The hakama are the large trousers that the samurai wore in daily life. They were not designed to hide the feet, or give the illusion of floating. In fact, the hakama was tucked up through the belt when a confrontation was imminent, just as the sleeves of the kimono were tied back with a long strip of cloth known as a tasuki.

The hakama was the traditional dress of the noble classes throughout the history of Japan. It was in the Edo period that it took on the exact form that we know today. The hakama is usually worn for those martial arts which belong to classical tradition. It is a symbol of its noble background.

«The seven pleats of the hakama symbolize the seven virtues of budo that are: jin (benevolence); gi (honor or justice); rei (curtesy and etiquette); chi (wisdom, intelligence); shin (sincerity); chu (loyalty); and koh (piety).

We find these qualities in the distinguished samurai of the past. The hakama prompts us to reflect on the nature of true bushido. Wearing it symbolizes traditions that have been passed down to us from generation to generation. Aikido is born of the bushido spirit in Japan, and in our practice we must strive to polish the seven traditional virtues.» (Morihei Ueshiba)

How to fold the hakama

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