Thread: Wearing Hakama
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Old 07-26-2000, 12:00 PM   #13
Dojo: N/A
Location: Lebanon, OH
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 3
Smile The Shihan Makes the Policies...

I believe that your Shihan should and already have made the call on this issue; and I know they are very firm on this.

When I first started practicing Aikido, a little more than twenty years ago, I had to wear a hakama all the time. That was what the teacher said, so that's what I did. I reached Sandan within that style; Shin Shin Toitsu, and after my sensei moved back to Japan, I searched, after about six years of being alone and found a USAF dojo in Atlanta, GA that I could associate myself with.

I was never really big into policies. I just wanted to practice. I was accepted into the USAF as a student and to show my allegence to the Shihan of that organization, I took off my hakama and black belt. If the Shihan thought that my rank should transfer over then that would be cool. If not, then that would be cool as well. One hitch, I ran my own dojo in Chattanooga, TN. Yamada Sensei's advice? Wear the hakama over the white belt while teaching. That's a USAF standard. I said, "Yes Sensei." and everything was cool. When I would go to seminars, I would take the hakama off. I'll be honest though; Without the hakama, my tai sabaki stunk. The hakama really lets us feel our center.

I went to my first big USAF seminar in Nov. of 1991. The instructors were Yamada, Kanai, & Iwagaki Senseis. That's the first time I had ever seen them and I was blown away. I also took my Shodan test to be recognized by the USAF. I failed. Later, well after I had passed my Shodan exam, I asked Yamada Sensei at a seminar just why he failed me. I said, "I failed you because I wanted you to get better."

No matter now, I still have my allegence with Yamada and Kanai Senseis as well as a few of the USAF Shidoin; but I do go to seminars where other Shihan are teaching-Saotome and Ikeda Senseis to name two. I know that the ASU has policies regarding the hakama that differ from the USAF. That's ok with me. Yamada and Kanai Senseis govern what I do; but if I go to another Shihan's seminar I abide by their rules. I guess if the USAF said that from now on all males will wear black hakama and females will wear blue, then I guess I'll be getting a black hakama.


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