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Old 01-22-2005, 10:38 AM   #1
David Humm
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White Hakama - Pretentious ??

Hey all

Just wanted to canvas your opinion.

I run a dojo here in the UK, I also study Muso Shinden Ryu Iai. What I'd like to ask is why do *some* Aikidoists see a white hakama as pretentious?

I don't wear my white hakama for Aikido study (or when teaching) I only wear it for Iai in the summer months however, I have felt in the past when fellow Aikidoists have seen my white hakama they give off the impression of "hmm he wears a white hakama"

Just wondered why this might be
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Old 01-22-2005, 10:51 AM   #2
Noel
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

While I was doing iai, Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu, we were always told that white hakamas were only for the very senior instructors. Nothing official, just etiquette.

As far as aikido, I have been told that it's a "heaven and earth" kind of thing. IMO, the black and white is just plain cool. My cent-and-a-half, FWW.
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Old 01-22-2005, 11:12 AM   #3
SteveTrinkle
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

I've been looking everywhere for a hakama with a Hello Kitty design. No luck so far.
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Old 01-22-2005, 11:14 AM   #4
Fred26
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

Hm...I'm trying to remember if and where I have seen an aikido instructor with a white hakama..(besides O-sensei of course) In fact, I think I've only seen O-sensei without his white hakama once on video, and that was in a 1930's demonstration. Perhaps thats one of the reasons why people dont unofficially approve of a white hakama caus its O-senseis trademark.

Or maybe its caus its not very practical as you prolly has to wash it more often than a black/blue hakama
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Old 01-22-2005, 11:31 AM   #5
senshincenter
 
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

I would say for many it is because the hakama is still some sort of "prize" - some sort of attachment that firmly bonds them to the material world and makes them subject to their ego's way of habitually interacting with folks (e.g. envy, anger, jealous, hostile, prejudicial, etc.).

I think anyone that has matured enough in their training to not see the hakama as a sort of "prize" - well - they will never care what color you wear. I imagine even the Hello Kitty one would be okay too - especially if you had the matching back-pack.

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 01-22-2005, 12:12 PM   #6
uros slo
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

I have seen only black hakama which is worn in our dojo. My opinion is that black hakama is the best whit the white gi.In our clubs hakama is kind of prize for hard work in the past. But some individuals including me don't wear hakama, because we don't have them yet, but when we do get them we certainly wear it.
I would like to ask you what you think about blue gi`s?
Bye
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Old 01-22-2005, 12:35 PM   #7
Fred26
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

Quote:
Uroš Počivavšek wrote:
I would like to ask you what you think about blue gi`s?
Bye
Blue gi's? Would be cool I guess...I think its allowed in my club, but it's not encouraged.
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Old 01-22-2005, 01:26 PM   #8
Don_Modesto
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

Quote:
Fredrik Hall wrote:
Perhaps thats one of the reasons why people dont unofficially approve of a white hakama caus its O-senseis trademark.
Didn't Hikitsuchi (sp?) wear white HAKAMA?

I was told that it has something to do with commitment to Shinto...

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 01-22-2005, 01:57 PM   #9
cguzik
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

I believe that it is traditional for Shinto priests to wear white hakama. According to this article at Aikido Journal, Hikitsuchi Sensei was a Shinto priest, so that would explain why he wore one.

I also have read that traditionally, the color white is associated with funerals and death. For this reason it may be a breach of reigi to wear white in circumstances where it is not called for due to some other specific reason.

In cases where it is part of the tradition of the ryu, however, it would be appropriate for this reason. For example, Ellis Amdur wore a white hakama when he demonstrated Araki Ryu at the St. Louis matsuri not too long ago. I do not know what the significance of the white hakama is in that ryu, but perhaps you could PM him at Aikido Journal and ask.

As far as why aikidoka might consider it pretentious, it could be because of (i) ignorance of your iaido tradition (assuming that white is in fact traditional and called for as such), (ii) they are aware of the Shinto connection only, or (iii) misinformed association with white hakama as a sign of some high rank.

Best,

Chris

Last edited by cguzik : 01-22-2005 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 01-22-2005, 02:02 PM   #10
aikidoc
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

I too have seen pictures/video (?) of Hikitsuchi sensei wearing a white hakama. Don't know what the rules are or etiquette for that matter.
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Old 01-22-2005, 04:58 PM   #11
mj
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

Hikitsuchi sensei wore white hakama in the 1983 All Japan aikido Demonstration, clips of which can be downloaded by AikidoJournal subscribers.

Dave...why do you care?

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Old 01-22-2005, 05:22 PM   #12
kironin
 
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

Quote:
Dave Humm wrote:
Hey all
Just wanted to canvas your opinion.

I run a dojo here in the UK, I also study Muso Shinden Ryu Iai. What I'd like to ask is why do *some* Aikidoists see a white hakama as pretentious?
It's simply ignorance of traditions outside of Aikido.

I know MSR Iai students in Japan wear white hakama though it's not universal. Certainly pin-stripe hakama seem common by high ranking
Iai demonstrators in Japan.

I would buy a pin strip hakama but they are damn expensive.

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Old 01-22-2005, 05:31 PM   #13
raul rodrigo
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

The other uchideshi of O-sensei who wears a white hakama is Masamichi Noro, who is a contemporary of Yamaguchi and Tamura. According to a French aikidoka friend of mine, Noro's aikido is supposed to be excellent. But with all the suwariwaza we do, I imagine that a white hakama doesn't stay white very long.
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Old 01-22-2005, 06:01 PM   #14
Ellis Amdur
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

At the St. Louis Matsuri, most of the demonstrators, members of the Shinto Muso-ryu, and TSKSR wore blue, top and bottom. I wore all white, and my student, Steve Bowman, wore white above and black hakama. During the question and answer period, we were asked why the difference in uniforms. I stated that I wore all white because I had embraced good, whereas those wearing dark had embraced evil. My student, I said, was still trying to make up his mind which way he wanted to go.

Ellis Amdur

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Old 01-22-2005, 06:18 PM   #15
mj
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
The other uchideshi of O-sensei who wears a white hakama is Masamichi Noro, who is a contemporary of Yamaguchi and Tamura.....
Wasn't this guy involved in 'The Hut' Dave?

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Old 01-22-2005, 07:08 PM   #16
Jeanne Shepard
 
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

If I had a white hakama, I'd just spill coffee on it.

Jeanne
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Old 01-22-2005, 07:14 PM   #17
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

Hey - what gives - I have a white hakama!

In Takeda-ryu, all beginners wear white hakamas - seniors wear blue. As I said, I have one, but I haven't worn it in 15 years

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Old 01-22-2005, 10:55 PM   #18
Michael Young
 
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

Hikitsuchi Sensei wore a white hakama. I visited his dojo in 1998 while he was still among us. His (and his student's) practice was entirely centered around Shinto ritual, in fact I would say that their practice IS a Shinto ritual. He was consindered a practicing Shinto priest, so I think this had more to do with his wearing a white hakama than being a 10th dan...but I think either one of those reasons could "qualify" someone to wear one (that is if one actually needs "qualification" to do so ) One of my all time favortie Aikido experiences,and one I will always treasure, was being able to pratice at his dojo and talk with him.

I'm holding out for a plaid hakama myself...just as soon as Bu-Jin starts making 'em

Mike
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Old 01-23-2005, 02:40 AM   #19
batemanb
 
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

I attended a seminar in Paris last year with Doshu. Noro Sensei was also there, he wore a white hakama throughout.

In the early days of Aikido, people wore whatever colour hakama they had, there was no significance. I believe that the dark colours took precedent as they didn't get dirty so quickly.

rgds

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 01-23-2005, 04:28 AM   #20
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

Colors: It's all about local custom (in your dojo or org) and availability.

A white/unbleached juogi is cheap and easy to obtain, thus it often becomes the underlayer for complete dogi. Black and blue hakama are easily available (and other colors becoming more so), so the bottom got dark.

I've read that the prevalanece of dark colors in aikido hakama comes from postwar years, when students were required to wear hakama and the cheapest, most easily available material was form blackout curtains. Don't know how true that is, but it sounds reasonable. Also remember reading that the reason many aikido lines dropped the hakama at lower grades was due to the poverty of the average Japanese student after the war.

In most older, more traditional budo, dark blue top and bottom is sort of the default norm, but you see all kinds. As Craig said, the pinstripe hakama is a very formal garment seen at big embu and such. All kinds of colors and combos, too.

IMHO, may aikido folks put way too much stock in what hakama mean and why they're worn. It's part of the uniform, yes, and local/dojo custom should be observed, but way too many people atach some mystical or emotional significance to wearing a hakama, but the fact is, it's just trousers.

Chuck
(Known in some aikido circles as 'Poppa Smurf' for his tendency to wear blue/blue uwagi and hakama because it's mostly what he owns).

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Old 01-23-2005, 10:06 AM   #21
rob_liberti
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

Now I was told that they wanted black, but that color dye wasn't easily availabe due WWII so they used blue. Regardless, I think the point is that you wear a UNIform meaning try to all wear the same thing so that no one stands out. If you are trying to stand out, then stand out by always showing up to class, having excellent technique and feeling, being genuinly warm, friendly, honest, and helpful to all of your partners, and attend as many seminars as you can to promote sharing. Do that long enough and people just might ask you to wear a white hakama (in aikido) someday...

Rob

P.S. Steven, I love your Hello Kitty hakama idea.
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Old 01-23-2005, 01:32 PM   #22
David Humm
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

Quote:
Mark Johnston wrote:
Wasn't this guy involved in 'The Hut' Dave?
Yup Noro Sensei was I understand a visitor to the Hut Dojo by request of Abbe Sensei.

Why to I care about Hakama ? I don't really, it was something which happened a while ago. I don't wear white hakama for Aikido, just Iai.

Thanks for your comments all.

Dave
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Old 01-23-2005, 03:09 PM   #23
mj
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

Quote:
Dave Humm wrote:
Yup Noro Sensei was I understand a visitor to the Hut Dojo by request of Abbe Sensei.

Why to I care about Hakama ? I don't really, it was something which happened a while ago. I don't wear white hakama for Aikido, just Iai.

Thanks for your comments all.

Dave
He graded Foster sensei to 3rd dan I thought..more than just a visitor considering it was the last 'real' grade that Foster sensei (who I respect greatly) was given.

AS to your point about 'caring'...it just seems that the thread title is a bit 'tabloid'.


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Old 01-24-2005, 09:24 AM   #24
David Humm
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

Quote:
Mark Johnston wrote:
He graded Foster sensei to 3rd dan I thought..more than just a visitor considering it was the last 'real' grade that Foster sensei (who I respect greatly) was given.

AS to your point about 'caring'...it just seems that the thread title is a bit 'tabloid'.

" ..a bit tabliod" ?? Jeez we need a journalism degree to post here now ?

And the person(s) to speek to regarding Japanese instructors at the Hut are any of the students of the day (of which I am not)

Dave
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Old 01-24-2005, 10:29 AM   #25
kironin
 
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Re: White Hakama - Pretentious ??

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Now I was told that they wanted black, but that color dye wasn't easily availabe due WWII so they used blue.
????

indigo dye is traditional, they didn't have a synthetic black dye before the
20th century. blue and blue like Poppa Smurf would seem more likely.

I have block print portrait from the late 19 century and it's all browns, blues and reds.

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