in pronouncing Japanese words are understanding how Ya, Yu, and Yo work. If you see a word with a consonant followed by a 'y', for example in Nikyo, then it is composed of the phonetic sounds, Ni-Ki-Yo, but instead of being 3 syllables, it's actually only two. The Ki and Yo get merged into one syllable kyo. The same holds true with ya and yo if the letter preceding the 'y' is another consonant. Related to this, if you see, 'sha', 'shu', or 'sho', it is really the sounds: shi+ ya or chi+ya (sha/cha), shi+yo (sho) and shi+yu (shu) so for example, yudansha is pronounced you-dahn-sha.

The last trick are double consonants as in Ikkyo. It's hard to explain this one, but it's a guttural stop, where you sort of start saying the consonant, and abruptly stop it, then say it again. So it goes something like, eek-kyo. At the end of the first syllable with the double consonant, your tongue should be at the roof of your mouth. The other hard to explain part is that this is technically 3 syllables, but when I hear Japanese say it, it sounds like 2 syllables to me. As another example, bokken would be pronounced, bowk(rhymes with oak)-ken, but again, even though technically this word is 4 syllables long (bo-k-ke-n) if you hear it spoken, it is really only sort of 2.

Two last examples. If the vowels i or u comes inbetween the consonants, k, s, h, t, or p, then the vowel is silent. For example in bokuto, it's pronounced, bow-k-toe (the k is like when you are about say could, but leave off the 'ould' part). Notice it's still 3 syllables, it's not pronounced like bowk-toe. The final example is that most of the time (but not always) if you see 'o' and 'u' together, it's pronounced as one long oo (rhymes with row) sound. For example, sometimes arigato is romanized as arigatou. This is because arigato is actually a-ri-ga-to-o (it is 5 syllables long, so the o sound at the end is extended one extra beat).

Hanna B
01-10-2004, 02:19 AM
Hanna Bjork, I agree. Which is why I feel that non-yudansha should be allowed to wear hakama if they feel it is important to them.
To me, it does not look like you agree with me. Rather, you take the opposite stand - the issue of wearing a hakama is very important to you.
O-sensei himself said that Aikido begins and ends with formality, so I think that wearing the hakama does help one connect himself with the 7 virtues.
Made a search or two here on Aikiweb. You'll find that many people dismisses this 'seven virtues' stuff as a fairly recent invention.
My biggest worry is that the hakama is seen as a status symbol. If a sensei feels there are training or safety issues, then I would definitely respect his or her position and experience on that point. But if his attitude is that wearing a hakama is a privilege, then I would have an issue with that.
Welcome to reality...
To me, if hakama are seen as status symbols or badges of rank/experience, then it is merely another form of competition, and a fueling of the ego...which Aikido should lessen.
I have seen plenty of egos fed by aikido, with or without hakama... Maybe your real problem is arrogance in yudansha around you, rather than the hakama in itself.

I should add: when I preach adapting to conformity, I am preaching something I have yet to learn myself. I do think it is useful, though.

SeanToner
01-10-2004, 10:51 AM
Hanna-

I agree with you in the sense that it should not matter. Where we disagree is that you feel the issue is (or should be) trivial and irrelevant for everyone, and I feel that it is trivial (though never irrelevant) for some. What matters to me is that we should all respect one another's choice, though the final word goes to the sensei because in the end, he will teach you valuable lessons that go beyond just connecting to symbolic virtues. Some feel that the hakama is unimportant for non-yudansha...then so be it. If the sensei feels this way, it is his rules, but then he has shown he has gone contrary to what the hakama is supposed to represent. Again, that is fine as it is his belief. But in the end, I would prefer a sensei who respects these traditions, for it would make me feel as if he is more open minded. It's not about the sensei disrespecting me because he doesn't feel the same way I do, but rather on the reasoning why he feels a student should not also be connected to tradition (which technically is going against the wishes of O-sensei).

As for where I got the notion that the hakama represents the seven virtues of budo, this comes from Mitsugi Saotome sensei's book, The Principles of Aikido which was written in 1989. In the book, Saotome Sensei says that it was O-sensei himself that attributed the 7 virtues to the hakama because there are 7 pleats in a traditional hakama. In a way though, O-sensei could be considered modern, so the people who said it is a modern attribution to the hakama are not incorrect. In the book furthermore, O-sensei required all students even if they were brand new to wear the hakama precisely because it represented the ideals of budo. As a side note, I found this very intriguing when I first learned of it, since I had never heard of it nor had the 3 yudansha at my dojo.

About reality. Ghandi said, "we must be the change we wish to see in the world". Is not the whole purpose of aikido a selfless one about trying to get the entire world to act in harmony? I believe that if we see aikido as a means to our own personal peace and salvation, then we lose the greater picture. In a way, it is the difference between Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhism. In other words, we should not settle for what constitutes what goes on as reality if it is against a harmonious nature. This is the true war that we face I think.

Unfortunately egos are egos as you pointed out. I'm still trying to figure out how to get rid of mine.

AsimHanif
01-10-2004, 07:51 PM
My take is that symbols are a very important part of our non-verbal communication systems. Wearing dogi is part of our attempt to say to each other that we are not bringing our outside baggage on the mat. The wearing of hakama communicates to me as a member of the Ki Society that the wearer should be proficient at a certain level. It definitely brings expectations which I feel is fine since we live in such a goal oriented world. We all want to attain certain things. The problem is as I see it, when we feel a certain entitlement just because we are wearing a dark piece of cloth.

Lan Powers
01-10-2004, 10:04 PM
Our Sensei was previously trained , in the earlier years of his aikido career in a Ki-Society group, and later in a "splinter" of that scool of thought. As Asim pointed out Ki-Soc. attaches a certain expectation of skill to the hakama. Sensei allows any student who wishes to wear one to do so, after gaining rank of some level. As he explained to me, not everyone who wishes to train will want to, or should be expected to, or will stay in training for long enoufgh to warrant the expense of one.

He is gracious and indulgent about us who are still "on fire" with the enthusiasm of new students. (You know us... we chatter excitedly on and on about aikido and bubble with enthusiasm till you just want to scream!) :)

I really like the feeling of wearing mine. I like the quiet stillness in folding (just so) and in the camraderie of those final few minutes of mat time.

I often learn as much or more of what needs work, how to improve, etc. from those few minutes at the end of class.

Everyone has a life outside. They are ready to get home, have supper, etc. So class is through.....off we all go.
I would often wish for just a bit more time to go back to the technique that wasn't "just right" and repeat it a few times to hopefully improve.

While we are removing, folding etc. of the flappy pleated pants in question, the "key" point that needs to be conveyed to me (or some one else) will "click" for sensei and up he jumps, hakama half on, straps flapping to step through the point in question.
I for one would not trade those times for anything.
Just one point.........
Lan

Nick P.
01-11-2004, 09:27 AM
How many people here are in classes that don't allow non-yudansha to wear the hakama? If so, do you feel that it's the Sensei's right to not allow non-yudansha to wear the hakama?
In our dojo, only yudansha are allowed to wear the hakama...though it has never happened that a non-yudansha has ever arrived wearing one.

As with all aspects of what is or is not allowed in the dojo while training, Sensei has the right (and the obligation, I think) to do as he/she wishes. If of course I find some aspects too chaffing, then I can of course leave train elsewhere, or wait to become Sensei myself.

I briefly (4 months) trained in a dojo where non-yudansha were expected to wear a hakama from sankyu on up. When I was told to wear a brown belt and get a hakama by the Sensei, I did (note: do yourself a favor and never buy a cheap hakama!). I was flattered, but mostly because I had up until then associated Shodan and above with the hakama. Of course, my skill level jumped to Shodan the moment I received the box containing the hakama....

indomaresa
01-11-2004, 07:57 PM
While we are removing, folding etc. of the flappy pleated pants in question, the "key" point that needs to be conveyed to me (or some one else) will "click" for sensei and up he jumps, hakama half on, straps flapping to step through the point in question.

I for one would not trade those times for anything.

Just one point.........

Lan
hahahaaa

i know what you mean

SeiserL
01-12-2004, 09:06 AM
We allow dark blue hakamas at brown belt. Women can wear hakamas earlier for modesty reasons.

IMHO, what color your belt or when you wear the hakama is not as important, though it is useful, as the training. Wear what you are told to wear within your school and train well.

Adrian Smith
01-12-2004, 11:07 PM
In Japanese, all the vowels are pronounced thusly:

A as in aww (rhymes with law)
Sean, from my vantage point (living in Japan for a year now, surrounded by native speakers) this isn't quite right. The 'A' vowel sound is pronounced 'ah', not 'aww' and it doesn't rhyme with 'law'. It's more like the 'a' in 'arch' unless my ear is deceiving me.

-Adrian

WilliamWessel
01-12-2004, 11:37 PM
I know the post is off topic, but Jun in all your posts it says I do not do aikido. Who are these folks and why are the visiting a forum dedicated to aikido? Just very curious ;)
I don't *yet*. Been putting it off for a year or so for various stupid reasons ranging from anxiety about it to time (currently). Once I get more settled in with college I plan on making some time to visit the dojos in my area and starting.

erikmenzel
01-13-2004, 08:35 AM
Hakama or no hakama, it is really not important. As with all unimportant things, it is better to follow the general pattern instead of making a big fuss.
Ooooh, that is so nice. I agree fully. I agree so inmensly that we now should all go to our dojo and train very hard to celebrate :D :D :D

SeanToner
01-14-2004, 05:21 PM
Adrian Smith

Yeah, your right now that I think of it. I was trying to phoneticize and it seemed right at the time to say 'aw' instead of 'ah', but 'ah' does capture the sound better.

Of course the best thing is to just listen to some native Japanese speakers :)

p00kiethebear
01-23-2004, 09:02 PM
This was actually something I had to adjust too when i started training in aikido. I had been training in Battodo for about a year and had been wearing a hakama since he begining. When i started into aikido, i felt naked without it! However as my ukemi got better sensei didn't have such a problem with me "keeping my pants on"

MaryKaye
01-24-2004, 10:30 PM
My dojo follows its parent tradition in having hakama only for dan ranks and instructors. About half of them swear by the hakama for its grace and beauty; the other half swear at it, for tangling up and hiding the feet, and will take it off as soon as they have an excuse. I don't think it's a big status symbol as a result.

I was a guest at a dojo where everyone above a fairly early kyu rank wore hakama. That worked too. There was one tiny girl, maybe ten years old, who was etherially beautiful in her hakama. It did make the higher-ranked kids stand out from the others, which helped counteract my tendency to assume that bigger==better. They dealt with the cost issue by having dojo hand-me-down hakama for the kids.

I'm a bit glad not to have to pay for one or learn how to fold it (or roll in it) quite yet, myself. I don't think my dojo would make an issue over a guest who wore hakama, though people probably would tend to assume s/he was dan rank until told otherwise. (My first day at the other dojo I was quite intimidated by what looked to me like a sea of yudansha!)

Mary Kaye

Anders Bjonback
01-31-2004, 04:25 PM
Personally, I am really glad that I have been able to wear hakama since my sixth kyu test. I like everyone being able to wear hakama, rather than just blackbelts. I feel like it's more inclusive, like it's a symbol of wanting to be a part of this tradition or lineage or whatever, rather than a sign of rank.

I also think hakama are awesome. I can't wait until I have enough money so I can get a kimono and hakama for tea ceremony.

I'm also glad that I have been able to start wearing a hakama in my early stages of training in ukemi. I know from the start not to get up from a front roll in a way that would possbily make me trip in my hakama. Since I started wrearing one from near the beginning, it wouldn't be nearly so much as a switch as, say, waiting four to six years. I won't have to worry about getting hurt by a sudden switch in garment after testing for shodan.

I've only done aikido for a year and a half, so to me it's still pretty obvious who is better than me or knows what he or she is doing, and who is a beginner. And my teachniques don't work that well anyway, so since I'm not likely to affect a beginner's center, I'm not very likely to do anything that could really hurt him or her (other than being too agressive with joint locks). Maybe it changes as you get more advanced and so need to know how good the other person is before you can really practice with him or her. I haven't heard of any problems like this at my dojo, though.

CatSienna
01-31-2004, 05:02 PM
I can certainly identify with the dark blue hakama for modesty reasons. Women in my dojo wear from blue belt onwards. The first time one of my best friends wore her (too long) hakama, there was a ripping sound during one of the moves. Fortunately it wasn't her brand new hakama but her gi trousers underneath and the hakama covered everything. Naturally once we'd figured out no serious damage to her or her modesty, the rest of us girls were, "waah, so sexy, a rip here. a rip there, matches your ripped jeans.", "eh, new fashion statement?" etc :)

Nick Simpson
02-01-2004, 06:46 AM
I have heard of dan grades confusing a low ranked kyu grade in hakama for a dan grade and therefore going fell for leather with them when the uke couldnt cope.

But then again Ive trained with visiting dan grades from other organisations who didnt ask my kyu rank and just proceeded to batter me senseless anyway, so I guess its all immaterial.

In any case it seems strange to me to train for several years without hakama, get to shodan and then have to learn how to take ukemi, walk around and do technique without tripping or injuring yourself. Maybe its an initiation joke? "Hes a black belt now, he thinks hes great. Lets make him wear this stupid skirt!".

Nacho_mx
02-01-2004, 12:43 PM
I have heard of dan grades confusing a low ranked kyu grade in hakama for a dan grade and therefore going fell for leather with them when the uke couldnt cope.

But then again Ive trained with visiting dan grades from other organisations who didnt ask my kyu rank and just proceeded to batter me senseless anyway, so I guess its all immaterial.

In any case it seems strange to me to train for several years without hakama, get to shodan and then have to learn how to take ukemi, walk around and do technique without tripping or injuring yourself. Maybe its an initiation joke? "Hes a black belt now, he thinks hes great. Lets make him wear this stupid skirt!".
If you get your basics right (ukemi, taisabaki, footwork) the transition should not be a problem. The only hakama related awkwardness that I encountered was when I asked myself "Great, now how do I tie this thing?" :confused: and later "How do I fold this thing? :freaky:

ikkitosennomusha
02-01-2004, 08:37 PM
Actually, Saito-shihan once said that O-sensei made him wear a hakama upon the first day of traning. Saito-shihan was too poor to purchase one so he tore the fabric off an old couch, had it sewn into the hakama and dyed it black. He went on to say that the dye came off on the dojo mats!

Since when did the hakama, which is nothing more than apprpriate attire for the Japanese male way back when, become a symbol of presitge and inclusioin??? Who is the one who sai "only black belt can wear this"? Its like someone telling me that I cannot wear my pants!!!

The first 4 years of my training was with the AAA. They do not allow anyone under shodan to waer the hakama. It has its pros and cons.

Brad Medling

Hanna B
02-02-2004, 02:51 AM
If you do a little search (here on Aikiweb forums or the web), you'll find that the damand for everyone to wear a hakama was skipped during WW2 because it was difficult for all students to obtain one. Alas, mudansha was freed from the hakama obligatory while yudansha was not.

indomaresa
02-02-2004, 08:34 AM
In any case it seems strange to me to train for several years without hakama, get to shodan and then have to learn how to take ukemi, walk around and do technique without tripping or injuring yourself. Maybe its an initiation joke? "Hes a black belt now, he thinks hes great. Lets make him wear this stupid skirt!".
I agree totally :mad:

that black gown is nothing but trouble :straightf

stuartjvnorton
02-03-2004, 06:58 PM
I have heard of dan grades confusing a low ranked kyu grade in hakama for a dan grade and therefore going fell for leather with them when the uke couldnt cope.

But then again Ive trained with visiting dan grades from other organisations who didnt ask my kyu rank and just proceeded to batter me senseless anyway, so I guess its all immaterial.
As a Yoshinkan student, most of us rarely wear hakama.

At my original dojo, Sensei only wore hakama at gradings and at demo's and yudansha only wore them at demos in certain circumstances.

At my current dojo, instructors also wear them when they are taking a class.

Surely any dan grade should have a rough idea of someone else's quality of Aikido just by watching them train for a minute or 2 or training with them for a couple of techniques, regardless of what they were wearing.

If uke can't cope then surely shite has a duty to tone it down a bit, to stretch uke without breaking them.

Cheers,

Stuart.

Nick P.
02-03-2004, 07:20 PM
Stuart,

I agree with you 110%, and even offered that opinion in another thread dealing with hakama or belts at seminars (as in if the dojo you are visiting wears a hakama at sankyu and above but you normally don't, etc).

samurai_kenshin
04-11-2005, 07:30 PM
to me wearing ahakama is irrelevant to the training. Be that as it may, I do wish i could wear one, just because they look cool. BTW i'm a 5th kyu and sensei only allows yudansha to wear hakama (that doesn't mean i can't wear one at home!!!).

Simone
04-12-2005, 01:21 AM
Hi all,

I also train in a dojo that follows its parent tradition in having hakama only for dan ranks. I don't question this because as a student I'm not in a position to do.

Once in a dan seminar I forgot to bring my hakama. So there were 20 yudansha with hakama and me (the only one in underwear). that was kind of embarrasing.

Anyway, I've trained in a dojo where nobody wears one, so I didn't wear mine (and felt "naked" without my "parachute"). But, as mentioned before, when in Rome....

On the other hand sometimes some kyugrades with hakama participate at our seminars, that's fine. I just look at the colour of their belt, just to make shure I don't overdo it at the first technique. But some people seem to know ways of tieing their hakama so you can't see the belt at all.....

I don't see any reasons why women should wear it from an earlier rank on out of modesty reasons. That's strange to me. Where I train all rules are the same formen and women.

I personally are not concerned about hakama and rank, but I know others who are.

Simone

maikerus
04-12-2005, 03:52 AM
Personally,

I hate the d*mn things. The only time I wear one is when I am explicitly told to and then I try my best to get out of it.

But maybe I'm missing something...nahhh :D

--Michael

Chuck.Gordon
04-12-2005, 05:40 AM
I know the post is off topic, but Jun in all your posts it says I do not do aikido. Who are these folks and why are the visiting a forum dedicated to aikido? Just very curious ;)

As for me, the reasons are several:

I have many dear friends who DO practice aikido (and I train with them when I can -- Heya Jun!); my wife earned shodan rank in aikido some years back; my teacher had opportunity many years past, to spend some time with folks like Shioda as well as Tohei, and he was impressed enough with what they shared that it has influenced our jujutsu. And finally, the political and spiritual wrangles of aikido are simply endlessly fascinating ...

As for hakama, I've gone boths ways over the years, but nowadays, wear hakama for weapons work almost all the time, and rarely for empty-hand (unless in a demo or the rare formal class).

Chuck

bryce_montgomery
04-12-2005, 12:20 PM
About a month ago my instructor told me to write an article about the hakama, mainly from Saotome Shihan's book The Principles of Aikido so I did.

My personal beliefs on mudansha wearing hakamas is in this article and a reasoning for allowing mudansha to wear the hakama.

Bryce

the slayer
04-12-2005, 05:06 PM
hi, in the dojo that i'm at women can't where the hakama until they pass there 1st grading which in our dojo is 6th kyu but women can have them as soon as they pass the first grading for modesty as the gi used to be underwear.but the males don't where them till shodan but if you notice the women who where hakama they have their belt showing so we know who is who as in the dojo there is only 2 belts white and black except for the juniors.and you can notice the women beginners more as they haven't got the hakama on

Qatana
04-13-2005, 09:19 PM
Modesty? What does a hakama cover that gi pants don't?
I love how aikido looks when done in a hakama, as a dancer I covet being able to look like that as I fly.However I also agree that one's ukemi should be good and solid, and their technique good enough that sensei doesn't have to see your knees all the time, which I imagine I will achieve sometime after reaching shodan.
I also am of the "visible colored belt"school, it helps to gauge one's response when training with unfamiliar partners.
Anyway my dojo waits till shodan but I'm sure that sensei would not object to me wearing one if I visited an ASU dojo, or other where it would be permitted for a mid-kyu to wear one. And if I ever get my Aaiki-Tango workshop off the ground and onto the mat, I intend to wear hakama as I will be the Teacher and I bloody well am going to Look like one!

Michael Holm
04-14-2005, 03:57 AM
And if I ever get my Aaiki-Tango workshop off the ground and onto the mat, I intend to wear hakama as I will be the Teacher and I bloody well am going to Look like one!

There will be a combined Aikido and Tango class in Copenhagen, Denmark next Saturday :)
If anyone is near, mail me and I will send you invitation - me and my 4 feets are not going ;)

Aikido without Hakama, what will be next Matrix without leather jackets ?? :freaky:

But beside the famous quote "when in Rome, do.." the best reason is that the hakama looks and gives a cool feeling - except when you are tripping in it :D

BTW Ki Aikido Dojo in Denmark normally uses hakama from 2. kyu - I tell my students that they should be aware when training at seminars, other people will be more inclined to think a hakama-person will be able to take care of himself when doing ukemi - so I secretly hope the student will train more to live up to the hakama ;)

Rodurigo
04-15-2005, 09:04 PM
I'm not a very experienced aikidoka, nor english speaker for that mather. so forgive me if i dont express myself very well. I just wanted to tell my experience about the mather.

Were i practice is a very small dojo, we are about 20 students in the adult class. and my sensei, who is a woman, only authorize to use a hakama to those students that she thinks as family, and that to her eyes, follow the spiritual concepts and ideas of the founder and of aikido itself. It is also very important to be an active participant of the dojo activities (such as going to class, collaborate whith anything from ideas, to texts, thoughts, or even being sempai to the children class). although i've never seen anyone using hakama before geting to 4rth kyu, I seriusly doubt that this is the point.

I've recently received the honor to use a hakama myself. To me, its not a sign of status or whatsoever. Its, something that incourages me to try everyday even harder, to control my spirit and to grow in every way of my life.

Thats all, thank you for reading, I hope someone agrees with me =)

darin
04-16-2005, 01:56 AM
The training issue is that at least in the yoshinkan, instructors want to see your whole posture, hips, legs, foot positions, everything. I think that is part of the reason they don't use hakama til third dan. In the rougher styles of aikido (yoseikan, shodokan in particular), the hakama also impeads 'mixing it up'.

These are style specific things though...when in Rome...

Ron

Never heard about the hakama thing in Yoshinkan but I do know that its rarely worn in traditional Yoseikan aikido. My teacher didn't care though, he let anyone wear a hakama. Its probably good to get used to wearing one from an early stage but I don't think its absolutoley necessary for doing aikido. Some schools insist that students wear one after reaching a certain grade.

Yeah although you can wear it when "mixing things up" I agree it does impead sometimes.

Sonja2012
04-18-2005, 01:55 AM
Women can wear hakamas earlier for modesty reasons.

Lynn, I have heard this argument so often, but nobody has ever been able to explain to me what this "modesty" business is all about. Is modesty something that only concerns women? Would you mind explaining?

Thanks,
Sonja

stuartjvnorton
04-18-2005, 02:50 AM
LOL I'm with stumpy.
Hakama look nice, but are a big ol' pain in the butt.

Rodurigo
04-18-2005, 01:29 PM
Lynn, I have heard this argument so often, but nobody has ever been able to explain to me what this "modesty" business is all about. Is modesty something that only concerns women? Would you mind explaining?

Thanks,
Sonja

Sonja, this argument relies on the fact that keikogi was used (and maube still used) as underear. From what i've read, women could use hakama earlier than men, because this ones could be distracted by the circunstane of practicing with women "half naked".

not that i agree of course =P. but thats what i've heard ^^

Sonja2012
04-19-2005, 01:34 AM
Thanks Rodrigu for pointing that out. It still does not make sense to me, at least not in a modern dojo. I think I - as a woman - might get a bit distracted by a half naked man practicing with me, too ;) if I chose to regard keikogi as underwear. Anyway.... thanks again.

Nick Simpson
04-20-2005, 10:07 AM
I think women should also cover those ankles for modesty reasons :eek:

jimbaker
04-20-2005, 10:26 PM
Funny you should mention ankles. In the old days of Joshi Judo (Women's Judo) the pants legs had to be pegged so that there would be no shameful exposure of the calf.

Look at the pictures at http://judoinfo.com/goshinho3.htm to compare the man's pants with the woman's.

We won't even go into the white stripe down the center of the belt to denote that they were, you know, women.

Jim Baker
Aikido of Norfolk

Sonja2012
04-21-2005, 01:25 AM
............................. (*speachless*) :crazy: :D

Nick Simpson
04-21-2005, 05:14 AM
I say we bring back this valiant tradition before all us upstanding male aikidoka are corrupted by these "women" and their "calves".

Qatana
04-21-2005, 07:53 PM
Mooooo.

Sonja2012
04-22-2005, 02:29 AM
I say we bring back this valiant tradition before all us upstanding male aikidoka are corrupted by these "women" and their "calves".

Please donīt! My calves are much more effective than any nikkyo could ever be :D
I would be loosing my strongest technique! ;)

giriasis
04-22-2005, 12:00 PM
We could bring back the tradition of women wearing a kimono in class. On Sugano Sensei's Heavan and Earth video/ DVD there's an old clip of O'Sensei demonstarting and then a woman. The woman was wearing not a hakama, but a kimono.

Michael Neal
04-22-2005, 12:12 PM
I would prefer Aikido did not use Hakama at all

Kent Enfield
04-22-2005, 03:35 PM
We could bring back the tradition of women wearing a kimono in class.It's not aikido, but . . .

http://www.koryu.com/photos/yoshin.html

Bodhi
04-22-2005, 07:12 PM
I think hakama looks good on a woman but should be shortened for a more kilt like appearance :drool: lol They also wouldnt be such a hassel when fighting from the ground. I recently worked with some Aikido people and used their hakamas to my advantage. It was easy when i would get them to the ground, kind of like how BJJ teaches you to use the Gi or other clothing to your advantage. IMHO, i think you should be training in clothes you might be found wearing in day to day life. Most martial cultures have always trained in what they wore. It wasnt until more modern times that some started using what was worn in the past, more for respect than anything, especially the Japanese.

Jeanne Shepard
04-22-2005, 09:04 PM
... IMHO, i think you should be training in clothes you might be found wearing in day to day life. Most martial cultures have always trained in what they wore. It wasnt until more modern times that some started using what was worn in the past, more for respect than anything, especially the Japanese.

Short, tight skirts and those awful pointy toed high heels that are fashionable these days...
Jeanne :crazy:

Bodhi
04-22-2005, 09:35 PM
If thats what your wearin, then ya :D

Nathan Wallace
11-07-2008, 01:19 PM
How many people here are in classes that don't allow non-yudansha to wear the hakama? If so, do you feel that it's the Sensei's right to not allow non-yudansha to wear the hakama?

The Sensei's right? It's his class. If you don't like his methods or rules then find a new school.

Ron Tisdale
11-07-2008, 03:31 PM
Heck, we were in a seminar just the other week (in a Yoshinkan dojo) and when Inoue Sensei comes, NO ONE wears hakama except him. Not even the 7th dan instructor, whose dojo it is. Just Inoue Sensei. Out of over 60 people.

Best,
Ron (I kinda like that)

Andrew S
11-07-2008, 04:51 PM
Ahh, Aikido. Where elso do we hear, "We know who wears the skirts in that dojo"?

Enrique Antonio Reyes
11-09-2008, 06:31 AM
LOL I'm with stumpy.
Hakama look nice, but are a big ol' pain in the butt.

+ 1

Hakamas are overrated...I guess:hypno:

One-Aiki,

Iking

Chris Farnham
11-10-2008, 05:39 AM
At my old dojo in the states I wore a Hakama at Ikkyu. Now I am living in Japan and still Ikkyu, None of the dojos I've trained at or visited here have their own students wear hakama below Shodan; including Hombu and the Iberaki Shibu dojo. According to the Aikikai Foundation website they wear Hakama at Shodan for men and sankyu for women, but visitors can do as they are accustomed to. My view has always been to follow the custom of the dojo.

jennifer paige smith
11-11-2008, 08:56 PM
Made a search or two here on Aikiweb. You'll find that many people dismisses this 'seven virtues' stuff as a fairly recent invention.



Many people do dismiss such things. According to the following account, however, it doesn't appear as if it is either new or dis-missable. At least, I won't be. In my dojo everyone is required to wear one at 6 months. They can wear one before if they have my permission. If they are too expensive for folks, we have loaners.

The following is an excerpt from Saotome Sensei_

This was only the first of many scoldings I was to receive from O Sensei. However, my ignorance on this occasion prompted O Sensei to lecture his uchi deshi after class on the meaning of the hakama. He told us that the hakama was traditional garb for kobudo students and asked if any of us knew the reason for the seven pleats in the hakama.

"They symbolize the seven virtues of budo," O Sensei said. "These are jin (benevolence), gi (honor or justice), rei (courtesy and etiquette), chi (wisdom, intelligence), shin (sincerity), chu (loyalty), and koh (piety). We find these qualities in the distinguished samurai of the past. The hakama prompts us to reflect on the nature of true bushido. Wearing it symbolizes traditions that have been passed down to us from generation to generation. Aikido is born of the bushido spirit of Japan, and in our practice we must strive to polish the seven traditional virtues."
Currently, most Aikido dojo do not follow O Sensei's strict policy about wearing the hakama. Its meaning has degenerated from a symbol of traditional virtue to that of a status symbol for yudansha. I have traveled to many dojo in many nations. In many of the places where only the yudansha wear hakama, the yudansha have lost their humility. They think of the hakama as a prize for display, as the visible symbol of their superiority. This type of attitude makes the ceremony of bowing to O Sensei, with which we begin and end each class, a mockery of his memory and his art.
Worse still, in some dojo, women of kyu rank (and only the women) are required to wear hakama, supposedly to preserve their modesty. To me this is insulting and discriminatory to women Aikidoka. It is also insulting to male Aikidoka, for it assumes a low-mindedness on their part that has no place on the Aikido mat.
To see the hakama put to such petty use saddens me. It may seem a trivial issue to some people, but I remember very well the great importance that O Sensei placed on wearing hakama. I cannot dismiss the significance of this garment, and no one, I think, can dispute the great value of the virtues it symbolizes. In my dojo and its associated schools I encourage all students to wear hakama regardless of their rank or grade. (I do not require it before they have achieved their first grading, since beginners in the United States do not generally have Japanese grandfathers whose hakama they can borrow.) I feel that wearing the hakama and knowing its meaning, helps students to be aware of the spirit of O Sensei and keep alive his vision.

ken zen ichii
11-12-2008, 12:27 AM
Hakama is worn traditionally here in Japan not only in Aiki Do but in other arts as well. Kyu Do, Ken Do, Iai Do regardless of rank. It is worn during traditional ceremonies in Karate Do. As a karate ka, I find it difficult to see what my opponents next move will be if I cant see his ankle. Not only martial arts uses hakama, I wear it during Sa Do or tea ceremony and flower arrangers wear it on their Ikebana class as well. It shows elegance thats why Japanese women wears them on graduation day and male wears them on their wedding day. Hakama does not signifies rank but shows tradition and custom, even in the Aiki Kai honbu hakama is worn customarily by male from shodan and by female by san kyu but can be worn by any rank if they wish to. So by custom, only sho dan and female 3rd kyu levels wears it, it is not stated by rule not to wear it.

graham butt
11-18-2008, 06:45 PM
hakama for non yudansha.... hmmm

I've trained at a few courses and there was nothing more irratating than picking out someone to train with, i always went for hakama wearers. Under the impression they should know wot they are doing, there was nothing worse than me being 5th kyu understanding the technique btr than the hakama wearer.

To me it's a yudansha thing, something to be given as an achievement/token for your hard work and effort.

-G-

jennifer paige smith
11-18-2008, 07:07 PM
hakama for non yudansha.... hmmm

I've trained at a few courses and there was nothing more irratating than picking out someone to train with,
Really, nothing?

i always went for hakama wearers. Under the impression they should know wot they are doing,
that'll teach ya.LOL

there was nothing worse than me being 5th kyu understanding the technique btr than the hakama wearer.
Let's see, is 'worse' worse than irritating?
Honestly, I had a similar problem once waaaaaayyyyy back in 'the day', and then i learned to look for other signals. Like how they wear their hakama, how they walk, how relaxed or alert a person are they. How much confidence do they have, how is their posture....those kind of things that can be translated to any environment for 'sizing up' a situation.

To me it's a yudansha thing, something to be given as an achievement/token for your hard work and effort.
-G-

And yet, I've met yudansha who do not qualify for a hakama based on your criteria and I've met mudansha who do. Par for the hierarchical course.

I really do get what your saying. I've just had a chance to see more and I hold a different perspective. In my dojo everyone wears a hakama, wether they like it or not. My dojo, my rules. When visiting other dojo cultures, we adjust.

thanks

gdandscompserv
11-18-2008, 08:40 PM
Funny how some threads get resurrected.

Anywho, I haven't worn my hakama for some time now. Not sure why not. I think mostly cuz I'm too lazy to fold it.:D

graham butt
11-19-2008, 01:20 PM
Hey, Jen.

Yes is the answer there was nothing worse than that. I've had a lot of stuff happen to me on courses but that was THEE single most annoying thing. I was a beginner who pretty much knew nothing, having to try and talk through a technique with someone older than me, more experienced than me, this was at a time where i was a quiet 15 yr old. It ws a pretty daunting prospect for me, Nowadays though my attitude has changed, Training has a different approach but that tye of situation will always annoy me. Hakama wearers in dojo's is fine, but at national and international coursesi still believe it should be for yudansha.

-G-

jennifer paige smith
11-19-2008, 03:59 PM
Hey, Jen.

i still believe it should be for yudansha.

-G-

I'm thinking of a short story by my former teacher, Terry Dobson Sensei.
It goes like this:
"Once I was sobbing on the mat because this old man refused to do things the way I thought they should be done. Because I was a beginner and because I thought there was one way to do it. And by God, he wasn't doing it well."

Well, Terry died with a different perspective from the one he started with. Through time, experience and the acceptance of inevitability, he brought us this lesson from the end of his own life as an illustration of how he had grown and as an inspiration for how we can too. He did it with a lot of humor. I do what I can to maintain mine. I hope you can, too.

Best,
Jen

graham butt
11-20-2008, 02:27 PM
Back in the day of 5th kyu and going to these courses it annoyed me that these people did not know the basic footwork of a technique. I was awarded my hakama at 3rd kyu but only wore it in class as to not confused other beginners at courss. Now i am not 5th kyu i have advanced in training, mentally and physically. These days i don't care who i train with, it doesn't annoy me personally, but that annoyance i always have with me. When i trained as a 5th kyu and went to train with someone as a 'higher' grade to teach me the technique i was severely disappointed when it went the other way, i didn't feel right doing it at such a young age, I was learned something at these courses but i believe i always could have learned just that little bit more!

-G-