Hakama are a traditional Japanese clothing. A type of pleated trouser which are tied at the waist and reach to around the ankles.
Club members wear them when practising with traditional Japanese weapons. The weapons are formally introduced once a student has achieved Shodan (First Dan) and is learning the Nidan (Second Dan) syllabus.
There are five traditional weapons found in the Second Dan syllabus
Katana: a curved single edged 24 inch blade, with a handle for two hands
Bo: A wooden staff about 6 feet long
Sai: A pair of metal pointed batons, with prongs coming from the handle
Nunchaka: Two sticks connected at one end by string or a chain
Tonfa: A pair of sticks (about 15 to 20 inches long) , each with a handle at a right angle to the body of the stick
While demonstrating these weapons Hakama are worn over the gi top. These trousers are pleated and need to be folded carefully to retain their shape.
Hakama also have a precise way of being worn. Many styles of Japanese martial arts use Hakama, This video shows a way of tying your Hakama and is presented by a Kendo student.
There are strict rules to adhere to about the traditional weapons. The rules are to keep the student and others safe and on the right side of UK laws.
Weapons and clothing can be ordered from a coach. You must be 18 or over to order a weapon.
Shodan is not awarded until a student is at least 18 so there is no issue about the adult starting to practise with the weapons.
Kids training versions, usually made of foam or covered in foam, can be used to help youngsters prepare for the time when they take their Nidan grading.