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Old 09-16-2004, 01:24 AM   #1
DaveO
Dojo: Great Wave Aikido
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Jun 2002
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Hakama FAQ

'Lo all!

There may on this forum be folks who have just earned their hakama; and are now dealing with the peculiar characteristics of that particular garment. To help them along; I have prepared this brief giude.

1) What is a Hakama?
Physically; the Hakama is a divided skirt made with approximately 142 meters of dark blue or black cloth. It has four ties; each about 20 meters long, and a piece of cardboard in the back. The cardboard is a symbol of Japanese mysticism, meant to represent the unknown.
(This can be shown by asking anyone - "what's the cardboard for?" "Ummmmmmm....dunno.")
Now; if this was a simple skirt; it'd be easy - and therefore un-aiki. Just to keep wearers from getting complacent; the complete skirt doesn't actually start untill somewhere around the butt region; the front and back are separate; leaving two V-shaped openings in the sides.

2) Whare does the Hakama come from?
Japan, ya bonehead.

3) OK - so what is the history of the hakama then? (jerk!)
Historically; hakama were worn in battle by the Japanese.
Not - as is commonly supposed - by the Samurai; but by the captives. It was essentially a large bag of cloth tied around the waist which was used as a net to ensnare the feet; thus preventing the captive from escaping. This was considered a superior form of detainment over just tying them up with ropes; since a captive tied by ropes doesn't nearly have the same entertainment value as a struggling, floundering and tripping captive literally drowning in a sea of blue cotton does.

4) When do I put one on?
Once you've earned one; it's generally a good idea to put it on when at aikido practice. You can wear it elsewhere as it makes a rather fetching accessory to almost any ensemble.
You will be sure, for instance, to turn heads while grocery shopping while wearing a nice blouse, slacks, pumps, and hakama.
Teens are not advised to wear hakama while dating; especially to movie theaters, since it greatly limits the groping possibilities. (For this reason, of course, parents of teens would be wise to consider stuffing their kids into them whenever possible.)

5) (sigh)You're going to make this difficult, aren't you? OK - at what point does a student earn the damned thing?!?
Individual aikido organizations choose when their students may wear hakama. Generally; they decide at which point in their average progression the students begin to think of themselves as really hot sh*t. The hakama is awarded at that point to bring the student's ego - and the student himself - crashing back to Earth.
And yes; I like making things difficult.

6) Now I've got the Hakama. What do I do now?
I advise you to burn it - it'll save you a lot of grief in the very near future.

7) #&%@#&^!!!!!!!! Will you quit it with the smartass answers?!? OK, OK, how do I put it on?!?!!!!
Putting on a hakama is a several step process. I will list the process here:
a) Unfolding the Hakama.
- Remove hakama from bag.
- Unfold ties from their crossed position.
- untangle ties from the huge snarl you managed to get them in while unfolding them.
- untie knots from the tangled mass the ties have managed to get them in. If following normal procedure; this should take about half an hour.
- Get a knife; cut ties free from the mess. Separate until you have several individual tie sections.
- measure tie sections; determine which section goes with which stub - if done correctly; the back ties should be longer than the front ties.
- sew ties back together again.

b) Putting the hakama on.
- Step into hakama; pull it up to waist level.
- Drop hakama, turn around and put it on right way 'round.
- pull it up to waist level again.
- drop hakama again; step into it again; this time insuring both legs don't go into the same hole.
- pull it up to waist level again.
- take the front ties in hand and wrap them around and behind your body.
- pull up hakama to waist level again.
-grab ties again.
-pull hakama up again. Hold it in place with elbow.
- Grab ties again. hold them with teeth.
- pull up hakama again. Try to hold it in place by crossing legs in bizarre 'gotta pee' position while trying to grab both front ties with one hand and guide them to teeth.
- leave ties alone; staple front of hakama to belt. Gingerly take up ties trying not to disturb hakama.
- apply first aid to small holes in stomach.
- tuck top of hakama behind belt; grab ties and shove them bodily between belt and gi.
- wrap ties about a dozen times around body; tie in square knot.
- retie in square knot.
- think about joining Boy Scouts to learn how to tie knots.
- tie in big ol' fashioned granny knot.
- untie ties in a hurry; take deep breath before passing out. Wait until face goes from blue to pink - or whatever colour it normally is. Retie a little less tight than before.
- pull up back of hakama, grab ties, pass them between belt and gi.
- tie back ties in front. There should be about 10 meters of tie left over.
- Fold left tie in half, then half again, then half again, then half again, then half again, then half again, then half again until it forms a sort of pad 10 centimeters long and about twice that thick.
- place folded tie horizontally against stomach.
- take unfolded tie and wrap it around the mass of ties and knots and pads over its entire length until it forms a monstrous bow at your stomach.
- adjust cardboard bit so it fits snugly against your stomach.
- look again at carboard bit, then at the hakamas of instructors watching and laughing their heads off.
- cry.
- undo hakama, get out and start over.

c) Walking with hakama.
- Stand carefully against wall.
- Use cellphone to call ambulance. Say 'Hakama'. Theey'll know.
- wait for paramedics to arrive.
- take one step.
- wait while paramedics treat broken ankle.

Last step: Use shears; cut hakama free from body. Quit aikido; swear off all things Japanese. Go join MMA - it's safer.


Cheers!

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 09-16-2004, 02:17 AM   #2
senseimike
 
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Re: Hakama FAQ

Quote:
Dave Organ wrote:
2) Whare does the Hakama come from?
Japan, ya bonehead.

uhhh.... mine came from Colorado........

Mike Taylor
Godan
Chief Instructor, Rising Star Aikido
South Bend, Nebraska, USA
www.risingstaraikido.com
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Old 09-16-2004, 02:57 AM   #3
Bridge
Dojo: Slough Aikikai
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Re: Hakama FAQ

Thanks for that.

As a matter of fact I'll be wearing one for the first time tonight having only been given permission recently.

Big fears are:
1: Not knowing how to tie the thing.
2: Crashing and falling on face in extremely undignified manner.
3: Crashing and falling on arse in extremely undignified manner.
4: The inevitable, which in this case, is crashing and falling in an extremely undignified manner! Even more so than usual.

Oh, and ironing the thing again. I washed and ironed it to make sure it was nice and clean before wearing. What a fool!
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Old 09-16-2004, 04:26 AM   #4
Natasha Bradley
Dojo: Aikido School Leiden
Location: Leiden
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Re: Hakama FAQ

Thanks for so much information, but I have one serious question, as hopefully I will be allowed to wear a hakama after my nest test:

Will my bum look big in it?

Natasha.
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Old 09-16-2004, 05:08 AM   #5
JJF
 
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Re: Hakama FAQ

Quote:
natasha bradley wrote:
Thanks for so much information, but I have one serious question, as hopefully I will be allowed to wear a hakama after my nest test:

Will my bum look big in it?

Natasha.
Depends of the size.... of the bum AND of the hakama that is

- Jrgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 09-16-2004, 05:49 AM   #6
Bridge
Dojo: Slough Aikikai
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Re: Hakama FAQ

Quote:
natasha bradley wrote:
Thanks for so much information, but I have one serious question, as hopefully I will be allowed to wear a hakama after my nest test:

Will my bum look big in it?

Natasha.
Perhaps that's why black hakama are so popular? Black is very slimming.
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Old 09-16-2004, 07:04 AM   #7
jxa127
Dojo: Itten Dojo -- Mechanicsburg, PA
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Re: Hakama FAQ

Dave,

That was brilliant. Now I know.

Regards,

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 09-16-2004, 01:22 PM   #8
Bronson
 
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Re: Hakama FAQ

I've often said that I find it amazing that a culture that learned to produce one of the finest sword designs in the world couldn't figure out buttons Every damn piece of clothing is tied on

I also believe that the reason samurai always had a blade of some sort with them was to cut themselves out of their hakama in case they had a touch of diarrhea

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 09-16-2004, 01:27 PM   #9
cguzik
Location: Tulsa, OK
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Re: Hakama FAQ

Quote:
Dave Organ wrote:
It has four ties; each about 20 meters long
Geez Dave, how many times do you have to wrap your himo around your body? Twenty meters???
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Old 09-16-2004, 02:49 PM   #10
suren
Dojo: Aikido of Silicon Valley
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Re: Hakama FAQ

I can't stop laughing! I spilled my coffie... Ouch.
Thanks Dave!
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Old 09-16-2004, 03:42 PM   #11
thomas_dixon
Location: Florida, USA
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Re: Hakama FAQ

(in scottish accent) I know how they feel.
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Old 09-18-2004, 11:21 AM   #12
Tatiana
Dojo: Lenwakan
Location: So Paulo
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Tongue Re: Hakama FAQ

LOL!!!! too funny! I think from now on, I'll do my lessons ver nicely, but i won't get the hakama... Thank you very much! LOL!
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Old 09-19-2004, 03:01 PM   #13
Anita Crowhurst
 
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Re: Hakama FAQ

Thanks so much for that!
I did the 'both legs in one side' thing on my hakama's first outing!
It amazes me how little time it's taken me to feel so comfortable in it, but I won't be food shopping in it any time soon.
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Old 10-07-2004, 07:44 AM   #14
John Lilly
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Lynnwood Washington
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Re: Hakama FAQ

"Will my bum look big in it?"

It's not the Hakama.

(sorry couldn't resist!)
John
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Old 10-07-2004, 08:47 AM   #15
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
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Re: Hakama FAQ

We wear hakama only at dan ranks, except that the person teaching a class, no matter what their rank, is expected to wear one. I had the pleasure of being the only student present when a first-kyu friend of mine arrived for his very first class as instructor. He had a look of terror on his face. "Do you know how to tie this thing?" Of course I didn't, being far too junior. We eventually got him sort of knotted into it, and it did stay on through the class, but I'm not sure how....

One bit of revenge you can get is taking the hakama off and handing it to your junior. Another first-kyu did this to me at an outdoors kids' demo. "Here, Mary, you fold this while I talk to people." I quickly collected a crowd of parents and other onlookers saying helpful things like "That must be very tricky" and "Gosh, look at all the little pleats!" and it took me three tries to fold the darned thing.

Mary Kaye
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Old 10-07-2004, 07:42 PM   #16
Keith_k
Dojo: Kim's Hapkido
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Re: Hakama FAQ

reason # 1243 to study hapkido: no hakamas
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Old 10-07-2004, 10:14 PM   #17
xuzen
 
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Re: Hakama FAQ

Quote:
Keith Kolb wrote:
reason # 1243 to study hapkido: no hakamas
So what do they wear during practice? Hugo Boss' overcoat, Rudy Valentino's shirt and Giorgio Armani's pants? Sorry can help it... i am in a cheerul mood today.


Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 10-07-2004, 11:07 PM   #18
Keith_k
Dojo: Kim's Hapkido
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Re: Hakama FAQ

Quote:
Xu Wenfung wrote:
So what do they wear during practice? Hugo Boss' overcoat, Rudy Valentino's shirt and Giorgio Armani's pants? Sorry can help it... i am in a cheerul mood today.


Boon.
The current trend is form-fitting black vinyl.
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Old 10-09-2004, 03:26 AM   #19
p00kiethebear
 
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Re: Hakama FAQ

Just a uhm.. quick question...

Am I the only one here who thinks that a woman in a gi and hakama is damn sexy?

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 10-09-2004, 10:04 AM   #20
Brehan Crawford
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Re: Hakama FAQ

Quote:
Keith Kolb wrote:
The current trend is form-fitting black vinyl.
Sorry to take the thread off-topic but I thought it appropriate to share this:

A couple of folks and I were brainstorming ideas at the dojo to spread the word about Aikido and we thought it might be fun to advertise in SM magazines.

"...A little pain, a lot of pleasure... Aikido!"
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Old 10-10-2004, 03:36 AM   #21
Keith_k
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Re: Hakama FAQ

Brehan: I must admit that I have also wondered at the application of some of these horribly painful techniques to S&M. Perhaps I should take up a side job as a dominatrix?
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Old 10-11-2004, 12:45 AM   #22
Melissa Fischer
Dojo: Tenzan Aikido/Seattle Holistic Center
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Re: Hakama FAQ

Dave,
I can't believe you skipped instructions on how to do the origami style mountain/valley folding job after taking the thing off! That's the hard part. Unless you cut yourself out every time which gets expensive at $100+ per skirt. But, I'm new at this having only a couple of months in the thing. BTW, how long do they usually last?

Melissa
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Old 10-11-2004, 12:56 AM   #23
CNYMike
Dojo: Finger Lakes Aikido
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Re: Hakama FAQ

Quote:
Keith Kolb wrote:
reason # 1243 to study hapkido: no hakamas
Of course, reasons 1-1242 are "NO POOFTAS!" Except for reason six: "There is no reason six."
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Old 10-11-2004, 01:16 AM   #24
CNYMike
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Re: Hakama FAQ

Quote:
Dave Organ wrote:
'Lo all!

Last step: Use shears; cut hakama free from body. Quit aikido; swear off all things Japanese. Go join MMA - it's safer.


Cheers!
-Then get into Shoot. Think stand up Thai Boxing and ground submission grappling couldn't be farther from Aikido if you wanted to. Realize, too late, that it was founded in Japan, and therefore is something Japanese. And you still have to bow. AND use the term Sensei. (Well, we did when Eric Paulson visited in 1999.)
-And on top of that, you have to shelve out hundreds of dollars for bag gloves, boxing gloves, focus mitts, boxing hand wraps, those fingerless gloves, and Thai Boxing shorts that make your butt look too big.
-Realize you're doomed.
-Go join Kali. Hope it's safer.
-Shelve out hundreds of dollars for academy t-shirt, black sweat pants, Kali sticks, and a dagga (you forgot you still had your tanto, didn't you?).
-Realize that between getting your knuckles smashed by other beginners AND the manner in which Kali's complexity melts your brain, the hakama was Aikido's only drawback. Return to your old dojo.
-Hold rummage sale to sell rest of your supplies to poor martial artists. So you still have the blasted hakama, but at least you turned a tidy profit in the end. If only the swelling in your knuckles would go down.

Last edited by CNYMike : 10-11-2004 at 01:21 AM.
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Old 11-02-2004, 05:22 PM   #25
aikidoka87
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Re: Hakama FAQ

Hahahah I started crying i laughed sooo hard. Awesome directions!!!
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