Thread: Hakama Question
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Old 08-07-2008, 08:06 PM   #13
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: Hakama Question

Tony Nielsen wrote: View Post
I have a question about the wearing of a Hakama. We had a visitor attending our dojo this evening, and when we were in getting dressed prior to the class he wore a Hakama. After I introduced myself, welcomed him and as we started talking...he said he'd been studying the art for 2 years...(hmmm..2 yrs and already a black belt..I wondered to myself)

On to the class..the Sensei asked what rank he was and he said 3rd Kyu. (I realize literally anyone can buy a Hakama and put it on) but the only folks I've ever seen wear one at my dojo were all 1st Dan's..

I realize there are variations from dojo to dojo, and among styles.. but is this typical?
Just fwiw within Seidokan hakama normally are indicative of nikyu or higher.

I think the more important point to be made isn't that there is a lot of variation in when hakama go on (styles do vary), but about how you present yourself at a dojo outside your system. Most consider the proper etiquette to be to present yourself, ask for permission to train, detail your experience, and then ask whether you should wear your belt showing rank from your own group or wear the white belt. Then whether you should wear your hakama. When I'm visiting someone else I'm there to learn from them. And if they want me without hakama with a white belt, fine. If they don't mind the black belt but no hakama, that's fine too. Whatever, I'm there to learn and whatever they'd like is fine with me. It is just a uniform. I'll suit up however *they* feel is appropriate for their dojo. I ain't there to teach -- I'm there as a student.

The bigger question is about proper manners before you ever step onto someone else's mat to train. And it helps the sensei in that they don't have to ask your rank during class. That should have been clarified before you ever stepped onto the mat. That is common courtesy in most dojo settings.

And fwiw you might also ask about protocol for lining up to open class. I *always* sit in the super newbie position if I'm visiting a dojo because I *am* the super newbie there. They may ask me to move according to my rank within my own style, but that's up to them to decide.

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