Re: Belts sticking out
@Stephen Nichol - Not offended. Still. I don't see that it matters.
My black belt has gold Japanese characters indicating my name and Aikido on it - so maybe it looks like I'm "displaying" rank. If so, my apologies - certainly not intended. In our organization, only black belts wear hakamas and there is no "stripes", new belt or indicator given for additional dan grade/ranks. So no one can "display" their rank as such. And we know each other's ranks anyway... It's not like its a secret or something. I'm just a shodan in a dojo with six yondans and a collection of skilled sandans and nidans. I'm in no danger of tromping around in my getup with a superiority complex and I'm not afraid to look incompetent in front of anyone (which is a good thing given my proclivity to do so).
I don't care about patches or other symbols that folks rate as pretension. People should be able to wear whatever they wish. For my book, people can wear whatever the hell they want as long as they are decent and kind. I don't care about ragged gis or hakamas - although I prefer ones in good condition for myself.
Of course, to my wife's great annoyance, I don't care about clothing, other than comfort, much at all.
I do wear my dojo T-shirts around town (for advertising purposes). People will often ask me what Aikido is - and so I get to explain and sometimes "sell" Aikido (adult/kids) to them. I guess some folks would see that as pretentious.