The Karate Uniform: Gi
Shortly after starting to learn Karate, the new student will want to purchase the appropriate uniform and look like everyone else in the class.
The Gi is the traditional uniform of Karate, and its main purpose lies in its functionality. This applies to all of the Japanese and Okinawan Karate styles. Judo uniforms are also called Gi.
Why wear a Gi in Karate?
A Gi has the advantage that it is very robust and comfortable at the same time. It will survive a substational amount of pulling, tearing and contact with the ground to a degree that other type of clothing cannot handle. Typically a Karate Gi comes with quite short sleeves and pants, so that you don’t get caught with your finger or trip over yourself. A Gi allows you great freedom of motion, which is required as in Karate you’ll kick and punch with both speed and power.
For a Karate beginner, wearing a Gi also has a psychological effect, as it makes you feel more “real” when you wear the Gi, and you also feel as if you fit in better with all the other Gi-wearing students.
There are several types of Karate Uniforms available, from light-weight to heavy-weight that suit different styles, climatic conditions and body weight. In general, most Karate schools and clubs (dojos) allow any type of white Gi but require you to attach their particular badge on the Gi.
A typical Karate Gi is made of three parts. The jacket, pants and belt.