3 Essential Tips When Buying a Karate Uniform (Gi, Dobok)
In this blog I wanted to discuss 3 essential tips when buying a Karate uniform yourself.
If you take the decision to source your own suit from the internet, the choice is massive and getting it right can sometimes be a gamble. Here are my 3 essential tips on how to come to the right decision and get the best value for money.
1) Karate uniforms are sized by height.
Karate uniforms sizes are in cms and relate to your height.
This can be confusing for parents as children's clothes are generally sized in age.
Any good website should provide a size chart for you to browse. Different manufacturers have different sizing's so check the chart before buying. I put the age categories in the drop down menu so people don't have to click around too much.
Half size uniforms for adults are available but they tend to be reserved for the middle and heavy weighted suits.
If you are buying an adult gi/uniform and fall in between sizing's, look at the height in inches on the sizing chart to pick the correct uniform. If you are smaller or larger than the average build you may have to go up or down a size.
2) The cut of the uniform.
Karate uniforms have two cuts, Japanese and European.
Depending on what style of karate you practice will determine the cut of your gi/uniform.
A basic beginner uniform will be a European cut. This style is the most popular and has a shorter length jacket and long trousers.
The Japanese cut uniforms are shorter in the trouser length and a longer top (skirt). These are a very traditional style of gi and more popular in the heavier weighted suits.
3) The Weight of the Uniform
Karate uniforms are sold by weight in oz. The higher the oz the thicker material and heavier the suit is. If your choice is based on price, it can be a lottery (the old saying you get what you pay for).
A beginner student uniform is usually 6oz or 7oz. Choices tend to be cotton or polycotton. Polycotton will usually shrink around 2 to 4cm after the first wash. Cotton uniforms can shrink 4 to 8 cm so if the uniform seems massive factor this in.
These suits are pretty durable and easy to move around in. Sweat does tend to soak up quickly and the suit will stick to your body.
A middle weight/light heavy uniform is 10oz to 12oz and is usually pre-shrunk. They are the most popular for intermediate students buying their 2nd uniform and are easily ironed. They are comfortable to train in and after the first wash start to mould around your shape.
A heavy weight uniform is 14oz to 16oz and worn mostly by Instructors or competitors. Some will come with extra trousers, one for Kata (more a Japanese cut), the other for sparring (more a European cut). They make a great sound when you throw your techniques. I wear a 14oz myself and cant' recommend them enough. I used to wear a 16oz, but switched as I felt the 14oz was more comfortable.
There is a vast amount of choice on the internet, so picking the right brand can be quite confusing. Sites like Ebay and Amazon stock hundreds of brands, but to the novice uniform shopper this can be confusing.
My recommended brand is Blitz. I think they are the best Karate suits on the market, not only for price but for their quality. In 25 years of running a club I have never once sent one back. That speaks volumes!!
Good luck with your shopping and if you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact me.