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Old 01-30-2004, 09:42 PM   #1
Paula Lydon
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dangerous hakama

~~Well there were two just this week--injuries directly involving the wearing of hakama. Whether it's you tangled in yours, in someone else's, or yours being stepped on so that your front roll becomes an abrupt shoulder slam into the mat, it seems that the danger to us (the type of training we do in Aikido) outweighs whatever the reasons are that we wear hakama. I don't even truely know why we do; some form of homage to antiquity?
~~I've had two nasty injuries in this manner myself over the years. How about you? What is your view on this topic? Hate to see my friends getting hurt like this

~~Paula~~
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Old 01-31-2004, 08:50 AM   #2
akiy
 
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Hi Paula,

Here's a poll I took back a few months ago, "How much safer do you think aikido training would be without people wearing the hakama?"

http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=176

-- Jun

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Old 01-31-2004, 10:29 AM   #3
AsimHanif
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I'll try the obvious...

Could the hakama be too long?
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Old 01-31-2004, 11:24 AM   #4
Josh Bisker
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Paula, for a good and authoritative essay on the reasons we wear hakama, check out one of the back chapters of Saotome Sensei's Principles of Aikido book. It's a short but really good piece.

And yeah, Asim may be on the right track: maybe you'd do better wearing yours higher, or more rolled in, so your feet would have better clearance. As you get more comfortable in it you can lower, perhaps. I know a dojo where the Sensei does all the gi/hakama ordering for his students, and there are certain folks whose first few hakama are much shorter than they would expect, but Sensei wants them to minimize the effects of their clumsiness factors while learning to wear the things. Not saying you're clumsy, i don't mean that; just giving context for advice.
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Old 01-31-2004, 02:52 PM   #5
Nacho_mx
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The hakama will expose our shortcomings in footwork/taisabaki/ukemi, so it´s wearing should not be taken lightly. I wear it at ankle level, and fortunately I haven´t been involved in an major accident, also I can recall only a couple of hakama related injuries in my dojo in the past few years.
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Old 01-31-2004, 05:17 PM   #6
L. Camejo
 
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Quote:
Ignacio Jaramillo (Nacho_mx) wrote:
The hakama will expose our shortcomings in footwork/taisabaki/ukemi, so it´s wearing should not be taken lightly.
This is the first time I've heard that one. Imho not wearing a hakama will tend to allow the legs and feet to be seen better and thereby aid in identifying any shortcomings in tai sabaki and ukemi.

Tomiki K. saw the wearing of the hakama as dangerous to the safety of one's training in high-speed, resistance-based randori as well.

Personally I don't see the great benefit (other than visual) in wearing one over not wearing one. But the gains in preserving oneself and uke from damage during training tend to be more measurable imho. When I train in Aikikai I am happy that I am not obligated to wear one by the senseis though .

Just a few thoughts. I have no probs with those who want to wear one.

L.C.

Last edited by L. Camejo : 01-31-2004 at 05:22 PM.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 01-31-2004, 07:36 PM   #7
Steven
 
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Quote:
Ignacio Jaramillo (Nacho_mx) wrote:
The hakama will expose our shortcomings in footwork/taisabaki/ukemi, so it´s wearing should not be taken lightly. I wear it at ankle level, and fortunately I haven´t been involved in an major accident, also I can recall only a couple of hakama related injuries in my dojo in the past few years.
Ignacio,

How exactly does wearing a hakama expose these short commings? I'm even more curious in your case how this works because in your own words, you say your hakama in worn at ankle level. If that's the case, then the hakama is not in the way and should not be a hinderance to your or anyone else.

?!?

Paula - Sorry to hear about your training mats and friends. Hope the injuries were not to severe and that all will be back to training soon.
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Old 01-31-2004, 09:01 PM   #8
Peter Goldsbury
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I think it is wrong to blame a piece of cloth for human shortcomings. In my experience the vast majority of dojo accidents are caused by carelessness.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:16 PM   #9
Steven
 
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Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury (Peter Goldsbury) wrote:
I think it is wrong to blame a piece of cloth for human shortcomings. In my experience the vast majority of dojo accidents are caused by carelessness.

Best regards,
AMEN!
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Old 02-01-2004, 05:37 AM   #10
ze'ev erlich
 
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Lightbulb very dangerous indeed !!!

I think that comparing to hakama injuries more people get injured because of their uke, gap between mats, walls around the dojo, hiting other people by mistake, unsafe nikkyo, sankyo etc.

If we take all these including the Hakama what would be left. Maybe if one is too worried he should just write about Aikido instead of training or join the local chess club. It is a very safe game !

Ze'ev from Masatake Dojo Rehovot
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Old 02-01-2004, 09:08 AM   #11
L. Camejo
 
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Getting back to Paula's question though.

Does the benefit gained from wearing this "piece of cloth" in training outweigh any possible disadvantages of wearing it?

I agree that carelessness is a major factor (probably the most significant) in causing injuries on the mat. But besides the links to the past tradition and history, does the wearing of the hakama really add to one's dojo practice? Is the Aikido of someone wearing a hakama noticeably different to someone who is not wearing one?

Just an honest to goodness question, not trying to challenge the establishment or anything here .

L.C.

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Old 02-01-2004, 11:20 AM   #12
Nacho_mx
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Quote:
Ignacio Jaramillo (Nacho_mx) wrote:
The hakama will expose our shortcomings in footwork/taisabaki/ukemi, so it´s wearing should not be taken lightly. I wear it at ankle level, and fortunately I haven´t been involved in an major accident, also I can recall only a couple of hakama related injuries in my dojo in the past few years.
What I meant is that if our footwork, taisabaki, ukemi (and concentration) are adequate, the hakama won´t get in the way. However if anyone is having constant hakama related incidents (tripping, getting tangled with partners, limited mobility, etc.) I don´t think is because of the hakama or the ukes. To me it´s a sign that the practitioner should/must improve in this areas, specially footwork, IMHO.
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Old 02-01-2004, 04:35 PM   #13
Peter Goldsbury
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Quote:
Larry Camejo (L. Camejo) wrote:
Getting back to Paula's question though.

Does the benefit gained from wearing this "piece of cloth" in training outweigh any possible disadvantages of wearing it?

I agree that carelessness is a major factor (probably the most significant) in causing injuries on the mat. But besides the links to the past tradition and history, does the wearing of the hakama really add to one's dojo practice? Is the Aikido of someone wearing a hakama noticeably different to someone who is not wearing one?

Just an honest to goodness question, not trying to challenge the establishment or anything here .

L.C.
Considering Paulas's question, I myself do not look at the matter in terms of advantages and disadvantages.

For example, I occasionally trained in a dojo where there were no tatami, which meant taking ukemi and breakfalls on a wooden floor. This certainly had to be factored into training, but the question whether it was advantageous or not never arose.

Putting on and wearing the hakama is one of the stages along the way. Making sure you don't step on it is part of the training.

Making sure you do not step on anyone else's hakama is also part of the training\in general dojo awareness.

Finally, since there is no firm data, for example on the rate of injuries caused by hakama in the Kobukan Dojo between 1930 and 1942, when wearing it was de rigeur, deciding the issue is a matter of personal preference or dojo rules. I do not think there are any further questions, involving advantage or disadvatage.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 02-01-2004, 07:22 PM   #14
L. Camejo
 
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Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury (Peter Goldsbury) wrote:
Considering Paulas's question, I myself do not look at the matter in terms of advantages and disadvantages.
Hello Peter,

as far as the rest of your reply, it makes perfect sense to me. I think regardless of what one is wearing or using during training, it is always a matter of personal awareness and conscientious training to keep things as safe as possible for those involved.

The reason I used the advantage/disadvantage approach had to do with the impressions I got from the words - "it seems that the danger to us (the type of training we do in Aikido) outweighs whatever the reasons are that we wear hakama" - from Paula's original post.

Arigato Gozaimashita.

L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 02-02-2004, 11:52 AM   #15
Nafis Zahir
 
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I've learned my lesson! I got my foot caught last Saturday, and a fellow student caught his toe in my hakama in the middle of being thrown and almost got seriously hurt. I happen to feel it and stopped moving. My point? Get an hakama that is shorter. Maybe not below the ankle and maybe just a tad bit above. Or, like some people, pull the sides up and tuck them under your belt where they can stay secure.

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Old 02-02-2004, 04:00 PM   #16
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With threads like these, I'm glad I'm not a hakama wearer...yet.

As with many dojos, I am only in the kyu grades so I'm not entitled to a hakama yet. Hell, it seems more daunting to get the hakama than grading for the black belt itself.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 02-02-2004, 06:23 PM   #17
Peter Goldsbury
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Quote:
Larry Camejo (L. Camejo) wrote:
The reason I used the advantage/disadvantage approach had to do with the impressions I got from the words - "it seems that the danger to us (the type of training we do in Aikido) outweighs whatever the reasons are that we wear hakama" - from Paula's original post.

Arigato Gozaimashita.

L.C.
Yes, I understand this. Paula's questions are always interesting, but this time she went on to use another phrase and this caught my attention:

"cI don't even truly know why we do; some form of homage to antiquity?"

"Homage to antiquity" is a very loose way of interpreting the word "keiko" (= respect for the old) and perhaps needs to be taken more seriously. It probably lies behind the acceptance of the rule against wearing the hakama by Tomiki Sensei's students and also acceptance of the hakama rule by Tomiki Sensei himself, when he was a student at the Kobukan.

In other words, were I a Tomiki or Shodokan student, I would not spend much time questioning the non-hakama rule: it is part of the deal and Tomiki Sensei had his own reasons against wearing the hakama. On the other hand, had I been a student at the Kobukan, I don't think I would have spent much time either worrying about why we were wearing the hakama.

Thus, I accept Kisshomaru Ueshiba's decision to make the hakama part of the yudansha's uniform because I have accepted training in an Aikikai dojo.

The argument against wearing the hakama because it is dangerous\in an art which is supposed to be lethal\applies to other things, like tatami and weapons. You take care not to break your toes by getting them caught in the gaps between tatami (there should not be any gaps) and you take extra care not to cause unjuries with bokuto. However, the fact that injuries occasionally happen is not usually an occasion for doing away with the offending items and I do not see why the hakama should be an exception merely because it is traditional.

As for hakama length, I suspect this, too, is a matter of custom.

Best regards,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 02-02-2004 at 06:26 PM.

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Old 02-02-2004, 06:30 PM   #18
Bogeyman
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Imho I would tend to agree with Ignacio, hakamas show our deficiencies during movement. Personally I feel that I have improved my stances and movement because of the hakama. I believe that it also carries over to street situations as well. What if someone were to attack you in knee high grass, a garbage strewn alley, or 6 inches of snow. Even a long coat has a similar feel as a hakama in my opinion. I don't know if hakamas are for everyone but I wouldn't want to train a lot without mine. Btw, I do where mine in karate as well.

E
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Old 02-02-2004, 06:53 PM   #19
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Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
... However, the fact that injuries occasionally happen is not usually an occasion for doing away with the offending items and I do not see why the hakama should be an exception merely because it is traditional.
I agree with Peter Goldsbury. I also think the injuries are often due to improper posture and movement.

Take care,

Chuck Clark
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Old 02-02-2004, 07:15 PM   #20
Paula Lydon
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~~Wonderful observations and imput on this thought; thanks to one and all. I understand the use of hakama for improving one's movement and honoring the traditions of one's school, for those with this point. The reason the question came up for me is that there seemed to be an increase in these injuries, where they could be traced directly back to either a hakama entanglement or getting stepped on, and nearly all of the injured students are advanced practitioners. Hard to chalk up to inexperiece in hakama or klutziness. When things seem 'off' they get me thinking and it's always enjoyable to knock thoughts around with others.

~~Mostly I'm hearing that it's part and parcel of Aikido training(most dojo)because that's the tradition it grew from, just as some other arts/schools only use live blades, and people getting cuts and knicks is part of training.

~~As an aside, I thought that the word keiko referred to training--keikogi=training outfit--while Peter G., you say it means 'respect for the old'. If you have a moment I'd like more understanding on this. Thanks!

~~Paula~~
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Old 02-02-2004, 07:48 PM   #21
Steven
 
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Quote:
Ignacio Jaramillo (Nacho_mx) wrote:
What I meant is that if our footwork, taisabaki, ukemi (and concentration) are adequate, the hakama won´t get in the way. However if anyone is having constant hakama related incidents (tripping, getting tangled with partners, limited mobility, etc.) I don´t think is because of the hakama or the ukes. To me it´s a sign that the practitioner should/must improve in this areas, specially footwork, IMHO.
Ignacio,

Thanks for the clarification!

...Cheers...
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Old 02-02-2004, 08:54 PM   #22
Nacho_mx
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Quote:
Paula Lydon wrote:
The reason the question came up for me is that there seemed to be an increase in these injuries, where they could be traced directly back to either a hakama entanglement or getting stepped on, and nearly all of the injured students are advanced practitioners. Hard to chalk up to inexperiece in hakama or klutziness.
Now this got me thinking. May I ask how big is your training area and how many folks, hakama wearing or not, train at the same time? Also, is your training area square or rectangular, and do you all throw your partners in the same direction (parallel to the tokonoma or perpendicular to the tokonoma) or with no particular orientation?

Here we have the luxury of training in a rectangular 200 sq. meter area so even with 20+ folks we have plenty of room for ample techniques such as kaiten nage. The tokonoma faces south, but we practice perpendicular to it, so our backs are against the walls and not the tokonoma. All techniques are performed in an east-west orientation no matter if they are omote or ura, kinda like a bowling alley, so we are very careful not to get on anyone´s "lane".

I dunno, maybe your rash of injuries is just a case of lots of folks in skirts flying in all directions in a relatively small area? Something´s gotta give!
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Old 02-02-2004, 10:03 PM   #23
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Tokonoma? oops, I meant the kamiza. And I just visited the Boulder Aikikai page. Huge practice area (I´m so jealous right now), so I don´t think lack of space is a problem.

Last edited by Nacho_mx : 02-02-2004 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 02-03-2004, 01:15 AM   #24
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Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury (Peter Goldsbury) wrote:
In other words, were I a Tomiki or Shodokan student, I would not spend much time questioning the non-hakama rule: it is part of the deal and Tomiki Sensei had his own reasons against wearing the hakama. On the other hand, had I been a student at the Kobukan, I don't think I would have spent much time either worrying about why we were wearing the hakama.
And by way of coincidence and example - when one of your ex-students (Yuji-san) joined our practice last week-end he ditched the hakama without question. I didn't even see the article.

By the way the Shodokan university students when they do Embu - wear hakama. I don't even think it matters if the are Yudansha or not.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-05-2004, 09:13 PM   #25
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Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury (Peter Goldsbury) wrote:
"Homage to antiquity" is a very loose way of interpreting the word "keiko" (= respect for the old) and perhaps needs to be taken more seriously.
Hi folks,

I missed a lot of dialogue it seems. I can appreciate the respect for the old/tradition with regard to hakama. Just like Tomiki Shihan at the Kobukan, I have one just in case another style that I may train in requires that I wear one. From my understanding, the wearing of hakama is the choice of the individual in Shodokan. Though from doing shiai-based randorigeiko I can clearly see where the wearing of one can be extremely dangerous to both parties involved, regardless of how careful one might be.

Maybe that's part of the reason Aikikai Dan grades tend to shelve their hakamas as well when training at our dojo. I guess adherence to tradition does not have preference over simple common sense for those guys.

To each his own I say. Personally I think hakamas look cool.

Just my thoughts.

L.C.

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