Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
The modesty thing was told to me by someone in a dojo who requires all women to wear hakama. She said that the dojo-cho considered the gi as pajamas for women (why not men?) and it was immodest to be on the mat without a hakama. For that matter, women were also not allowed to fold their hakama on the mat and had to do that in the dressing room.
I practice in a dojo where the policy is exactly as described above. When I visit my parents in another state, I will often visit a dojo where everyone wears hakama after their first kyu test. And every time I visit, the host instructor offers to let me borrow a hakama to use while I'm there. And every time I respectfully decline, citing my late Sensei's preference (he was a VERY traditional Japanese instructor from Aikikai Hombu dojo). This host instructor is kind enough to respect my wishes, since he knew my Sensei. After that, it usually takes a technique or two until his students realize that I'm not a completely new beginner. All-in-all, it makes for some amusing conversation after class.
Does it matter to me whether or not I should be allowed to wear a hakama? Not really. Does it matter to the female mudansha in our dojo that they have to wear hakama? I think maybe on hot summer days. Cost really isn't too much of an issue, since we make sure they can either borrow hakama from seniors or purchase them cheap. To me one possible advantage for not having to wear a hakama is that it makes it easier for instructors and sempai to spot problems with my footwork so that I can correct them.
Just my two cents (again).