Re: Please help me find a dojo in Melbourne!
You believe in what you believe in, but you kind of missed my point on the clergy. From the link you posted:
"The purpose of this article is to encourage our fellow priests to
wear their collars (and, by analogy, religious to wear their habits).
It goes without saying that there are reasonable and legitimate
exceptions to this rule, such as during sports and recreation, during
one's vacation (in general), while at home with family or in one's
private quarters in the rectory. And, of course, the obligation to
wear clerical clothing ceases during times of violent persecution."
In the times above, when they are not wearing their collar they do not believe any less in God or stop being priests.
Back to topic!
In my old school yudansha wore hakama, in my new school they don't. I hence no longer practice in a hakama. As Michael said, it is so you can see the legs clearly to both learn from for the student, and assess for the teacher. My old school came from Yoshinkan, but our UK head said all yudansha must wear hakama. That said, when teaching certain things I would not wear the hakama to show my legs.
What I said about the spirit in practice was the energy in the dojo, the harmony between the practitioners, the purposeful way of practice, and the focus and determination. I don't mean the magical mumbo-jumbo that gets waffled about.
You talk about your loyalty to O'Sensei, and talking about the various different schools having followed their paths, but still you see that the loyalty should be to O'Sensei. I will not dispute that we should honour and respect the "great teacher", but what about Sokaku Takeda, Takeda Kunitsugu, Takeda Yoshikiyo, Shinra Saburo Yoshimitsu, Prince Tsunemoto and Prince Teijun? Should we be looking for what they said on the matter, and what if they conflicted with what O'Sensei said?