View Single Post
Old 01-09-2004, 10:10 PM   #17
Location: Florida
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10
I'm a student, so I basically don't have lots of money to spend on a hakama (which seem to be very least for the 100% cotton ones), so I probably won't be getting a hakama for awhile. But I would like to wear it simply to connect myself to tradition and the virtues they represent.

My biggest worry is that the hakama is seen as a status symbol. If a sensei feels there are training or safety issues, then I would definitely respect his or her position and experience on that point. But if his attitude is that wearing a hakama is a privilege, then I would have an issue with that. I have and would train under senseis like that, but deep down, I would feel somehow put down. To me, if hakama are seen as status symbols or badges of rank/experience, then it is merely another form of competition, and a fueling of the ego...which Aikido should lessen.

Getting on a related tangent, to me tradition is important. I would probably scratch my head if I saw an instructor teaching a class full of students in sweat pants and t-shirts. Not that I find that wrong, because in some ways it is more realistic, but I'd wonder why. I think that following tradition is valuable. For one, it shows a respect for the culture from which the art came. Secondly, it helps us remember what aikido truly is...budo. The path of a true warrior. If you think about it, why do we bow to the shomen when we first enter the dojo? Why do we say in Japanese, "Onegai shimasu" to request instruction and "doomo arigatoo gozaimashita" to say thank you after a lesson when we could easily say it in the language of what ever country we practice in? Why do we sit in seiza or maybe zazen and follow a breathing pattern (at least we do in kodokai) to the rhythm of two clapping wood boards? Not all traditions may be correct by our modern standards, but at least it shows our respect. I would at least wonder why someone would not want to pay their respect by not following certain harmless traditions. So it is also with wearing a hakama.
  Reply With Quote