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Ken
04-02-2001, 10:26 PM
Hi Guys,

I understand that in O-Sensei's time, they wore their hakama relatively short compared to today, the hem above the ankle bone, but today the trend seems to be to have the hem just above the floor. I like it long but the longer length makes it easier to get tangled around by feet during suwari waza and during ukemi. What do you guys prefer?

Also does anyone know how they measure the sizes for hakama e.g 26, 26.5, 27. I was told that the numbers could be the length from the lowest point of the vents on the sides of the hakama to the hem. Does anyone know the answer? I'm sure the truth is out there.:)

Finally, does anyone know where to get good quality indigo coloured cotton or cotton/poly blend hakama where the colour does not run? I would love to get the traditionally dyed indigo hakama but I note that Jun still has to sometimes scrub the mat and his hands get smurfed when he uses his Iwata indigo hakama, and I would like to avoid this. Thanks for your help.

Cheers,

Ken

Aikilove
04-03-2001, 07:50 AM
Hi Ken!
I need only to say Bujin and Tozando. Their homepages will give you all the info you need buddy!

http://www.tozando.com/eng/aikido/index.html "Nice indigo Hakama"
http://www.bujindesign.com/orderhakama.html " The length of the Hakama"

stay :cool:

BC
04-03-2001, 11:19 AM
Which is considered the more traditional color for hakama in aikido/budo? Black or blue/indigo? It seems to me that at least in my dojo and its organization, black is the most common color. I'm curious as to whether this is the same for other dojos and organizations.

Aikilove
04-03-2001, 11:39 AM
As for what is most traditional, I really don't know. Indigo has been a colour of hakama (and other fabric) for a long time in Japan. Before 19th century the pattern and colour of hakama was clan or family individual, even in the dojo. I really don't know when black became the standard (or most frequently used) coluor but I guess It has something to do with the fact that the samurai class dissapeared but people still used hakama during Budo-practice. That meant that the process (price!?) of making hakama became more importent than pattern, hence patternless and uniformly dyed hakama. But then again I really don't know so don't take my word for it.

Ps. My experience is that black is the dominant colour and blue or indigo comes second. I would say 80% black vs 20% blue or Indigo Ds.

Chuck.Gordon
04-03-2001, 02:08 PM
Aikilove wrote:
>As for what is most traditional, I
>really don't know. Indigo has been a
>colour of hakama (and other fabric)

Traditional color? Nothing in particular. Hakama were sort of chaps for the samruai on horseback that evolved into day-to-day pants. There are a lot of different styles of hakama, some very formal, some for working in the dirt. Length, color, fabric and style all varied a lot.

The hakama we wear in modern budo dojo is somewhat standardized, but not neccesarily so. Black is common, I understand, because after WW II, black fabric was readily available (from the blackout curtains) in Japan and could be cheaply made into hakama by struggling budo students.

Standardized uniforms are pretty new, especially nice white keikogi or judogi.

I sort of look at the gi/hak combination we find in dojo today as a step above blue jeans and not quite a casual Friday office outfit.

You can, however, but very nice hamaka, keikogi, haroi, etc that will bump up your level of style considerably ...

Chuck Gordon
(aka LOEP)

Richard Harnack
04-03-2001, 02:20 PM
Actually, shortly after WWII, O'Sensei asked that everyone wear hakama. The problem was that since the war no one had the necessary money for a training hakama, so many of the students showed up in their father's wedding hakama, or other dress hakama, much to the chagrin of their fathers when the knees were worn out.

As to the traditional colors of black or indigo blue, dark colors don't show the dirt as easily as the lighter colors.

The only "tradition" that I am aware of is that the white hakama is usually wore by elder practitioners when they suspect they are getting near their final years. White being the color for death in the Orient.

akiy
04-03-2001, 02:48 PM
Richard Harnack wrote:
The only "tradition" that I am aware of is that the white hakama is usually wore by elder practitioners when they suspect they are getting near their final years. White being the color for death in the Orient.
Hasn't Hikitsuchi sensei in Shingu, Japan, worn a white hakama for a while now?

I've also heard that some aikido organizations in Europe have people wear white hakama.

-- Jun

Matt Banks
04-03-2001, 03:40 PM
In the yoshinkan.

1st dan to 3rd dan where a blue hakama

4th dan onward where a black hakama





Matt Banks

Guest_779
04-03-2001, 06:03 PM
I have a question. I've seen different Aikidoka wearing both white and black (and sometimes gray) hakamas. I was just wondering if their is any significance to this, or is that what was the only thing clean in the morning when they woke up and got out of bed.


Jeff

JJF
04-04-2001, 06:41 AM
Hi everybody!
I used to practice Kendo and Iaido. In Kendo the Hakama is usually blue but in Iaido it is usually black, but nobody could explain why it was so. In Kendo the Gi is usually dark blue as well but sometimes white. We once had a english kendo instructor teaching at a summer camp and one day he was wearing a crisp clean all white hakama with matching gi. I asked him if this had any importance and he giggled and told me that white was okay to wear if you were so good at Kendo that you wouldn't get hit by anybody since a Shinai makes really nasty marks on a white Gi. I guess he was actually showing off.... :)
By the way: in both Kendo and Iaido it is custom to have the hakama go allmost all the way down to the floor to hide your foot-work. Sometimes it causes people to fall flat on their faces, but it looks really cool when they sort of 'float' across the floor. Sometimes I see Aikido-ka's who wear the hakama very short and it allways make me think off the cartoon character Dilbert and his skimpy pants. A couple of inches above the floor is okay, but 10-15 inches seems funny to me due to my background.
That's all folks!

Jim ashby
04-04-2001, 03:17 PM
In our Dojo we tend to wear a black hakama, unless the wearer is a Dan grade in more than one MA, then they CAN wear a blue one.However, no-one does, I've no idea why. As for length, any length is ok as long as you don't keep falling on your face (or anyone else's).
Have fun,

sceptoor
04-17-2001, 12:24 AM
I guess Aikido Schools of Ueshiba are pretty lax in this department. As I understand, any student whom has tested at least once are encouraged to wear a hakama, and black or indigo is a matter of preference. There is no "only sempai can wear hakama" rule, or designated colors for dan grades with the hakama. I've heard USAF and others only allow sempai to wear hakama. Is this a "status" thing?? Is ASU the only org that encourages the wearing of hakama before a dan grade??

Anyway, there seems to be some variation in regards to hakama length in our dojo. Some slightly above the ankles, others touch the floor. Mine is somewhere in between.

George S. Ledyard
04-17-2001, 06:05 AM
Originally posted by sceptoor
I guess Aikido Schools of Ueshiba are pretty lax in this department. As I understand, any student whom has tested at least once are encouraged to wear a hakama, and black or indigo is a matter of preference. There is no "only sempai can wear hakama" rule, or designated colors for dan grades with the hakama. I've heard USAF and others only allow sempai to wear hakama. Is this a "status" thing?? Is ASU the only org that encourages the wearing of hakama before a dan grade??

Anyway, there seems to be some variation in regards to hakama length in our dojo. Some slightly above the ankles, others touch the floor. Mine is somewhere in between.
Saotome Sensei's attittude about wearing the hakama comes from his time training with O-Sensei as an uchi-deshi. O-sensei wouldn't let his students on the mat if they weren't properly attired. Saotome Sensei has chosen to treat all of his students as if they were professionals in training and has continued the tradition he got from his teacher.

As for length. The longer lengths have mostly to do with vanity. Those who have experience doing classical martial arts consider the longer hakamas to be indicative of so-called dojo martial arts that don't have any stress on reality for combat. We wear our hakamas longer because they look good that way. I think that explanation that they were worn long to hide footwork is just a made up story since the martial arts that I am familiar with that are classical combat arts wear them short.

sceptoor
04-17-2001, 10:06 AM
Originally posted by George S. Ledyard

Saotome Sensei's attittude about wearing the hakama comes from his time training with O-Sensei as an uchi-deshi. O-sensei wouldn't let his students on the mat if they weren't properly attired. Saotome Sensei has chosen to treat all of his students as if they were professionals in training and has continued the tradition he got from his teacher.

I stand corrected, I should have said he was more strict regarding the hakama. I read his views regarding the wearing of the hakama somewhere. Anyway, I do agree with his philosophy, or "attitude". You're ASU also, correct??

George S. Ledyard
04-17-2001, 09:38 PM
Originally posted by sceptoor
You're ASU also, correct??


He is my teacher. I started Aikido in Washington, DC when the dojo was first started 23 years ago. Since that time I have also been able to train extensively with Hiroshi Ikeda, Mary Heiny, Tom Read, and William Gleason Senseis. But Saotome Sensei will always be my Aikido "father" so to speak. I just wish he wasn't on the other side of the country from where I reside.

sceptoor
04-18-2001, 01:11 AM
Saotome Sensei will be in Orlando this weekend at Shindai Aikikai, April 20-22. I wasn't able to reserve a spot, as the seminar was limited to 60 people. However, I understand people can go and observe, so, this Sunday I'll be there watching. Hopefully, I'll be able to meet Sensei, but if not, I'll be greatful just to be there and observe. You must know our chief instructor, John Messores. I'm assuming you were fellow students?? (In fact, I believe I saw a glimpse of you, John Messores, and Mike Lasky-among other sensei-on the Cherry Blossom tape.) Hopefully, one day we'll meet at a similiar seminar.

ilgulamc
04-18-2001, 12:55 PM
I think that explanation that they were worn long to hide footwork is just a made up story since the martial arts that I am familiar with that are classical combat arts wear them short.


yes, you are right, is made up story.

It is known that to fix the akama in the hips so that it becomes shorter, it's a typical sign that the samurai was ready for a fight.

Samurai were not ninjas! Hiding the foot work was not something they wanted to do!

giriasis
04-18-2001, 02:22 PM
I practice at a USAF dojo. After 5th kyu a woman may wear hakama. It's not required but most women in my dojo seem to like to wear the hakama. The guys have to wait till their shodan before they get to wear hakama. Sorry guys. ;)

Why is it like this? I don't know. Does it have to do to "protect" my modesty? I don't know, and I don't care. I'm just glad I have the option to wear hakama.

Oh yeah, most people in my dojo wear the blue hakama. There are a couple of us who wear black. I wear black. I haven't be told I had to have blue. But blue is the tradition at my school.

Take care,
Anne Marie

ScottyC
04-18-2001, 03:51 PM
Originally posted by Matt Banks
In the yoshinkan.

1st dan to 3rd dan where a blue hakama

4th dan onward where a black hakama

Matt Banks

That may be true where you are, but that is NOT true across the whole of the Yoshinkan.

There is, to my knowledge, no official decree about hakama color selection.


Scott

JJF
04-19-2001, 02:43 AM
Hi everybody!

I would like to clear out what might be a misunderstanding. I wrote something previously in this tread about wearing the hakama long in order to hide your footwork. I didn't mean to say that this was in any way 'original' or the 'true way'. What I intended to say was that in KENDO you would usualy have you hakama almost all the way down to the floor in order to hide your footwork - but then again Kendo is not very 'original' anymore but have transformed into a sport rather than a MA (hmmm... I might take a beating for this bold statment ;)). However I still stand by my conviction, that it looks kind of silly if the hakama is more than 10 inches above the floor - might just be my personal opinion though.

Funny by the way, that in a modern age where we promote equality of genders in every aspect of society, we still find some dojo's where women can wear a hakama from 5. kyu while men have to wait until Shodan. Where I practice black is common - blue is rare and other colors is yet to be seen. The tradition is as well that everybody can wear a hakama from 3. kyu. The reason for this is that it is concidered sort of a 'half way to shodan' sign. Personally I think we should all wear it from day one, just like O-Sensei supposedly intended.
Best wishes to all of you

ilgulamc
04-19-2001, 08:08 AM
The fact that women can wear akama since day one is because in japan the gi is considered underwear, so that it's no good if a woman shows her underwear to everybody!! eheh

andrew
04-19-2001, 11:29 AM
Originally posted by JJF
- but then again Kendo is not very 'original' anymore but have transformed into a sport rather than a MA (hmmm... I might take a beating for this bold statment ;)).

You might take a beating, but you're right. Kendo is a sporting application of a martial art. There's a difference between a cut and kendo strike.

I hear Kendo is mandatory for Japanese schoolboys as part of the cirriculum, actually.
andrew

giriasis
04-19-2001, 03:22 PM
Yeah, I think women wearing hakama after 5th kyu is discriminatory. But discriminatory against whom? At least in my dojo, the feeling is that it is discriminatory against the men. And part of this is that women are NOT REQUIRED to wear hakama until shodan like the men. Wearing hakama is an OPTION after 5th kyu.

And the modesty and underware issue is moot these days as I and most other women wear less to the dojo than in the dojo.

Take Care,
Anne Marie

JJF
04-20-2001, 07:07 AM
Originally posted by ilgulamc
The fact that women can wear akama since day one is because in japan the gi is considered underwear, so that it's no good if a woman shows her underwear to everybody!! eheh

Partially true! The Gi is based on japanese underwear and O-sensei himself felt very strongly that everybody should wear a hakama, but why is it bad for a woman to walk around in her undies, but okay for men ? Wouldn't it be even more humiliating for a woman to be fully dressed while looking at men parading around in their underwear ? As Anne Marie says in her post the whole underwear-issue is outdated by now as the gi has developed into a gym-suit status more than a underwear-status. What is even stranger than the 'women can wear hakama - men can not' is when a woman starts wearing a hakama at say 3. kyu while the men in the dojo must wait until shodan. That makes no sense at all. Once again I must say that the only 'right' way is to have equal rules for everybody regardless of gender or affiliation, but that will probably never happen. Traditions can be great, but they are also a pain to get rid of ;).

BTW: Andrew - as far as I know in some schools Kendo IS mandatory for school boys, in others I believe they are given a choice between for example kendo, judo or perhaps baseball.

I've let out some steam and I hope some of it makes sense. Have a nice weekend everybody.

andrew
04-20-2001, 08:22 AM
Originally posted by JJF
but why is it bad for a woman to walk around in her undies, but okay for men ?


I can't remember who I read saying it (some shihan or other I'm sure..), but putting women in hakama solely for reasons of modesty is insulting to the people on the mat, implying as it does a preoccupation with sentiments inappropriate to the practice of Aikido.

andrew

Fred Little
04-20-2001, 12:39 PM
Originally posted by akiy

Hasn't Hikitsuchi sensei in Shingu, Japan, worn a white hakama for a while now?

I've also heard that some aikido organizations in Europe have people wear white hakama.

-- Jun

My understanding is that Hikitsuchi Sensei wears a white hakama because he is an ordained Shinto priest. Like most things Japanese, there is a hierarchy within Shinto as well, and some colors are restricted to levels or types of practitioners. Purple is reserved for those who are senior priests at major shrines, for example. Red is restricted to young women who serve as shrine attendants. And I saw a couple of priests wearing absolutely gorgeous turquoise blue models.

Aside from the Shinto-specific, white is sometimes used as a generic color for schools or special occasions which are more generally oriented toward "spiritual aspects" of the art, for lack of a better phrase.

Some schools in Lovret Sensei's Tenshin Ryu Kenjutsu system have used white for beginning practitioners in this country, and I have seen the same in Japan for both sword arts and kyudo -- once in a situation where both very senior and very junior practitioners were wearing white. In that situation, the senior practitioner's action might be interpreted as an external sign of the intention to come to practice with "beginner's mind."

Black is an all around semi-formal color that doesn't show the dirt. Some who were around when Saotome Sensei was still teaching at Hombu have told me that he was the first on the Hombu instructional staff to wear blue and the custom was adopted by many students who regularly attended his classes, but I wasn't there so I can't vouch for the truth of that claim.

As for grey, when you see a bunch of Japanese businessmen in dark suits and one in grey, it is immediately apparent who's the boss -- sort of a human Alpha-Male variation on the silver-back ape. I think the same applies to hakama.

My personal view is that color and movement are wonderful, people generally ascribe too much significance to this kind of stuff, and aikido videos might be more interesting visually if there was a greater variety of color.

On the other hand, a wider range of color also increases the potential for fashion wars and that was one element of how the celebrated incident of the 47 Ronin began, so there are long-standing cultural reasons for being wary of that.

Finally, about length: there were a number of "codes for military households" promulgated during the Tokugawa Shogunate. In some instances, bushi who received audiences with daimyo or other high officials within the shogunate were REQUIRED to wear extra-long hakama, in some cases as much as TWO FEET LONGER THAN THEIR LEGS. This is generally interpreted as a security precaution to insure that any bushi foolish enough to attempt an attack from seiza in his lordship's chambers would be likely to trip on his own hakama before he got one shaku closer....

Still, I do have some turquoise dye and a white cotton hakama...hmmmmmmmmm

Fred Little

Jim ashby
04-20-2001, 12:41 PM
In our association, mainly at our club, the general rule is that only Dan grades wear the Hakama. We only wear black, However One of our instructors has a Black Watch tartan Hakama!(he is Scottish) We are yet to see it being worn.
Have fun.

AikidoSteve
04-20-2001, 01:09 PM
Just thought I'd throw in my observations.

In the nine or so years I've practiced at my current dojo I've seen the color of hakamas worn in our Dojo go from black to about a 50/50 split of black or indigo. I believe this trend was due to our head instructor. He use to wear a black hakama. It has since been worn out and his newer hakama is indigo. So as new people purchase hakama in our Dojo they wear what the head instructor wears.

Most hakama are worn maybe 1 to 3 inches or so above the mat.

Further, one has always been able to wear hakama at any rank in our Dojo.

This might qualify as a new topic but we use to have white belt for all 6 Kyu ranks. Six or seven years or so ago we went to white belt 6,5,4 Kyu and brown belt for 3,2,1 Kyu. I also remember, at that time there was talk of blue belts for 4 & 5 Kyu ranks. But that idea was quickly abandoned and white and brown prevailed.

Yours in Aikihood

cguzik
04-20-2001, 04:53 PM
Having just noticed Jun's post about the sale at Tozando, I have to ask:

Can anyone comment on the quality of available hakama brands?

I've seen a lot of the bujin design hakama, which come in three fabrics. (I wear their medium weight version and I like it a lot).

I'm not sure if I've ever seen one of the Tozando (the Stanley Pranin quote on their site says it's the finest made, I think).

What about the Shiori brand they sell at Aikido Online?

Both the Tozando and Shiori come in different varieties of cotton and polyester. Any opinions?

Any words of caution about the fact that different vendors size differently? What about the price differences?

Thanks in advance,

Chris Guzik

Markus
05-04-2001, 08:24 AM
Jun wrote:
> I've also heard that some aikido organizations in Europe have
> people wear white hakama.

That's right. Kyu ranking students have the option to wear a white hakama. Dan ranking students have to wear a black one.

Markus

Kami
05-04-2001, 02:23 PM
Originally posted by Fred Little
My understanding is that Hikitsuchi Sensei wears a white hakama because he is an ordained Shinto priest. Like most things Japanese, there is a hierarchy within Shinto as well, and some colors are restricted to levels or types of practitioners. Purple is reserved for those who are senior priests at major shrines, for example. Red is restricted to young women who serve as shrine attendants. And I saw a couple of priests wearing absolutely gorgeous turquoise blue models.
Aside from the Shinto-specific, white is sometimes used as a generic color for schools or special occasions which are more generally oriented toward "spiritual aspects" of the art, for lack of a better phrase.
Fred Little

KAMI : Little Sensei,
Some time ago, I had this same discussion in my own list(www.yahoogroups.com/group/aikido-lingua_portuguesa ) and I received the following letter about the use of white hakama :
"Dear Mr.Alcantara,
Rev.Yukihiko Tsumura of Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America has forwarded your request to me as I am a Shinto Priest and have been training in Aiki-Do for 30 yrs.The white hakama has a 'shinto feeling' but can be worn by non-ordained people..It would be up to the traditions and feeling of your own dojo.
Arigato,
Koichi Barrish
Guji(chief priest)Kannagara Shrine http://kannagara.org
Gon-negi(assist.sr.priest)TSUBAKI OHKAMI YASHIRO"
Also, in Portugal, members of the Ten Chi International (Georges Stobbaerts/Aikido =Dai Nippon Butokukai Hanshi), wear white hakama, before black belt level.
Best regards and good keiko