During classes, we often refer to a karate suit by the Japanese translation, ‘gi’. At Loughton Karate Club dojo sessions, it’s considered good etiquette to wear a clean gi. It’s fine for beginners to take their time before buying one and wear loose clothing instead. If you’re looking to buy the right gi, there are certain things to consider:
Gis are made of either cotton or polycotton. Cotton gis tend to shrink and should be washed at no more than 20*C. Polycotton gis are always lightweight and hardly shrink at all. Cotton gis come in lightweight (from 6oz), medium (8-10oz) and heavyweight (12-14oz). The heavier gis are more durable. The lighter gis are cheaper to buy. Beginner students tend to choose the lightweight suits and our more experienced karateka go for the heavier options.
Although white gis are considered traditional, they can be impractical. If you’ve ever seen the dirty marks on your white gi when we’ve practiced ne-waza (ground fighting), you’ll understand. Gis tend to come in white, black, blue and red colours. White gis are compulsory for our gradings.
Most manufacturers have sizes start from 100cm, increasing by 10cm up, to the maximum 210cm. The size is based on your total height in cm. Some manufacturers’ gis are slightly larger than the specified size (Blitz) and some are more accurate (Rupla).
These range from £20 for a 6oz, lightweight, Blitz polycotton gi to over £100 for some heavyweight cotton gis.
Where to Buy
We’ve tried Blitz and Rupla in the past and like the quality and price of their suits. They also offer a good service. Blitz has recently suffered severe stock issues and isn’t as reliable as before. We have trade accounts with both and can buy them at a slightly cheaper price than the public. There is usually a considerable delivery charge from both suppliers for orders under £150.