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How to Iron a Karate Gi

Updated March 23, 2017

A gi is the uniform karate students wear while studying the martial art. It should be worn with respect for the ancient practice, your master and your school. Part of this respect is making sure the karate gi is always clean and crisply ironed. This is especially true during belt testing and promotion ceremonies. It is important to iron a karate gi in the correct way in order to look your best.

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  1. Start with a damp gi. This makes it easier to iron out all the wrinkles. You can iron the gi immediately after washing or you can spray it with water from a spray bottle.

  2. Turn the heat setting of the iron on "cotton." Most karate uniforms are made of cotton or a cotton blend. The cotton setting is usually the second-hottest on the iron. Let the iron get hot before starting to press the gi.

  3. Iron the arms of the gi so the patches lay flat. Many karate uniforms have patches on the shoulders. Iron from the front of the sleeve to the elbow side of the sleeve for each arm. The creases should be along the front and back of the arms when the gi is worn.

  4. Lay the gi across the ironing board with the back on the surface. The front of the karate uniform should drape over the ironing board as if the gi were hugging it. Run the iron across the back and smooth out all the wrinkles. If there is a decal or patches on the back of the gi, take care not to burn or snag them.

  5. Move one side of the gi to the top of the ironing board so one of the lapels lies flat. Also make sure any patches on the front of the uniform are lying flat on the board. Press the front of the gi from the top to the bottom. Smooth out all wrinkles, then do the same to the other lapel.

  6. Finish the top of the gi by running the iron around the collar. On a gi, this runs from one lapel all the way around to the other lapel. Hold the iron on the thicker material of the collar for a few extra seconds as you move around the gi. A crisply ironed collar is important for a clean appearance of a gi.

  7. Lay the gi trousers flat on the ironing board with the front facing up. Press out the wrinkles from the waist down to the end of one leg, then down to the end of the other leg. Flip the gi trousers over and do the same on the rear. If there are any patches on the gi trousers, be sure to iron them flat so they do not crease or fold.

  8. Warning

    Though a gi should always be clean and pressed, a karate belt should not. Tradition dictates that a karate belt should not be washed or ironed. It should wrinkle and wear out with use. This is a measure of a martial artist's experience.

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About the Author

Kent Ninomiya is a veteran journalist with over 23 years experience as a television news anchor, reporter and managing editor. He traveled to more than 100 countries on all seven continents, including Antarctica. Ninomiya holds a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences with emphasis in history, political science and mass communications from the University of California at Berkeley.

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