The Traditional Gi is White

Your Uniform is a Gi

The “gi” is the traditional uniform for karate. Gi is an American usage.  In Japan it may be called “Keikogi” which means ‘practice clothing’ or Dogi = ‘clothing of the way’ or Karategi.

The traditional gi is white.  It is the uniform we wear when competing and for important events like reviews and seminars.  White has always stood for purity and, more specifically in karate, for truth. The great Masters felt that the most difficult and important task in teaching karate is to instill belief in the moral aspects of the art.  So teaching karate, and a moral truth, is visibly represented by wearing the white uniform.

The uniform also bonds us as siblings in a quest for perfection & mastery of self.  The uniform is designed to make movement easy, and probably most importantly, to Unify everyone.  All ages, sexes and sizes wear the same uniform.  When we wear this uniform it allows us to blend in physically, but stand out as individuals with a skill.   We are able to look past social expectation and look at the true effort and skill of the wearer.

As the uniform plays such an important role in our training it is also important to wear it properly.  We have noticed some variances that need to be corrected.  Below is a list of important points on how to properly wear your uniform.

  • Wear a clean uniform.  You should wear your uniform with pride.  It should look and smell clean.  Your uniform is a visual representation of how you train. 
  • You should not have any other clothing showing under your uniform.  We have noticed, mostly kids, wearing their pants under their uniform.  This defeats the purpose of having a uniform that is designed to make movement easy.  It also shows a laziness to actual wear your uniform.  You should not need under layers to keep you warm.  You should be working hard enough in class to stay warm.  If you truly need another layer for warmth, please make sure that it is not visible.  Exception: ladies/girls sports top for modesty.  
  • Jewelry or hair ties on wrist or decorative hair accessories should not be worn with the uniform.  These items can be broken, can be dangerous to your partner, and take away from the premise of the uniform. The only jewelry that can be warn would be a medical bracelet if absolutely necessary.
  • Do not modify the uniform by rolling up the sleeves or pants legs. If they are too long, have them hemmed.  The pants should be to the ankle and the sleeves to just above the wrist bone.
  • Patches should be kept to a minimum.  Your school, style and competition patches are acceptable.  Any other patches should be cleared through Sensei. 
  • All ties should be tied on the jacket.  The left lapel crosses over the right side.  
  • The summer uniform is the PV Karate white tee and is only worn during the months of May-September.  The uniform jacket is necessary for many of the techniques we do and a tee could rip, so please wear your jacket in the other months.  Only instructors and black belts can wear the black PV Karate shirt and only when worn with the black pants. PV Karate shirts only please.  Even during summer you should wear the karategi to reviews, seminars and competitions.
  • Black uniforms may be worn by brown belts and higher.

The act of putting on your gi is part of preparation to train.  Use this time to put yourself in the right mindset, put away other problems or frustrations you’ve had in the day, clear your mind and train for yourself.  Your mind, body and spirit.