Originally posted by PeterR
No one wears a hakama in our dojo - its not considered safe, it hides posture, and it restricts body movement.
That`s a couple of interesting points.
Not considered safe, I`ll give you that, I have seen someone get his foot caught in his hakama as he was thrown causing him to crash and burn hard, resulted in dislocated collar bone, although that is the only major injury from a hakama that I have seen in 10 years.
Hides posture, more the position or angle of the legs and feet, I think. I`m not even convinced that that is a problem. I know others more experienced than I have said the same, but I don`t subscribe to "feet must be at this angle" or "this far apart". I think that the feet should be in a position natural to the individual, whether the posture is good or not can still be determined wearing a hakama.
Restricts movement, personally, I found that it aids movement, helps make movement more rounded and flowing (am I an aikibunny?). In my dojo back in the UK, we adorned hakama when our Sensei told us to, this varied from person to person. I have been wearing one for about 7 years, since 4th kyu, when I came to Japan last year and joined the Aikikai I had to begin again. Removing the hakama was very strange, at first I felt like a plank of wood without it. It took a number of months before I felt comfortable doing keiko in my underwear.
I still don`t think that I move as freely as I did wearing one, but maybe it`s all in my head