What Do You Call A Karate Uniform Called? All About Karate Uniforms


There are also tie strings on many modern day striking uniforms. These are the first things to get torn off if they are tied and Judo or Jiu jitsu is on the menu that day. One solution is to not tie them or remove the ties all together. This stops the chance of it causing a larger hole.

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Doboks from Taekwondo are notoriously useless if any sort of grappling is done. They have a deep v-neck collar in the front. If nearly any amount of pulling is done on the jacket, a rip is bound to happen at the base of the “v”.Another reason that grappling should be only done with the right thickness of a jacket or with no jacket at all is the danger of injuries. Abrasions sometimes happen even with the soft thick collars of Judo Gis. These abrasions turn into burns and even cuts when thinner collars are used.

Where Did The Names of These Uniforms Come From?

The word Gi originated in the Japanese language. It has a fairly basic meaning that doesn’t fit what most kids and even adults think of when they think of Karate or Judo. The word Gi simply means dress or clothes in Japanese. This stems from the fact that it is simply a hold over from a style that was popular in times past.Brazilian Jiu jitsu students use the term Gi because of the history of their martial art. Mitsuyo Maeda taught the families of Gracie and Franca in Brazil the art of Judo and especially the newaza or groundwork. From these two families Brazilan Jiu jitsu was born. Because of its Japanese, and specifically Judo roots, BJJ students to this day call their uniforms Gis or Kimonos.The Korean term Dobok has a similar though slightly more illustrious meaning behind it. Like the Japanese Gi, the Korean Dobok means clothing, but with a twist. It fully means clothing of the way. In Korean Do means the way and Bok means clothing.With Taekwondo meaning the way of the hand and foot you can see the reasoning behind the name. Tae means foot, Kwon means fist, and Do means way. So, clothing of the way has a more ‘martial arty’ feel to it I suppose. Though it is a more modern invention it still uses the traditional tropes and style, just with a bit of an updating.

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Most all systems simply call the belt whatever name that their languages use for it. In Japanese it is an Obi (obee). In Korean it is a Ti (tee). In Chinese systems the English word is a sash for what we would consider a belt. Though, the Chinese systems haven’t to this day agreed on consistent clothing.

The Uniform Takeaway…

Whether through the eyes of a child or an adult, martial arts clothing is viewed with a sense of wonder and even awe when uniformly worn by large groups of training students. It is a symbol of belonging and for this reason many instructors and students insist on using the proper names for them. Though not expressly offensive, using the wrong name for them could ruffle some feathers in some circles.The tradition of what they are called on the other hand, is not that specific. Many times the terms used are simply the word for clothes or belt in the language of origin. This doesn’t detract from its meaning in the individual student’s mind. Just like our names for so many other things, the ordinary practical gives way to deeper meaning with use.In most histories of the martial arts and its equipment the credit for the Gi’s, Doboks, and uniforms we see today is given to the founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano. His ideas was to unify the disparaging attire many students of Jiujitsu wore. He pointed Judo more in the direction of sport and this lent itself to uniform dress codes.

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Though it is only based on more ancient dress and is actually a more modern(ish) invention, the martial arts uniform has become a symbol to many of the goals they have set and strive to one day reach. The belt and in some instances the color of the Gi indicate accomplishment. This is the true meaning of the martial arts uniform.

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