Uniform Patches

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The post in the main thread got me thinking about this. At my previous school, there were a few different ways our uniforms were adorned (for lack of a better word).

The uniforms came from the factory with the school logo emblazoned on the back. Kids who participated in the "citizenship program" (things like doing your chores and homework, being respectful to parents and teachers) got a colored uniform that, in addition to the school logo on the back, also had OUTSTANDING written down the legs.

Then there were patches. We had a school patch, which was relatively cheap ($5) and was required to be on your uniform for testing. This was waived whenever there were supply issues. Personally, I found it a bit of an annoying requirement. Why didn't the patch come already on the uniform if everyone was supposed to get one anyway? Not having the skills or equipment to sew the patch on myself, I had to find someone else to do it for me. Then, as I was a more frequent student at the dojang, I needed more patches for more uniforms. There were also patches for certain clubs, that I don't think anyone got after I started (i.e. Sparring Club, Black Belt, etc).

We also had patches for students who got "outstanding" on their test (as opposed to just "pass"). If someone had a bunch of these on their arms, you knew they were probably a good student. These were chevrons, which had quite a bit of edge to sew on for their size. Black belts didn't have chevrons. But, if a kid outgrew their previous uniform, most didn't keep them. So you might have a really good red belt that looks more average. This was also a problem with the Outstanding uniforms; not transferring over previous Outstanding ranks. Or, a bunch of work for whoever has to sew the new chevrons on.

Personally, I don't see the point in patches. I think maybe it made sense back in the day, but as textile technology has advanced, it seems both less necessary, and more tedious than just getting the uniform already pristine from the factory. I think the uniforms feel better without the patch as well.
 

Dirty Dog

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One of our goals has always been to provide training for those who could never afford a commercial school. Students can get their dobak from wherever they like, but we kept a supply of lightweight dobaks on hand for $25. Unadorned white. Sometimes we forget to charge. We provide a MDK patch, which is iron on, and not mandatory.

Belts are provided when students are promoted. If they're promoted to a stripe rather than a new belt, the stripe is applied with colored electrical tape.

Students who leave the program or outgrow their dobak or sparring gear often donate those items to the program.

I've never needed patches to know which students are doing well and which need more help. I only have the one eye, but it's more than adequate to provide me with that information.
 

Flying Crane

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Seems to me the patches are likely a revenue stream. Maybe the individual cost is low but when someone ends up with a whole line of chevrons, and a they have several uniforms that each need a set of patches, it adds up. Multiply that by the number of students, and it becomes significant extra income. Even if only one or two are actually mandatory, there is tangible pressure to wear more of them when everyone else is doing so. People like to fit in and feel like they belong and wearing patches can contribute to that feeling.

My opinion: a plain, undecorated gi works just fine. I dont see a need to put even a school logo on them, but if it is not too large and gaudy then I dont object to it. Beyond that and I find it distasteful.
 
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Seems to me the patches are likely a revenue stream. Maybe the individual cost is low but when someone ends up with a whole line of chevrons, and a they have several uniforms that each need a set of patches, it adds up. Multiply that by the number of students, and it becomes significant extra income. Even if only one or two are actually mandatory, there is tangible pressure to wear more of them when everyone else is doing so. People like to fit in and feel like they belong and wearing patches can contribute to that feeling.

My opinion: a plain, undecorated gi works just fine. I dont see a need to put even a school logon on them, but if it is not too large and gaudy then I dont object to it. Beyond that and I find it distasteful.

The chevrons were free to the students that received an outstanding.
 

drop bear

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We don't do them. And seminars tend to do rash vests rather than patches.
 

Hot Lunch

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I think it might just be a TKD thing, or at least maybe an east Asian martial art thing.
I've seen it a lot in Korean martial arts in general, and in some Filipino martial arts. My previous dojo was association patch on the left chest, dojo patch on the left sleeve.

My current one is simply association patch on the left chest, though you can order the gi directly from Tokaido with the emblem embroidered directly on to it (saves time and money, and the work is done with the precision of a machine instead of human hands).

I think too many patches make it look like this:
5128CSv6WDL._AC_.jpg


At my previous dojo, the various "decorations" that children could earn would go on their belt, not their gi. If decorations are awarded, that's probably the best way to do it.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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At the kempo place I went to as a kid, they did a lot of patches. Basically, patches were for specific accomplishments - if you could hold a horse stance with an instructor watching for X minutes, and he was satisfied the whole time, you could get that patch. If you could throw Y punches in a minute, and they were good quality punches (per watching instructor), you could get a patch. If you could recite the numbers and technique names in japanese, you could get a patch.

You'd ask an instructor before/after class, let them know which one you wanted to do, and then he'd test you there. I think there was a cost of like $1; probably however much it cost them to get the patch/possibly to deter kids nagging the instructor to review them for random patches after each class-I believe we paid the dollar before we got tested. Not really sure, but they could definitely have charged more if money was the goal.

For kids, I think that was a great idea. It gave them specific goals to work for, outside of the belt system, 'tricked' them into practicing on their own time (I failed a few that I did not practice, and was told I could try again in the future), and let them feel a sense of accomplishment/pride they could share when they got it. Also encouraged other kids to do similar-if one kid comes in wearing a patch, and brags about it, as kids do, others might try to get the same patch as a result.

For adults, I don't think something like that is necessary. Adults should be past the developmental stages where they need immediate gratification, and/or external rewards of that nature. I wouldn't complain though, if someone did that. And I've got a plain white gi that I wear if I visit a new school that might require gi's.

Regarding having the school patch be required but not putting it on the gi's you sell and charging for it-that seems weird to me. People have to buy it no matter what, so just build it into the gi price, and sell them together/already on it. Or have it be part of the gi design.
 
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For adults, I don't think something like that is necessary. Adults should be past the developmental stages where they need immediate gratification, and/or external rewards of that nature. I wouldn't complain though, if someone did that. And I've got a plain white gi that I wear if I visit a new school that might require gi's.
We don't need them. But it is nice. Just because adults are better at regulating emotion doesn't mean we don't have them.

Bit of a related story. We had this one kid, around 12-14, who hated all of the rituals and games and such we did. He was there to learn martial arts! To fight! To punch and kick! He didn't have time for stupid little kids games, because he wasn't a little kid.

When it was his turn to count during stretching? He would refuse. Or mumble. Or curse at you. When it came time for games or obstacle courses, he would try to sit out. If he had to participate, he would put in the least effort possible, grumble the whole time. "I'm not here to play stupid games I want to train."

Well, he ended up leaving for a while to do MMA. Got a pretty severe injury there. Came back to TKD when he was recovered. (The main reason I want to open a TKD school instead of [insert other art] is I think it's the right balance of competitive striking and player safety). He came back a little older, a little wiser. When he would help out with the kids classes, he had fun running through the games with the kids.

He came up to me after class one day. "I get it now."
 

Raistlin

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We wear a MDK patch on the left side of our chest, Canada flag on the right sleeve and Korean flag on the left sleeve. We do it mostly because that is how our instructor did it and it has always been a part of our uniform. It does recognize the style we practice, the country of our residence and the country of origin of our art. For us, it is a part of our uniform. We would not be "uniform" if our dobaks didn't all look the same.
 

wab25

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I wear a white gi, with white pants.... no patches or logos. (just whatever the manufacturer puts on it... )

There is a guy that I train with sometimes... he has a white gi with a Star Fleet Academy patch on it. He likes to wear that to seminars and such when all the other folks are breaking out their fancy gis with all the patches.

Another guy I met in our organization cut a black seat belt out of a car, and wears that for his black belt.

A lot of us only wear the gi for the safety aspect of it.
 

Dirty Dog

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I wear a white gi, with white pants.... no patches or logos. (just whatever the manufacturer puts on it... )

There is a guy that I train with sometimes... he has a white gi with a Star Fleet Academy patch on it. He likes to wear that to seminars and such when all the other folks are breaking out their fancy gis with all the patches.

Another guy I met in our organization cut a black seat belt out of a car, and wears that for his black belt.

A lot of us only wear the gi for the safety aspect of it.
I've been known to wear a red dobak for Christmas and Valentines Day. Or a green belt on St Patrick's Day.

Uniforms are fine, but it's possible to take them too seriously.
 

HighKick

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The post in the main thread got me thinking about this. At my previous school, there were a few different ways our uniforms were adorned (for lack of a better word).

The uniforms came from the factory with the school logo emblazoned on the back. Kids who participated in the "citizenship program" (things like doing your chores and homework, being respectful to parents and teachers) got a colored uniform that, in addition to the school logo on the back, also had OUTSTANDING written down the legs.

Then there were patches. We had a school patch, which was relatively cheap ($5) and was required to be on your uniform for testing. This was waived whenever there were supply issues. Personally, I found it a bit of an annoying requirement. Why didn't the patch come already on the uniform if everyone was supposed to get one anyway? Not having the skills or equipment to sew the patch on myself, I had to find someone else to do it for me. Then, as I was a more frequent student at the dojang, I needed more patches for more uniforms. There were also patches for certain clubs, that I don't think anyone got after I started (i.e. Sparring Club, Black Belt, etc).

We also had patches for students who got "outstanding" on their test (as opposed to just "pass"). If someone had a bunch of these on their arms, you knew they were probably a good student. These were chevrons, which had quite a bit of edge to sew on for their size. Black belts didn't have chevrons. But, if a kid outgrew their previous uniform, most didn't keep them. So you might have a really good red belt that looks more average. This was also a problem with the Outstanding uniforms; not transferring over previous Outstanding ranks. Or, a bunch of work for whoever has to sew the new chevrons on.

Personally, I don't see the point in patches. I think maybe it made sense back in the day, but as textile technology has advanced, it seems both less necessary, and more tedious than just getting the uniform already pristine from the factory. I think the uniforms feel better without the patch as well.
Once a $50 - $75 setup fee is paid, most patches purchased in bulk cost the school owner right at $1.25 each. If they were selling them at $5, that's quite a profit and quite easy since all the do is hand it to the student.
Beyond the upcharge, I don't get it either, it has little to nothing to do with TKD. Especially having outstanding emblazoned on the pant leg.
 
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Beyond the upcharge, I don't get it either, it has little to nothing to do with TKD. Especially having outstanding emblazoned on the pant leg.
Those were free.
 

Gwai Lo Dan

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Personally, I don't see the point in patches. I think maybe it made sense back in the day, but as textile technology has advanced, it seems both less necessary, and more tedious than just getting the uniform already pristine from the factory. I think the uniforms feel better without the patch as well.
At my school, they have patches for flags and Jidokwan I beleive, but I don't have them. The KJN mentioned them once, and I said I prefer to not have them.

To me, I bought a light uniform (not a school-supplied uniform) to stay cooler. I'd rather not add patches to it.
 

HighKick

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The post in the main thread got me thinking about this. At my previous school, there were a few different ways our uniforms were adorned (for lack of a better word).

The uniforms came from the factory with the school logo emblazoned on the back. Kids who participated in the "citizenship program" (things like doing your chores and homework, being respectful to parents and teachers) got a colored uniform that, in addition to the school logo on the back, also had OUTSTANDING written down the legs.

Then there were patches. We had a school patch, which was relatively cheap ($5) and was required to be on your uniform for testing. This was waived whenever there were supply issues. Personally, I found it a bit of an annoying requirement. Why didn't the patch come already on the uniform if everyone was supposed to get one anyway? Not having the skills or equipment to sew the patch on myself, I had to find someone else to do it for me. Then, as I was a more frequent student at the dojang, I needed more patches for more uniforms. There were also patches for certain clubs, that I don't think anyone got after I started (i.e. Sparring Club, Black Belt, etc).

We also had patches for students who got "outstanding" on their test (as opposed to just "pass"). If someone had a bunch of these on their arms, you knew they were probably a good student. These were chevrons, which had quite a bit of edge to sew on for their size. Black belts didn't have chevrons. But, if a kid outgrew their previous uniform, most didn't keep them. So you might have a really good red belt that looks more average. This was also a problem with the Outstanding uniforms; not transferring over previous Outstanding ranks. Or, a bunch of work for whoever has to sew the new chevrons on.

Personally, I don't see the point in patches. I think maybe it made sense back in the day, but as textile technology has advanced, it seems both less necessary, and more tedious than just getting the uniform already pristine from the factory. I think the uniforms feel better without the patch as well.
How would you handle incremental accomplishments? Getting a new uniform every time seems expensive and extravagant.
 
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How would you handle incremental accomplishments? Getting a new uniform every time seems expensive and extravagant.
I don't think there needs to be so many different incremental incentives. At some point it becomes chaos more than anything.
 
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