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Fabric and colors of Karate uniforms

Karate uniforms (Gi) are usually made of cotton or a mix of cotton and polyester (sometimes referred to as “polycotton”). There are also heavy weight uniforms made from canvas and heavy drill cotton. The typical Karate Gi is white.

red karate uniform

Nowadays Karate uniforms also come in a wide variety of colors. Other than the white Gi that traditional karate styles prefer, you can choose from yellow, blue, red, black and probably any other color you can think of. For example, Kenpo Karate is known for its use of black Karate uniforms.

Karate uniforms for masters

master belt pro

Some manufacturers now also have special uniforms for grand masters and your “everyday master”, that come with extra trimmings such as gold embossing on the jacket and pants. Some uniforms have black piping on the V of the jacket or stripes down the side of the pants. Black belt karatekas can show their sense of fashion and grandeur with extra wide black belts with gold embroidery and gold stripes along the belt. These are available with as many gold stripes as the length of the belt and the size of the ego requires.

52 comments about “Karate uniforms for masters”

  1. Alex said:

    My Gi is solid black, with the dojo’s logo on the back side of the jacket.

  2. KempoDude said:

    Well I’m doing Kenpo (notice the “n”!) and we are wearing black pants and white tops… with a small logo on the back.

    I have seen red uniforms in other Kenpo dojos but I think that’s a bit colourful for a martial art.

  3. ranjith said:

    i think the best uniform for a karate-ka is the white as it symbolises the purity in interest, dedication and perseverance that one should have to train and teach karate. when it becomes dirty it also reflects the amount of effort we put in learning this novel art.

  4. Patrick said:

    I don’t know about that, but colored gis are just tacky.

  5. Jeice said:

    I’m with Patrick, colored gi’s are a fashion disaster.

  6. Jim said:

    Well simply put, white is the traditional colour of the dogi!!

  7. Ramiel said:

    True, the martial arts are steeped in tradition, the use of color gis slowly take that away. (Save certain styles like Kenpo.)

  8. kempoka said:

    the kempo black gi is different from the traditional white gi that other karate styles impose because it symbolises the knowledge that a kempo-ka has gained and has the right to wear the black gi.

    true kempo students shouldnt be wearing black gi-s or black pants with white gi-s or reverse. that is only for instructors. students of kempo should be wearing the white gi which symbolises for purity. and to attain the black gi one must know the true deadly art of kempo.

  9. syed abusad ahmed said:

    i am karate master godan, i wear white gi,of canvas material full white.

  10. Brian said:

    The gi’s color should remain the same as how it was in the beginning, of whatever style you are doing. In traditional karate, it is WHITE, and should remain white.

    Why? because people who don’t do martial arts end up joining for wrong reasons because of the effects of fashion and flashiness.

  11. ravi said:

    i want logos

  12. Eli Bronstein said:

    I was in a karate tournament.It was really fun to spare!

  13. linuxlouis said:

    I’m preparing to test for my black belt in Kenpo after years of training – I had some time when I was in college, otherwise I would’ve been done a few years back, perhaps at least after 2 1/2 – 3 years of training for between 3-4 hours on average daily; repetitiously embedding the techniques and true mechanics of a real fighting system into my motor memory.

    Kenpo students & master should & do wear black, which is to distinguish from the $X dollar amount ‘other systems’ allow you to pay for. If you have the money, hell, you can have the belt. In Kenpo, you _never_ pay for tests, you test when your trainer _knows_ you’re ready and perhaps, you’ll never even have the opportunity to test for black belt, because you haven’t trained enough.

    Sorry, high kicks and lots of money do not equal black belt in Kenpo. Just worthiness, dedication, and hard training will permit you to acquire a black belt in Kenpo ;)

  14. Ben said:

    I have a green gi and that is because I have become one of the best in the country. I have competed in many competitions. My competition gi is solid orange.

  15. Curtis said:

    I study Wado Ryu Karate and I wear a black gi. So do the rest of the students, we like it because we do a lot of training outdoors and it does not show grass stains or dirt as easily as white gi.

    I do not think it is breaking with tradition at all, nor do I think it subtracts from the purity of the individual.

  16. Alex said:

    i agree having a coloured gi is just tacky, the only time i have ever worn a gi that wasnt white was when i acheived my 2nd dan.

  17. David Watson said:

    I really think that is too colorful. I think it is time to let go of some of the tradition and wear something that you would wear in a fight. Not jeans or any thing but something less old.

  18. Bill said:

    I’m a kenpo karate instructor. Students at my dojo are not allowed to wear a black gi until they are at least a green belt.

    We don’t have any logos or junk on the back either. We do not have belt testing fees. Students earn their belts, not buy them.

    We don’t have any high kicks either. Oh sure we kick people in the head, after we take them to the ground.

    Only instructors are allowed to wear a black top with white pants and vise versa.

  19. James Strauch said:

    I have been training since the late 1980′s in Shotokan karate-do. I have only ever worn a white gi, however i must admit i do like the look of a white top and black trousers.

    Unfortunatly my style will not allow anything apart from white! so white it is ( bugger to keep clean )

  20. robert said:

    In my Kenpo school. we go from all black to red gi tops. than you can start to choose what color you want.

  21. Marc Sensei, Belgium said:

    In my dojo only a sensei can pyt on a colored gi.
    Butttttt,…it is hard to find a beautifull gi.
    I’m looking for a gi with both legs in diferent color and the jacket colored just in the other way.
    it is very nice for demo’s buttttttt…i cant find them.
    Can somebody tell me i can buy these things please… thank’s

  22. Kieron, 1st dan said:

    iv been doing shotokan for a while and have only ever worn a white Gi although i do not teach i help and have seen alot of ppl from mixed martials and other types of unheard of martial arts who wear diffent coloured gi’sdepending what grade they are lower belts where a white gi progreeeing to a red then to a black suit im not taking the mick but i think its a motvation thing used alot on kids clubs ect get back to me if any ones got a reply

  23. Meikyo said:

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  24. Jimmy-san said:

    My gi is crotchless!

  25. lampard08 said:

    i do wado ryu (which is the best) we train in standard white.

    [Eire!]

  26. Gareth said:

    I have just got my black belt and my karate shihan has told me that I must now get a green gi. Can someone tell me where I can get one from as I have searched the internet but I can’t seem to find anything.

  27. Mal Hinson said:

    Flashy gi’s and decorations are fine for those who have little skill and ego for a master. They try to call attention to one’s self. Karate-do maxim; “The greatest victory is to conquer self.” In my humble words may I offer, when you extinguish your feelings about yourself, clear mind, the opponent on the mats is not real difficult. I have been fortunate to practice Karate-do for 37 years now. Simple white gi. Seldom wear a belt with the rank strips on it. When you kata people will know your skill level. No need to be flashy or loud. Your techniques and power focus speak clear enough. Concentrate on what’s inside the gi not the outside. Thank you reading my opinion. Mal Hinson

  28. Mal Hinson said:

    Gareth,

    A green gi is unusal color. Does your Sensei wear one? Ask him where he found it. You may have to die a white one green. Note after dieing in hot salty water let it dry some. Then soak it WELL in cold water. Back when I first started it was common to have to die our belts after promotions. It’s a mess. Do it outside. That’s why belt colors go towards darker. Thank goodness they easy to buy nowdays. Good luck with your search and ossh on receiving your dan belt.
    Mal

  29. bob said:

    A true fighter is not determined by the color of his or her gi:)

  30. Jason said:

    i study ryu bu kan aiki jujitsu and i wear a blue gi. I see no problem with it…I also have a background in shotokan karate.

  31. Mal said:

    Bob understands. I tell my students the knowledge of a book lies with in. The cover of the book is decoration. Bob is totally correct. Skill is inside. Oss.

  32. NIck K. said:

    In my opinion, I dont think it matters what color gi you wear as long as you train hard and keep it clean. I have to admit that some gis look kind of flashy but when has that ever had to do with how hard you train? All 11 years of my training Ive always worn a traditional white gi because it is what I have that fits me. When I practice at home I dont care what Im wearing. Im just training!=]

  33. joe said:

    If anyone wants to know the real reason that kenpo or kempo uses black then just do a google search on the history of it. But it is more of a distiction from traditional “sport” or competition martial arts as practically all of our training practices would get you disqualified in comp. We are strictly self defense.

  34. SenseiJonnaef said:

    Ok real quick, My name is Jonathan and i teach martial arts and so everyone is clear there is no such thing as a traditional color for a karate uniform. Because truely traditional karate, has no uniforms at all. The Gi was merely what the Okinawans happened to practice in, the Gi was almost like an under garment. (oh and FYI, if you are to consider the “Gi” as their uniform then the original color was black) karate was practiced at a time when the Japanese did not allow the Okinawans to practice any warrior art, so therefor karate masters practiced at night, in dark clothing. just so you all know this and are clear. by the way the kenpo uniform is black because it’s an optical trick, black is harder to see so when they kick or punch it seems faster, it’s more of a modern trick for tournies.

    ok take care

  35. sean said:

    If you wear a full black uniform that means you are a master or at least a black belt. not all schools have this but most of them do but for the most part it doesent really matter.

  36. Mr. Staley Sensi said:

    In the 45 or so years that I have commited myself to trying to learn a martial art, I have seen and heard a lot. One thing that keeps popping up from time to time is the color of uniforms.

    My comment is: “what difference does it make?” The color of a uniform is no different the the color of pants or a shirt that you select for the day. It doesn’t make you a better martial artist or even a better person. It is only a dress preference and it should stay that way.

    If the measure of a person or martial artist is the color of their uniform then I think someone has gotten the wrong message about martial arts and needs to reconsider what truly matters; and that is, to become a better martial artist in the end.

    In closing, I wish all goodness in their lives.

  37. dalan said:

    i think that the only two gi’s (unless your like 10 years old) should be white or black. it just looks more traditional and you have a very structural look to your class…blue, pink, red, what is this?!

  38. zach said:

    karate is not about a flashy gee, quit trying to be a tenage mutant ninja turtle and just practice traditional martial arts.

  39. Jane said:

    Does anyone know where to get a karate lisencecoz im white belt (:P)and i got ma gi n stuff but i wanna get ma lisence >.

  40. Nate said:

    I think that it doesnt really matter what color your gi is. It is the fighter on the inside. I have an all black gi but i think the white gis are the coolest.

  41. Sensei Dan said:

    I allow my students to wear either a black or white gi. However I tell the students who choose to wear a black gi that they must also have a white gi for testings, guest instructor, tournaments etc.

  42. Josh said:

    *sigh* many of you know nothing. A traditional Karate gi is WHITE; with the exception of a black gi for sensei, masters, Kenpo students, and sometimes Hapkido. Any othe gi is for demos or is just plain american, stupid, immature, and un-traditional.

  43. nathan said:

    i think that it doesn’t matter what color gi you wear its the person inside of it

  44. Ed said:

    Haha,I’ve been in martial arts for 20 years. White gi’s are the best. I have to buy a black gi every 2 years because black gi’s turn gray. Colored gi’s are for homos and metrosexuals, teenagers, and children. Gi’s with alot of patches on them are for weirdos and attention whores. Stay with white. Black is good too. Just replace it when it turns gray.

  45. Phil said:

    i think color shouldn’t even matter its the reason why you are doing it. the color and be different but the martial art is still going to remain the same. in addition with the new generation color seems to be a seller now and days

  46. Travis said:

    I am a Tang Soo Do Sa Bam Nim and I wear the white w/ Midnight Blue trim. My Kwan Jang Nim wore a Black Gi. I personally think that the color of the gi doesn’t represent anything more than a visual.

  47. Sadanand R. Padma said:

    I ‘ ve been in martial arts for last 40 years. All instrutors must to wear there proper gi in their respective dojos otherwise they will loose there pratice automaticly. I always wear white uniform gi.

  48. Sam-E-Rye said:

    RE: Eli Bronstein’s comment.

    That must have been a bowling tournament you competed in.
    We spar is karate.

    You spare in bowling.

  49. Kurtis W said:

    I agree thoroughly with Mal Hinson. I would also like to add – Pride goeth before a fall. I never wear my stripes on my belt and gi, solid white. Never underestimate your opponent and humility is one of the tenets of Goju-ryu.

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  51. Eric said:

    I use a black gi. I’m not a sensei or anything. I study in the bujinkan, and that’s what we use. Though I think Soke Takamatsu wore a white gi before the 1960s. Never found out why, though. Anyway, don’t ask me why I’m on the karate website. It’s because I like to read what people talk about in the other arts.

  52. Rylie said:

    Hi I just started and go to ebay and you’ll find a gi

  53. Quietstorm said:

    There are traditional practioners and modified/new day practioners. I am in agreement with the commments about the gi color does not matter. It truly is whats inside the person. Think about it? You are walking on the street in your blue dress suit, and become under attack. Does the blue suit fight the attacker or whats inside of the Suit, i.e. the man or woman? Same with the ‘black belt’ issue, you can have one, but its whats on the inside of you, and what you have developed by training, wisdom, etc to render a response to an attacker. You can take your blackbelt so to speak and smack the attacker with it should you have it. If, you look back in time about the white gi, traditionally, the white gi was worn, but there was an off white, slightly tan, less than yellow due to the available materials doing the time. They were basically pajamas. The take away from this comment is the gi color should not matter, it’s whats inside of the person and what was developed. If one was in the caught in the nude, and had to defend themselves what does the color of the gi dictates. And, if a person likes the what is called the traditional white gi or untraditional color gi’s, then he or she should be comfortable with either. Ous!

  54. Peter Senpai said:

    I don’t think it matters too much what color one’s gi is for their discpline. ALthough i do judge and question a person’s standard upon their own ability – therefore in my experiences over the past 28 years i have come across many who are not anywhere near the level they say they are and their presentation (Gi) usually reflects that with either being a different color or with patches all over it instead of the traditional white with the style ebroided as a chest patch only if any. A true Karateka is about what they have to offer others – not how they look. i also believe that breaking concrete, real baseball bats, wood, watermelons, etc should be uniform throughout ALL Black-belt gradings the world over. the standards in Asia / Japan are still far greater and higher than anywhere else in the world. this is not open for debate – after much travelling and training with some of the worlds greatest trainers and teachers from Japan they are all in agreeance that the standards in Japan are brutal but honest which is why we all continue to travel there still to this day. Osu!

  55. David Richardson sr said:

    For what its worth, I was all for the exclusive use of white Gi’s until two things happened. First one of our women wore black panties under her gi bottom and someone made a comment about them and almost closed me down due to sexual harassment. The other is I’ve had a couple of students that after a half hour of working out their butt areas started turning yellow and the brown. I kid not. So now I do not allow white Gi’s at all.
    Hanshi Dave Richardson.

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