I have a question that I find rather serious. It is about the wearing of the hakama. Who should be allowed to wear the hakama?
It seems that in modern Aikido training the hakama represents yudansha. Those without hakama are automatically considered mudansha. It is a matter of honor to wear a hakama, a sign that you have reached "black-belt" status. But is that (egoistic-)concept itself counter-productive?
However, traditionally, the hakama was worn by ALL Akidoka. In fact, it was required wear by O Sensei. There is a super article on this on AIKIFAQ at http://www.aikidofaq.com/misc/hakama.html
that is worth reading (and possibly before responding to this). The hakama represents the spirit and formallity of Aikido.
In light of this, should not all Aikidoka at least be allowed to wear the hakama regardless of grade, if not be required to wear the hakama?
Aikido is such a beautiful, graceful and loving art. It seems that the hakama only add to this, given that the hakama is formal-wear and not a badge of honor. Or should we retain the aspect that the hakama should only be worn after reaching Shodan?
I would love to get your opinions. Especially the opinions of any sensei here.
And kudos to Jun for Aikiweb. Awesome site, thank you.