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Old 03-29-2003, 04:06 PM   #26
Kevin Wilbanks
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Another counter to the likely made-up explanation of hiding one's feet is that in some periods, the style for hakama length were very short - like halfway up the shin.

There's a similar thing I always thought was bogus. Some say that when holding the sword at waist level with the blade pointing down and back that you should angle it such that the opponent cannot see it. like this is going to be some big advantage. I mean aren't you supposed to be in a freakin' sword duel? If your opponent is so stupid as to not wonder why you are standing with some surprise tucked behind you, or, worse, to have forgotten that you were just holding him at bay with a sword pointed at him only seconds before, how much tactical advantage are you really going to need anyway?
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Old 03-29-2003, 06:22 PM   #27
Kent Enfield
 
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Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
There's a similar thing I always thought was bogus. Some say that when holding the sword at waist level with the blade pointing down and back that you should angle it such that the opponent cannot see it. like this is going to be some big advantage. I mean aren't you supposed to be in a freakin' sword duel? If your opponent is so stupid as to not wonder why you are standing with some surprise tucked behind you, or, worse, to have forgotten that you were just holding him at bay with a sword pointed at him only seconds before, how much tactical advantage are you really going to need anyway?
That position is most commonly known as "wakigamae." Your opponent not seeing the weapon isn't supposed to hide the fact that you have a weapon. It hides how long it is, and to some extant what you're doing with it.

But, of course, those arn't the main features of wakigamae, just small bonuses.

Kentokuseisei
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Old 03-29-2003, 07:24 PM   #28
Kevin Wilbanks
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To me, it seems like the main feauture of the position should be that you've got a comfortable, secure grip on the sword and you're in the most ready-to-move position possible. I have not found any way to 'hide' it in which this is the case - it always involves cocking the wrists and/or arms awkwardly, which results in a slower start and a less relaxed/neutral feeling stance. If I had to get in real sword fights, I don't think I'd ever waste a minute of training trying to work out concealing the blade in that stance. The opponent pretty much knows what you've got and the range of things you can do with it from that position. Who gets cut would seem to be mostly about execution, timing, speed, etc... If you want stealth, hide in the bushes or sneak up on them.
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Old 03-30-2003, 12:40 AM   #29
mike lee
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patience

The hakama thread was interesting while it lasted. But I'm glad to hear that some are interested in sword work. Nevertheless, the connection seems to be samurai, swords, and maybe horses. (Now when I tie all those straps I'll think about holding my horses.)
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Old 03-30-2003, 02:35 AM   #30
n0mad
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http://www.loyola.edu/maru/hakama.html
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Old 03-30-2003, 02:59 AM   #31
mike lee
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just the facts ma'am

The problem with this site is that no sources are given. A lot of "urban aikido legends" start this way. It may be true, but based on what?
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Old 03-30-2003, 02:27 PM   #32
Don_Modesto
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Quote:
Greg Jennings wrote:
Hi Modesto Sensei:

DJM: Hmm! Flattering that, but if "Peter" works for Professor Goldsbury, "Don" will work for me. Thanks.

My bad, I meant Joba, not "Juba". If I understand the term correctly, it refers to horse riding. I can't remember where I originally picked up the term. But I distinctly remember them being called "joba hakama" and it was supposed to translate to "horse riding clothing that one steps into" or something like that.

DJM: Thanks.

None of that addresses Goldsbury Sensei's comments, however, about the correctness of them actually being for horse riding. I'd found that interesting and would like to hear more.

DJM: Me, too.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 03-30-2003, 03:24 PM   #33
WilliamWessel
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I was always under the impression that they were sorta like chaps, and then when the samurai or whatnot dismounted, they continued to wear them out of tradition and to help hide the movements of the legs.
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Old 03-30-2003, 05:52 PM   #34
Kent Enfield
 
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Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
To me, it seems like the main feauture of the position should be that you've got a comfortable, secure grip on the sword and you're in the most ready-to-move position possible. I have not found any way to 'hide' it in which this is the case - it always involves cocking the wrists and/or arms awkwardly, which results in a slower start and a less relaxed/neutral feeling stance.
And as I tell beginning kendo students, "If the right way always felt comfortable and natural, everyone would be master swordsmen. Now, we know not everyone is a master swordsman." Sure it was awkward at first, but so is chudan. Now I find wakigamae comfortable and secure. Like everything, it just takes practice.

Wakigamae is on the defensive side of the spectrum anyway. If you want "most ready-to-move," you want jodan, but that's certainly not a "relaxed/neutral feeling stance." (There's a reason it's sometimes referred to as hi no kamae.)

Now what did this have to do with giant pants?

Kentokuseisei
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Old 03-30-2003, 05:57 PM   #35
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Don J. Modesto (Don_Modesto) wrote:
Hmm! Flattering that, but if "Peter" works for Professor Goldsbury, "Don" will work for me. Thanks.
Roger that. I'll call you "Don". However, I've always called Goldsbury Sensei "Goldsbury Sensei".

I believe you and I have been at the same seminars, but haven't been introduced.

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 03-31-2003, 12:56 AM   #36
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A few thoughts with no foundation, but wasn't kimono the main form of wear back then? Not very practical on horseback, I can see how hakama could be introduced for horse riding. I don't think there was much in the way of cow and sheep herding going on back then either, so maybe there wasn't really a need to make them out of anything but cotton. How about the leather industry, land is a premium due to the vast quantity of mountains?

Someone above mentioned sumo wrestlers, they still wear kimono today. I used to live next to a very famous sumo dojo in Tokyo. It was quite common to see the wrestlers in full kimon stocking up on snacks in the local 7/11.

For waht it's worth.

regards

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 03-31-2003, 02:42 AM   #37
jimvance
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hakama-itis

Quote:
Bryan wrote:
...but wasn't kimono the main form of wear back then? Not very practical on horseback, I can see how hakama could be introduced for horse riding.
Exactly! You could say that riding horses on the saddles we use sort of invented pants. Ask most any Scotsman (or some construction workers nowadays), and they say a kilt is much nicer to wear, leaving the legs free to move. Leggings were always something needed for hunting and riding, two things that may have contributed to the pants being worn by a warrior class.

A couple more points to consider: Japanese clothing follows a very rectangular pattern and seeks to form the body into a uniform pattern. This could account for the more voluminous nature of the hakama, which also has the ability to be both warm and cool when circumstances dictated. Hakama worn in the presence of high ranking officials were supposed to reduce movement (possibly a form of self defense?) while creating a greater sense of deference from those wearing them (they were hard to move around in, requiring focus and poise). Look at some of the examples that still abound in the kabuki....

The urban legends of "hiding one's feet" may persist despite more probable reasons, but one final rejoinder to them might be this: If someone belonged to a culture that dressed this way, don't you think they could tell where someone's feet were through familiarity with the medium (clothing)? As my teacher likes to point out, your feet are hooked to your ass, and people can still see THAT plain and simple while wearing hakama.

Jim Vance
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Old 03-31-2003, 07:22 AM   #38
Kevin Wilbanks
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Quote:
Kent Enfield wrote:
And as I tell beginning kendo students, "If the right way always felt comfortable and natural, everyone would be master swordsmen. Now, we know not everyone is a master swordsman." Sure it was awkward at first, but so is chudan. Now I find wakigamae comfortable and secure. Like everything, it just takes practice.

Wakigamae is on the defensive side of the spectrum anyway. If you want "most ready-to-move," you want jodan, but that's certainly not a "relaxed/neutral feeling stance." (There's a reason it's sometimes referred to as hi no kamae.)
I'm not buying either of these arguments. My point was about movement economy, not the learning curve. If I argued the superiority of a boxer's stance with fists raised over a horse stance with fists cocked near the waist because the fists are more ready for action, would you say that chambering them at the waist was just as good if only one practiced enough?

Likewise, just because another position is more 'ready-to-move' does this imply one doesn't need to be ready to move in this one?

Incidentally, jodan and chudan feel plenty comfortable and mechanically sound to me. No funny wrist cocking or ulterior stealth motives seem to be involved either.

As far as the relation to hakama length, I already stated that I think concealing the sword in this position is another instance of a bogus legend/myth.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 03-31-2003 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 04-01-2003, 12:44 AM   #39
n0mad
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Re: just the facts ma'am

Quote:
Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
The problem with this site is that no sources are given. A lot of "urban aikido legends" start this way. It may be true, but based on what?
Well actually, with a search in Google, many many sites state the same purpose of hakama. I will go with the majority, since the actual historical purpose is of no value to me.
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Old 04-01-2003, 01:57 AM   #40
mike lee
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man and superman

Quote:
I will go with the majority, since the actual historical purpose is of no value to me.
Not very sound reasoning. At one time the "majority" believed the world was flat.
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Old 04-01-2003, 02:05 AM   #41
n0mad
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Re: man and superman

Quote:
Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
Not very sound reasoning. At one time the "majority" believed the world was flat.
Yes, I know what you're saying; "popular doesn't mean correct", thats why I added that the historical purpose of hakama is of no value to me.

So "popular" for me is ok, as I won't be writing a disrotation on hakama any time soon.
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Old 04-01-2003, 03:39 PM   #42
Joe Jutsu
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In regards to the practicality of hakama as riding chaps, because they are a soft cotton like material, I had heard that hakama were originally made of leather, which would help a samurai stay in the saddle as well as provide some armor-like qualities. Has anybody else heard anything to this effect? I'm just trying to sort out truth from "urban myth." Thanks guys.
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Old 04-01-2003, 06:48 PM   #43
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Agree with Damon about his perspective on the importance of the historical purpose.

I was reading Thoreau's Walden last night...he provoked an interesting thought.

He stated he did not understand why people were so fascinated with the Pyramids in Egypt. He felt that it was a huge waste of time spent building somethng to appease the ego of the nation or of the royality for who they were built. He felt sorrow for those that spent their lives in pain and suffering and death that toiled on them.

He said he'd rather learn about what those who did not build the pyramids spent there time doing.

While I always find it interesting to learn the trival historical significance of something as the Hakama, what true value does that knowledge lend to your becoming a better or happier person?

I do think it is a good reminder, at least for me of the seven virtues of budo that the pleats represent....I think tradition in this sense serves a purpose....to remind us of why we study!

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Old 04-03-2003, 01:20 AM   #44
Peter Goldsbury
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Though it is possible—in fact highly likely—that horseriders wore hakama, there is no obvious connection between hakama and horse-riding.

The word is usually written as 袴, (Nelson No. 5448, Radical 145). The character has been written in three different ways, with different radicals on the left side of the character. The radical above is koromo-hen (R.120), and means 'clothes', the other two radicals being ito-hen, meaning 'thread' or 'yarn', and kawa-hen (R.177), meaning 'leather'.

The fact that the word appears with a radical meaning 'leather' suggests that trousers were actually made of leather and thus might have been worn by horseriders, but the latter two ways of writing the word have dropped out of use. Nevertheless, all three ways can be found in Morohashi's "Dai Kanwa Jiten", where the meaning of the word is also quite clear: basically hakama are trousers, and the wide, narrow, flowing, pleated varieties all appeared much later than the first use of the word, given in the "Kokugo Dai Jiten" (in 732).

I should perhaps add that there is a whole raft of theories concerning horseriders coming to Japan (usually from Mongolia), and even that these brought to Japan Mongolian martial arts which have been preserved. These theories originate in a thesis proposed by Egami Namio in 1948 and subsequently refined and published as a book entitled "Kiba minzoku kokka" (Tokyo, Chuokoronsha, 1967). The theory turns upon the differences in archaeological remains thought to go back to the Kofun period, when the Yamato state was established.

I should also add that the ice on which Egami skates is awfully thin.

Best regards to all,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 04-03-2003, 05:57 PM   #45
Peter Goldsbury
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I made a slight error in my earlier post, above, which I muct correct.

Radical 120 = 糸 (thread, yarn)

Radical 145 = 衣 (clothes)

Radical 177 = 革 (leather).

P A Goldsbury
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Old 04-03-2003, 11:19 PM   #46
Olga Mihailova
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I have read here or elsewhere that in some clubs women start to wear hakama earlier for the reasons of modesty. Can anybody explain what is this problem about. All right, dogi was originally the underclothes but, first, it is much harder and more closed than linen and underlines not more than usual clothes do (much less sometimes). And, second, as I understood, the schools of Martial Arts as we know them appeared in the beginning of the XXth century when the level of the modesty requred had already been quite low. Why all the fuss?

And then how is hakama supposed to help? The only problem I have with my dogi is that sometimes it gets quite opened, that's why I wear a T-shirt or a top underneath. But hakama...

Well, just a curiosity. But I'll be glad if anybody explains.

Have a nice day,

Olga
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Old 04-04-2003, 12:04 AM   #47
mike lee
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all tied up

Quote:
The only problem I have with my dogi is that sometimes it gets quite opened ...
In Japan, women have small ties to keep the top of the gi in place. Some men also use them. I think I recall Nishio Sensei wearing one.

Most kendo gi also come with such tie straps. Small velcro tabs may work also.
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Old 04-04-2003, 02:29 AM   #48
JJF
 
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Re: all tied up

Quote:
Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
In Japan, women have small ties to keep the top of the gi in place. Some men also use them. I think I recall Nishio Sensei wearing one.
Yep! Just take a look at the homepage below and choose the link called "Shoji Nishio Sensei,..."

http://www.aarhusaikikai.dk

And to Olga: Don't pay to much attention to that old underwear/hakama/gi/modesty discussion. It's has been debated on this forum at least a couple of times during the last couple of years, and opinions and myths are just about as many as there are aikido-ka's. The Gi is a set of close well suited for aikido practice, and the hakama is used in most dojo's by either all or a group of students. The rules for selecting who can wear what and why differ from dojo to dojo, just like the variety of belt-colors, kyu-grades and the curriculum for each grade.

Just follow one simple rule and you won't make too much of a fool of yourself: "When in Rome do like the romans"

Also: remember to have fun

- Jørgen Jakob

Last edited by JJF : 04-04-2003 at 02:37 AM.

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Old 04-04-2003, 03:33 AM   #49
erikmenzel
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As a small contribution to the hakama modesty question: Saotome writes in his book The principles of Aikido (p.211)

Worse still, in some dojo, women of kyu rank (and only the women) are required to wear hakama,supposedly to perserve their modesty. To me this is insulting and discrimanatory to women aikidoka. It is also insulting to male aikidoka, for it assumes a lowmindedness on their part that has no place on the Aikido mat.

Erik Jurrien Menzel
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Old 04-04-2003, 03:51 AM   #50
bogglefreak20
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I heard a couple of times that hakama gives you a feeling of better balance. It is suposed to concentrate your weight lower so you become more stable. But by the time you get to wear it, you already have to master your "point" and balance. So it helps you do something you already know how to do.

Still - for me at least - it has a certain appeal... I can't wait to have one of my very very own hakamas Besides, judging from experience, rookies in aikido tend to be fascinated by the sensei's hakama and he gets that much more authority by wearing it. Then again I'm only a rookie myself :/

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