How To Put On A Gi

A keikogi, also known as a gi, is a form of traditional clothing used for training in Japanese martial arts, such as karate. 

Gis are supposed to provide the wearer comfort and allow them to move around with ease when doing activities, such as kicks.

How To Put On A Gi

So, they are usually loose and light fitting. However, they are not going to feel comfortable if you do not wear them properly. 

A standard gi for karate will consist of shitabaki (pants), uwagi (wrap-around top), and the obi (belt) that holds the uwagi together and is indicative of the rank of the wearer. 

In this article, we will talk about how to put on a gi in the correct way, so you can be sure to do it correctly every time and always feel comfortable while wearing it. 

How To Put On A Gi

Here is the correct way to put on a gi. 

Step 1

The first thing you need to do is put your pants on. If wearing shitabaki, then you need to ensure that the drawstrings are threaded at the ends.

Thread them through the pairs of loops which you can find on the sides of the hem in the center. 

Then, you need to pull the drawstrings so they are tight to ensure they do not fall down.

However, you need to ensure they are not too tight on your waist. 

If you have a newer gi, then chances are the shitakabi will have an elasticated waistband for your comfort. 

Step 2

The next item of clothing you need to put on is your uwagi.

First, you need to put it on the same way you’d put on a jacket. When it’s on, you need to take the right lapel so it crosses your body, and wrap the left one over the right.

This is customary in Japan, and more traditional dojos will consider it bad form if you cross right over left. 

Now, take one hand to pin the uppermost lapel to your body until you are ready to tie the belt

Step 3

Now, you need to tie your obi. Take the center of the belt and place it against your midline.

Then, you need to take the ends and pull them behind you. Cross these ends at the small of your back.

Make sure the right side is overlapped by the left. Then, bring both sides back to your front. 

Now, you need to cross the right side of the belt over the left, and then push it under the wrap around you have created and up through the top. 

Next, you need to loop the end at the top to the end that is opposite, and the knot should be completed. 

However, it is important to note that different dojos can use different methods for obi tying.

Make sure you ask your instructor if you need any help with this. 

How To Put On A Gi (1)

Step 4

Once your gi is tied, you should check to see if your movement is restricted in any way. If it is, then you need to adjust it. 

This happens to uwagis in particular. If you need to adjust your uwagi, then hold your belt with one hand and extend the opposite arm upwards.

Lean to the opposite side of your extended arm when you do this. This should allow for a little slack in the uwagi.

Repeat this process on the opposite side – just make sure you do not lean too far in the opposite direction.  

Step 5

Here is another way to loosen your uwagi to make it more comfortable.

First, you need to take both of your hands to grip the belt, and then bend forward at the waist, but only slightly.

After this, you need to do the opposite and tilt back slightly. By doing so, your uwagi should be relaxed and more comfortable. 

However, before stepping onto the mat, you need to ensure your uniform is symmetrical and neat. 

What Is The Proper Uniform Etiquette For A Gi?

When in a dojo, you should always adhere to the correct uniform etiquette. Here are some examples to help you. 

Wear The Traditional Kumite Gi For Training 

For karate, there are two traditional gi styles, the Kumite gi, and the kata gi.

Kumite gis have pant cuffs and full-length sleeves.

The fabric is flexible and soft, and they are easy to move around in and comfortable.

If you simply practice karate without competing, then you only need to wear the traditional Kumite gi. The dojo will usually supply you with a uniform. 

Wear A Kata Gi For Competitions 

Kata gis are more appropriate for competitions than kumite gis.

The sleeves and hems are shorter on kata gis, and the material is heavier than that of a kumite gi. 

Wear A Gi That Fits You 

It is important to emphasize that your gi should fit you.

Luckily, most gis will come with a number system that works with a variety of height ranges. 

The best thing to do is find the gi that fits your height range and try it on to make sure it fits you. 

It is helpful to remember that the shitabaki cuffs should come to your ankles, but no lower, while the uwagi sleeves should just fall short of the wrists. 

You Can Wear An Undershirt 

It is common for uwagis to fall open, to become looser during training, or sometimes, to come undone completely.

If you want to avoid any potential embarrassment, you can wear an undershirt under your uwagi, like a tank top or a t-shirt.

Make sure this undershirt is light in color or matches the color of the gi. Try to avoid undershirts with logos. 

Final Thoughts

When training, you always want to have a gi that fits you and is flexible so you can be totally comfortable.

Our tips are here to help you with that! We hope this article tells you all you need to know about putting on a gi correctly.

Christopher Anderson