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Gi Top Optional

My second son, Charles, is the head of our Hikari Dojo. On Monday, he announced that wearing a gi top is now optional. If the student prefers, he may wear a plain white T-shirt, or our Hawaii Karate Museum T-shirt. When a T-shirt is worn, the student does not wear a belt.

The student can still choose to wear the standard gi top and belt. It is up to him.

My son told the class that he does not care about belts or gi. They are not important to him. He also mentioned to me that he does not like it when students try to snap the sleeves of their gi, as this leads to artificial movement. The sound is also irritating -- like saying, "pay attention to me!"

I am very proud of my son's attitude. At a young age, he realizes that technique and character are what count, not what the students wear.

In this regard, we are following in the footsteps of my friend and senior, Sensei Pat Nakata. I think that he and his students started wearing T-shirts 30 years ago or more.

I actually prefer to teach wearing a T-shirt now. It makes it easier for the students to see how I am moving (the gi top tends to hide the movement). And it is quieter. It is also easier to wash T-shirts than gi tops.


Charles C. Goodin