Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Hakama - colour and who can wear it

The colour of the hakama in aikido is much easier to write about (than about belt colours). It's normally black, while sometimes indigo blue. O'Sensei also wore white ones and I think I remember a video about the late doshu Kisshomaru wearing fairly bright hakama but never seen the current doshu wearing non-dark hakama (he even wears white belt!).

As far as I understood if you are higher in dans you can have your name (in Japanese) embroidered on your hakama (right-back). You may also have the logo of your dojo/organisation in the front.

The hakama colour guide might be easy but whether you can wear them it's a bit more complicated. This wasn't the question with belts as you always need to wear one to hold your gi together, but since you can train without hakama there are various regulations about it.

According to hombu (centre of aikikai aikido, Tokyo, Japan) men can wear hakama from 1st dan, women from 3rd kyu. Our organisation belongs to (or reports to) hombu but we wear them from 2nd kyu regardless of sex. In some other aikido organisations you wear them from day one, at other places you don't wear hakama at all (for safety purposes, see the previous post). There are also places where you can wear hakama whenever you want but people usually wait until their first kyu exam and start wearing them afterwards.

I think an aikidoka in hakama looks much nicer :) which is probably due to the fact that everyone I saw in hakama had some aikido skills (and a proper posture) already. One of my reasons I kept up training was that I wanted to earn the right to wear hakama. Now I'm getting used to wearing it and my next aim is to be able to change my white belt to black.

All these variations (this applies to belts, too) and changes are part of the human nature, I guess. Noone thinks exactly the same way as anyone else, and hadn't been diversity of individuals of species there wouldn't be a civilisation today. So maybe one rule for belt colours and hakama will emerge in some time proving to be the 'best' practice but these rules may still exist parallel to one another. Just like squirrels and kangaroos :).


Chris said...

I like my white belt under my hakama and will keep it even when I become a "master". Will buy the black belt though for formal occasions.

Charlie san said...

Chris, if u will get your black belt as a present from your dojo-guys, believe me u gonna wear it :)

Chris said...

:-D Try me. Seminars and training camps are ok, but I'll put it up on the wall for decoration.

Guillermo said...

I practice Dayto Ryu Aikijujutsu in Japan (not Ueshiba Aikido though) and the system here works like this:

1.- Students and women can use hakama anytime they want, but it has to be an indigo blue hakama.
2.- From Shodan (1st dan), and only for men (little machism here), we can use black hakama.
3.- The name is written in japanese characters on the hip. At the dojo I use to train we don't have the name of the dojo written on the hakama, but on the front part of the doggi and on the belt (when it is black).

Usually students don't by a hakama, because the colour of it will change when they will reach shodan level.