The Gi: Form, Function, Fashion?

I

Iron Dog

Guest
An earlier string got me to thinking (again) about the use of the "Gi". It's origins in the M.A. is already known, but what is it today...to you, or to your students? For most, it has a function. Loose, sturdy, absorbant, washable (thank God). In that then, it is really nothing more than a "uniform" if you will, plain with nothing on it. For some, it's an earned place in the martial arts community, it's a level of some belt or another, a new responsibility given to the student teacher that separates them from the ordinary student. Lastly, for the avid tournament competitor, it is a fashion, a form of "make up" before going out into public, it has numerous tags, writings, and other previous accomplishments worn for all to see. It is a way for one to identify the schools an systems of another and to proudly, or not so proudly, wear ones allegiance in unison with others in some form of camaraderie.
So my question is this: how important is the gi in your personal training. Under which catagory do you fall? All of the named catagories can cross over for sure, but how important is the proper gi? Is it the fit? is it the cut, citing Kenpo Tess' comment about the more comfortable fit of her particular brand of gi without losing the ability to move properly. Or is it how it makes you look?
One time, several years ago, I was involved in a big seminar. One of the presenters was in the changing room preparing for his two hour presentation. When I turned, I notice he had on what I would call a "girdle". I asked him if he had back trouble and he said he didn't, he just had to look good.
Sorry, for the long post, I'm just curious...
I.D.
 
I was actually reading one of the threads in the general martial arts section and the question was something like "What kind of gi do you wear?" . It was amazing to see the variety of ways people answered. People were listing so many different colors and brands. Some individuals listed six different gis. And the pros and cons of each. I had never thought about it, because my only gi is black (actually, it's going gray in its old age) and unadorned except for a Joe Lewis Fighting System patch. I wear my gi to show respect in a formal situation (meaining tournament, ceremony, seminar or when in a proper school). At our club, we usually just wear street clothes. The gi does not make the martial artist.
 
I agree that the gi does not make the martial artist, and we can perform with a gi, or in street clothes. However, I like the idea of wearing a gi when going through a workout. To me it represents that everything from the outside world is left outside. Nothing but kenpo on the mats. When I walk into the studio, or my garage, I flip my switch to FULL-ON Kenpo. Nothing else is in my head. No distractions.
 
Agreed- I'm accustomed to uniforms though. When I work, I'm in scrubs. When I'm training, I'm in my gi. It helps the mind-set. Plus it's comfortable, and I rarely have trouble with the ties. However, when I train in Ninjuitsu, everyone wears street clothes, so I do too. Custom rules...

As for how I look in it, I felt self-conscious at first, but those days are long gone. I mean, do you want to try a split in low-rider boot-cut jeans? Or those ***-hugging sweats we all know you tried on before you bought them? (OK maybe that's just me;) ) How about a high kick? T-shirts rip, and so do sweatshirts. The gi is important to me because it is a visual symbol of what I am trying to accomplish, but also it's durable.

I don't wear the flashy colored gi, and don't go two-tone. I don't have embriodery on my belt. :shrug: That isn't interesting to me.
 
When I train by myself, it's usually on confortable street clothes or the gi's pants if my street clothes of the day is a skirt.
For me the gi is a uniform and nothing else. Not that it was the same when I began at age 9 or 10...
I am lucky that it's black, which I like better than white ;)
 
By the way, I have bought a pair of black street pants that can double as gi's when needed :D
They give a sharp contrast with the greyish top now :eek:
 
I cross train at a couple schools, the Century Comp uniform is so far my favorite for the reasons Tess stated. (I have less than fond memories of training in a ultra heavy weight Gi in the summertime.)

It looks sharp, especially with the IKKO/MMA patch layout, and offers more arm mobility than a conventional Gi, and as an added bonus, you don't have to putz around keeping the top inside the belt........

My other school wears color coded tee shirts as "indentifiers" for rank, and normally sweatshirts and sweat pants, which do become soaked over the four plus hour Sat afternoon workout.
Summer garb is mix & match from athletic shorts up to sweats

Both schools have other MA styles that attend, and the gamut can run from Gi bottoms and a "team or school" shirt to them thar fancy Japanese Skirt/pants thingees.

At home, its whatever I have on, and often times theres just a spontaneous Blast unleased on the Tire Dummy, or Bob as I walk past.

It ain't what your wearing, its what you can do............
 
Most of the people (including instructors) at my school wear gi pants, but only a t-shirt on top. I'm one of the few that wear the whole thing.

Rich
 
Fellow Kenpoists,

I think the gi is an important aspect of the martial arts. It has its benefits and it also has its faults.

To me, the gi is a sign of status in some cases. In my school the students work to recieve the privilage to wear a black gi at Blue Belt level and then work to wear any color gi at Black Belt level. So not only do students work to earn their belts, but also a gi.

The gi shows your loyalty and affiliations too, whether to your school, association, and so on.

It also provides a comfortable outfit to workout in. But I would stress that students also train in street clothes. Many times, people get used to opponents wearing gis and they lose sight of how to tailor their techniques to someone wearing a t-shirt, or no shirt for that matter.

In any case, I have always liked wearing a gi during training and I love seeing the variety of gis during seminars and such. It gets the practitioner into the mindsight. Like what was said in the above post... ALL KENPO! :)

Good journey.

Respectfully,
Joshua Ryer
UPK Pittsburgh
 
Dependant on how formal your school is.. I think Gi's will promote the mindset such as any other uniform. With the gi the upper belts wear.. the short waist length velcro closure sure is nice :)
And as Stick Dummy stated.. they allow arm movement very well.
And no fussing keeping them together ~!

The Red racing stripe is sharp and not gaudy.. they wash and come out looking brand new ~!

We make sure we train in street clothes as well.. a Gi doesn't make a Martial Artist.. but it does help in quantifying a group as an entity in a School setting :)

Tess
 

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I prefer KI's heavyweight. It is simple really ... if I wear T-Shirts, they get torn, stretched, maimed, and permanently stinky at some point.

We grab a lot and go to the ground. The gi offers the best protection with the most comfortable fit. It is a form fitting function kinda thing. Generally I wear out a KI heavyweight in a couple of years max. So you can imagine some of the lighter Centurys on me. They lasted 6-8 months.

Tess, they do look cool though, but very TKD'ish.

-Michael
Kenpo-Texas.com
 
Originally posted by Michael Billings
[

Tess, they do look cool though, but very TKD'ish.

-Michael
Kenpo-Texas.com [/B]

Michael :)

At last years Mr. C. seminar there were some other school's attending and quite a few Kenpoists wore the tops.. Soo if other Kenpoist's wear the sport top.. Maybe just maybe.. the TKD'ers will say.. oh they look very Kenpoish.. *G*

I've grappled in it and it does the job.. :)

so to each his own and in Mountaineer Martial Arts Studio.. we are Kenpoists and to the Tkd'ers.. ' Bring it on~! *w*

Tess
 
I used to always train in a lightweight gi. First wore white, as required, then black as I gained enough rank. I liked the lightweight because it was easy to move in. I hate working out in heavy clothing.

However, I have since changed to a black heavyweight gi. Mainly because I switched schools, and the new one has a lot more physical contact, and the heavyweight provides a bit more protection. I still feel the hits, of course, but don't bruise as much. We also do a lot more realistic attacks and stuff, and the heavyweights hold up better.

At tournaments for Kata or weapons, I usually will wear a relatively new black heavyweight brushed cotton gi. My regular workout gi is currently some strange shade of grey, and the new black just looks sharp. (hint: if you want your gi to stay black, you can throw some RIT dye into the wash with it like once every five or six washings...just make sure there's nothing else in the wash that you don't want to turn black. This works well for faded black jeans too. The dye is kinda expensive, so I only use it on my tournament gi, cause the regular workout one gets washed so much I'd be dying it every other week!)

If I'm competing in self defense at a tournament, I'll wear a red gi top and white gi pants with a red stripe down the side, or black gi pants. My attackers all wear black.

In sparring, lightweight black or white gi top, sleeves cut off (and hemmed) at elbows, matching light or medium weight pants, depending on what's clean. This is the only time I will ever wear white.
 
Tess, they do look cool though, but very TKD'ish


Michael, Michael, Michael- What a horrible thing to say!!

Tess pass the Kleenex box sniff sniff

The FMA/IMA stylists have been wearing a short top for an awful long time, along with "high water" type pants.

I have heard somewheres, it was an adaptation for fieldwork, and the extra rain in their indigenous regions.

Speaking of which, working with weapons seems to me to be "easier" with the half top. But what the heck do I know..........
 
Tess,
Do you know if the short length tops are available in heavy weight? Where could I get one from? Thanks in advance.
 
Originally posted by M F
Tess,
Do you know if the short length tops are available in heavy weight? Where could I get one from? Thanks in advance.

We buy from Century but their site is still being worked on so if you have the catalogue check that out,otherwise here's a link for the gi's which are a heavy middleweight .

http://www.tntdojo.com/team_uniforms.html

Hope this helps

Tess
 
KempoTess,

Do the short tops have a lot of velcro at the bottom to keep them closed? I've looked at them in catalogues and always assumed they would come open easier then the longer style. I've never tried one though. Just curious.

I like wearing my gi because it's really comfortalbe, really sturday and it doesn't show sweat like a t-shirt. I sweat a lot for a female and it can get a little embarrasing depending on what I'm wearing.

I also do find that it puts me more in training mode when I put the full uniform on. I know perfectly well that I can still do the same things in street clothes but I've always liked uniforms in general (work, school activites, etc.) so I feel comfortalbe in a full gi.
 
Originally posted by Quick Sand
KempoTess,

Do the short tops have a lot of velcro at the bottom to keep them closed? I've looked at them in catalogues and always assumed they would come open easier then the longer style. I've never tried one though. Just curious.

I like wearing my gi because it's really comfortalbe, really sturday and it doesn't show sweat like a t-shirt. I sweat a lot for a female and it can get a little embarrasing depending on what I'm wearing.

I also do find that it puts me more in training mode when I put the full uniform on. I know perfectly well that I can still do the same things in street clothes but I've always liked uniforms in general (work, school activites, etc.) so I feel comfortalbe in a full gi.

Hi Quick Sand :)

Yes the tops stay closed.. I've been wearing mine for a long time and Never had it open on it's own.. Grappling .. sparring.. tecs.. it works great.. I sweat with the best of em too.. and we wear black or red tshirts under them in the winter and in the warm months.. I can get away with a sports bra as it doesn't flap open at all.. I'm Very pleased with the top and plan on getting at least 4 more :)

Tess
 
I don't like to train with lots of clothes on. I wear a heavyweight, I guess, and I feel like fainting when it's too hot, like running out of air. I train with a bikini top under the top and not a t shirt, even in winter.
Only time I changed was last year in TKD, as I don't have a dobok, so I changed the black top for a long sleeved shirt. And I can tell you it was cold inside the hall we train in :mad:
 
Originally posted by Kenpomachine
I don't like to train with lots of clothes on. I wear a heavyweight, I guess, and I feel like fainting when it's too hot, like running out of air. I train with a bikini top under the top and not a t shirt, even in winter.
Only time I changed was last year in TKD, as I don't have a dobok, so I changed the black top for a long sleeved shirt. And I can tell you it was cold inside the hall we train in :mad:

I hear you on the nearly passing out.. I, too tend to overheat even in the winter.. and in our studio we only use a small heater and that keeps the chill off til we start working out and the windows start fogging up!~!

In the summer months we train in a Black Tshirt with our gi pants.. keeps everyone cooler and no problems with sweat making light colors see through :)
 

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