Ricky - yeah, they are cool and no, they don't make you any better. They are a pain in the butt though when you first have to wear one as there are certain thing we (as men) take for granted: walking up stairs, crouching down etc when catching the hakama under feet! Plus, if you wear your gi bottoms under them it is a bummer if you need to loo quickly
Chris - Fair point, although, I do have a photo of my little monster in his white baby grow with his red swimming trunks worn on the outside, so no matter how ridiculous I look, I have one up on him! Ok, ok, so he isn't even a year old yet!
Jill - I agree, thats cheating haha but I like your style!