Not why or when but what color ?
I'm a newbee in this forum, so please forgive me if I should write something that could be considered out of line.
I would like to turn this discussion into a new direction. I have read quite a few opinions concerning when a Aikidoka should put on a hakama, and I have read the part of the above mentioned FAQ concerning O-senseis opinion on hakamas, but I have not been able to find anything that can explain why a hakama should be either black or dark-blue. I used to study Kendo and Seitei Iaido, and I know that it is common for Kendoka to wear darkblue hakama and for Iaidoka to wear black hakama. In the Aikido dojo I practice in, I see both sorts, but none with any kind of patterns or other colors.
Once I went to at Kendo seminar and the teacher was wearing a white hakama and gi. I asked him when that would be considered correct and then he just smiled at me and said that white would be proper, if you were so good that you could avoid being hit by the opponent and thereby getting your outfit ruined by the dark marks left by a shinai.
Could anyone please explain to me, if the current tradition for black hakama's is just a de facto standard or if it has got any specific reason.
By the way: in 'my' dojo it is common that you wear a hakama from 3. kyu . Supposedly to be equivalent to a brown belt in karate or judo. I guess the reason for this is that for a long period of time our sensei didn't do graduations but just awarded each aikidoka with permission to wear either a hakama or a black belt whenever he felt they had reached the necessary level.