From Coach David Matusow
I am often asked in class why I like to wear a full gi. At Kaizen Karate, many people wear casual workout gear including sweatpants. Also, students are allowed to wear our school t-shirt instead of a gi top when training. This is certainly a very comfortable way to train, and in the summer months when it is hot, can certainly feel much better.
But my goal in karate class is not to “feel better” and be “comfortable”. My goal in class is to learn and improve my skills. One way you can do that is by listening to the sounds that your punches, blocks and kicks make. When you are wearing a heavy weight gi, the gi will “pop” when a hard punch, kick or block is thrown with good technique. This noise allows you to have feedback as to how your technique was applied.
When I watch someone perform a kata, I use various inputs to determine how good I think it was executed. Of course I am using visual information, but in addition, I am listening to the sounds that are made. Do I hear breathing? Do I hear foot movement? Do I hear the sound of a hard punch or kick? All this goes into analyzing just how well the kata was performed.
Another good reason to wear a full gi is to “look the part” of a martial artist. There is a famous expression that goes, “Look Good. Feel Good. Do Good!” Basically, this says that when you look really good, it makes you feel really good, and when you feel really good, you are going to do well at whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. Try a little experiment and dress really well before your next test or important meeting. It might put a little bit more swagger in your attitude and help you have a better outcome that you would have otherwise.
The official uniform for a martial artist is to wear a full gi, pants and top, along with your belt. When you are presenting your kata to a panel of judges, their first look at you and what they hear you say, make an impression and can actually alter the score you get before you perform a single punch or kick. When you are wearing a full uniform it shows the judges that you are serious about what you are about to do, and presents the proper image of what they hope to see. No doubt, this can only help your score.
If you don’t own a gi, I highly recommend getting one. Practice with it and wear it to class. Listen to the sounds that it makes and it will make you an even better martial artist.