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Old 01-24-2004, 09:30 PM   #31
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 522
My dojo follows its parent tradition in having hakama only for dan ranks and instructors. About half of them swear by the hakama for its grace and beauty; the other half swear at it, for tangling up and hiding the feet, and will take it off as soon as they have an excuse. I don't think it's a big status symbol as a result.

I was a guest at a dojo where everyone above a fairly early kyu rank wore hakama. That worked too. There was one tiny girl, maybe ten years old, who was etherially beautiful in her hakama. It did make the higher-ranked kids stand out from the others, which helped counteract my tendency to assume that bigger==better. They dealt with the cost issue by having dojo hand-me-down hakama for the kids.

I'm a bit glad not to have to pay for one or learn how to fold it (or roll in it) quite yet, myself. I don't think my dojo would make an issue over a guest who wore hakama, though people probably would tend to assume s/he was dan rank until told otherwise. (My first day at the other dojo I was quite intimidated by what looked to me like a sea of yudansha!)

Mary Kaye
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