In almost every karate dojo you will see the students wearing a particular style of karate uniform, which is called a “Dogi” and often referred to as just “gi”. There are a few reasons why we all wear a dogi and not shorts and a t-shirt while training. One reason is that we are training in a historical Japanese Martial Art, so we should embrace the traditions and history of the art while we train. It wouldn’t seem right if we went and watched an AFL game in Japan with the players wearing a karate uniform! But there is also some history to the uniform that often goes unnoticed or unappreciated.
The basis of the uniform is that it allows people of all different social classes to train together without being influenced by social standings. It prevents a student being able to display their wealth, social or political standing while in the dojo, effectivley making everyone equal regardless of how much money or influence they have.
Another aspect of the white uniform is that in Japan the colour white signifies pureness. This element of pureness has transferred over to the martial arts, where by wearing only a plain white Dogi, we are training with a pure heart and mind, and not one that is tainted by violence, maliciousness or greed.
This is why when training at our Dojo we only allow for a plain white Dogi, with no colours, patches, badges, stripes or embroidery other than the JKA logo on the left chest area.