Typical for Aikido is wearing a Hakama over your judo/aikido suit. In Aikido, we start wearing a Hakama from 3rd kyu or from 1st dan, and it is a nice passage. After all, you have been training for years; a Hakama is a reward for your hard work.
What Aikido Hakama material should I choose?
Cotton is very lovely, but it is more suitable for teachers or people enjoying a traditional look. Cotton especially looks well in a heavier version, but it needs good maintenance; otherwise, you will quickly lose your folds.
Tetron and polyester are mostly sold to people who train a lot. Because the polyester fibers do not wrinkle like cotton, they are very easy to maintain. Because polyester does not absorb moisture, they dry a lot faster than cotton variants do.
What Hakama size should I choose?
The Hakama sizes correspond with the age-old Japanese system “Kujira-shaku.” This system is actually only still used by tailors of traditional Japanese clothing, such as the Hakama. Measuring works this way:
1 Kujira-shaku = 3.79 centimeters => a Hakama size 27 is 27*3.79 centimeters = 102.3 centimeters.
This is the distance from your front Hakama belt to the bottom (measured in the middle), starting from a judo belt (4-5 centimeters wide). Traditionally, a Hakama should end just above your ankles, though in Aikido, we wear the Hakama longer. In order to make the right choice, it makes sense to fit a Hakama of your teacher or somebody of your dojo.
Five purchasing tips for your Hakama
- Watch your budget, but do not save on quality.
- Orient yourself well at several stores and webshops.
- Try on a Hakama of your teacher or fellow student.
- Determine the most common use of your Hakama: trainings, teaching, demonstrations, etc.
- Try to learn how to fold your Hakama as soon as possible, or you will lose the nice tight folds.
Hakama sizing table
In the sizing table below, you can find an indication of what size Hakama fits you.
|145 cm ~ 151 cm||20|
|152 cm ~ 154 cm||21|
|155 cm ~ 157 cm||22|
|158 cm ~ 159 cm||22,5|
|160 cm ~ 161 cm||23|
|162 cm ~ 164 cm||23,5|
|165 cm ~ 166 cm||24|
|167 cm ~ 169 cm||24,5|
|170 cm ~ 171 cm||25|
|172 cm ~ 173 cm||25,5|
|174 cm ~ 176 cm||26|
|177 cm ~ 178 cm||26,5|
|179 cm ~ 180 cm||27|
|181 cm ~ 183 cm||27,5|
|184 cm ~ 187 cm||28|
|188 cm ~ 190 cm||28,5|
|191 cm ~ 193 cm||29|
|194 cm ~ 195 cm||29,5|
|196 cm ~ 200 cm||30|
In ancient Japan, Hakama were found in different shapes and in different classes of the population: in nobility, the samurai as well as the farmers in the field. The current, most occurring Hakama is the one originally worn by the samurai, which served mainly to protect the legs of the horseman during riding.
When Aikido emerged in the 30s, wearing a Hakama was mandatory for all Aikidoka. The white training suit was then regarded as undergarments, over which a Hakama was worn out of courtesy. The poorer practitioners depended on lesser materials for the production of their Hakama. When this situation worsened after the war, a temporary measure was adopted, allowing – for the time being – to practice aikido without Hakama until the Aikidoka reached the grade of shodan. The distinction between Hakama and no Hakama was made solely out of financial considerations, not as a technical gradation.
Meaning Hakama folds
The seven folds of the Hakama have a meaning and represent the Samurai’s virtues.
- Jin (humanity)
- Gi (honor and justice)
- Rei (politeness and etiquette)
- Chi (wisdom and intelligence)
- Shin (sincerity)
- Chu (loyalty)
- Koh (devotion)