Aiki spirit and Hakama
Fellow Aikiweb Members,
The story that we're refering to can actually be found online in several different places. This story can be found at the link below. In it the reference we are able to understand that the reason for wearing a hakama dealt with the situation of the times, and that in order to maintain the practice of aikido to be open to all, there needed to be a choice made, between ego and humility. On the mat I seriously doubt anyone wearing a hakama at the time felt more able-bodied than others without hakama. This was because of course other martial arts did not wear the garment and in that the hakamaless would have exceled at other martial forms to which Aikidoka with hakama's had no training. The point being that no matter what we wear, our aikido training does not depend on colored belts, perfect hakama folds, or expensive weapons. It depends on our willingness to train in any outfit. To be true to the Aiki spirit and to try our best in all situations.
I myself wear a hakama everytime I step on the mat. Although I am not a shodan, because I have been asked to do so. When I barely began aikido it was the first thing I noticed on senior students... and I wanted one. For a year I attempted to save up enough money to get one. The day it came was also the day of The Incident. Suddenly I felt like I had no right to wear one. The next day I went to class and my instructor, who was from New York, had only me and a friend to train with. As we trained I told myself this was where I should be. The next day my sensei ask me "Where's your new hakama?" I explained to him how I though only shodan and seniors should wear one. To which he replied: "You came yesterday for class and you trained hard. That is why hakama's are worn. A hakama is only a reminder to yourself that no matter the situation, if you train dilligently, you will succeed. And in the end, hakama or not, those who try their best everyday need no reminders."
So I guess the moral of both points in that a hakama is just a piece of clothing, like shoes and shirts. To own one is fine although we may never wear it until later on in training. But in the end, the reason people really wear them is as a reminder of their training; same as a colored belt, same as a work suit. And even thouh ego may develop in some, it is the spirit of Aikido which take presidence in Aikidoka that far outweighs any outfit or clothing.
Best to All In Training,
In every man there is something wherein I may learn of him, and in that I am his pupil.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson