Re: Wearing Hakama
The Hakama question has opened much debate.
Whilst the Hakama may be seen as just a 'Bit of cloth' of which people place 'Too much significance', I feel that it is a very significant article of clothing personally.
From the very first day, stepping into a Karate Dojo (many years ago) as a brand new white belt, I was amazed at the skill and knowledge of 'Those brilliant Black Belts', and vowed that some day i would be as skillful and knowledgable, and would earn the honour of being awarded one of those Black Belts. Many years later, having trained day after day, studying, attending camps and seminars and 1:1 tuition, I gained my Shodan. That was a proud and humbling moment. Earning my Nidan years after was no less difficult or humbling an award.
Now, as a White belt once again, begining my Aikido journey, watching the Yodansha in their Hakama, I am no less amazed as i was all those years ago, and once again have made the vow that I will one day through hard training and study,earn the coveted Hakama. Whilst I understand that everyone in the Dojo are more knowledgable than I, as a beginner, looking around an unfamiliar Dojo, at unfamiliar faces, I know who I can turn to for the correct help and advice through the difficult beginners stage and beyond.
There is no Ego in wearing a Hakama. It is a sign that the wearer has dedicated themselves completely to Aikido, and has earned the right to wear it. Therefore i feel that all grades wearing the Hakama takes away it's special meaning to those awarded it. We may as well do away with the whole belt/grade system, and also the Black Belt.
I personally feel that the Hakama is as much an award as the Black Belt worn underneath it, and look forward to the day that I am knowledgable and Skillful enough to wear one.
Just my view guys.