As many styles of Aikido came out so many new rules about wearing hakama were made.
Shigenobu Okumura Sensei: "When I was a uchi deshi to O Sensei everyone was required to wear hakama for practice, beginning the first time they stepped on the mat. I vividly remember when I forgot my hakama I was preparing myself to step on the mat for practice wearing only my dogi when O Sensei stopped me "Where is your hakama?" he demanded sternly. "What makes you think you can recieve your teacher's instruction wearing nothing but your underwear? Have you no sense of propriety? You are obviously lacking the attitude and the etiquette necessary in one who pursues Budo training. He told us the the hakama was traditional garb for Kobudo students and that the seven pleats or the seven folds of the Hakama symbolyzes the seven virtues of Budo. Aikido is born of the Bushido sprirt of Japan and in our practice we must strive to polish the seven traditional virtues.
Currently, most Aikido dodjo do not follow O Sensei's strict policy about wearing the Hakama. It's meaning has degenerated from a symbol of traditional virtue to that of a status symbol of a Yudansha. I have traveled to many dojo in many nation. In many of the places where only the Yudansha wear hakama, the Yudansha have lost their humility. They think that the hakama is a prize for display, as the visible symbol for their superiority. This type of attitude makes the ceremony of bowing to O Sensei, with which we begin and end each class, a mockery of his memory and his art. Worse still in some dojo women of kyu ranks (and only the women) are required to wear hakama, supposedly to preserve their modesty. To me this is insulting and discriminatory to women Aikidoka. It is also insulting to male Aikidoka, for it assumes a low mindedness on their part that has no place on the Aikido mat. To see the hakama to such petty use saddens me. It may seem a trivial issue to some people, but I remember very well the great importance that O Sensei placed on wearing hakama. I can't dismiss the significance of this garment and no one, I think can dispute the great value of the virtues it symbolyzes. I feel that wearing the hakama and knowing it's meaning, helps students to be aware of the spirit of O Sensei and keep alive of his vision.
If we can allow the importance of the hakama to fade, perhaps we will begin to allows things fundamental to the spirit of Aikido to slip into oblivion as well if, on the other hand, we are faithful to O Sensei's wishes regarding our practice dress, our spirits may be more faithful to the dream to which He dedicated His life"