Your uniform reflects your attitude towards your training. It also reflects on your Sensei and upon Aikido. Keep your uniform neat and clean. Mend it whenever it becomes ripped or torn. Replace it when it becomes shabby. Fold it neatly when coming and going from class.
New students may not have a Gi during their first few weeks (or months) of practice. This is normal, as no one can be expected to pay for a new Gi until they have decided whether to "stick with" Aikido. By the end of their first semester, however, continuing students should be prepared to invest in (and wear) a regular practice uniform.
Some students will practice Aikido while wearing a Hakama (wide skirted pants worn over the Gi). The Hakama is also a part of the traditional Aikido practice uniform. In some Dojos only Yudansha (black belt students) may wear a Hakama, while in others all students must wear one. At the Prairie Aikikai all students who would like to wear a Hakama may do so. Because of the extra cost involved, however, students will not be expected to purchase and wear a Hakama until they have achieved the rank of Nikyu (brown belt) or higher.
The exact method of wearing (tying) and folding the Hakama is a matter of personal preference. Students should observe what others do, then seek their own way comfortable for themselves. It is customary at some Dojos for the junior students to offer to fold the Hakama of Sensei and/or the senior students. Learning to properly fold a Hakama is necessary not only for this honor, but also for the day when you wear a Hakama of your own. A chart is included at the end of this book detailing one method commonly used for folding the Hakama.
Your should remove all watches, rings, ear rings, and other jewelry during Aikido practice. These have no place in a physical practice activity, and could cause injury to both you and your practice partner. NEITHER YOUR INSTRUCTOR, JEFFREY OR LESLIE HECHT, NOR ANYONE ELSE CAN GUARANTEE THE SAFETY OF ANY OF YOUR VALUABLE ITEMS. It is best not to bring anything of value with you to class. If you must, place it well inside the Dojo and be sure to check on it often.