Beginner's Guide to Martial Arts Supplies and Uniforms

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Martial arts supplies and uniforms are available in various sizes, styles, and brand names. If you're new to martial arts, you should be especially careful when choosing a uniform because everyone's body shape, height, and figure are unique. Be sure to buy the type of uniform that will fit you comfortably and provide the flexibility you need during training and workouts. This beginner's guide will help you find the uniform and martial arts supplies that are right for you.

Martial Arts School Requirements

Before buying a uniform or other martial arts supplies, find out what your school, or dojo, requires. The traditional color for karate uniforms is white with white, black, or brown belt colors; however, some schools require specific colors or special patches that distinguish their school from others. Some dojos might limit you to only one particular uniform color while others might offer a variety of choices. It really depends on the school.

Also, become familiar with uniform terminology so you'll know which style to buy. There are varying styles for different types of martial arts. Karate uniforms are called "karategi" or "karate gi." Judo uniforms are called "judogi." There are also specific uniforms for taekwondo or jujutsu. Uniforms worn by practitioners are often called "dobok." You can use the terminology related to your particular martial arts interests to search for uniforms or martial arts supplies online.

Sizing Your Martial Arts Uniform

Your uniform size should correspond with your height, but his may vary from one brand name to the next. It's a good idea to know your height and even the measurements of your hips, arms, waist, and legs before you start shopping. If shopping online, some stores might offer measurement and size charts for martial arts supplies and uniforms. If purchasing a uniform made of 100 percent cotton, be sure to buy pre-shrunk material or buy a slightly bigger size in case the material shrinks in the wash.

uality vs. Weight of Material

Martial arts uniforms are available in a variety of materials and styles, but not all are equal. Uniforms made of 100 percent cotton are the most popular choice for two reasons: cotton breathes and it absorbs sweat. Polyester/cotton blends do not absorb sweat that well, but are usually less expensive. If you're concerned that a cotton uniform will wrinkle too easily, don't worry. During practice, the wrinkles will usually work their way out anyway!

Another feature to consider is the weight of the material. Uniforms come in lightweight, medium, or heavyweight fabrics. Read the weight of the uniform on the packaging or tag, as described in ounces. Heavier materials are usually priced higher, but beware of manufacturers' labels that claim "heavyweight" material when it really weighs the same as another brand that's lower in price.

Lightweight uniforms, which are the least expensive, usually weigh about 6 ounces, and work great for beginners who aren't sure if they're going to stick with martial arts classes. Medium uniforms weigh around 10 ounces and work great as far as absorbing sweat and providing flexibility. Heavyweight uniforms weigh about 14 ounces and are also called "Master karate uniforms."