Todd Worth wrote:
You suggested that I weight up the parts I don't like with the parts I do... And that's pretty much where I am now... Only thing is that the way I see it, although Thambu Sensei may be a top bloke and a top teacher at a top school (all reports would make it so), fact is that he doesn't respect the meaning of the hakama in the way that I and OSensei, and hopefully someone else out there, do. (Please, no offense is intended here, just calling it how it is. I'm not suggesting that it's wrong for Thambu Sensei or his school or students)
Thanks for the reply. I'm really surprised about what you say about Thambu Sensei not respecting the hakama. His family has a long history within Aikido and I would be surprised if he hadn't picked up at least a little respect along the way.
Have you talked to him and asked him? Whenever I see him in a hakama it is always one of the better cared for ones at a demonstration.
I mentioned earlier that followers of the Yoshinkan style don't wear hakama very much. I am told that this is because it interferes with our teaching style. Yoshinkan is very precise in movements and angles, and wearing a hakama hides those movements.
So, as a teacher, its hard to tell if a student is moving correctly if they are wearing a hakama. As a student, it is hard to see exactly how you are supposed to move if the teacher is wearing a hakama.
If you keep this in mind, I think you'll see why I believe that whether or not students and teachers are wearing a hakama in the dojo while training has no bearing on their spiritual beliefs with respect to the hakama.
The primary purpose of Thambu Sensei's dojo is probably to teach Yoshinkan Aikido and if they wore hakama they would not be able to achieve that goal as well as they are now.
I have never discussed the spiritual aspects of the hakama with Thambu Sensei, but I urge you not to dismiss him without finding out what he actually thinks. He may not hold it in as high esteem as you, but he may understand more than you think.