Karate gi sizing question

Eastpointvet

Yellow Belt
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
29
Reaction score
3
Location
Atlanta, GA, USA
Hello All,

I have a quick question with something I've noticed that appears to be specific to the Karate gi.

With most other MA uniforms, the sleeves and pants tend to be longer (i.e. taekwondo). The sleeves and pants of the karate gi seem to stop well above the wrist and ankles.

My question: is this a result of tailoring or in the initial uniform sizing? Pics attached for reference.

Thanks!


Short:
thumb.php


Long:
samurai1.jpg
 

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,295
Reaction score
231
Gi can be traditional cut or tournament cut. The tournament styling has a slightly shorter leg and arm hemline and sometimes a slightly longer jacket. Perhaps the first picture is a tournament cut uniform (though in practice, I find many serious karate-ka often have custom alterations made on their gi if appearance and fit is absolutely imperative to them).

Sometimes there is a perceived preference for uniform styling by system or school. Okinawan karate stylists for example often use the shorter length gi.
 
OP
Eastpointvet

Eastpointvet

Yellow Belt
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
29
Reaction score
3
Location
Atlanta, GA, USA
Gi can be traditional cut or tournament cut. The tournament styling has a slightly shorter leg and arm hemline and sometimes a slightly longer jacket. Perhaps the first picture is a tournament cut uniform (though in practice, I find many serious karate-ka often have custom alterations made on their gi if appearance and fit is absolutely imperative to them).

Sometimes there is a perceived preference for uniform styling by system or school. Okinawan karate stylists for example often use the shorter length gi.

I see. The school I'm attending seems to wear the shorter gi (shotokan) but some of the newer students appeared to have oversized uniforms. So the correct action would be to probably ask for a specific style of uniform or to make custom alterations to whatever I receive?
 

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,295
Reaction score
231
I see. The school I'm attending seems to wear the shorter gi (shotokan) but some of the newer students appeared to have oversized uniforms. So the correct action would be to probably ask for a specific style of uniform or to make custom alterations to whatever I receive?

You can't go wrong asking your sensei what to buy. If you get involved heavily into competition, he can advise you what works best (there's a certain look which is appropriate depending on the type of tournaments you attend). Likewise, he can tell you if certain things like kanji embroidery, etc., are permitted or restricted for certain ranks.

Like my school for example: Our goju-ryu students use heavyweight uniforms, dyed white, with shorter hemlines, and plain throughout except for a style badge sewed onto the left breast. Why? Because we work a lot of takedown techniques starting from grabs or pulls and the uniform needs to be durable. White because that is 'traditional'. Short hemlines because we don't want fingers and toes to be accidentally entangled and injured in the sleeves and pants holes. Plain because we believe uniforms should be both functional and promotional of equality on the training floor.

So, it's best to ask your sensei, since the type of uniform as well as the reasoning behind it will vary.
 
OP
Eastpointvet

Eastpointvet

Yellow Belt
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
29
Reaction score
3
Location
Atlanta, GA, USA
You can't go wrong asking your sensei what to buy. If you get involved heavily into competition, he can advise you what works best (there's a certain look which is appropriate depending on the type of tournaments you attend). Likewise, he can tell you if certain things like kanji embroidery, etc., are permitted or restricted for certain ranks.

Like my school for example: Our goju-ryu students use heavyweight uniforms, dyed white, with shorter hemlines, and plain throughout except for a style badge sewed onto the left breast. Why? Because we work a lot of takedown techniques starting from grabs or pulls and the uniform needs to be durable. White because that is 'traditional'. Short hemlines because we don't want fingers and toes to be accidentally entangled and injured in the sleeves and pants holes. Plain because we believe uniforms should be both functional and promotional of equality on the training floor.

So, it's best to ask your sensei, since the type of uniform as well as the reasoning behind it will vary.

Thanks! I forgot to mention that the dojo gives a free uniform when you enroll. I was wondering what size to ask for or what alterations I can expect to enquire about


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,295
Reaction score
231
Thanks! I forgot to mention that the dojo gives a free uniform when you enroll. I was wondering what size to ask for or what alterations can expect to enquire about

I would imagine a free uniform to be the typical lightweight polyblend gi. Sizing depends on brand and cut. So one company's size 5 might be another company's size 4. Yeah, it's way too complicated I know. Frankly these are awful to wear (they feel flimsy, rip easily, get soaked with sweat), so I wouldn't waste too much money altering them.

If you are a heavier person with a bigger frame, you might need to get a larger size and then get the legs and arms hemmed up. If you have a 'regular' frame, the standard uniform size might be fine as is. Most western men wear a size 5 or 6. Size 5 fits most guys that are around 5'-9'' - 6' tall or so, but you can usually view a size chart from the manufacturer/retailer. In your case, your sensei will know what size you are.

Are you a beginner? If so, I wouldn't worry too much about this. Get the freebie from your school and deal with its shortcomings until you move up a few belts. As a motivation tool, set a few goals to achieve and give yourself a nicer uniform with alterations if needed as a reward when you reach them.
 

Grenadier

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2005
Messages
10,826
Reaction score
616
A somewhat "acceptable standard" for most dojos will have the cuff of the sleeve at about 1" short of the wrists, and the pant leg cuff about 1" short of the ankles.

Most companies will have similar sizing methods, that a size 5 would be good for a male who didn't exceed 5' 10", and that a 6 would be idea for those who are between that and 6' 1" (approximation). Of course, different companies may be slightly different. They should have a sizing chart.

When you get the gi, it should fit a bit loosely. I'd actually wash it a few times before getting it hemmed. This way, it does most of the shrinking, and you get a uniform that fits you better for a longer time.
 
OP
Eastpointvet

Eastpointvet

Yellow Belt
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
29
Reaction score
3
Location
Atlanta, GA, USA
Thanks everyone.

I will see what happens. I'm about 5'10" and 172lbs. I have an athletic build so it's been a chore to find the right sizing in various uniforms over the years (taekwondo, military)

This information helps a great deal.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Grenadier

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2005
Messages
10,826
Reaction score
616
Just as a reference, for your size, a Tokon brand gi, 5.5 size, would be ideal for you.

Thanks everyone.

I will see what happens. I'm about 5'10" and 172lbs. I have an athletic build so it's been a chore to find the right sizing in various uniforms over the years (taekwondo, military)

This information helps a great deal.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
OP
Eastpointvet

Eastpointvet

Yellow Belt
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
29
Reaction score
3
Location
Atlanta, GA, USA
Hello again,

A brief update: I received my free uniform this week from my new class. As I suspected, the gi is incredibly baggy, too long and uncomfortable as a result! lol

I have washed the gi several times and it did manage to shrink a bit. However, it's still far too long in the limb area. I am taking it to an alterations shop to have the sleeves and pants hemmed. It is a Pro Force (Size 5) gi if anyone is concerned. Not bad for a freebie, but I cant stand the extra fabric.
 

K-man

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
1,221
Location
Australia
The Okinawan view is that Gajin wear their jackets too short and their pants too long. Pants to lower calf, jacket to cover your backside, sleeves hand breadth up from the wrist.

I'm 5'10" and 190lb. My gi, top quality canvas, is a size 5 and I gave it several hot washes to get the fit right. I had the sleeves and legs taken up as well.
:asian:
 

Grenadier

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2005
Messages
10,826
Reaction score
616
Hello again,

A brief update: I received my free uniform this week from my new class. As I suspected, the gi is incredibly baggy, too long and uncomfortable as a result! lol

I have washed the gi several times and it did manage to shrink a bit. However, it's still far too long in the limb area. I am taking it to an alterations shop to have the sleeves and pants hemmed. It is a Pro Force (Size 5) gi if anyone is concerned. Not bad for a freebie, but I cant stand the extra fabric.



That's perfectly normal. Now that you've done the washing cycles, you picked a good time to get it hemmed. This way, it shouldn't shrink much more at all.
 

wimwag

Blue Belt
Joined
Dec 28, 2013
Messages
229
Reaction score
6
Location
Wisconsin
While we are on this topic, I need a more durable gi. Can anyone reccomenend a certain brand? I'm also finding that I may be a bit too tall or maybe too flexible for my pants. (6'3" 220 pounds.) The inseam is stretching and ripping when I stretch out and the legs ride up and chafe when I do any high kicking. Not sure what to do about it.

If there's any credible and legit online store anyone uses I would appreciate the heads up.
 

Grenadier

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2005
Messages
10,826
Reaction score
616
While we are on this topic, I need a more durable gi. Can anyone reccomenend a certain brand? I'm also finding that I may be a bit too tall or maybe too flexible for my pants. (6'3" 220 pounds.) The inseam is stretching and ripping when I stretch out and the legs ride up and chafe when I do any high kicking. Not sure what to do about it.

If there's any credible and legit online store anyone uses I would appreciate the heads up.

Given your size, a Tokon gi in the 6.5 size would seem to be ideal for you.

If you're looking for a heavyweight uniform, the Monarch may be a good choice, since it's made of a brushed cotton canvas (much more comfortable), while still being a 14oz heavyweight canvas that wicks away perspiration.

http://tokon.com/product/tokon-monarch/

If you're willing to spend a bit more, the Shureido K-10 is an excellent choice, but you should speak with the reps to see what size is optimal for you.

http://www.shureidousa.com/gi/gi.html


Either of those gi's are going to be quite comfortable, and durable.
 

Zero

Master Black Belt
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
Messages
1,284
Reaction score
297
Given your size, a Tokon gi in the 6.5 size would seem to be ideal for you.

If you're looking for a heavyweight uniform, the Monarch may be a good choice, since it's made of a brushed cotton canvas (much more comfortable), while still being a 14oz heavyweight canvas that wicks away perspiration.

http://tokon.com/product/tokon-monarch/

If you're willing to spend a bit more, the Shureido K-10 is an excellent choice, but you should speak with the reps to see what size is optimal for you.

http://www.shureidousa.com/gi/gi.html


Either of those gi's are going to be quite comfortable, and durable.
Not sure if they will do that sizing due to your height but I have a heavy duty budo-nord gi, the pants and jacket are tremendously hardwearing and have been used for years of standup and grappling/throws/ground work. Have been very happoy with the quality.

On an aside note, I just tried checking out their website to see if they had my gi, couldn't find it, but saw this product called a "Sonkei gi", apparently not a gi as such but looked just like it and is meant to be very good for stand up tournament, very good/modern perspiration wicking attributes (couldn't find what the fabric was though...). Does anyone know anything about this "sonkei" outfit from budo-nord, and maybe other manufacturers, and if any good?? It did look lightwieght so not sure if could handle any ground work/cross-training (but it looks like it should be good for lengthy Summer training sessions or maybe round robin tournaments)...
 

Zero

Master Black Belt
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
Messages
1,284
Reaction score
297
As for the original post, like the other goju guys, I have the pants hem taken up quite high (I was originally from TKD with the long leg). Personally, I find the higher hem is better for long kicking sessions or tournament. I found with the long pant, now and then I would adjust or hitch up the pant leg when sparring/kicking, not good. I never have this problem with the higher hem.
 

OldKarateGuy

Green Belt
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
118
Reaction score
21
Location
Vero Beach, Florida
I think you'll find the Korean styles and the more Americanized (for lack of a better word) schools tend to longer and slimmer pants legs and sleeves. More old fashioned (call it traditional if you like) shotokan schools tend to more baggy uniforms, with the legs and sleeves chopped off to personal taste. I find the longer, slimmer uniforms too tight and binding.

Just my opinion: you'll find the baggy uniforms much more comfortable, in that they allow air to circulate around your torso, and also allow freer (is that a word? More free) techniques. Once you are certain you'll be staying in karate, you can lose the cheap polyester mix uniform and get a heavier (breathable) cotton gi, like a mid-weight kamikaze (tokon) or similar. When you get really serious (maybe splurge when you get 1st dan), get a Tokaido ultimate (used to be SAW, now called the Yakudo or TSA). Hem the pants leg between ankle and knee to your taste, and take up the sleeve anywhere between wrist and halfway to the elbow. The looks are not important, only how you can practice in the gi. If you ever find yourself tugging on your pants leg before kicking, to free up the fabric, then your pants are too tight and/or too long.

You will see some tournament competitors going to the oversized uniforms, almost like clown suits, with the uniform jacket hem hanging down quite long. I'm not sure why. Maybe because the long hem and huge legs can hide the leg movement, something like that. Anyway, I'd stay away from these, at least until you get some experience and some rank. No offense to anyone who wears a uniform like this, but they strike me as odd looking. Maybe I just don't get the point. I do see videos of very high level competitors wearing similar oversized gi's.

If you're going to be doing grabs and throws, don't take a chance of tearing your good karate uniform. Get a cheap quilted judo uniform, a single ply will do, and just switch the jacket when needed. I think I bought a bunch of these for our club from Macho for about $20 each wholesale. Call it Gi insurance.
 
OP
Eastpointvet

Eastpointvet

Yellow Belt
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
29
Reaction score
3
Location
Atlanta, GA, USA
I think you'll find the Korean styles and the more Americanized (for lack of a better word) schools tend to longer and slimmer pants legs and sleeves. More old fashioned (call it traditional if you like) shotokan schools tend to more baggy uniforms, with the legs and sleeves chopped off to personal taste. I find the longer, slimmer uniforms too tight and binding.

Just my opinion: you'll find the baggy uniforms much more comfortable, in that they allow air to circulate around your torso, and also allow freer (is that a word? More free) techniques. Once you are certain you'll be staying in karate, you can lose the cheap polyester mix uniform and get a heavier (breathable) cotton gi, like a mid-weight kamikaze (tokon) or similar. When you get really serious (maybe splurge when you get 1st dan), get a Tokaido ultimate (used to be SAW, now called the Yakudo or TSA). Hem the pants leg between ankle and knee to your taste, and take up the sleeve anywhere between wrist and halfway to the elbow. The looks are not important, only how you can practice in the gi. If you ever find yourself tugging on your pants leg before kicking, to free up the fabric, then your pants are too tight and/or too long.

You will see some tournament competitors going to the oversized uniforms, almost like clown suits, with the uniform jacket hem hanging down quite long. I'm not sure why. Maybe because the long hem and huge legs can hide the leg movement, something like that. Anyway, I'd stay away from these, at least until you get some experience and some rank. No offense to anyone who wears a uniform like this, but they strike me as odd looking. Maybe I just don't get the point. I do see videos of very high level competitors wearing similar oversized gi's.

If you're going to be doing grabs and throws, don't take a chance of tearing your good karate uniform. Get a cheap quilted judo uniform, a single ply will do, and just switch the jacket when needed. I think I bought a bunch of these for our club from Macho for about $20 each wholesale. Call it Gi insurance.

Thanks for such a great breakdown.

Apologies for my tardiness in replying, but I ended up selecting a Mugen Orange Gi (100% cotton, size 4) for a pretty affordable price. Overall, I'm very satisfied with it and I'm very comfortable while training. I do not have any of the tightness that you warned me to look out for.

My only gripe is that I have a classic ectomorph frame, so my arms are quite long in relation to my body. The pant length is perfect and comfortable but the sleeves on my jacket stop just a little too short for my taste. Around the upper middle portion of my forearm to be precise. I tried on a size 5 and even though the sleeves are the correct length, the uniform is excessively baggy and uncomfortable.

I am looking to get an alternate practice uniform currently. Is there a brand that may fit my frame a bit better or should I stay with the same brand?
 

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,295
Reaction score
231
Top