The uniform of karate is the Gi. The traditional white bleached Gi. In Korean and Japanese Martial Arts, the Karate Uniform is used to symbolize the student of the martial arts. The karate uniform serves multiple purposes. It is designed to reflect the students state of mind - being a martial arts student, and it is also a practical garb. The karate uniform is stronger, tougher and more difficult to stretch or rip during training. It is designed to be gripped, pulled and tugged. Like all uniforms, the Karate Uniform puts the student in the state of mind of a Martial Artist.
There are three parts to a Karate Uniform. The jacket, the pants and the belt. There are different "weights" or densities associated with the karate uniform. They are sold in Lighweight (5-6 oz), Medium Weight (7-8 oz) or Heavy Weight (9-15 oz) Styles. The heavier the karate uniform, the denser, heavier and thicker they are. Choose one that fits your needs. Use heavier uniforms if you expect to engage in a lot of physical hand to hand training and wrestling.
The color belt system was said to have begun from the Japanese Karate system. It began with Judo and was soon adopted by the mainstream karate systems.
The belt colors represent rank and seniority. The belts are an external representation of a martial arts student's training, education and skills. The Kyu or number rank system goes from 10 -1 and then moves up from 1 - 10th Dan. The belt colors are as follows:
Black Belt 1st Dan
Black Belt 2nd Dan
Black Belt 10th Dan
Traditionally, belts were dyed into the darker colors as the Karate Student gained higher rank. They did not buy new belts. Times were tough then and new belts were expensive propositions, so they gradually dyed them into darker and darker colors. Other myths imply that white belts were gradually allowed to grow darker and darker, until they eventually became black. This is the theory that belts represents a students length of training and devotion to the art.
The traditional karate uniform is called a "Gi", pronounced gee. The uniform should always be worn clean and unfrayed. This is to show respect for your art, your teacher and your fellow students. Your karate uniform should adorn no patches unless authorized by your instructor or Sensei. The belt is called an "obi". The obi or karate belt will adorn different colors depending on your experience and training level. The karate belt was adopted from Japanese Judo.
Karate Uniform Rules (Rules of The Gi):
- Always come to class with a clean and orderly uniform. The outside appearance in karate shows the internal discipline of the karate practitioner
- Avoid folding up sleeves and pant legs of the Gi. If the uniform needs to be altered, please do so as soon as possible. It is a distraction to the student to re-fold his or her uniform in the middle of class, and in advanced classes, folded sleeves and pant legs bring a risk of injury. When altering a uniform, do not raise sleeve or pant leg past mid point of arm or leg
- To prolong the life of the Gi we recommend the following washing instructions. Wash in warm water with regular detergent (not bleach). When the Gi finishes the spin cycle, hang dry. By avoiding the use of bleach and machine drying, you will increase the life of the Gi
- Place your name on the inside tags or lapel of the uniform
- Females should wear a white t-shirt under Gi top. Males are not required to wear anything under Gi top