The history of the Hakama

The hakama is a traditional piece of samurai clothing worn over the top of a standard gi. Originally, the hakama was used to protect a horseman’s legs since leather was difficult to find in Japan so, a heavy cloth was used. The seven folds in the hakama (five in the front and two in the back) is said to have the following symbolic meaning:

  1. Yuki – courage, valor, and bravery
  2. Jin – humanity, charity, and benevolence
  3. Gi – justice, righteousness, and integrity
  4. Rei – etiquette, courtesy, and civility
  5. Makoto – sincerity, honesty, and reality
  6. Chugai – loyalty, fidelity, and devotion
  7. Mei you – honor, glory, and reputation

In some clubs, only the black belts wear the hakama. In other clubs, everyone wears the hakama.

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