Re: Hakama for non-yudansha
Hakama is worn traditionally here in Japan not only in Aiki Do but in other arts as well. Kyu Do, Ken Do, Iai Do regardless of rank. It is worn during traditional ceremonies in Karate Do. As a karate ka, I find it difficult to see what my opponents next move will be if I cant see his ankle. Not only martial arts uses hakama, I wear it during Sa Do or tea ceremony and flower arrangers wear it on their Ikebana class as well. It shows elegance thats why Japanese women wears them on graduation day and male wears them on their wedding day. Hakama does not signifies rank but shows tradition and custom, even in the Aiki Kai honbu hakama is worn customarily by male from shodan and by female by san kyu but can be worn by any rank if they wish to. So by custom, only sho dan and female 3rd kyu levels wears it, it is not stated by rule not to wear it.