Buying a Hakama

Buying and wearing a Hakama is very personal, however we are members of a group and we should keep this in mind when we choose a hakama. Here are some general thoughts you should consider when ordering a Hakama:

Hakama Styles: Keep in mind that many different martial arts wear a hakama. Depending on the vendor there may be subtle differences between the various hakama. Typically you will want to look for an Aikido Hakama.

Color: The color of the hakama does not have any significance with regard to rank. Yamada Sensei wears Dark Navy and most of his students wear Dark Navy, so we at Water Oak Aikikai wear Dark Navy. The other option is a Black Hakama. In Aikido we do not wear red, white or patterned hakamas. Note: Hakamas dyed with Indigo will continue to bleed and the dye never truly sets. This will stain your uniforms and can stain the dojo mat.

Cotton vs. Tetron: I do not know that I've seen a Tetron hakama, if I have I probably lumped it into the polyester category. Personally I prefer cotton because (1) it hangs away from the legs making summer training more comfortable, (2) it holds structure when you move so that it doesn't feel like your being shrink wrapped, (3) it ages in a graceful way as you continue to train, (4) aikido is a natural art and polyester just doesn't seem to fit with the intent and spirit of the training. Other Aikidoka prefer Tetron or Polyster blend because (1) the material is lighter weight (2) it generally holds the pleats better (3) it doesn't show age or wear like cotton does. That said, selecting one material over another is a personal choice.

Aiki Koshita vs. Tradition Koshita: Some vendors offer an Aiki Koshita. This is a koshita that is typically a little softer and more form fitting than a traditional koshita. Selecting one or the other is a personal preference.

Extended Front Panel: Some vendors offer an extended front panel so that if you tuck your hakama over your belt and you wear your belt parallel to the floor, the hakama won't ride up in the front. See the sizing section to determine if you need this.

Sizing: As far as I am concerned there is only one proper way to determine the correct size for a hakama.

  1. Borrow a hakama similar to the one you wish to purchase (trying to match material and koshita style)
  2. With the help of your instructor or an experienced yudansha determine how you will wear (tie) your hakama.
  3. With the help of your instructor or an experienced yudansha put on the borrowed hakama and determine what adjustments need to be made (such as add x inches to the himo or adjust the length by x inches).
  4. Take off the borrowed hakama, note its measurements and then apply the adjustments from the previous step.
  5. Order you hakama.

Options to Avoid: There are a number of features that you may see offered on a hakama, typically for additional fee, that as an Aikidoka you will want to avoid.

  • A ring pocket or ring tie is not needed. Items should be left in your gym bag, not tucked into your uniform.
  • Hera or Back Peg. This is a piece of plastic that looks like a wooden ice cream spoon that is tucked into the obi knot at the small of the back. Typically used by Kendo, but not particularly useful for Aikido.
  • Vent Straps. These are straps found inside the side vents used to pull up the hakama to show your feet. There is a much simpler way to tuck up your hakama.

Vendors: Here are a few vendors we have used in the past. You should do your comparison shopping since there are always sales and there may be product overlap (Only the 1 Bujin hakama on Aikido24 is exclusive.)