Der Hakama ist der traditionelle japanische Hosenrock, der auch heute noch im Aikido getragen wird. Hier ein Artikel von Sylvia Mucke (ehemalige Aikido-Schülerin im Tanden Dojo und heute 4. Dan), die zum Zeitpunkt als sie diesen kleinen Artikel schrieb in Osaka (Japan) lebte.
Why is Aikido so damned sexy? Ever thought about it?
Well, for those who didn’t notice yet: YES! IT IS SEXY!
But back to the beginning: Why is it sexy? It’s the hakama, of course. Well, at least this piece of cloth has a huge share in it.
Forget the stuff about: It’s part of the Aikido uniform so you have to wear it. Have to wear it? Honestly! I’d say „want to“ comes much closer. Hey, the hakama is what we are all here for, isn’t it? Jesus, it’s in a hakama that Aikido starts to really look and feel like Aikido and not like just another martial art. AND, it makes it look so much cooler.
I am going to confess something here and now: Without hakama Aikido is just not the real thing for me. How do I know? Well, I am thinking of joining a dojo down here in Osaka. I watched their practice last week. And they don’t use hakama at all. Too dangerous, they say. Just as dangerous as tantos, I suppose. That’s why they use rubber tantos instead of the wooden ones. Hhm – come to think of it, maybe I am about to make a terrible mistake here. If these guys think they shouldn’t wear hakamas, because they are often practicing with rubber tantos – brr…
BUT really, I miss Aikido! I could cry when I think of how much I love it. The whole feeling of it. And the people seem to be nice enough. So I am in for the „Aikido without“ now. But I am sure I gonna miss the blue (or for some black) fellow a lot.
What is it about the hakama, though? Besides the fantastic looks, of course!
OK, I am not going to bore you to death with the very long and very entertaining story of how and why it came to pass that now some of us are wearing hakamas and some aren’t. Each dojo follows it’s own rules there. And they probably all have there own very good reasons to do as they do. If you still want to know everything about the „hidden symbolism of the hakama“ check the internet. There are loads of pages ready to uncover every secret meaning of the hakama you might or might not want to know.
Okay, so here is what I think about the hakama:
(I don’t have the slightest idea whether I have heard my teachers telling me this or whether it is a theory I came up with myself. – Did I mention that I am very good at coming up with theories for just about everything?)
The hakama can teach you a lot, but only if you are ready to listen. That’s why we start practicing Aikido without hakama. And when we are ready for it we are allowed to wear it. Of course, it’s not up to us to decide whether we are ready or not. Our teacher will let us know.
Let’s put it that way, at the beginning stepping onto the tatami floor is already challenging enough. At this point we can do without a mysterious piece of cloth whispering to us while we’re trying not to break our or the partners neck in one of the techniques. It’s hard enough to sort out what to do with our arms and legs without this kind of distraction.
But when it’s time finally has come the hakama will help you to a quantum leap forward. You might even feel as if everything before was just preliminary and that only now the real Aikido starts. And this is simply because the hakama is what it is.
First of all the hakama helps you to feel your own center and to connect to it. As a rule, it’s much easier to remember your own big (or not so big) belly when wearing a hakama. And so this fellow helps you a lot to not jump right into your forearms and shoulders with all you might and power when „dealing with“ uke. And thus it helps you immensely with you technique, helps you taking the big step from relying on physical strength to center work. Some guys might already be so centered that they dont need this additional help. But I couldn’t say this for myself. And not of most of the people I’ve met on tatami so far.
Second. The hakama might hide your feet and feet work, but it doesn’t help covering up your mistakes and weak points. Quite the opposite. If you just take the time and maybe the risk to listen what it’s telling you it will show you VERY clearly on what you still have to work. You don’t have much of a choice though. If you don’t listen you will just go on stumbling over it or over your own feet while trying in vain to deliver some good techniques in spite of this nasty skirt clinging to you.
So what’s sexy about pleated skirt like pant? Maybe it’s the men and women wearing them. Maybe it’s the center the hakama helps its wearer to feel. Maybe it’s the Aikido that people wearing it are practicing. I couldn’t tell. I just know, IT IS SEXY!
by Sylvia Mucke, Osaka