Re: Belt System Question.
Interesting discussion... When I practiced aikikai in Portugal as a kid, everyone had different colored belts. Ranks below brown wore a white hakama. AFter brown, a black one.
Now, in the dojo I practice in, we have 4 belts- white, blue, green, brown and black. Anyone can wear a black hakama, our sensei said that he thinks it's hard for a black belt to all of a sudden adjust to wearing a hakama. He doesn't require people to get themfor awhile though,said. I got one because I feel kind of naked without it!
When I went to the yoshinkan demo though, I wore my blue belt and no hakama. I asked beforehand what to wear, and Ron said hakamas were reserved for sandan and up, and to wear my white or blue belt, whichever I felt comfortable with. I mentioned it somehow to my sensei and he told me to wear my blue, so I did what he said.... I wouldn't have minded wearing my white tho.
However I do like being able to tell when I meet an uke about where they are in their experience....