Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?
In Japanese, the word "ageru" means to give.
A “gift” may be “something that is bestowed voluntarily and without (thought or need of) compensation”. It may also be “an act, right, or a power of giving”, an act of generosity wholly and unselfishly enacted by the giver.
The act of unconditional giving is totally independent of any response of reciprocity or of any show of gratitude that may or may not be offered by the recipient of the gift.
Whenever we do a favor, or present something of value, we may have any number of attitudes or agendas to choose from. The act of giving without any such agenda or purpose, may well be the highest form of respect and regard of one person for another. Such a gift is priceless.
The seemingly simple gift of folding the hakama of another person, affords such choices to the giver, irrespective of who the recipient of the gift may be. In that sense, it is totally irrelevant if it is the hakama of a sensei, a senior or a complete stranger, for it is fully in the power of the giver to decide.
The spirit of Ueshiba Aiki was wondrously demonstrated by the Founder, when he visited Hawaii in 1961, for the occasion of dedicating a new dojo facility. After the ceremonies were completed, with the presence of a Shinto priest, the Founder then began to pour sake for each and everyone in attendance. His was a gesture of generosity, but also a lesson in how an accomplished man “walks his talk”. He was smiling and congratulating everyone in attendance, thanking them for making the occasion a successful one.
Voluntarily folding a hakama for someone you like and respect isn’t such a big deal, now is it?