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Old 08-26-2004, 08:17 AM   #1
Jeff Stallard
Dojo: Circle of Harmony / Columbus, Ohio
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 23
Heavyweight Hakama Easier to Move in?

I've never worn a hakama, but I'm starting iaido soon and I'm researching them. What I've noticed in my aikido is that the hakama tends to get in the way a lot. It gets caught on a toe, someone steps on it while throwing, uke gets hung in it while rolling, etc. I wonder if that's because the lighter weight material flows and moves so easily, thus finding its way into the little cracks and grooves that cause it to get hung on something. Would stiffer material prevent entanglements? Based on past experience with different fabrics, I'd say yes, but I'm curious what hakama wearers think.

Note that I'm not asking for general reviews of hakama; I'm specifically talking about the material getting caught on things.

"If I told you, you would not know; you simply would have been told. Study it thoroughly and I will ask you. You will answer and then you will know."
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Old 09-24-2004, 03:58 PM   #2
David Humm
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 269
United Kingdom
Re: Heavyweight Hakama Easier to Move in?

I study both Aikido and Iaido and haven't suffered too many problems as you describe however, they do happen.

I've worn cheap hakama and Japanese made hakama, although I find the quality far better with a well made hakama, I can't say I've found that to be an issue with problems you mention.

I wear my hakama so that the hem is slightly above the bridge of my feet, I've found that is the ideal height fo me and I rarely get it caught. Wearing hakama will take a little getting used to. Like all things in our training.

As with anything we buy, I'd suggest you purchase a good quality hakama.. Bujin design make for top gear.

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Old 09-24-2004, 07:29 PM   #3
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 113
Re: Heavyweight Hakama Easier to Move in?

I think it has little to with the type of material, and all to do with the length.

When I wore my old kendo hakama (heavy cotton (duck canvas), very stiff) it was cut just above my ankle -- perfect for quick movements and I never got hung up on it.

My Aikido hakama (polyester) is cut across the middle of my ankle and occasionally gets caught on my own toe (usually when switching from suwari-waza to tachi-waza quickly -- but I find if I have enough time to do a quick kick out forward before I step up the hakama flies out enough to not tangle).

In truth the only real difference in terms of material weight is the heat! Those heavy duck canvas hakamas (kendo) make you roast, and I had to wear shorts under them.
Whereas the poly hakama is such a light material it is quite cool (plus the crisper material holds the pleat much better of course too).

Going up stairs in any hakama it is a total pain though (especially if you only have one hand free cause you carrying your bokken, etc. -- quite funny to watch I'm sure).

Bruce Kimpel
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Old 09-25-2004, 05:45 AM   #4
p00kiethebear's Avatar
Dojo: Tonbo Dojo
Location: Bainbridge Island WA
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 374
Re: Heavyweight Hakama Easier to Move in?

out of personal experience. I have to agree with bruce.

Length is going to make more difference than the material.

If you're a first time buyer, i highly recomend a thick heavyweight hakama, not a terribly rigid one, just something with lots of tough fabric. Especially if you're going to be doing lots of suwari waza in your school of iaido.

I also find that heavier hakama keeps me more conscious of keeping my weight underside for some reason. Just those extra pounds down there i guess.

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