There are certainly more qualified people on this board than me to talk about this, but I'll take a stab at it.
You'll probably find the above thread very interesting and informative.
Originally posted by nmarques
. . . but what I cant understand is that if the Hakama is a symbol of Humility and commitment, why distinguish beginners from advanced when according the the elder O Sensei everyone without a Hakama shouldnt be allowed to step the mat . . . it shows only that the Hakama is used as trophy and as an object of arrogance only concerning the looks, so my final question is, a beginner by not wearing a hakama has no dignity ? Do the "looks" become more important than the man ? If everyone is so much influenced by the O Sensei, whay adulterate the one simple tradition ? Hakama is meant for the Elite ?
In my organization, hakama are reserved for yudansha, but I don't think of the hakama as a sign of elitism or as an "object of arrogance", but rather, a sign of hard work, same as the belt on your hips (if your style/organization uses different belts, that is). And they ARE a sign of commitment. Have you ever seen how expensive
hakama are? (Jeeze! What am I going to college for? I should get into the hakama business!
) There are still some styles/organizations that have you wear a hakama from day one, and others that don't use hakama at all. One is not better than the other for it, they are just different.
PS: None of this is personal, but it just made me think a while, and since I am trying to choose a dojo, should I take in consideration the fact that I should choose one more close to the O Sensei or something more "modern" if you can call it that.
Don't fall into the trap that says that anything that's traditional must be better. I personally love tradition, but there are much more important factors to consider when choosing a dojo other than who's wearing a skirt (people and the skill thereof come immediately to mind).
Sarah (who is a long way from wearing a hakama, but tossed in her two cents anyway