Over the last few weeks I've been unofficially appointed the official hakama folder. Now there are a few odd rules to this possition, the most important being that I should only offer to fold the hakama of a sixth dan instructor or higher...odd. If an instructor of a lower rank is in need and asks me to fold their hakama I am supposed to give them an uninterested look and do it slowly (kidding). The head Deshi are quite strict about who I can offer this service to, I find that a little odd if not rather pretentious. But I'm just a new Deshi and must obey the set rules...
Anyway, this gives me the opportunity to fold the hakamas of a large list of impressive people:) At least 2 times a week I get to fold Steve Pimsler's hakama, then there is Donovan Waite, Mike Abrams, and Harvey Konigsburg. Jane Ozeki, Rob Workoff, and every now and again if I'm quick enough I'll get a hold of Yamada Sensei's hakama. Yamada Sensei is the ONLY instructor that the other Deshi will raise a finger for...again seems a bit pretentious but what'er ya gonna do.
Learning how to fold these things is quite a trick and for some instructors anything short of perfection is unacceptable. I'm sure most everyone knows what a hakama is and most everyone knows that they are folded when they are not being used but I'm not sure that everyone knows exacty how to fold them...only the Japanese could come up with this stuff! It's really quite intricate, especially the knot at the end, and different senseis prefer different methods of folding and tying them. Yamada Sensei's is by far the best to fold partly because it's fairly new and also becuase anyone who's ever touched it aside from him takes an immense amount of care with it so that the numerous pleats and folds are perfectly preserved. It practically folds itself. Steve Pimsler on the other hand is probably the worst. Who knows how old his hakama is but I can say with almost certainty that it's older than me! And there are virtually no folds in it whatsoever. Steve's hakama takes a while but I've got it down to a science. My slighty anal nature happens to lend itself quite nicely to this particular duty. It's nice to be known by some of the instructors as the deshi that will do a nice job folding their hakama.
Well it's off to make some dinner and crash for what little sleep I can get. Look for my next installment of "Dojo Moms" and mor info on other deshi.
Sorry it's been so long between blogs but I've been a bit busy :D