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mj
05-02-2001, 05:05 PM
Hi, I would just like to ask...
if all in aikido are equal, and people on the same 'path', but have travelled different distances, why are only dans allowed to wear hakama in most styles of aikido?
O-sensei would berate people (Saotome etc) for not wearing hakama when training, and expected ALL students to come 'fully dressed' to practise. Wasn't the hakama a normal part of life in his time?
At what point, and by whom, was it decided that only dans should wear hakama?
Does it not go against the spirit of aikido to 'pursue' the 'right' to wear a hakama?
Curiosity is killing me? And a friend. Is not a hakama now a form of elitism in aikido which no-one has a right to use to denote superiority (?) over others?
Surely a coloured belt is all that is needed to show achievement, if any show is needed. Which is questionable, anyway, isn't it?

guest1234
05-02-2001, 05:55 PM
so you find a hakama only for dan students elitist, but a black belt only for them not? why not insist on everyone wearing only a white belt, or all wear black? Personally, i don't see why folks get so hung up either way. I prefer to train vs. worrying about what others are wearing, or if they view themselves superior to me, or where i am in relation to them. For me, Aikido is not about being better or worse than others around me.

mj
05-02-2001, 06:03 PM
Hi Coleen.
I never feel better or worse than anyone. I was asking if the hakama is being distorted as a symbol of achievement, which it is not. Achievement is a personal thing which cannot be related to other people. A hakama seems now to be an aspiration, which is a bad thing, in my view.

lt-rentaroo
05-02-2001, 07:30 PM
Hello,

Aikido here (pointing to head)

Aikido here (pointing to heart)

Aikido never here (pointing to hakama)

Just like in Karate Kid (OK, so I substituted Aikido for Karate). When I started training in Aikido, I wanted to learn all I could, so that I could earn my Shodan and wear a Hakama. After about three weeks, I didn't care about the Hakama anymore; I just wanted to learn as much as I could. Now that I wear a Hakama, I wonder why I ever wanted to wear one in the first place. You get hot on summer days and you trip in it for about the first three weeks because for some reason your feet quit working properly :)

I don't feel that I'm better, or somehow above another aikido student because I wear a Hakama. I will often just wear a white belt when I attend seminars and will occasionally wear a white belt under my Hakama, I find that it reminds me of how much further I have to go.

Gene McGloin
05-02-2001, 07:58 PM
Originally posted by mj
At what point, and by whom, was it decided that only dans should wear hakama?

Hi,

Some years ago I either read or was told by one of my teachers, can't recall exactly which, that the hakama change occured after WW II. Not enough cotton to go around in Japan then so few hakama for keiko were manufactured and those that were to be had were very expensive. Sounds plausible to me, Japan was in very bad economic straits after the war & most people just couldn't go out and buy a hakama. I would guess that dan ranked individuals at that time probably already had hakama.

There has been a great deal of change in the "who wears hakama" question in the little time I've been practicing. I practice at an A.S.U. dojo so I was wearing hakama w/in one year. The reasoning at Bond St. was that when Saotome sensei came around, he'd have an idea that I could take ukemi. However, most dojos in other organizations then limitedhakams to either dan ranked folks or women. Today, though, many of those same dojos let 3rd kyu & above wear hakama, so I think in the U.S. the whole hakama = rank thing is changing.

Personally, I never viewed a hakama as a sign of anything. I usually get a good sense of how experienced a person is by practicing with them, not the color of their trousers!

Regards,
Gene

petra
05-03-2001, 02:25 AM
Okay, just my views here. I train in a dojo which allows people to wear hakamas when they reach 4 kyu, by that time you have been training for about 2 year and know if this is something you would like to continu doing (a hakama is quite expensive) and you have an idea of the most basic techniques (you have some experience in taking ukemi and know how not to hurt yourself to much).
The hakama is worn mainly to improve your posture, the hard back piece keeps your back strait and you pay more attention to where you place your feet. In our dojo hakamas are worn pretty long, so you don't just trip the first three weeks, I've been wearing it for almost a year now and still my feet get tangled up in it especially with suwari waze or other people step on it while I take ukime resulting in a lovely face-first landing and a mild headache. Could somebody please remind me why I wear that thing? ;)
Okay, I must admit that in my personal view a hakama looks terrific, espacially if it is worn almost to the ground and not halfway up your calfs. But I am really glad that it will be at least another year before I wear a hakama at a national seminar (2 kyu). Until then I can learn as much as I can without the extra difficulty of a hakema and there is so much to learn. The longer you train the more you know you are still an absolute beginner, with or without your hakema.
I think I see the hakema as an extra tool to learn, a tool which is difficult to use at the beginning (so to know a little bit about where your feet are supposed to go is a help when starting to wear a hakema) but eventually it teaches you a lot about your posture. Until know it has thaught me to have a strait back and relax my shoulders, I wonder what comes next :D

Regards,

andrew
05-03-2001, 07:56 AM
Originally posted by mj
At what point, and by whom, was it decided that only dans should wear hakama?

Does it not go against the spirit of aikido to 'pursue' the 'right' to wear a hakama?


Curiosity is killing me? And a friend. Is not a hakama now a form of elitism in aikido which no-one has a right to use to denote superiority (?) over others?


Surely a coloured belt is all that is needed to show achievement, if any show is needed. Which is questionable, anyway, isn't it?

Dividing this up:
1: It was decided during the cloth shortage after WW2 not to force the expense on beginners.

2: So don't pursue it! Silly point. Is it not arrogant of the teacher to "assume" the "right" to show you how to improve?

3: No, a hakama is just a pair of trousers. It sure isn't a CAUSE of elitism.

4: You use colored belts? Isn't that exactly what you're accusing the hakama of being?

andrew

Kami
05-03-2001, 08:05 AM
Hello, Mark San!

Some points we should keep in mind :
a) "Hakama are only worn at dan level"...Where? In Aikido, you have every possible combinations - no hakama, hakama on the very first day, hakama at many levels, hakama of many colours, etc...
b) Originally, everybody wore a hakama, but after the war, with the severe economic crisis in Japan, the Aikikai Hombu Dojo decided that hakama should be worn only by those with dan ranking. It was a way to spare money...Today, we have different possibilities but for those linked to the Aikikai , perhaps it's best to wait for Hombu's decisions.
c) in our dojo (independent), we don't use belts, hakama or any other ways to separate people. Even our dojo-cho wears a white belt.
We don't give dan rankings.
My 2 cents...
Best

Mark Cochran
05-03-2001, 10:46 AM
Bruce Lee once said it and I agree "A belt is for holding up pants and nothing else." I know most people feel Hakama envy when begining Aikido. I felt it to but the senior students dicuraged it saying that it was ment simple to allow beginger students an easy way to find a senior instructor when you have a question. It may not be the traditional reason for wearing a hakama but hey it works. There are times our Sensei and the senior students don't wear hakamas or even belts. This is done to show that it isn't the belt that makes the MA but the MA that makes the belt.

mj
05-03-2001, 12:41 PM
Thanks for all the replies. Also, thanks for not taking offense at the question!
There are many (different) answers in your posts, I'd already read about the cotton shortage in WWII, but dismissed that cos it was 'old'. And I agree that many ryu do not wear, or are 'casual' about the hakama.
What about the names of the folds in the hakama, is this knowledge still passed on?
PS. as to coloured belts showing how good or bad someone is, I've learned to take that with a pinch of salt...

AikidoSteve
05-03-2001, 02:30 PM
:eek: Does anyone know where I can get a nifty green and yellow "Dr Seuss" brand hakama? :D

(see Saito's Aikido Style thread)

Erik
05-03-2001, 02:45 PM
Originally posted by AikidoSteve
[B]:eek: Does anyone know where I can get a nifty green and yellow "Dr Seuss" brand hakama? :D

(see Saito's Aikido Style thread)


Well, actually, I've seen a nifty green one. The dojo went open season on colors but no green/yellow with Dr. Seuss branding to my knowledge. ;)

If you ever catch Don Angier you'll see he's a colorful fellow as are many of his students.

mj
05-03-2001, 04:55 PM
God, green and yellow stripes... this thread should be reported to the moderator.
http://members.aol.com/jessetg1/oj.htm
Ooh...

guest1234
05-03-2001, 05:59 PM
Originally posted by mj
Thanks for all the replies. Also, thanks for not taking offense at the question!
There are many (different) answers in your posts, I'd already read about the cotton shortage in WWII, but dismissed that cos it was 'old'. And I agree that many ryu do not wear, or are 'casual' about the hakama.
What about the names of the folds in the hakama, is this knowledge still passed on?
PS. as to coloured belts showing how good or bad someone is, I've learned to take that with a pinch of salt...

Jin (benevolence), Gi (honor), Rei (ettiquette),Koh (piety), Chi (wisdom), Shin (sincerity), Chu (loyalty)

please excuse the typos, can't find my glasses

Jay Cirillo
06-01-2001, 04:33 PM
The only really good reason I see for everyone wearing Hakama is to grow as an Aikidoka being used to the Hakama...to reach Shodan after 3 or so years and suddenly be completely disoriented by it seems silly to me. I've seen new Shodan who usually moved beatifully come to class after being promoted and stumble around the place.

mj
06-01-2001, 04:48 PM
Yuki - courage, valor, bravery
Jin - humanity, charity, benevolence
Gi - justice, righteousness, integrity
Rei - etiquette, courtesy, civility (obedience)
Makoto - sincerity, honesty, reality
Chugi - loyalty, fidelity, devotion
Meiyo - honor, dignity, prestige

slightly different, I got this from
http://www.loyola.edu/maru/hakama.html
hope the link is right.
Maybe the difference is just a kanji thing, though...?
(If only we had those traits...)

Fausto
06-02-2001, 04:53 PM
Originally posted by lt-rentaroo
Hello,

Aikido here (pointing to head)

Aikido here (pointing to heart)

Aikido never here (pointing to hakama)

Just like in Karate Kid (OK, so I substituted Aikido for Karate). When I started training in Aikido, I wanted to learn all I could, so that I could earn my Shodan and wear a Hakama. After about three weeks, I didn't care about the Hakama anymore; I just wanted to learn as much as I could. Now that I wear a Hakama, I wonder why I ever wanted to wear one in the first place. You get hot on summer days and you trip in it for about the first three weeks because for some reason your feet quit working properly :)

I don't feel that I'm better, or somehow above another aikido student because I wear a Hakama. I will often just wear a white belt when I attend seminars and will occasionally wear a white belt under my Hakama, I find that it reminds me of how much further I have to go.


Excellent Post Miyagi San! hehe!!! i love it!!! i like it cuz when i begun doin aikido (i was 9) the only thought i had was "I WANT TO WEAR A HAKAMA!" and after my 2 kyu test i did it!!, i must say that i the first time i wear it i was very happy but in that lesson i realized that wearing a hakama was more difficult than i thought, cuz you trip in it, you DIE in summer trainigns and forget about shikko!!!!!! but that's the easy part :D, the difficult part is that when you wear a hakama everybody thinks that you're some kind of expert and you're NOT you cuz we all know that the hakama is just the first step!!.

Arrivederci! :cool:

Liz Baron
06-02-2001, 06:15 PM
I'm still extremely new to Aikido, but since my Dojo is affiliated to the Aikikai and I'm female, I was invited by my sensei to wear a blue hakama, although I hadn't even been thinking of wearing one. I wore it for the first time on Friday, and I have to say that it was not too hot, nor did it generally get in the way - except when getting up it tends to catch one's feet. Am I lucky? I don't really know. I wasn't suffering from any desire to wear it, which seems to be a point here, and the invitation was a surprise to me. Otherwise the main thing I noticed was that it immediately changed the way I stood and moved. Perhaps because I'm so new to it all, and haven't yet become fixed in my ways, it seemed to assist in some things, especially tenkan - for some reason this seemed easier (perhaps not the right word) or for me at any rate, more fluid.

Just a thought.

j0nharris
06-02-2001, 08:01 PM
Just a note... Here is a link to Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei's Bujin Newsletter article concerning the hakama:

http://www.bujindesign.com/newsletter/2000.02.vol1/article.shtml

Karl
06-02-2001, 10:24 PM
At the dojo I am at we have no Hakama rules, you may wear them whenever you want, I wore it a year after I started, and another guy here is going to wear it after two years and his first test.
Anyways, I think that makeing it so that only dans can wear a hakama is something, I wouldn't recomend, because it seems the way we are doing it, for me at least, I didn't start wearing it till' I felt ready, and thats how this other guy feels too, so I think that that is a plus of haveing no restrictions.
I also think that the belt and personal accehivmant, (the latter inside of you, the former as the physical showing of your rank), are enough as you go up in ranks, and when you get to Black belt.
IMHO (quite trueley humble)

Greg Jennings
06-02-2001, 11:54 PM
Originally posted by mj
Hi, I would just like to ask...
if all in aikido are equal, and people on the same 'path', but have travelled different distances, why are only dans allowed to wear hakama in most styles of aikido?


First off, most dojo in my area are ASU and follow the "everyone wears a hakama" rule.

Second, your dojo hakama rules are what they are because your sensei decided it would be that way. Living by the dojo rules and accepting your place in the ryu are all part of the discipline of training.

V/R,

mj
06-03-2001, 02:28 PM
Originally posted by Greg Jennings


Second, your dojo hakama rules are what they are because your sensei decided it would be that way. Living by the dojo rules and accepting your place in the ryu are all part of the discipline of training.

V/R,





Hi Greg, of course you are right, but I didn't mean my question that way. Everyone needs to learn humility early on, if that's what you mean.

darin
06-03-2001, 09:19 PM
The hakama was a normal piece of clothing for Japanese. From my understanding there are various types. You don't need to be a black belt or be of any "status" to wear a hakama in Japan. A judo gi with a hakama isn't a stately uniform and I think we all agree doesn't compare to a nice kimono.

Personally I don't care if people wear hakama or not. In martial arts such as iai, kendo and kyudo people are encouraged to wear it. Why is there discrimination in aikido? Its probably good for students to get used to putting it on and training in it from the start than to trip over it just after they get their black belts.

I prefer not to wear a hakama as it gets in the way when training but for demonstrations it looks nice and adds that "samurai" atmosphere.

My teacher is Japanese and told me that in some aikido schools the hakama was reserved for only yudansha. But he told me that in most schools anyone can wear one. Most don't as it gets in the way. I guess the influence of judo and karate has also deterred many from putting on the pleated skirt.

Have any of you seen the hakama been tucked in the sides? Is this allowed in your schools? Many people used to do it in my school including my teacher. This is where the outer sides of the hakama are tucked in the belt. Its like a hem.

Shipley
06-04-2001, 12:29 PM
Right now I'm training at an ASU dojo where anybody can wear a hakama who feels like spending the cash, but I spent my first few years of training at a school where we were allowed to wear a hakama at 1st kyu. The reasoning that sensei gave for waiting until then was that he wanted to be able to clearly see our footwork to make sure we had the basics before we started to wear hakama. I see merit to both sides of this issue, but thought I'd throw this out as one view on the other side.

Paul

Kristina Morris
06-04-2001, 12:51 PM
I train at Kannagara Jinja and everyone wears a hakama after passing 5th kyu and can safely perform basic ukemi. Our hakamas used to be black (standard) but now they are off-white. After buying 2 black ones, I didn't want to spend any more money when we switched over to the new color. So, I just wear my white dogi. My instructor really wants me to wear the new one. I have gained a lot of weight and I told him that unless it could be custom made, I wasn't going to look like a beached whale dipped in peanut brittle! He hasn't brought up the issue since. I don't care if I wear one or not. It used to be a big deal, but after so many years it really doesn't matter.

Our dojo is not heated, so in the winter a hakama is extra warmth. It certainly isn't an ego issue for anyone at Kannagara.

Kristina

tedehara
06-04-2001, 02:28 PM
Originally posted by darin
...Have any of you seen the hakama been tucked in the sides? Is this allowed in your schools? Many people used to do it in my school including my teacher. This is where the outer sides of the hakama are tucked in the belt. Its like a hem.


I've seen a couple of instructors tuck in the hakama inside their belt. However that was so they could show the footwork of a particular technique. Otherwise the hakama hem would cover-up their footwork. Those are the only cases where I've seen this done.

Perhaps the funniest thing about the hakama is when you get up, usually from sitting seiza. You can step on the inside of the trouser-leg and trip over. Occasionally you might see this done at a really big demo. I think the higher ranked the person is the funnier the whole thing is :D or maybe it's just me.

mj
06-04-2001, 03:06 PM
:D
I, as a white belt, was practising henka-waza with a 4rth dan (W.Timms) last year and stood on HIS hakama during it....dammit he nearly took my balance...

Tony Peters
06-09-2001, 03:10 PM
I realize that the limiting of who wore the Hak was a money/availablity thing originally but it has degenerated into a class (yudansha/mudansha) thing now. I started life in the MA in Aikido. No Hak for 4 years. then I wore one for two before giving up aikido for other arts. Of the three only the JJ that I study doesn't use the Hakama (at all) It might be Aikido's Gendai status that has brought about the gradual intro to the Hak. I don't by into the opinion that only those of a certain rank should wear it that way you know their experience either. My Jo class rank/experience is obvious no matter the uniform. Same is true in JJ though we all wear whitebelts (well mines sorta grey) My personal opinion is that the Hakama is a part of the Art and should be worn from the get go. But I hold no power so my opinion is just that...mine. An art as big as Aikido has become is going to have lots of politics (many parasites) and rules to keep everyone in line. While this isn't always a bad thing sometimes good things get lost in the crowd.