Hakama is that skirt- pants that some aikidokas wear. It is a traditional piece of samurai clothing . The standard dogi used in Aikido as well as other martial arts like Judo or Karate was originally underwear. Its use is part of the tradition of (most schools of) Aikido.



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  • 1 Use
  • 2 Types of hakama
  • 3 Meaning of the folds
  • 4 Sources


The hakama originally intended to protect the legs of riders from brush , etc. – not unlike cowboys’ leather chaps . Leather was very difficult to obtain in Japan , so thick clothing was used instead. After the samurai were dismounted as a class and became infantrymen , they persisted in wearing the horseman’s clothing because it separated them and made them easily identifiable.

Types of hakama

Different styles of hakama existed. The type worn by today’s martial artists – with “legs” – is called joba hakama , (roughly, a riding thing that one gets into). A hakama that was a kind of tube skirt – without legs – another, and the third was a long version of the second. This was used in visits to the Shogun or the Emperor . It measured between 3.6-4.5 meters long and was bent several times and was located between the feet and behind the visitor. This made shikko (walking on their knees) necessary for the audience and made it unlikely that they could hide a weapon (servants used them). or get up quickly to make an attack.

Meaning of the folds

The 7 folds in the hakama (5 at the front, 2 at the back) are said to have the following symbolic meaning: 1. Yuki = courage, courage, bravery.

  1. Jin = humanity, charity, benevole.
  2. Gi = justice, righteousness, integrity.
  3. Rei = etiquette, courtesy, civility (also means reverence / pay tribute to someone.
  4. Makoto = sincerity, honesty, reality.
  5. Chugi = loyalty, fidelity, devotion.
  6. Meiyo = honor, credit, glory; also reputation, dignity, prestige

In many schools only black belts wear hakama, in others all do. In some places women can start wearing it before men (female modesty is usually the explanation – remember, a gi was originally underwear).


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