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Karate Gis

Written by Sierra Rein
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Karate gis, or uniforms, are the first items for any karate student to purchase for his or her training in the martial art. It should be honored as an almost spiritual "skin" of sorts, where outside street clothes are shed in order to begin a new body and mind philosophy. A gi is also light and flexible enough to allow movement of the body and is made durable enough to survive falls, hits, and contact with the ground.

There are many different styles of Karate gis which are used for various functions within a student's journey. However, the traditional gi is made of three parts: the jacket, pants and belt. This famous belt, tied in a very specific way towards the front of the body, has a color which reflects the student's level of expertise.

The Care and Washing of Karate Gis

Because most martial arts gis are made of cotton, they are extremely susceptible to shrinking when thrown into hot water. It is thus better to wash your gi in cold water and line-dry them instead of heated tumble drying. Repeated bleaching can weaken the originally strong fibers of the gi, so bleach them very rarely and spot bleach where needed.

If you choose to put any Karate patches on your uniform, a good idea is to fix them with removable velcro squares so that you do not have to hand stitch them again if you replace your uniform. It will also help you follow the etiquette of removing one's patches when visiting a dojo (school) of a different martial art. Finally, if you choose to iron your gi, it is best to do so when a little damp, or hang it on the line to let gravity do the work for you.


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