How to Wear a Karate Gi

Written by b.t. alo
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How to Wear a Karate Gi
Karate gis are worn by all karate students, no matter how young or old. (karate boy image by Paul Moore from

A gi is an integral part of the practice of karate; it signifies that the wearer is prepared mentally for training and will abide by the rules of the dojo he is training in. Karate gis, like gis of other martial arts styles, consist of a pair of drawstring trousers, a wrap around shirt and a belt, all made from durable fabric to withstand the rigours of training. Wearing a karate gi is an exciting part of beginning training, and for those who have been training for years, the gi becomes like a second skin.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Gi
  • Singlet/T-shirt (optional)

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  1. 1

    Put on the trousers of the gi---underwear should always be worn under gi trousers. Pull the drawstring to a comfortable tightness around the waist and tie tightly---the karate belt is not designed to hold the trousers up, so you must tie the drawstring securely. Do a couple of kicks and move your hips from side-to-side to check that the trousers are comfortably secure.

  2. 2

    Don a singlet or T-shirt for ladies. Men are usually not permitted to wear anything under the gi top. Put your arms through the sleeves and adjust so that the shirt is sitting comfortably on your shoulders.

  3. 3

    Fold the right flap of the shirt over the front of your body. Tie the side strings of the right flap to the strings on the inside of the left seam of the gi top. Fold the left flap over the top, and tie the side ties of the left flap to the side ties on the outer right seam.

  4. 4

    Wrap and tie your belt over the top of the gi shirt. Each karate school usually has a specific way of tying the belt, but generally the belt is double-wrapped around the waist then tied into a square knot with the tails angled down and outwards from the knot. Your sensei or instructor will teach you how your karate school ties the knot specifically.

Tips and warnings

  • Never fold the arms or legs of your gi. The folds can prove hazardous for yourself and other training partners as fingers and toes get caught. You should always purchase the appropriate size gi for your body, and have pant legs adjusted professionally if they are too long.

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