Darren Kennedy wrote:
I agree with the bloke who said hakama at 5th and 6th kyu is rubbish . I feel that anyone wearing one should be able to teach and it is an honour to wear one. In yoshinkan aikido as taught by the Hombu dojo in Japan I believe that it is only given to 3rd dan and above. I think that if everybody wears one what is the point of them anyway. I've just watched a Chida sensei dvd which was in Canada with Robert Mustard sensei and the only person on the mat with a hakama was Chida shihan himself , not Robert Mustard sensei who's aikido is brilliant to see as well, although I've only seen him on dvd .5th and 6th kyu dressing like a shihan please.
Though I agree that 6th and 5th Kyu should not "have" to wear Hakama, to me this is more of an issue that most 6th and 5th Kyu have enough to worry about already let alone having the difficulty of walking and tripping over a Hakama, as well as has been said the monetary investment for those who may not stick around long (like those discouraged at tripping over themselves constantly).
However, as has been said, when Shioda Sensei was practicing with the founder, everyone wore Hakama as standard. Just the same if you take Kendo, Kenjutsu, or Iaido, everyone wears Hakama. Of course if you are practicing in a Yoshinkan Dojo then you should follow the standards of the organization, but all of us don't practice Yoshinkan and have our own Hombu Dojo in Japan that we go by. As far as I know the Aikikai standard is that Yudansha are expected to wear Hakama, but before that it is basically up to the individual organization or Dojo. Also 3rd Dan are not considered to be Shihan by Aikikai standards, but this doesn't mean that we should look at another style and scoff at such a title at such a low rank (in our eyes, where we have to be 7th-8th Dan), as all titles are relative to the style or art. An organization can call all their Yudansha Soke or O-Sensei for all it matters, as long as it is standard across the board and everyone realizes the fact, (Though no one might take the organization seriously anymore). That is assuming that you indeed meant that Yoshinkan 3rd Dan are considered to be Shihan, which I haven't heard before.
I personally believe that everyone wearing Hakama at Kyu level is a bad idea as it is hard for beginners to know what level of a student they are working with and thus doesn't have much to work with when an annoying 5th Kyu keeps over correcting them. As far as the new student is concerned, they could be 1st Kyu or Yudansha and thus should know what they are talking about, when in reality they are simply someone one with blue-belt-itis. Also it is a bit disappointing for Shodan who earn their shiny new black belt and don't get to show it off because the Hakama is covering it up.
I also believe that it is a rather interesting practice to cover the feet of the ones who are supposed to be teaching...
How many have seen their teachers have to hike up their Hakama just to let everyone know what's going on?