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Erik 03-31-2001 12:26 PM

My first teacher used to take his hakama, roll it up, wrap the ties around it and call it a folded hakama. Occasionally, I would try and fold it for him and it was literally impossible to find the pleats. It was truly a good hakama gone bad. My current teacher is much the same, although, he does make at least make the attempt.

And so some questions.

Who owned the worst hakama you've ever seen and how bad was it?

Who had the most unique hakama? I used to practice in a place that had colored hakama (green, red, etc.) We didn't take them outside the dojo which was probably a good thing.

Lastly, what's the most unique hakama practice you've seen. For example, a jiu jitsu school I once visited wore their belts outside of the hakama.

[Edited by Erik on March 31, 2001 at 11:29am]

lt-rentaroo 03-31-2001 07:02 PM


Hmmm, worst Hakama I've seen. Well, I occasionally visit this other dojo (doesn't matter where or which one really) and there was a student there who I believe was 2nd Kyu. This individual's hakama was about one foot too short (it was just below the knees, which looked very odd) and I'm not kidding here, it had plaid patches sewn over the area where the knees would be. Now my vision is a little color deficient, but I'm pretty sure that the patches were black, green, and yellow plaid. The koshita on this hakama was badly worn, the stitching was unravelling and you could see the plastic insert. On a more positive note, this individual had pretty good technique and was a very nice person. I guess you can't judge an Aikidoka by there hakama :)

Have a good day!

Tharis 05-07-2004 09:01 PM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
I don't know if I can beat the plaid story, but my first hakama was one I found in the closet in the back of the clubroom. It was old, cotton. The seams all looked thoroughly worn. The kicker was that the knees were patched...with duct tape:D.

Needless to say, I have since purchased a bujin hakama of my own and handed down the duct taped (and now patched) hakama to another student.

Yours in ukemi,


ian 05-08-2004 05:50 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
My dream is that one day I shall wear a Hawian print hakama (which, after all is very relevant for aikido).

P.S. I have a shaped floor tile instead of a plastic koshita since the plastic bit broke very early on.

David Kerr 05-08-2004 06:03 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
A friend of mine attended a course somwhere in england where the sensei leading the course walked on the mat with a stars and stripes hakama.

Joanne Arnest 05-08-2004 09:28 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
At the seminar here last weekend there was a woman with a green hakama, and another woman with a purple hakama who said that her sensei had a gorgeous Hawaiian print hakama.

Keith Morgan 05-08-2004 11:59 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
I attended a seminar in the States last year where one guy wore his hakama,a bright red one at that,back to front for two days.He even wore a red belt over it with black marker pen writing,"Founder of Combo Karate." He gave us visiting Brits a bit of a laugh.

taras 05-10-2004 10:12 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
I once saw a 2nd kyu wearing what I would describe as a former hakama. It was so creased it looked like a building site! After the session I found out why - I saw the sensei help the student to fold it, he couldn't do it himself. :eek:

PaulieWalnuts 05-10-2004 11:44 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
Its so sad to see people who take longer to get ready before and after keiko than they spend on the mat. Some people are more interested in looking good on the mat rather than training hard. it should take no longer than 5 min to get on a gi hak and obi any longer is pathetic and belongs in some camp clothes boutque. yes its important to keep the folds but learn to do it quickly or if no time WHO CARES . The standard of your hak has nowt to do with your abilty

aikidoc 05-10-2004 01:13 PM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
So much for tradition. Green, red, red white and blue. I saw a student get kicked off the mat for wearing a gray and black striped hakama. The sensei told him he could practice if he took off the hakama but the only acceptable ones were solid black or blue. I guess I'm somewhat of a traditionalist and expect a hakama to be one color blue or black and reasonably clean and pressed. I realize it does not affect one's technique. Learning to fold a hakama to maintain it's pleats is not that big a deal and should only take couple of minutes. I used to hate doing it until I learned how to properly (I'd just hang mine). My instructor made me learn to fold it. Now it's no big deal.

Tharis 05-10-2004 02:32 PM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
I agree fervently that hakama should be kept clean and pressed. I've found that spending a few extra minutes creasing the pleats helps them stay together in the long run. It took me at least a few months to figure it out on a used one before I bought my own, but the learning becomes part of the ritual of training. Some compare it to a Zen exercise.

That said, since when is wearing a navy or black hakama part of "tradition?"

Just wondering...


Magma 05-10-2004 02:59 PM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
steff -

"Who cares?"? The standard to which one holds oneself with regard to respecting one's training gear is indicative of one's standard of training on the mats, IMO. So what if they take longer preparing and leaving the floor than they do actually training? If they train for two hours and spend two more preparing before they take the mat, who are you to tell them to hurry?

I can see the value in doing something quickly, especially for days when you *have* to do it quickly for whatever reason (late for class or the seminar for example). But what about breathing or meditation exercises? Should those be rushed, too? Maybe dressing is more than simply dressing for these people; perhaps it is as much a ritual for preparing their mind as their training on the mats prepares their body.

There *are* ways to make this sort of mindful-attentiveness apply to and help with one's physical aikido practice, if one is willing to slow down and appreciate the metaphor.

See the "I have a funny question" thread if you want more discussion of this. A couple of us have tried to defend this sort of thinking there for some time.

Lan Powers 05-10-2004 10:47 PM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
I would have LOVED to have seen the back to front example! (you made me snort soda on my keyboard!)lol

PeaceHeather 05-11-2004 04:08 PM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
Hawaiian print hakama. Wow. I think I have a new goal to shoot for -- one of my "reasons aikido is cool" before I actually started looking seriously into it, was that you got to wear a hakama.

Maybe I can get a nice deep green one; no stripes or anything, just green instead of blue. The color has symbolic importance to me, just as I suspect the traditional blue and black ones do. Ya think?


Largo 05-11-2004 10:01 PM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
Hakama can actually be any color. I had a few friends that wore purple ones for the coming of age day (seijin shiki) ceremony.

Orihime 05-12-2004 05:34 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
My hakama is navy blue and in one of my dojos there are only black ones (in the other one black ones and blue ones). People really don't have any imagination :) ! This said, if the question is: what's the worst hakama you've ever seen? I would reply: probably mine own. Nobody at the time was able to explain me how to fold it right (because only one or two guys really knew and they weren't there), so I did the best I could... which is not much. So it never looks neat and all. This said, it allows me to spend less time folding my hakama while other people remove the tatami ;).

boni tongson 05-12-2004 09:59 PM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
well, i encountered a 16 pleat hakama during one of my visits in our capital city and the second my sensei brought me to one of his friends dojo where i saw a lady wearing a white hakama. i dunno but i really think she was lovely with her white hakama. we were battling who would be doing uke for her. :)

oh, by the way, my hakama is black and my dogi is white. just simple thats all :)

Robert Jackson 05-12-2004 11:40 PM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
My hakama has to be the worse I've ever seen..... It sits in my closet and collects dust!... I hate wearing the freaken thing :)

PeterR 05-13-2004 12:04 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad

Robert Jackson wrote:
My hakama has to be the worse I've ever seen..... It sits in my closet and collects dust!... I hate wearing the freaken thing :)

Same same. But mines tetron - dusty but no wrinkles. :D

David Edwards 05-14-2004 09:49 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
People in our dojo (indeed, ppl in our organization) wear black or blue hakama. That said, there's a guy in our dojo with a purple hakama. He ordered it by mail order, and it came the wrong colour, and he never bothered to change it. I don't have a hakama myself yet, being a kyu-grade male. I fold my sensei's though, and do it very carefully, making sure that every pleat is perfect. As far as I can tell, everybody from my own Sensei, to Kanetsuka Sensei (head of BAF), to O Sensei, and various martial artists who were writers of times past such as Miyamoto Musashi and Yamamoto Tsunetomo, say that one should always pay great attention to the small details of such matters.

PeterR 05-16-2004 01:46 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
Yes but the rub is in which details.

dan guthrie 05-16-2004 10:53 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
[What about something like this?

Marshall Sandoz 05-16-2004 02:50 PM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
Well, if my wife ever figure out how to operate a sewing machine, I can see a purple and gold tigerstripe hakama with the LSU Tiger logo in my future.

Jeanne Shepard 05-16-2004 04:44 PM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
I'm sure Janet Rosen could make you one, for the right price.

Jeanne :D

j0nharris 05-17-2004 12:16 PM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
When my wife and I married, we had two white denim hakamas custom made for the ceremony -- with the idea that later we could dye them black and wear them at the dojo.
The instructions on the dye were to dry it afterwards, and I absolutely had forgotten that the heavy denim was not pre-shrunk. And the dye didn't take very well either.
So now I have a grey hakama that comes a little past my knees!
I also have a very short pair of gi pants that are very worn... . Occasionally, I pull them both out and look like a little hobo samurai :D

Chuck.Gordon 05-20-2004 05:52 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad

Ian Dodkins wrote:
My dream is that one day I shall wear a Hawian print hakama .

Umm, My wife Emily HAS a Hawaiian print hakama. It's rather fetching.

As for hakama of various colors, that's pretty traditional, really. The uniformity thing is fairly new.

Watch any budo embu in Japan and you'll see pinstriped haks, green, blue, brown, white ...

White dogi and dark hak as a combination is rather modern and not very traditional a'tall.


Robyn Johnson 05-20-2004 11:08 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
Wow! The only hakama colors in Aikido that I have ever heard of was black or navy blue! Purple, Green, red-white-&blue, and Hawaiian Print!!! :hypno: I can't imagine what it must look like! If anybody has a picture of these hakamas (especially the Hawaiian one) or has a link to some pictures, I'd be very interested in seeing them. :) Thanks!

Robyn :)

Bronson 05-20-2004 12:56 PM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
1 Attachment(s)
Does this count?


Orihime 05-21-2004 04:09 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
Wow, I want the same one!!!!!!! :):D

Daniel-san 05-21-2004 06:59 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
So in my Aikido class, there is an elderly japanese woman who is 2nd Kyu but trained in Japan many many years ago. She stands at around 4'4 and her hakama is so incredibly tiny It would fit my 4 year old nephew. It's just so funny to see. It was custom made by her to suit her rather small stature.

arachnoJill 06-05-2004 09:31 PM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
I can't stop laughing at the image of a "little hobo samurai."

Melissa Fischer 07-10-2004 04:12 PM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
How 'bout the good hakama worn bad? I guess this is the comedy central of hakama stories so... My Sensei asked me to wear a hakama (I was 1st kyu, not eligible for hakama at our dojo) to teach outside the dojo at a neighborhood school. The first day, he showed me how to wraptietuckwraptiewraptuckwraptietuck the thing, got me dressed and sent me out lookin' good. The next week, he wasn't there to help me. I stepped in, did the whole tiewrapwraptietuckwrap thing as I was calling out test prep requirements for a kid. I finished up as we got to forward rolls, which she muffed. "No," I said "like this.." where upon I did this mermaid style roll, my legs being joined together in one side of the hakama. Should my Sensei have mentioned that you put one foot in each side? How was I to know? I then very gracefully wiggled to my feet and hopped off to get re-situated while the other teacher covered for me. I can't be the only person ever to have done that, right? Probly most people make the same mistake, right? Well, now I know!

Devin McDowell 07-15-2004 07:44 PM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
Melissa, that is one of the funniest MA stories I have ever read.

John Boswell 07-20-2004 11:37 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
Melissa, I gotta ask:

How did you even make it to the MAT??? :D

I'll admit to the "both legs in one side" thing, but there was no ability to walk! /snicker

Melissa Fischer 08-05-2004 02:15 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
Well, making it onto the mat carrying the hakama was easy, getting off was less graceful.

My other funny hakama story involves me taking my 2nd kyu test. Sensei switched Uke's, then asked for sankyo from shomenuchi and I did aiyumioshi then an Iwama style shoulder to Uke's shoulder grip change. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed that the new guy had no pants on under his hakama, just the "tighty whities". When testing, one must be prepared for the unexpected. I didn't laugh, I didn't lose my cool. I may have pinned that sankyo a bit harder than usual is all. The next thing my Sensei called for was, of course yet another uke.
( Found out later that he had cut old gi pants off into shorts which then did the bunch up thing, so it wasn't what it looked like. I'm always going to wear long pants, oh, and put one leg in each side too!)

Michael Cardwell 08-05-2004 03:51 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
One of the guys in my dojo will sometimes threaten to start wearing rainbow colored hakama pants to class to distract and unnerve uke's so he can do techniques better. I can only hope that he never follows through with his threat.

JJF 08-05-2004 08:01 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
I've said it before, but one day I'm gonna make myself a hakama with Bob the builde fabric... my kids would just LOVE that :o)

Robert Cheshire 08-08-2004 12:42 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
One of our kyu ranked females says she wants to get her shodan so she can wear Strawberry Shortcake Hakama.

amberlee 08-08-2004 12:47 AM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
I would love to have a curious george hakama ;)

Emily Fine 09-28-2004 10:27 PM

Re: Good Hakama Gone Bad
Life will be good for me when I see a striped or polka dot hakama, the two colours of which clashing terribly. THAT would be awesome.


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