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Old 10-19-2008, 07:01 PM   #1
caelifera
 
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Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

Here's me tiny dilemma in Aikido world.

I recently read that it is considered a kind "gesture" when the highest ranking student folds the head instructor's hakama. The person who normally folds our instructor's hakama recently moved away to become an uchi-deshi. No one has seemed to fill in, so I was wondering if I should.
I'm not the highest ranking (I'm actually one of the newest) and I'm the youngest. So should I or should I not offer to fold it?
Thanks.

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Old 10-20-2008, 11:10 AM   #2
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Re: Should I?

Quote:
Christine Knowling wrote: View Post
Here's me tiny dilemma in Aikido world.

I recently read that it is considered a kind "gesture" when the highest ranking student folds the head instructor's hakama. The person who normally folds our instructor's hakama recently moved away to become an uchi-deshi. No one has seemed to fill in, so I was wondering if I should.
I'm not the highest ranking (I'm actually one of the newest) and I'm the youngest. So should I or should I not offer to fold it?
Thanks.
What, do you think he's gonna fly into a murderous rage? Just ask. He'll either say yes or no.

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Old 10-20-2008, 11:14 AM   #3
Mark Uttech
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Re: Should I?

Onegaishimasu. It is up to you. Simply offer; sensei will say yes or no.

In gassho,

Mark

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Old 10-20-2008, 11:43 AM   #4
Michael Hackett
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Re: Should I?

It is a nice gesture of respect to offer to fold the Sensei's hakama regardless of your rank. Folding the hakama is good experience as well. One of my friends always says that he can tell the quality of one's aikido by the way he folds the hakama. And its relaxing after a good hard class. Offer and then do it well.

Michael
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:50 PM   #5
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Should I?

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
One of my friends always says that he can tell the quality of one's aikido by the way he folds the hakama.
Interesting.... I don't fold the hakama.

To the OP:

Just ask your sensei.

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Old 10-20-2008, 04:39 PM   #6
Charles Hill
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

Hi Christine,

Let me offer some different advice.

First, do you want to fold it? Do you see some kind of benefit?

Second, if yes, don't ask to do it, ask her to show you how to fold it. She will much more likely say yes to that request. Learn to fold the hakama with her hakama. Then the next day go up to her holding out your hand to get her hakama so you can fold it "for practice." It will then streamline and become a habit and you will be the person who folds Sensei's hakama.
Charles
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Old 10-20-2008, 06:45 PM   #7
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

Some customs/tradition do not cross cultural lines very well.
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:20 PM   #8
caelifera
 
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

Thank you everyone.

Powerful, loving, sound-minded spirit. 2Tim 1:7
http://ghoppersgrotto.blogspot.com/
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:58 AM   #9
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

I've been to dojo outside my family group where juniors have offered to fold my hakama for me. I can immediately detect whether they are offering it as a gift from their heart or they are required to do so by their teacher. In either case, I politely thank them and fold it myself, but in the latter, I find that I am quite creeped out.

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Old 01-20-2010, 12:32 PM   #10
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

What if a senior student asks you to go fold Senseis Hakama?

This happened to me and my immediate thought was that's not right, if you want someone to fold Senseis hakama as a sign of respect or otherwise, then they should be first in line. IMO, it should be something that is offered, not requested. Perhaps the senior student thought I would gain something from learning to fold a Hakama, I'm not sure.
Any I respectfully declined with a "No, Thanks".

It's not that I'm against a student folding their Senseis Hakama, but I think the offer should come from the higher ranking students first. IMO a low ranking student offering to fold because none of the higher ranking students offered is a failure of etiquette.

Last edited by patf : 01-20-2010 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:34 PM   #11
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

If it is something you want to learn or do, then ask. The worst that can happen is they say no. Make sure you know how to fold a hakama well before you ask though. If you don't know, then you could have an opportunity to learn. My sensei just hangs his after class. The only time he has people fold his hakama is right before he goes away for a seminar or something. Last time he asked me he started with "Ashley, do you know how to fold a hakama?" knowing darn well that I fold my hakama after every iaido class. I responded with "Sensei, the question is can I fold a hakama well." He then handed me his hakama and responded with "We'll see."

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 01-21-2010, 01:16 PM   #12
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

If is it something you want to do make the offer. From there things will take care of themself.

Lyle Laizure
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Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:06 PM   #13
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

One night my sensei was having some back pain problems and I offered to fold his Hakima for him.He declined but I could tell that it pleased him that I offered so I was glad I did. Just offer to do it if you want to. It is never wrong to be polite.
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:29 PM   #14
Takahama
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

Out of cultural curiosity:

Where does this custom of folding a teacher's hakama come from? Possibly it may have originated from the old-style Japanese deshi system? Or is it simply a spontaneous act of gratitude towards the teacher after training?

Over many years of training here in Japan (Kansai), I've never seen it happen. But on the very rare occasions I've trained back home in the UK I've noticed it.

Somehow I think my teachers would be very surprised and a little uncomfortable about someone proposing to touch their stuff.

Perhaps it may occur in some Japanese dojo and I haven't witnessed it yet. I'm limited to Osaka Aikikai dojo and the odd summer trip to Shingu.
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Old 01-22-2010, 11:37 PM   #15
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

Quote:
Michael Lewis wrote: View Post
Out of cultural curiosity:

Where does this custom of folding a teacher's hakama come from? Possibly it may have originated from the old-style Japanese deshi system? Or is it simply a spontaneous act of gratitude towards the teacher after training?

Over many years of training here in Japan (Kansai), I've never seen it happen. But on the very rare occasions I've trained back home in the UK I've noticed it.

Somehow I think my teachers would be very surprised and a little uncomfortable about someone proposing to touch their stuff.

Perhaps it may occur in some Japanese dojo and I haven't witnessed it yet. I'm limited to Osaka Aikikai dojo and the odd summer trip to Shingu.
Hello Michael,

I have never seen it done outside university clubs in Japan. During University club gasshuku, kohai (usually first year members) were expected to fold not just the hakama, but also the keikogi and obi, and in the prescribed club style, even washing the keikogi, if necessary.

All of the deshi who went to live outside Japan were either members of university clubs or taught at the same clubs and, of course, their hakama and keikogi would have been folded by students.

School and university aikido in Japan presents aspects of the sempai kohai system that I suspect many Americans would find unacceptable.

Best wishes

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Old 01-23-2010, 04:34 AM   #16
Takahama
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Michael,

I have never seen it done outside university clubs in Japan. During University club gasshuku, kohai (usually first year members) were expected to fold not just the hakama, but also the keikogi and obi, and in the prescribed club style, even washing the keikogi, if necessary.

All of the deshi who went to live outside Japan were either members of university clubs or taught at the same clubs and, of course, their hakama and keikogi would have been folded by students.

School and university aikido in Japan presents aspects of the sempai kohai system that I suspect many Americans would find unacceptable.

Best wishes
Ah-ha! Of course, the sempai-kohai system. Thanks for the comment, it makes complete sense to me. Curiosity satisfied!

Interesting how an aspect of such a system has found its way into 'Western' dojo, yet doesn't appear to exist in public dojo here in Japan.
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Old 01-23-2010, 05:47 AM   #17
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

Quote:
Michael Lewis wrote: View Post
Ah-ha! Of course, the sempai-kohai system. Thanks for the comment, it makes complete sense to me. Curiosity satisfied!

Interesting how an aspect of such a system has found its way into 'Western' dojo, yet doesn't appear to exist in public dojo here in Japan.
Michael,

Does Osaka Aikikai Hombu provide teachers for any university clubs? In Hiroshima, since I was a professor at Hiroshima University, I naturally trained hard at the university club. They have calmed down somewhat since I first came to Japan, but there used to be an element of raw, intense, craziness that university sports association (taiikukai) students brought to the martial arts that could match anything that aiki-bunnies are capable of. The spring and summer gasshuku were the prime opportunities for this craziness to be displayed. Sempai/kohai was taken very seriously indeed and the kohai had to address their sempai in appropriately polite Japanese: they still do.

Since I was not a student, I could not be a member of the club, but, in view of my dan rank, I was a kind of surrogate sempai. So, after practice a mudansha student approached and asked if he could fold my keikogi and hakama. At first I said No, but then my 'minder' (who was a fourth year student) came over and earnestly requested me to abide by the conventions of the club. So I accepted. Later, when I became fluent in Japanese and understood the club culture, I understood that my keikogi and hakama were always folded by the same student, who became a sort of deshi. So I would throw him around after practice and give him tips on the finer aspects of waza and ukemi. And he would fold my keikogi and hakama, even in the Yoshinkan style, which I had learned from Minoru Kanetsuka in London. For I used to fold his hakama after practice.

Best,

PAG

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Old 01-23-2010, 06:06 AM   #18
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

Quote:
Michael Lewis wrote: View Post
Interesting how an aspect of such a system has found its way into 'Western' dojo, yet doesn't appear to exist in public dojo here in Japan.
Hello again, Michael,

I have added this post in view of your statement above.

I am also curious and wonder if any other Japan residents can add information. In the Hiroshima Shibu Dojo, no one, but no one, ever folded anyone else's hakama. Even the 7th dan Shibu-cho folded his own.

However, when the university students participated in Shibu training sessions, I was always approached by the student who folded my keikogi and hakama at the university. Since I trained at the university, the sempai-kohai relationship had already been established.

There is a vigorous student aikido culture in Japan which is entirely distinct and separate from that of the 'city' dojos--and I suspect that this 'separate' culture is part of a long tradition. It is similar to the aikido culture of the Japanese armed forces and the Japanese political system, both remaining from the time when O Sensei taught both generals, admirals and politicians. Even Hideki Tojo practised aikido.

PAG

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Old 01-23-2010, 06:51 AM   #19
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

I never saw this done at either of the two Aikikai-affiliated dojo I practiced with in Kumamoto, but I will note that the practice does regularly occur in my koryu iai school. However, it is only our head instructor who has his kit folded by a senior student. Everyone else, regardless of rank or seniority, folds their own.
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Old 01-23-2010, 07:09 PM   #20
Takahama
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Michael,

Does Osaka Aikikai Hombu provide teachers for any university clubs?
Good morning!

Of the top of my head, I believe that Hombu teachers are sent to Kansai Daigaku which is only about a 20 minute bicycle ride from Hombu dojo. I think there is also a teacher sent to Ritsumeikan in Kyoto. They attend yearly gasshuku in Nara and embukai in Suita. There are probably links with other University clubs in the area but I'd need to ask to find out.

Furthermore, if memory serves me I think that almost all of the current younger full-time teachers - certainly in the years that I have trained there - have been 'harvested' from KanDai.

Regards,

Michael

Last edited by Takahama : 01-23-2010 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:33 PM   #21
Chris Li
 
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

Quote:
Brett Charvat wrote: View Post
I never saw this done at either of the two Aikikai-affiliated dojo I practiced with in Kumamoto, but I will note that the practice does regularly occur in my koryu iai school. However, it is only our head instructor who has his kit folded by a senior student. Everyone else, regardless of rank or seniority, folds their own.
In 12-13 years training in Japan I folded an instructor's hakama exactly once, but that was kind of a special occasion. My wife (who's Japanese) was kind of horrified by the whole concept...

OTOH, it was standard practice to fold the instructor's hakama in ASU under Saotome when I was there. Some places in Hawaii follow that practice but not (usually) where I train.

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-24-2010, 11:51 AM   #22
Eric Webber
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

Christine - my opinion is that if it is something that has some meaning for you, offer to fold your teacher's hakama. The teacher will either accept or decline, may even give some insight as to how the practice came to be in your dojo.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:00 PM   #23
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

I am sure your sensei would rather you do this;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQesNj3W0bM
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:54 PM   #24
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Talking Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
I am sure your sensei would rather you do this;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQesNj3W0bM
LMAO!!!
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:23 PM   #25
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Re: Should I Fold My Sensei's Hakama?

I've been folding my sensei's hakama since a few months after I began training. I think I started by Sensei and a couple of other people saying that it would be good for me to know how, and I asked a sempai to show me how to fold it, and then I became the primary folder of the hakama.
I think it's an honor to fold the hakama. It shows respect and appreciation toward Sensei or sempai.

-Risu
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