What is the first thing that comes to our mind when we think of martial arts students?
Yes, them with their white uniforms. If a student is wearing it outside, they instantly stand out and filter through from the rest of us.
These uniforms are known as Gi, an extracted term from the word ‘Keikogi’- Keiko meaning practice and Gi meaning dress or clothes.
The top part of Gi is called the Uwagi, translated as upper. The lower part is called Shitabaki, meaning trousers.
- 1 Symbolism
- 2 List of Martial Arts Using Gi
- 3 Gi Care Tips for Beginners
- 4 Importance of Teaching Gi
- 5 Gi Care For Kids: Tips to Follow
- 6 Tips Before Buying a Gi
- 7 Gi Care For Kids: List of Things Considered Disrespectful
- 8 Conclusion
The uniform that these professionals wear isn’t just for practice purposes. They have different real-life meanings and symbolism attached to them.
Apart from being practical, a Gi serves as a reminder to practice the art. When a martial artist wears a Gi, he/she gets into a different frame of mind.
Their bodies and minds are ready to practice the art and leave all the worldly problems away from their conscience.
Gi also serves as a motivating factor to younger practitioners. Wearing a Gi that is different for all stages enables students to achieve higher, reach that goal to wear the Gi that their masters wear.
When students wear Gi, they are respecting the integrity of the art. All the history, culture, origin is appreciated by the students when they wear the uniform.
A sense of commitment arises in them as they wear this uniform. One more thing that makes Gis important is the practicality of the outfit.
It is comfortable, sturdy, durable, and can be worn for longer periods. It enables a student to focus on achieving their target goal instead of worrying about being uncomfortable.
List of Martial Arts Using Gi
Every martial art requires Gi because of its functionality. Common examples of practices are-
- Judogi – for Judo
- Karategi – for Karate
- Jujitsugi – for Juijitsu
- Aikidogi – for Aikido
- Kendogi – for Kendo
Gi Care Tips for Beginners
Taking care of your ensemble is one of the basic things a martial arts practitioner has to do. Your belongings will stay with you for a longer period if you decide to take care of them at the right time.
Sometimes students that are not novices become so engrossed in the practice that they forget basic rules and points to follow.
This article will serve as a good reminder to them as well.
Importance of Teaching Gi
If your toddler is starting as a martial arts student, explaining all aspects of the art is your duty.
Their instructors at the school will teach them, but as parents, it is your responsibility to keep bombarding these ideas of respect, cleanliness, and structure.
Explain to them the importance of this art they are trying to pursue and condition their brain to respect the art they are practicing.
Make your child realize that Gi is not just some random uniform that they can wear one day and forget about it the next day. Kids’ behavior and nature get shaped by inculcating such little things in their life.
Slowly they understand the value and start taking life lessons from these small itty bitty things.
Gi Care For Kids: Tips to Follow
Investing In a Good Gi
Your practice should make you an expert in martial arts and not an expert in buying Gis every few months.
Avoid getting something cheaper that will not last in the longer run.
A good quality Gi might be expensive at first, but it will save you money and trips to the local Gi store in the longer run. Buy something that looks and feels durable and sturdy.
Don’t think twice before washing it every day. Make it a rule to wash every time after you go for practice.
Washing it every time can reduce the chances of developing that trademark funky smell you dread.
Reusing it before washing can lead to fungal infections even if you sweat very little (which I am sure doesn’t happen to anyone.Rule number one of martial arts training: Sweat buckets!)
Now that the idea of washing after every time is ingrained in your head, don’t forget to remember using cold water. Never use hot water.
Give your on-demand fancy tap water rest and use cold water instead.
Dry your Gi in the dryer only if you want it to fit your little sibling. Since Gis are made of cotton, the fibers are put under immense pressure before weaving.
If you heat condition it, the fibers will start to relax and shrink in size like their old selves. This process can reduce the Gi to a good 3 to 4 sizes down. Air drying is the best way to go about this.
If humidity or temperature is the problem, consider checking your dryer settings for a non-heat drying option.
You should not worry about the creases. Ironing is a solid no-no as it will shrink the cloth.
Do Not Bleach
Your shiny new Gi needs all the love it can get, so that we would recommend you not use bleach for the sake of durability. As your Gi is made of cotton, it can end up looking yellow instead of white.
Not only that, but it will also harm the fabric by breaking down the cloth slowly and steadily.
If your Gi gets dirty because of some food or mud stain, immediately try spot cleaning instead of dipping your whole uniform in bleach.
The stain would come out easily without risking the life of your cloth.
Ripping of The Gi
Ripping a Gi is very common and fixing it is very easy. Don’t toss it away in the dustbin if it has tears or rips.
Try stitching it with good quality thread, or just let your tailor handle it.
Small tears can get fixed easily but make sure you are not wearing an ancient Gi sewn in multiple places during an important tournament.
Tips Before Buying a Gi
Gi comes in three weight variants. The first is for kids and novices where the weight is comparatively light. Therefore, these little tots can handle themselves while practicing.
The second one is the most common weight that all martial artists use every day.
The third one is mainly used by practitioners that are champions and want to show their skills to the world or the students.
Since the weight of this costume is heavy, people don’t wear it regularly, and it is primarily used just for competition.
When trying on a costume, make sure you can fully move while doing your movements. A tighter fit around the leg or hand can restrict the movement and cause a rip.
If the Gi is tighter around any body part, it will restrict the part, and as martial arts is a quick sport, you can get muscle spasms because of the hindrance. Focus on your groin! It needs to be the loosest part for optimal kicks and splits.
It should also have enough space to fit the groin protector.
Your Obi should be long enough to tie twice around the waist but not long enough that it dangles below the knees after the belt has been tied. A martial artist can experience injuries as the belt hits them in the eye.
Wash your Obi every time you wash your uniform.
Hand And Pant Cuffs
Cuffs should never reach the end part of your body. If we are talking about the pant cuff – the length should not touch the ground as it may risk the martial artist falling by tripping.
Always keep a good 10cm away from the ground.
Students are expected to wear inners inside their Gi. Boys can be naked under the top part of the Gi. Wear inners that are perfect, and that can hide easily.
Sometimes, Gis can be thin, so always make sure you don’t come across a wardrobe malfunction. In case of doubts, ask your instructor for help.
Gi Care For Kids: List of Things Considered Disrespectful
One should not boss around wearing a Gi, nor should they punk around. Dancing in Gi should be avoided at all costs.
It is your costume – respect it as it gives you protection during the practice. Never wear your Gi without the belt, especially if the belt is hanging around the neck. That is highly disrespectful.
Don’t throw your uniform on the floor or walk over it.
Be considerate and hang it somewhere. The best way to keep it secure is to fold it or roll it.
Avoid wearing your complete Gi outside of Dojo. It can get people’s unwanted attention. The uniform must be clean before entering the school.
A dirty Gi shows the lack of respect for the martial art. Make a mental note of not carrying these things before, during, or after the practice.
We hope this article serves as an insightful guide to you. Keep practicing, keep respecting, and don’t forget to take care of your new Gi.
If your Gi is old, consider this a reminder to get a new one.