After seeing a martial arts competition you may question the origins of the karate uniform, many people wonder where such an outfit came from and if it has any significance. The answer is that there are several styles of uniform for this sport and many do have significant meaning that is linked to the sport’s long history.
For starters, these unique looking outfits were first worn during training sessions in Japan many long years ago, where they are referred to using their traditional Japanese name, karategi. The usual costume of a practitioner will include three separate portions of clothing that are extremely recognizable, including a belt, slacks, and a jacket; the primary color of the ensemble is white though the belt may be one of several colors.
The belts that accompany these ensembles are known as obis and there are several colors are highly significant, in fact they are probably the most symbolic part of the whole outfit, as they represent the rank and training level of the person who is wearing the outfit. The colors usually go from the lightest colors, like white or yellow, all the way to black, with special stripes to mark ranks between colors.
There is little question as to why these outfits are so loose fitting, the wideness of the pants and width of the jacket offers the participant the ability to move freely without restriction from their attire, an important component in the practice of martial arts. For the sake of having the capacity to complete a high kick, a flip, a shoulder toss, or any other such move, the student’s clothing must not restrict how far they can stretch or bend their limbs and body.
Another reason that the jacket of the karategi and the obi are formed the way that they are is so that they can be removed effortlessly when a student would like to fight with more freedom and less risk of overheating. The above mentioned attributes only scratch the surface of what makes up the standard karate uniform, as many of these details are shrouded in a history of myth and mystery.