News Update 28 Jan 11

Technique of the month

for Little Dragons and Juniors.

February Mat Chat

for Little Dragons and Juniors

The Hakima

The hakama is the long skirt-like garment worn in Japan. There are two types, the skirt-like version and the pants-like version, a hakama with “legs” called a joba hakama. Today, in Japan hakamas are worn by men and women for everyday and formal occasions. The skirt-like hakama may be worn over a kimono; and either type of hakama may be worn over a hakama-shita, a shorter version of the kimono.

Martial arts practitioners wear the joba-hakama. The top we wear for kobu-jutsu practice is the keikogi, or practice gi. But the hakama can also be worn over the familiar white practice gi, top and bottom.

Originally, the hakama was worn as an outer garment to protect samurai horsemen’s legs from brush, weeds, etc., similar to cowboys’ leather chaps. In Japan, since leather was so very scarce, heavy cloth was used in its place. After the samurai made the transition from mounted soldiers to foot soldiers, they continued to wear the hakama largely due to the fact that it set them apart and made them easily identifiable.

The hakama is said to symbolize the seven virtues or codes of Budo (Bushido).

The list of “codes” reads: jin (benevolence), gi (justice), rei (politeness), yuu (bravery), makoto (veracity), meiyo (honor), and chuugi (loyalty).

We find all these qualities in the distinguished samurai of the past. The hakama prompts one to reflect on the true nature of bushido. Wearing it symbolizes the traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. In practice one should strive to polish the seven traditional virtues.

The hakama has 7 pleats in it (5 in the front, 2 in the back) and there are many varying interpretations of the meanings.

Commonly accepted meanings of the hakama pleats:

1. Yu / Yuki Courage, valor, bravery Represents the courage and bravery of the wearer.
2. Jin Humanity, charity, benevolence, compassion, mercy Represents how giving and benevolent the wearer is.
3. Gi Justice, righteousness, integrity (from giri, meaning honor) Represents the wearer’s personal worth. It defines his moral standpoint, integrity, and commitment to making the right decision.
4. Rei Etiquette, courtesy, civility (obedience)
(also means bow/obeisance)
Represents the social actions of the wearer.
5. Makoto Sincerity, honesty, reality, truth Represents the trustworthiness of the wearer.
6. Chugi Loyalty, fidelity, devotion Represents loyalty of the wearer to his lord, master, and allies
7. Meiyo Honor, dignity, prestige, reputation Represents the honorific status granted to the wearer.


“We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.”


See you in a dark alley tonight

(dont forget outdoor self defence this evening)

Sensei Ken

Shudokan Black Belt Academy – Nottingham Aikido