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How to Put on a Karate Gi

By Neal Litherland

Throughout the history of martial arts, a variety of uniforms have evolved. The gi, the uniform most associated with Asian combat techniques such as karate, is practical. The simple combination of jacket, pants and belt is meant to give freedom of movement to the wearer, as well as to distinctively mark the person as a practitioner and student. Like all uniforms, the gi is worn a certain way, and all students should first learn that way before they master any other techniques.

Put on the pants. Many of the uniform pants these days have an elastic waist, but if this is not the case, then tie the drawstring so that they fit appropriately.

Put on the gi jacket. This is where many newcomers have trouble, so this step is described below in its component parts.

Tuck the right side of the jacket beneath the left side. There should be strings at your left hip and on the tip of the right side of the jacket that you tie together into a bow for easy removal later.

Fold the left side of your jacket over and tie it using the strings at the right hip. Once both sides of the jacket are tied, stretch a bit and twist at the waist, making sure that you have total freedom of movement before continuing.

Tie your belt on over your gi jacket. There are a variety of different methods for tying the belt used by different schools of karate, but the all of them are tied in a knot with both ends of the belt coming out at a downward angle and hanging at an equal length to mid-hip. Once this part of the process is complete, you are ready to train!

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