A gi (also known as a dogi, or a keikogi, loosely translated as “practice clothes”) is a uniform that is worn to practice traditional martial arts like Taekwon-Do, Karate, Judo, BJJ, and other martial arts. They are designed for providing comfort, while allowing for a full range of motion, so that dynamic movements involving stances, punches, kicks and other martial exercises, can be easily executed.
What does a gi comprise of?
A gi comprises of pants (known as “shitabaki”), a top that is wrapped around (known as “uwagi”), and a long fabric belt (known as an “obi”). The belt holds the top and also shows the skill level attained by the practitioner.
Pants are worn by stepping into them and pulling them up to the waist. All pants have a drawstring. The drawstring may be inside the hemming of the waistband, or on the outside threaded through loops. The drawstring is pulled taut, which cinches the waistband and then the two ends of the drawstring are tied together in a shoestring knot.
The drawstring should not be tied too tight, as this will then bite into the waist and become uncomfortable. On the other hand, if the drawstring is too loose, then the pants may fall down while performing complex maneuvers or while sparring. Thus, the drawstring should not be tied too tight or loose, but should be tied just right, so that a secure and a comfortable fit is obtained.
To ensure a more secure fit, nowadays pants come with elasticated waistbands along with a drawstring. An elasticated waistband has an elastic sewn inside the waistband. Due to this elasticated waistband, the pants will never come down and will always remain in place, even if the drawstring is not tied. However, it is recommended to tie the drawstrings also, so that a more secure fit is obtained.
Wrap-around top (uwagi)
The top is worn by slipping the arms inside the sleeves of the top and then worn just like a jacket or a button-up shirt is worn. The top has two lapels – the right lapel and the left lapel. Hold the right lapel with the right hand and draw it across the body. Then hold the left lapel with left hand and draw it over and across the right lapel. The right lapel comes underneath the left lapel.
In Japanese culture, if a person is dead, then on the corpse’s body, the left lapel is wrapped underneath the right lapel. Hence, it is a traditional custom for martial artists who are alive and who wear a gi, to wrap the right lapel underneath the left lapel.
Once the left lapel is pulled across and over the right lapel, then pin the upper portion of the lapel with one hand, and adjust both the lapels with the other hand. This will make the lapels remain in place, but loosely on top of each other. Thereafter wrap the belt around the waist and adjust the lapels, so that they fit comfortably. To make the process of wearing the belt easier, the lapels need to be held in place. For this reason, nowadays, lapels come with small ties sewn on them.
There is a tie sewn on the inside of the left lapel and on the lower edge of the right lapel. Both these ties can be tied together with a shoestring knot, so that the right lapel can be securely tied underneath the left lapel. Similarly, there is tie sewn on the outside of the right lapel and the lower edge of the left lapel. Again, both these ties can be tied in a shoestring knot, so that the left lapel comes over and across the right lapel and stays in place. Ties help to keep the lapels in place, so that the belt can be wrapped around the waist very easily.
The belt (obi)
The belt can be a very wide and long strip of cloth as worn by Samurai/Kendo practitioners or a narrower long fabric belt as worn by practitioners of Taekwondo, Karate, and other martial arts. The belt shows the level of skill attained by the practitioner, who from a white belt, attains several coloured belts, to finally earn a black belt. The purpose of the belt is to protect the umblicus/navel and the lower backbone, which are two vital points of the body. Additionally, it also helps to keep the two lapels securely together. Some practitioners wear the belt just below the navel or three fingers below the navel, assuming that an energy point known as “tanden/lower dantian” will be activated. It is recommended to ask the instructor as to where the belt should be worn.
There are many ways to tie a belt and again, it is recommended to ask the instructor to learn how to tie a belt. After tying the belt, adjust the sides of the lapels so that they allow for a full range of motion without any restriction.
Adjusting the sides of the lapels
With the left hand, the belt can be held and the right hand may be extended straight up, while leaning a little to the left. This way a small part of the right lapel will come out of the belt. Repeating this same process on the other side, will make the left lapel come slightly out of the belt. Care should be taken not to lean too much on either side, otherwise more parts of the lapel may come out, which might create a sloppy look.
Alternatively, using the hands, the lapels may be gently un-tucked a little from the belt, on all sides, so that the arms and the upper part of the body feel free to execute blocks and punches without any hindrance from the gi.
Besides wearing a gi correctly, the gi also has to be of the correct size. Check out your size from the chart below. All gi from Pacific Sports are made from the highest quality fabrics, have reinforced stitching and last a very long time.
Pacific Sports quality
All products sold at Pacific Sports undergo rigorous testing. Numerous gyms and martial arts schools of Australia and the world, rely on the Pacific Sports quality for tough and long-lasting products, which includes uniforms, jackets, pants, belts, shoes, rash guards, compression wear, protective wear and training gear. Additionally, products offered on sale carry this same high quality but with drastically reduced prices. Moreover, if the monthly newsletter is subscribed, then an additional 10% discount is also offered.