Buying your First Karate Gi

Posted on 28 March 2017

Soon after you have watched your first karate class, you’ll want to pick up an appropriate uniform and look like all of the other students at your school.

Known as the “gi,” a karate gi is the traditional garb of Karate. Other martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo also use the gi. But, why do I have to wear a gi? Not only does wearing a gi show respect for your instructor and the art, but it helps keep you comfortable during training.

Typically, your street clothing will not be able to withstand the stresses of a karate class. It will likely rip from all of the throwing, punching, kicking, and falling. If it does not rip, your clothing will wear out in the seams much faster than a karate uniform. In karate, you will punch and kick with maximum power at times and a karate gi will help you to do so without getting caught in your own clothing. You will have full range of motion in the uniform.

For beginners, the gi will help you to become a part of the martial art that you are studying. You will be wearing a similiare type of uniform as your instructor, so it will help build a family and team atmosphere in the dojo. The difference is that you will probably start with a student light weight karate uniform. It will help you fit in with your classmates as well. For veterans, the gi helps to create a bond between student and master. Typically a sensei will bestow a different gi to a highly ranked student with either a different color trim or lapel (collar).

There are a seemingly infinite amount of uniforms on the market from light weight uniforms to very heavy uniforms. You will want to choose the best uniform for you based on Your instructor – We advise that you check with your instructor before you purchase a new karate gi. You can likely purchase whatever type of gi you want for competition, but in the dojo, you instructor may have a specific type of karate gi that he or she wants you to wear.

Dojo etiquette – Does your dojo have a specific color gi that they wear? Do different ranks wear different gi colors? Climate – A lightweight uniform would be a very bad idea for training in a cold climate and purchasing a heavy weight karate gi would be a terrible idea if you live in a hot and humid climate. However they make high end light heavy weight karate gis that are made for hot humid climates.

Martial art – Is the gi your are looking to purchase made for your martial art? Will it withstand the rigors of the training?

Last, make sure that when you order the gi, you are getting all of the appropriate parts including the jacket, pants, and, if you need one, a karate rank belt.

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