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Wearing Gi In Public

I always instruct my students not to wear their Karate gi tops or belts outside of the dojo (or at special events, such as demonstratons). The gi bottom can be worn because they look like white pants. The gi top and belt should only be put on when the student arrives at the dojo and should be removed when he or she leaves. They should not be worn while commuting.

There are two reasons for this. First, it is not becoming (conforming with a traditional sense of propriety) to wear the gi top and belt outside of the dojo. To do so draws attention to the student. We are not advertising. We wear no patches or any names on our uniforms. We are reserved.

The second reason again has to do with drawing attention. Someone could give the student trouble because he or she is a Karate student. It has been known to happen. A drunk person, for example, could say, "Hey Karate man, how would you block this!"

One day a senior Karate instructor happened to stop by my dojo. He was wearing his full gi, belt, and shoes (not slippers). I think he was going from one of his classes to another and had stopped by my facility on business.

I introduced the instructor to my class. Later, after he left, several of my students asked me why he was dressed like that outside of his dojo. They could not believe it (nor could I).

In my dojo, we do not wear our gi tops and belts outside of the dojo (except at special events, such as demonstrations).


Charles C. Goodin