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Old 07-24-2002, 02:32 PM   #1
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
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Question non-dan ranks in hakama

Hi all, how about a discussion on wearing hakama if you are not a dan rank? How do you feel about it? What about organizations where women wear hakama, but men do not?
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Old 07-24-2002, 03:16 PM   #2
rachmass
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Smile

Guess that since I posed the question, I'll have to put in my two cents first

I would love to see uniformity among the different organizations (even within) about this. In some dojos, women wear hakama as soon as they step on the mat. I know this has to do with modesty issues, but it puts women at a disadvantage. I've seen situations where women are just assumed to be beginners and the junior man starts "teaching" the woman how to do aikido. Or otherwise, looking around to see the color of her belt. IMHO it just puts women into another class.

Another instance can be that a newer person is wearing a hakama and you just expect them to be able to take ukemi (okay, that would be my fault for not being a bit more sensitive), and train a bit too vigorously, and maybe hurt them (and that would be awful).

Okay everybody, write away
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Old 07-24-2002, 03:49 PM   #3
Nacho_mx
Dojo: Federación Mexicana de Aikido
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My school is Aikikai affiliated, so all yudansha are required to wear the hakama. For the women the hakama is optional up until their dan test. Some wear it, but most not (after all at $200 U.S.D. a piece it´s expensive, specially for a beginner). Since we have very few women, it´s easy to keep track of them, so there are no confusions.
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Old 07-24-2002, 03:57 PM   #4
Thalib
 
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Well... when O-sensei started Aikido, all his students where Hakama, if I'm not mistaken that is.

In our organization, women of 3rd kyu could start wearing Hakama and, for men, 1st dan. This bothers none.

Just remember, when one starts wearing Hakama, there is a responsibility that comes with it. Many only treat it as a piece of fancy clothing, but in Aikido the Hakama worn is the Samurai's Hakama. "What's the difference?", one might ask. The Hakama that is worn for an Aikidoka has 7 folds, each representing the 7 pillars of Budo. The Iga Hakama that is worn by Ninjutsu practitioners has no folds at all, to them such code is pointless.

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
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Old 07-24-2002, 04:07 PM   #5
Erik
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Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
I know this has to do with modesty issues
What modesty issues? So I can't see your underwear when your pants fall down because of the cheap-ass waist strap on the cheap-ass gi you were sold? Hell, I can see way more walking down the street. And it's not immodest when some guy's pants drop and he gives us a prime shot of his hairy butt? It's not modesty. A gi is about the most sexually neutral clothing worn on the planet, particularly a Judo heavy weight gi.

It's absolutely discriminatory. I'll go on record and say that I think having a different standard in this case is 100% ASININE. Women karateka, TKD players, Judoka and whatever other martial art you choose all manage just fine in their gi's. We can manage fine too.
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Old 07-24-2002, 04:11 PM   #6
Bruce Baker
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Inside/ outside/ wrong impressions

I understand the concern of women who are treated like beginners, but as much as I visit different dojos and meet different people, I cannot count on my fingers and toes, the times well studied students tried to teach. This is not with advanced kyu rank students, but with dan rank holders who regard men with hakama's as seasoned practictioners. Maybe they are looking for an overall skill level, but most times it is a bad judgement based upon viewing a black belt of hakama.

My talent is not to use muscle, but to effect my training partners movement within a wave of energy, not muscle.

Some people have an affinity to throws, some to falls, some to being uke, and some to nage, but my specialty is being able to feel the tension in my partner. Maybe that is a holdover from my karate / jujitsu training where a cry of pain or fervent slap was the indicator of enough pain. Sometimes not draging uke around like a rag doll indicates less skill to the senior students of a dojo.

This seems to be a bone of contention when visiting new dojos or meeting new people who expect that all students are advance by fast flying ukemi or that those wearing hakama's are the leaders of the dojo who must acclamate the lesser skilled students.

Whether it is the woman who wears a hakama, or a visitor who at first doesn't do everything quite the way sensei is teaching, putting up with this teaching attitude is part of the learning curve. Some beginners are incensed, others are put off, but ... sooner or later, as you advance you will be asked to show basics to someone someday. If you don't like it, find another teacher, or dojo.

Until you can put aside your own ego, take it as a learning curve, or until you have to hold back from really hurting your partner, you are just gonna have to put up with it. Once you get really good, you can laugh because your Aikido is really on track, and physically happening, I don't think that it really matters at that point anymore. But it will take a while to get there.

My own opinion of Hakama's is that it should not be an option for anyone to wear until first kyu, when most practitioners begin to teach. Either that, or until you pass first dan.

I really don't like colored belt testing either. The simplicity of White Belts and Black Belts should be enough.

Western vision? Maybe. But then again, we are taking what works for us and changing it, no doubt we will soon have more names for the variations that are taking place as Aikido will be forced to examine larger area of knowledge in martial arts.

Aikido that is not Aikido but it is Aikido?

Just like hakama's going out of style, it just might happen.
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Old 07-24-2002, 04:12 PM   #7
akiy
 
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Quote:
Ignacio Jaramillo (Nacho_mx) wrote:
Some wear it, but most not (after all at $200 U.S.D. a piece it´s expensive, specially for a beginner).
I don't think I've ever paid $200 for a hakama. The most expensive hakama from Bu Jin Design is $160 and the cheapest $100. Mugendo Bugodu sells hakama as cheap as $50. I think the most expensive I've paid is $150 for a cotton, indigo hakama from Iwata. Of course, you can pay more, but it's not necessary to spend $200 for a hakama.

Here's the results of the poll I held a couple of years back which asked, "Do you think everyone, regardless of gender and rank, should wear a hakama in aikido? "

http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=21

I've personally worn a hakama since near the beginning of my training -- probably at or right after my first test?

-- Jun

Last edited by akiy : 07-24-2002 at 04:17 PM.

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Old 07-24-2002, 04:30 PM   #8
Nacho_mx
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In Mexico there is not a national manufacturer of martial arts clothing that produces hakamas, nor many martial art stores or sports equipment suppliers that carry them, so they have to be imported directly from Japan (Iwata, cotton, indigo or black, very good quality) and they have to pay a high import tax plus shipment costs. I agree it´s expensive.
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Old 07-24-2002, 04:33 PM   #9
Steven
 
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Quote:
Erik Haselhofer (Erik) wrote:
What modesty issues? So I can't see your underwear when your pants fall down because of the cheap-ass waist strap on the cheap-ass gi you were sold? Hell, I can see way more walking down the street. And it's not immodest when some guy's pants drop and he gives us a prime shot of his hairy butt? It's not modesty. A gi is about the most sexually neutral clothing worn on the planet, particularly a Judo heavy weight gi.

It's absolutely discriminatory. I'll go on record and say that I think having a different standard in this case is 100% ASININE. Women karateka, TKD players, Judoka and whatever other martial art you choose all manage just fine in their gi's. We can manage fine too.
Not to derail this but on the same line, at my home dojo we had a guy who wore quite a variety of colored and patterned boxers. All of which could be seen through his lightweight karate gi worn during the summer. Add sweat to that and you have quite a colorful rear side. I think the ladies got the biggest kick out of it as they had a pool going as to what pattern/color he'd be in for the next class.

LOL!
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Old 07-24-2002, 04:43 PM   #10
Nacho_mx
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In Japan they seem to regard the gi as some kind of underwear, so the japanese gentlemen in the locker room didn´t wear any (underwear that is)under their pants.
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Old 07-24-2002, 04:58 PM   #11
Kevin Wilbanks
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I come from an ASU school where anyone can wear a hakama whenever they choose to. According to Saotome Sensei (from one of his books), O'Sensei REQUIRED everyone to wear hakama, or they were not allowed to train. Saotome says that they are a traditional part of the art, and that you should wear one as soon as you feel committed enough to buy one - that any association with rank is a new and unfortunate invention, and sexist rules even more unfortunate. His thoughts are the most reasonable I've read on the subject.

Why anyone is in favor of using the hakama for the purpose of highlighting hierarchical or sexual differences between students is beyond me. They are tradition, and they add dignity and beauty to Aikido practice, and that should be that.

On a humorous note, I already had a hakama when I started Aikido (from prior Iaijutsu study). I began wearing it my first week, whereas most people at our dojo wait many months. Further background: I am a fast learner, and am endowed with perhaps too much confidence in many things. Anyway, a couple weeks later, during free practice, I got thrown on my head with a sacrifice throw, because my Nage assumed I had far more experience than I did. Oh well. Also, within the first few months, I got punched in the nose by Sensei, hard! Didn't break it, though. I actually enjoyed the challenge of launching myself into intense practice right away. I got banged up a bit, but it was a great education.

K.
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Old 07-24-2002, 06:12 PM   #12
rachmass
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The modesty thing was told to me by someone in a dojo who requires all women to wear hakama. She said that the dojo-cho considered the gi as pajamas for women (why not men?) and it was immodest to be on the mat without a hakama. For that matter, women were also not allowed to fold their hakama on the mat and had to do that in the dressing room. This is for clarification for Erik Haselhofer who might not have understood where I picked this up.
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Old 07-24-2002, 06:59 PM   #13
jimvance
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Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
The modesty thing was told to me by someone in a dojo who requires all women to wear hakama. She said that the dojo-cho considered the gi as pajamas for women (why not men?) and it was immodest to be on the mat without a hakama. For that matter, women were also not allowed to fold their hakama on the mat and had to do that in the dressing room.
Kimono (clothing) for women are by their very nature de-feminizing (is that a word?). The male dominant society of Japan does not like to include women for much. They have a particular aversion to seeing women as curvy and feminine, as is typical or maybe a little overdone in the West, and heaven forbid seeing legs and a crotch. (Sailor Moon is popular with boys and girls for this very reason.)

This is the same society whose national sport consists of two large, mostly fat men dressed in an oversized loincloth ramming into each other (I love sumo, by the way). If men and women in Japanese society are going to participate with one another, there are very clear lines of engagement. If they are going to practice budo, touch bodies and rub around on each other, well then better make sure there are really clear lines of engagement....

Sound crazy? Maybe, maybe not.

Jim Vance
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Old 07-24-2002, 09:08 PM   #14
guest1234
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Rachel--I think Erik understood the rationale you'd been told (we've all heard it before) he was just pointing out how really stupid it is (as in, oh, women 6th through 4th kyu can be immodest, but modesty begins at 3rd, not until dan for men...just plain dumb).

As for guys assuming women don't know anything and 'teaching' a senior, happens no matter what either is wearing. Trust me. When I get tired of being 'taught' I usually dump them really hard on their butts. If I'm lucky I get to do it twice before they catch on and shut up.

Ignacio--good point about the import costs, import tax was what I assumed when $200 was mentioned, a lot of Americans forget what things can cost in other countries.

I think hakamas should be gender-neutral, I don't really care when one starts to wear them, but it should not be based on what equipment is hidden beneath the hakama.
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Old 07-24-2002, 09:13 PM   #15
SeiserL
 
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At our school, Tenshinkai Aikido, women can wear a blue hakama for modesty, brown belts wear a blue hakama too. Black belts and above wear black.

I thinks its up to the style, the Sensei, and the school to establish what works for them. Its not for me to say. More of that enter and blend with what is.

Until again,

Lynn

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 07-24-2002, 09:29 PM   #16
MaylandL
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Re: non-dan ranks in hakama

Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
Hi all, how about a discussion on wearing hakama if you are not a dan rank? How do you feel about it? What about organizations where women wear hakama, but men do not?
Hello Rachel

There is some comments about wearing a hakama on:

http://www.aikidofaq.com/misc/hakama.html

IMHO, I subscribe to the view that anyone who wants to can wear a hakama and the comments in the article on the above website. That's a personal opinion. I train at two dojos where the rules regarding hakamas are different. One dojo, only yudansha grades can wear hakamas. Women with kyu grades can choose to wear a hakama if they want. The other dojo I train at: yundashas wear a hakama and kyu grades with the permission of Sensei can wear a hakama if they choose.

There are women and men who do not wear hakamas at the dojos that I train at and there are absolutely no modesty problems that I have encountered.

The use of the hakama at the dojos that I train at is more of a symbol of rank and seniority than anything else. Personally I don't agree with this but I understand that there are some rules and practices that are specific to dojos.

Its an interesting question though and I think I'll ask my Senseis at both Dojos for their thoughts on the matter. It'll be interesting to see the origins of the practice.

All the best for training and the best of luck for your dojo.

Mayland
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Old 07-24-2002, 10:25 PM   #17
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Fancy Pants

Sensei told me hakama is to differentiate between those who can take ukemi and those who can't. When he calls on someone he looks for a hakama, that's all. And that starts at 3rd kyu (it's a hefty 3rd kyu, fyi).

--Chuck
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Old 07-24-2002, 10:32 PM   #18
akiy
 
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Re: Fancy Pants

Quote:
Chuck Kuske (nyaikido) wrote:
Sensei told me hakama is to differentiate between those who can take ukemi and those who can't. When he calls on someone he looks for a hakama, that's all. And that starts at 3rd kyu (it's a hefty 3rd kyu, fyi).
Does that mean that in order to attain 3rd kyu, a person has to have a certain level of ability in ukemi at your dojo?

-- Jun

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Old 07-25-2002, 12:03 AM   #19
Erik
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Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
The modesty thing was told to me by someone in a dojo who requires all women to wear hakama. She said that the dojo-cho considered the gi as pajamas for women (why not men?) and it was immodest to be on the mat without a hakama. For that matter, women were also not allowed to fold their hakama on the mat and had to do that in the dressing room. This is for clarification for Erik Haselhofer who might not have understood where I picked this up.
Hi Rachel! Colleen is right. We've been here before.

Anyways, I recognize my first post was a bit strong but it just drives me nuts that we do this.
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Old 07-25-2002, 02:41 AM   #20
erikmenzel
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Isnt the entire discussion at which grade one ought to wear a hakama just a cleverly disguised discusion of satisfying ones ego by wearing some visible markers?

Just like a obi a hakama is just a piece of cloth anyway.

Erik Jurrien Menzel
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Old 07-25-2002, 06:28 AM   #21
Randy Pertiet
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At our club, 1st kyu on up wear a black hakama for both women and men. I myself am looking more forward to the hakama than shodan at this point.
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Old 07-25-2002, 06:50 AM   #22
rachmass
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At our dojo, only yudansha wear hakama. Pretty much everyone wears white belts, yudansha and mudansha alike. Some wear black belts when away from the dojo. Sensei wears a white belt. It is really interesting to hear everyones comments, and what is standard in their dojo. There really is a broad spectrum of how/when it is worn. Thank you everyone for your comments.
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Old 07-25-2002, 06:57 AM   #23
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We wear a white belt and no hakama until 3. kyu. 3. to 1. kyu wear white belt and a hakama and shodan up wears a black belt and a hakama. Black is traditional hakama-color but dark blue is accepted.

EXCEPT when we do Iaido where everyone can wear a hakama if they want to.

- Jřrgen Jakob Friis

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Old 07-25-2002, 08:22 AM   #24
erikmenzel
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At our dojo everybody, including the teacher wears a white belt.

Most people training over 2 year at our place wear a hakama. It is just part of the uniform.

Erik Jurrien Menzel
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Old 07-25-2002, 08:38 AM   #25
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Interesting Story.....

When I was a relative newbie (5 kyu) I was traveling alot and getting exposed to a wide variety of Aikido schools. I would pack my gi and hakama everwhere I went. I made the naive assumption that everyone wore the hakama once they were comfortable with it ( I come from an ASU dojo). I went to a dojo in San Diego and got pretty well thrashed to show me the "error of my ways". Nothing overt and all done in the course of "practice" but it left a very bad taste in my mouth.
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