I find I actually move differently in hakama and it’s changing my Aikido and, I think, making it better. I can’t really pinpoint any physical reason for this, so I assume it’s psychological. I suppose I feel more martial and more confident in myself and this is reflected in more confident movements.
It’s interesting to see the effects of achieving dan grade on myself especially as this experience moves from the novel to the routine. I find myself looking in the mirrors a lot and I think on some level it’s because I see a new me. I sit differently, I move differently, I feel more centred when I move and I’m more aware of my posture. Hakama forces your movements to be neat; you have to sit down in quite a choreographed and precise way to avoid getting the hakama bunched up or tripping over it and whereas normally I’d move from seiza straight into sitting cross legged I now usually stay seiza and I can feel the back plate on my back so I find myself sitting with really good posture with my palms on my thighs.
Then when I stand up I find that I rise straight up and I can feel that my posture is good and everything feels stable, deliberate and controlled without any extraneous or superfluous movement. I suppose that’s what it is: every move now feels deliberate and conscious, I feel totally focused on and aware of what my body is doing and it feels really good, it’s quite meditative. Actually, it’s very meditative. Aikido can be, and often is referred to as, moving meditation.
I’m starting to do my Aikido in a meditative way, which is something that I haven’t done for ages. I’m doing a lot in Aikido that I haven’t done for ages and it feels really good.