Do We Need These Things?

K831

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I'm not a fan of Gi's and belts, at least not in terms of clothing.

A belt ranking system can facilitate goals and timelines, however, I don't see a reason to wear the belt to class.

I hate Gi's... Heavy, hot, uncomfortable, they come loose, I never wear one anywhere else, and I see no practice use. My FMA class, we buy a cheap T-shirt with the school logo on it (this covers uniformity, belonging, representation and school pride etc) and wear running pants or shorts, and shoes.

My old Kenpo school (same association, different instructor) it was the same. School T shirt, jogging bottoms and shoes.

My current Kenpo school? Gi, belt, no shoes, bow in, bow out etc.... I hate it, but it is what it is, and it's the style I love.

I don't like to do things "because thats how we have always done it" or "that's the tradition" etc. Also, I hate not wearing shoes when I train.

So, no, we do not need them.
 

jks9199

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Are the trappings necessary to training? No.

A Catholic priest can say Mass on folding card table in your living room. All that is necessary is the priest, the bread, the wine, and the prayers. But there's a certain atmosphere that comes from the church building, the choir, the music, the candles, etc. (Fresh on my mind because my parish just built a new church -- and it somehow doesn't feel like a church yet... Everything's there, but it's got "new church smell.")

In the same way, you can train in jeans, in sweats, in whatever. You can do it in a field or in a formal training hall. But those trappings can help remind everyone what's going on. I like to change into my training clothes; it's a physical and mental reminder that I am training -- not doing anything else. Just like the altar, crucifix, and other elements of the church building are reminders that we're gathered for a purpose.

Belts? They only matter because they do to some people. They help have a rough idea what a person should know -- but the reality is that any belt color is only meaningful within the club or association that issued it. Is a green belt a beginner or intermediate? What about a green belt with a blue stripe and 3 black lines? What's that one mean? (Yes, I really saw exactly that combination on Saturday. The young man was a green belt soon to test for brown.)
 

Yondanchris

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I love the comments here,

Thank you Mr. Bishop for your comments!!

As has been said before, individuals fit into 1 of 2 camps:

GI (ranks, patches, ect...)

or

NO GI (t-shirt, pants, shoes, ect...)

I will echo the notion that ocassional training in varied environments (including clothing) is positive and informative for the Martial Artist.

It all comes down to the Instructor, the Student, and the pride of either one...

The more I experience Pride/Ego the more I understand Humanity and the
common condition....

My ignorant .02 cents,

Chris
 

Danjo

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Are the trappings necessary to training? No.

A Catholic priest can say Mass on folding card table in your living room. All that is necessary is the priest, the bread, the wine, and the prayers. But there's a certain atmosphere that comes from the church building, the choir, the music, the candles, etc. (Fresh on my mind because my parish just built a new church -- and it somehow doesn't feel like a church yet... Everything's there, but it's got "new church smell.")

In the same way, you can train in jeans, in sweats, in whatever. You can do it in a field or in a formal training hall. But those trappings can help remind everyone what's going on. I like to change into my training clothes; it's a physical and mental reminder that I am training -- not doing anything else. Just like the altar, crucifix, and other elements of the church building are reminders that we're gathered for a purpose.

Belts? They only matter because they do to some people. They help have a rough idea what a person should know -- but the reality is that any belt color is only meaningful within the club or association that issued it. Is a green belt a beginner or intermediate? What about a green belt with a blue stripe and 3 black lines? What's that one mean? (Yes, I really saw exactly that combination on Saturday. The young man was a green belt soon to test for brown.)

I don't think those priest collars are very good for fighting in from the looks of them.

I've thought often about starting a women's self defense class where everyone dressed like the ancient Olympians, but I still haven't worked out the details yet. When I say "no gi grappling" I MEAN it! ;)
 

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Carol

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I don't think those priest collars are very good for fighting in from the looks of them.

I've thought often about starting a women's self defense class where everyone dressed like the ancient Olympians, but I still haven't worked out the details yet. When I say "no gi grappling" I MEAN it! ;)

You first, Danjo. C'mon, show us how its done. :highfive:
 

Danjo

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You first, Danjo. C'mon, show us how its done. :highfive:

No problem. The thing is I decided to go with just teaching private lessons. I give substantial discounts however, soooooooooo................
 

Carol

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No problem. The thing is I decided to go with just teaching private lessons. I give substantial discounts however, soooooooooo................

Soooooo......set up a demo eh? Oh, and find a nice buff kaju guy to assist you. Make it worth my while. *nods*
 

Danjo

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Soooooo......set up a demo eh? Oh, and find a nice buff kaju guy to assist you. Make it worth my while. *nods*

Not sure how another guy would work with my women's self defense class. But either way, you know how I feel about video training. It has to be hands on. I'm too old school for anything else. So, if you're ever in the area...:hmm:
 

Carol

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Not sure how another guy would work with my women's self defense class. But either way, you know how I feel about video training. It has to be hands on. I'm too old school for anything else. So, if you're ever in the area...:hmm:

I'll watch you guys put on a show first. See if its my thing. ;)
 

l_uk3y

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Once again I'm not from Kempo but I'm also of the opinion that it needs to be functional. In WC we have loose flexible pants with a logo'd T-shirt as uniform. It does the job perfectly for the application as well as is something you can wear down the street as normal attire (excluding the logo).

In Hapkido however. A T-shirt just won't cope with the treatment. I've gone through a few uniforms and now use a heavy canvas to stop the stitches popping every time I train.

As far as belts go. They give your training partner an extra item to grab to do nasty things to you. Otherwise they just mean something to new students and people whom rank themselves by their color.

Luke
 

yorkshirelad

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I always hear martial artists asking questions about uniform, but I don't hear the same argument from people in other endeavours. All my years playing rugby, I never heard "Do you think we should train/play in street clothes". If that had been said, the lad who said it would get laughed at.

When it comes to belts, they are an indicator of where you are in the scheme of things. The belt is also an accomplishment. It also helps visiting instructors differentiate from beginner, intermediate and advanced students. Wear it with pride says I, but don't go down the pub in it and whatever you do don't sleep in it.
 

K831

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I always hear martial artists asking questions about uniform, but I don't hear the same argument from people in other endeavours. All my years playing rugby, I never heard "Do you think we should train/play in street clothes". If that had been said, the lad who said it would get laughed at.

This is likely because most gear associated with other sports serve a very functional purpose, most often safety, where as most martial arts uniforms serve a historical or traditional purpose only. But even in Rugby, gear changes. Very seldom do you see the high cut boots of days past.. no, that was changed in favor for what is most practical, so obviously someone questioned it. Same can be said for 6 and 8 stud patterns for given positions. But we should still wear antiquated Japanese uniforms when we train?

I understand what some members have posted regarding certain types of Gi's lasting longer with the given throws and chokes than a t shirt (Judo, BJJ and Hopkido). However, in Kenpo and Kali, the throws we do use a limb, the head or neck. There is no practical reason to wear a GI at all.

I would expect my motocross buddies to laugh at me if I protested the wearing of a helmet and boots. I wish more Kenpoists would laugh at the insistence on wearing an unnecessary uniform in the name of tradition, rather than more practical set of clothing.

This becomes even more of an issue when learning to kick, barefoot vs shoes....

When it comes to belts, they are an indicator of where you are in the scheme of things. The belt is also an accomplishment. It also helps visiting instructors differentiate from beginner, intermediate and advanced students. Wear it with pride says I, but don't go down the pub in it and whatever you do don't sleep in it.

Couple of thoughts -

1.) A belt should indicate where someone is in the scheme of things, but they often indicate nothing more than shear time at a dojo or money spent. What matters is skill, technique, timing etc, and that becomes apparent regardless of what the belt says

2.) Yes it is an accomplishment. See above, isn't what we are really trying to accomplish is the acquisition of skill that can be applied in real life? That is why I train... my success in that endeavor is my accomplishment and I see it in my performance, not on my waist. I don't begrudge anyone who wants to wear an MA belt... as to the posters question; we don't "need it".

3.) Yes, if one is inclined to have visiting instructors from other styles and one is inclined to care what they think and how readily they can discern who wears what color then belts need to be worn. Not an issue where I typically train.
 

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This is likely because most gear associated with other sports serve a very functional purpose, most often safety, where as most martial arts uniforms serve a historical or traditional purpose only. But even in Rugby, gear changes. Very seldom do you see the high cut boots of days past.. no, that was changed in favor for what is most practical, so obviously someone questioned it. Same can be said for 6 and 8 stud patterns for given positions. But we should still wear antiquated Japanese uniforms when we train?

I understand what some members have posted regarding certain types of Gi's lasting longer with the given throws and chokes than a t shirt (Judo, BJJ and Hopkido). However, in Kenpo and Kali, the throws we do use a limb, the head or neck. There is no practical reason to wear a GI at all.

I would expect my motocross buddies to laugh at me if I protested the wearing of a helmet and boots. I wish more Kenpoists would laugh at the insistence on wearing an unnecessary uniform in the name of tradition, rather than more practical set of clothing.

This becomes even more of an issue when learning to kick, barefoot vs shoes....



Couple of thoughts -

1.) A belt should indicate where someone is in the scheme of things, but they often indicate nothing more than shear time at a dojo or money spent. What matters is skill, technique, timing etc, and that becomes apparent regardless of what the belt says

2.) Yes it is an accomplishment. See above, isn't what we are really trying to accomplish is the acquisition of skill that can be applied in real life? That is why I train... my success in that endeavor is my accomplishment and I see it in my performance, not on my waist. I don't begrudge anyone who wants to wear an MA belt... as to the posters question; we don't "need it".

3.) Yes, if one is inclined to have visiting instructors from other styles and one is inclined to care what they think and how readily they can discern who wears what color then belts need to be worn. Not an issue where I typically train.

Well, our art needs to use the gis because of the wear and tear. In the real world, people often wear heavy coats, or even windbreakers and there are plenty of techniques that will translate nicely from the gi to those garments. However, we also have a wide range of techniques that don't require any particular type of clothing, but wearing a gi won't prevent one from being good at them.

If, you are in an art that only deals with techniques that have no bearing on how restrictive the clothing is and there is no need to grab the clothing, then it really doesn't matter what you wear. I know many Chinese Boxing arts are done in street clothes and shoes. These arts typically do not involve throwing and choking.
 

yorkshirelad

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This is likely because most gear associated with other sports serve a very functional purpose, most often safety, where as most martial arts uniforms serve a historical or traditional purpose only. But even in Rugby, gear changes. Very seldom do you see the high cut boots of days past.. no, that was changed in favor for what is most practical, so obviously someone questioned it. Same can be said for 6 and 8 stud patterns for given positions. But we should still wear antiquated Japanese uniforms when we train?

I understand what some members have posted regarding certain types of Gi's lasting longer with the given throws and chokes than a t shirt (Judo, BJJ and Hopkido). However, in Kenpo and Kali, the throws we do use a limb, the head or neck. There is no practical reason to wear a GI at all.

I would expect my motocross buddies to laugh at me if I protested the wearing of a helmet and boots. I wish more Kenpoists would laugh at the insistence on wearing an unnecessary uniform in the name of tradition, rather than more practical set of clothing.

This becomes even more of an issue when learning to kick, barefoot vs shoes....



Couple of thoughts -

1.) A belt should indicate where someone is in the scheme of things, but they often indicate nothing more than shear time at a dojo or money spent. What matters is skill, technique, timing etc, and that becomes apparent regardless of what the belt says

2.) Yes it is an accomplishment. See above, isn't what we are really trying to accomplish is the acquisition of skill that can be applied in real life? That is why I train... my success in that endeavor is my accomplishment and I see it in my performance, not on my waist. I don't begrudge anyone who wants to wear an MA belt... as to the posters question; we don't "need it".

3.) Yes, if one is inclined to have visiting instructors from other styles and one is inclined to care what they think and how readily they can discern who wears what color then belts need to be worn. Not an issue where I typically train.
You seem to have taken a contentious tone. Yes sportswear has changed, but so have martial arts gis. In most traditional atrs, gis have remained pretty much the same as they were at the inception of these arts. If we take a look at BJJ, their gis have changed considerably since the golden days of Helio and Carlos.

Now, about belts, if you don't want to wear one don't. It's not about caring what others think, it's about facilitating students and teachers in teaching and learning. True, some instructors sell belts, but these guys are usually embarassed when their students come up against students of their peers. There's no need to get upset mate. I don't care if you wear high heels and a tutu. It's horses for courses.
 

K831

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In the real world, people often wear heavy coats, or even windbreakers and there are plenty of techniques that will translate nicely from the gi to those garments.

Interesting. I hear this a lot, but very few want to apply the same line of thinking to shoes, and how that effects techniques, especially kicking. Do you wear shoes when you train? What percentage of the time do you think you will have a real altercation barefoot, vs wearing shoes? I am genuinely curious.

If, you are in an art that only deals with techniques that have no bearing on how restrictive the clothing is and there is no need to grab the clothing, then it really doesn't matter what you wear. I know many Chinese Boxing arts are done in street clothes and shoes. These arts typically do not involve throwing and choking.

I agree, and the OP did ask specifically about Ken(m)po and Kaju. Most Kenpo/Kempo I have been exposed to is light on throws that are clothing dependent. (light on throws in general really). The Kaju my brother trains in is Emperado style, which is far more focused on the Kenpo/striking aspect, so no real need of gi there. Most of the throws he shows me from his style are not clothing dependent.

This of course brings up other training questions... is there perhaps an issue with techniques and styles that are highly clothing dependent? In my experience both learning and teaching, students taught to throw using limbs etc can easily modify by grabbing a heavy coat if it is there, whereas students taught to throw using a gi lapel tend to reach for it when it isn't there (not to mention discussing the loss of one weapon in doing so) . We actually played with this in a Krav seminar, as the instructor explained why their grappling had been modified as it had.. same as my Kenpo. Just a thought.

You seem to have taken a contentious tone.

Contentious? If you mean I disagreed with your comparison between martial arts gis and all other sports uniforms than yes, I disagree, or rather contend with that line of thinking. If you mean to infer that I am angry, upset, and emotional or heated, then no sir not at all.

Yes sportswear has changed, but so have martial arts gis. In most traditional atrs, gis have remained pretty much the same as they were at the inception of these arts. If we take a look at BJJ, their gis have changed considerably since the golden days of Helio and Carlos.

Which is why I specifically mentioned BJJ in my post above.

Now, about belts, if you don't want to wear one don't. It's not about caring what others think, it's about facilitating students and teachers in teaching and learning. True, some instructors sell belts, but these guys are usually embarassed when their students come up against students of their peers. There's no need to get upset mate. I don't care if you wear high heels and a tutu. It's horses for courses.

- I don't, whenever I can get out of it.
- Again, I'm not upset in any way. Because someone finds fault with anothers logic, reasoning, analogy, etc does not imply they are upset.
- Sure I could wear a tutu, and you can wear a gi, but that has nothing to do with the question posed, which was "do we really need to". For many arts, specifically the bulk of those mentioned by the OP, the answer is still "no". Weather we "can" or "want to" is subjective and contextual... and beside the point.
 

Danjo

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Interesting. I hear this a lot, but very few want to apply the same line of thinking to shoes, and how that effects techniques, especially kicking. Do you wear shoes when you train? What percentage of the time do you think you will have a real altercation barefoot, vs wearing shoes? I am genuinely curious.

We do train in shoes as well as bare feet. In fact it's built into our training schedule with regular "Shoe Nights" so that we can get used to wearing them while training. We live in Southern California, which means that 90% of the time I'm not at work I am wearing flip-flop sandals. So if a fight were to occur, those would be kicked of imediately. However, during the colder winter days (when it gets down into the 50's etc.) I will wear shoes, as well as when I'm at work, so it pays to be comfortable with both.



I agree, and the OP did ask specifically about Ken(m)po and Kaju. Most Kenpo/Kempo I have been exposed to is light on throws that are clothing dependent. (light on throws in general really). The Kaju my brother trains in is Emperado style, which is far more focused on the Kenpo/striking aspect, so no real need of gi there. Most of the throws he shows me from his style are not clothing dependent.

Well, the "Emperado Style" is really all of Kajukenbo. However, many simply mean the Original/Kenpo KArate Method when referring to the Emperado Method. If you look at my signature, you'll see that is what we train in. Trust me when I tell you that the Original/Kenpo Karate Method has TONS of grabs and take downs etc. Now, not every instructor will emphasize that part of it due to their personal preference, but if they're teaching the whole curriculum, then it's there (and it's not hidden in some technique either, but rather overt) the "Ju" in Kajukenbo stands for Juijitsu as well as Judo.

This of course brings up other training questions... is there perhaps an issue with techniques and styles that are highly clothing dependent? In my experience both learning and teaching, students taught to throw using limbs etc can easily modify by grabbing a heavy coat if it is there, whereas students taught to throw using a gi lapel tend to reach for it when it isn't there (not to mention discussing the loss of one weapon in doing so) . We actually played with this in a Krav seminar, as the instructor explained why their grappling had been modified as it had.. same as my Kenpo. Just a thought.

We have throws and takedowns that are not dependent upon the use of clothing, but we have those that are too. I dont see any point in tossing those out and limiting your options.
 

Carol

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We have throws and takedowns that are not dependent upon the use of clothing, but we have those that are too. I dont see any point in tossing those out and limiting your options.

Not wearing a gi does not mean tossing them out and limiting one's options. Many folks don't wear helmet, cage, pads, gloves, etc. in class from start to finish. That doesn't mean training that requires sparring gear is tossed out the window. ;)
 

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I don't believe we need Gi's, although I do think it's a good idea. As far as belts, although I personally could care less about them, again, I think it's a good idea.

Our military, private schools and even work wear uniforms. I think it puts everyone on an even playing field to all be wearing the same thing. The belts just shows who is senior and junior to the other. There are no distractions as to who's wearing the gucci shirt or the coach pants or whatever.

And Dan, are you gonna be going to Roberts tourney? I sure coulda done without the visual, and if your going to be doing your demo there, well, I'll be sick that day!:erg:
 

girlbug2

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My art if you want to call it that, is a reality based self defense system, and as such we do not wear gis. A school t shirt is required for all official class training, with whatever comfortable workout pants the student wants. That pretty much takes care of the "uniform" aspect. We do have belts awarded with each rank progression, but nobody actually wears them to class--at least, not the adult classes. The kids are required to wear their belts. However I do believe if an adult did try wearing one, they would get snickered at.

My take on gis and such, is that they look really good when you are performing katas (we don't have katas in Krav) and that they may be necessary clothing for certain arts like jiujitsu which rely on them explicitly. Otherwise, though, I say why bother. But that's just me and my temperment. Some people probably get a real kick out of wearing gis, seeing themselves and their fellow students reflected in the mirror all wearing the uniform as they practice, and how it sharpens up the atmosphere of tradition and connectedness to another culture and all. If that helps you then it's all good.
 

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Not wearing a gi does not mean tossing them out and limiting one's options. Many folks don't wear helmet, cage, pads, gloves, etc. in class from start to finish. That doesn't mean training that requires sparring gear is tossed out the window. ;)

Clearly if you're willing to put on a gi and take it off again during class, that would solve the problem.
 
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