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Old 03-22-2013, 12:32 PM   #1
Ethan Weisgard
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Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

Hello fellow aikidoka,

I was reading the fascinating book "Mishima's Sword" by Christopher Ross and came across his description of Mishima's preparation for his final stand. He mentioned that Mishima prepared himself for his last day on this earth by stepping into his hakama right foot first. This is explained as being symbolic of wearing the hakama for the last time. It reminds me of "hidari mae" - the wearing of the uwagi with the left side on top of the right, which, as you probably know, is only done once in your life, and that is the last time - unless you are a poor unsuspecting newbie from outside Yamato.

There is a story of a foreign woman being carried out of the Yoshinkan Hombu because she inadvertently had put on her uwagi hidari mae, but this is off-topic.

When researching the subject of which leg to put in first, regarding the hakama, it seems that there are rightist and leftist camps out there ;-)

I thought I would stoke the fire and put this question out there. It also opensfor the many options of alternative approaches, such as both legs at the same time, or both legs in the same side ( this version was done by a sempai in Iwama, after an afternoon of socializing with Saito Sensei in the shokudo - self-inflicted kuzushi being the result).

Looking forward to hearing from you!

In aiki,
Ethan Weisgard
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Old 03-22-2013, 02:31 PM   #2
Cliff Judge
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

If I were to ever find myself in a dojo with a protocol for which leg to put into the hakama first, I would put my hakama back into my bag and walk right out of there.
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Old 03-22-2013, 03:05 PM   #3
lbb
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

For all I know, there is indeed some kind of left-vs-right protocol for putting on one's hakama; OTOH, consider the source. I believe that Mishima was what folks in my rustic country town refer to as a "nut case". Such types are notoriously poor sources of information on questions of comme il faut.
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Old 03-22-2013, 03:14 PM   #4
Hellis
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

The true way is to pull the hakama over your head like a dress and shimmey it down ( preferably with music ) until it is about an inch off the mat - works every time.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`.
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
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Old 03-22-2013, 04:03 PM   #5
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
The true way is to pull the hakama over your head like a dress and shimmey it down ( preferably with music ) until it is about an inch off the mat - works every time.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`.
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
Can't wait to see this on Youtube!

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Old 03-22-2013, 05:03 PM   #6
barron
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Talking Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

Rule #1. One leg in each
Rule # 2 Don't put it on like "Japanese" actors in Bruce Lee movies
Rule # 3 Tie around waist, not below butt ( ie gangsta)
Rule # 4 Don't go Commando
Rule # 5 Alway buy with extra long ties/belts to allow for aging/waist expansion

Andrew Barron
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:18 PM   #7
phitruong
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

Quote:
Andrew Barron wrote: View Post
Rule #1. One leg in each
Rule # 2 Don't put it on like "Japanese" actors in Bruce Lee movies
Rule # 3 Tie around waist, not below butt ( ie gangsta)
Rule # 4 Don't go Commando
Rule # 5 Alway buy with extra long ties/belts to allow for aging/waist expansion
no true aikidoka would follow rule #4

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 03-22-2013, 10:34 PM   #8
Janet Rosen
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

You put the left leg in you put the left leg out
You put the right leg in and you shake it all about
You do the hakama pakama and turn yourself about
That's what it's all about

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:47 PM   #9
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

Well, in Japanese culture, most things have an order. I wouldn't read anything mystical into it though.
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Old 03-23-2013, 03:08 AM   #10
Hellis
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Can't wait to see this on Youtube!
Mary

Don't tempt me - combine my true way with Janets version, we could be on to a YouTube sensation.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
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Old 03-23-2013, 08:50 AM   #11
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

It all has meaning, although even within Japanese culture, the details are not necessarily understood. Just as I might not identify the tartan of a particular Scottish clan, a native of Japan might not know the details of a particular hakama. But it has meaning.

Usually, in my experience, Ifve found it is better to know as much as you can. You are better off connected to the minds of others.
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Old 03-23-2013, 09:54 AM   #12
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Mary

Don't tempt me - combine my true way with Janets version, we could be on to a YouTube sensation.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
Watch out Harlem Shake.

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Old 03-23-2013, 10:19 AM   #13
Rob Watson
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

Everyone knows the correct method is to put a hak on from the inside then go out otherwise one is smply using empty external forms.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:27 AM   #14
Dazaifoo
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

I just pulled this from a book on Noh that I'm reading titled 疲れない体をつくる「和」の身体作法。
page 82.
"昔の人は足袋を履くときも、袴を穿く時も、必ず左からはきました。これから行動(陽の行為)を起こす為ですから、左からはくのです。そして袴を右から穿くのは「陰」の行 為するとき、すなわち死に赴く時だけ、切腹のときだけだといわれています"

Basically yeah, you go left foot first because right foot is bad. The dreaded In and Yo are called into play so yes, even putting on your hakama could be considered internal training. (Yeegads!) I apologize for my poor translation, but I just came back in from late night O Hanami and my head is throbbing from the rotgut sake (cheapskates...). Just thought it funny that this question would come up the same day that I read about it. Fire it into google translate or get a more sober soul to do it.

Cheers, and good night.
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:53 AM   #15
graham christian
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

I bet none of you know the Hakama originated in india and it's purpose was to keep out insects.

http://youtu.be/BG7H-0yKAEM

Peace.G.
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:46 AM   #16
Dan Rubin
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

Quote:
Ethan Weisgard wrote: View Post
It reminds me of "hidari mae" - the wearing of the uwagi with the left side on top of the right, which, as you probably know, is only done once in your life, and that is the last time - unless you are a poor unsuspecting newbie from outside Yamato.

There is a story of a foreign woman being carried out of the Yoshinkan Hombu because she inadvertently had put on her uwagi hidari mae, but this is off-topic.
I think you have it backwards. The kimono and uwagi are worn with the left side over (outside of) the right, until death, despite the literal meaning of hidarimae:

"When the kimono shroud was completed, the body of the deceased was carefully dressed with the right front overlapping the left front, which is known as the hidarimae manner. (Normally, a kimono is worn with the left front panel overlapping the right front panel.) In ancient times the Japanese had worn their kimono the hidarimae way. But this custom began to change in the seventh century, when Chinese court costumes were introduced. Because the Chinese wore their costumes overlapped in the opposite direction, there was a period of confusion: some Japanese held to the old way; some adopted the Chinese way. Finally, in the eighth century, Emperor Gensho (715-723) instituted a dress code that required the Japanese to wear their kimono with the left front over the right. After that, wearing a kimono hidarimae was avoided in Japan; it was considered an omen of misfortune or even death. The issei immigrants to Hawaii of course brought these beliefs with them. Issei mothers would reprimand their children for inadvertently wearing their bedtime kimono overlapped the wrong way, and mothers would become especially upset if their daughters wore their kimono in the hidarimae manner on New Year's Day, since that might mean that the whole year would be unlucky. A plantation mother might say, "You wearing make man style?" (Make means dead in Hawaiian.) To this day, when issei women see people of other ethnic groups at Obon dances or teahouse parties wearing kimono the hidarimae way, they have the same reaction: they feel it is a bad omen. The younger-generation Japanese probably do not even notice."

Barbara F. Kawakami, Japanese Immigrant Clothing in Hawaii 1885-1941 (Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 1993), pp.182-183.
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:27 PM   #17
SeaGrass
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

I was taught to step in the hakama with your left foot first, same when stepping through the dojo entrance. We don't wear pants underneath hakama like aikido folks do. Wearing pants over pants is a little overkill . Let me tell you, those side vents are awesome during summer!
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:48 PM   #18
Janet Rosen
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Mary

Don't tempt me - combine my true way with Janets version, we could be on to a YouTube sensation.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
Henry, sorry there's an ocean and continent keeping us from collaborating... on second thought... for the world's sake, perhaps just as well!

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:40 PM   #19
Steven
 
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
The true way is to pull the hakama over your head like a dress and shimmey it down ( preferably with music ) until it is about an inch off the mat - works every time.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`.
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
Brilliantly awesome!
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:55 AM   #20
JJF
 
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

This seem to call upon the humorous side of most people. Maybe as an indication that it is not a matter that most aikido-ka pay a lot of attention. Maybe some just know how it should be done and the rest of us make yet another of those mistake that come from doing an art from a different culture.

Personally I put it on any which way that will get me the on the mat the fastest in the given situation...

Well... of to Easter seminar.. six days of keiko.. Waaaa....

JJF

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Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:18 PM   #21
Hellis
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Henry, sorry there's an ocean and continent keeping us from collaborating... on second thought... for the world's sake, perhaps just as well!
Janet

I am planning on crossing that big ocean in the near future - so keep your dancing feet in trim.

Henry

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:22 PM   #22
Janet Rosen
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Janet

I am planning on crossing that big ocean in the near future - so keep your dancing feet in trim.

Henry

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
Henry, if you make it to the Left Coast, holler! Drinks on me...on second thought some of you Brits can put the drinks away...first drink is on me!

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:10 AM   #23
ChrisMikk
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

Quote:
Ethan Weisgard wrote: View Post
It reminds me of "hidari mae" - the wearing of the uwagi with the left side on top of the right, which, as you probably know, is only done once in your life, and that is the last time - unless you are a poor unsuspecting newbie from outside Yamato.

There is a story of a foreign woman being carried out of the Yoshinkan Hombu because she inadvertently had put on her uwagi hidari mae, but this is off-topic.
Ethan, I am in Yamato right now, training in a Yoshinkan dojo, and we are all wearing the left side on top of the right. Sorry. Best, Chris

クリス の 合気ブログ Kyoto Kenshusei
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:45 AM   #24
Dave Gallagher
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

This could divide people into groups known as left footers and right footers. This would have a different meaning in Ireland and is about the use of a shovel.

It is the duty of the strong to protect the weak.
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:27 AM   #25
Ethan Weisgard
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Re: Hakama protocol: left or right leg first?

Yes, I knew that this would liven things up a bit :-) First of all, my explanation of hidarimae was incorrect. Sorry about that - oyurushi wo ;-) The wrapping of the right side of the kimono /uwagi / haori / happi etc. to the left is the hidarimae version.
I love the different responses - both the light-hearted ones as well as the serious.
I personally like the traditions and protocol that you find in Aikido / Budo. There is a spiritual layer that is to be found in the "kata" of things in the Budo tradition and I find this very fascinating. I understand that some people have more of a pragmatic attitude towards these things and I respect that completely. To each his/her own.
I have asked Isoyama Sensei from the Ibaraki Shibu Dojo about this question and I have received a very good explanation. I will come back with the parts that relate to the subject as soon as I have translated it.
The gist of his reply is that there are differences in the reigi saho of Aikido in comparison to other forms of Budo. Especially the beginning with the left leg when going into seiza etc. is based on the defensive, non-aggresive attitude embodied in the spirit of Aikido. This seems to be his point when stepping with the left leg into the hakama as well.

In aiki,
Ethan
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