Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
I think many consider wearing the hakama an important part of repsecting and continuing the tradition - like bowing procedures. I think you could say the same about the gi itself. I think traditional aesthetics are an important part of the art. Reducing this to "fashion" seems a bit crude.
If you're going to start tossing out everything you find inconvenient or impractical, the next thing you know Aikido will be like MMA, where it's basically just a bunch of guys in threadbare t-shirts and sweatpants training in a place that looks like an old garage.
Um Kevin - the founders of the two groups I mentioned were early uchideshi of the founder. I didn't toss anything and I suspect both Kenji Tomiki and Gozo Shioda are far more qualified to comment on history and tradition of Aikido than you or I. The choice of daily practice wear goes back to them. I've never seen a member of a Japanese Aikido dojo blink over the fact that I didn't wear a hakama. Judo guys don't, karate guys don't, several Koryu that I've seen don't - other groups do. It really is a matter of choice and fashion.
The hakama may be an important part of the Aikido you practice however in Shodokan it is theorectically to be used only in the most formal of occasions. I would say that even in Aikikai groups the majority of current practioners don't wear the hakama. It can't be all that important.