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
Why wear a Gi in Karate?
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
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
How to choose a Karate Gi
The simplest way to get your new Karate
uniform (Gi) is to ask your instructor. Most Karate
schools (Dojos) have a supplier who looks after their
equipment requirements and provides them with uniforms at a
discount that is passed on to the student.
Some schools insist you purchase your Karate Gi through them
and will not let you wear any other type of uniform. Thus it
is very important to check with your instructor before
purchasing a uniform by yourself.
Your instructor will probably be able to take
one look at you and tell you exactly what size Gi you
require and be able to have it ready for you to wear at your
Some Karate schools carry stock of the uniforms they wear so
you may be able to have your new Gi the very first day you
begin your martial arts journey.
Uniform sizes / Gi sizes
Apart from the obvious
requirement of choosing the uniform which your
particular dojo wears, you need to get the right size to
Most uniform manufacturers use a size chart that
corresponds numbers to height. However, this size system
varies depending on manufacturer, country and origin.
For example, Karate uniforms made for the American and
Australian market are usually larger, whereas those made
for the Asian market like Japan and Korea are slightly
smaller, which is especially noticeable in the sleeve
and pants length.
Typical Size Chart