Re: hakama use
I think it can be complicated to transport a tradition from one country to another. Where I live, the hakama poses two big problems: the first one is the price, and the fact that it must be either ordered or bought during a trip, wich adds even more to the cost. The second problem is the temperature. It's usually hot around here, and I've never heard of an air conditioned dojo. The simple reason is that adding air conditioning would mean raising the monthly fee, wich would not be the best way to attract more students. For these reasons, in my dojo, the hakama is permitted only at black belt level, and, even then, it's not mandatory. Sensei likes to wear his on special occasions, when we give a demonstration, or when we are welcoming an important visitor. Some of the other black belts wear one, others don't. Once you are a black belt, and for everyday practice, it's a personal choice. In our climate, and in our economic situation, this is what works for us.