Starting any new pursuit or hobby can be daunting. Stepping into a karate class as a beginner is also very daunting. For a start, everybody seems to know what they’re doing. Friendships have already been made, people are chatting and practicing their techniques, and then there’s you, the new member. We’ve all been there, standing out as we don’t have the correct gear just yet. Probably in jogging bottoms and tee shirt.

Don’t let this worry you, everybody starts in exactly the same way. The matter of what to wear in a karate class, comes down to what you feel comfortable in. Normally loose fitting clothes that don’t restrict your movement are fine.

At our Karate class in Rotherham, we ensure that people are enjoying the hobby of karate before they spend money on a karate suit, or Gi as It’s known. It’s important that you feel comfortable with karate as a hobby, and let’s face it, just wearing a suit won’t make you Instantly better.

At Rotherham Shotokan Karate Club, we all wear a plain white suit. These usually come with a white belt too, signifying your status as a beginner. Generally speaking, karate suits are relatively Inexpensive. For children, these range from around £10 up to £20 depending upon where you purchase. Our members get access to wholesale pricing for their equipment.

Suits are made normally from 100% cotton and are sold in height sizes. For Instance 110cm or 180cm. Please bear in mind though, that due to them being made of cotton, some suits will shrink on a first wash. Sometimes It’s advisable to choose a suit slightly larger, In order to accomodate such shrinkage.

Adult suits tend to be a little heavier, usually with a 9oz cotton fabric, compared to kids 7oz material. Again these suits are Inexpensive and you’ll get change out of £25 for the largest sizes. Prices only change when you decide to take the hobby seriously, and branded Gi’s can go for as much as £200.

Most Instructors wear anything from a 10 oz to a 14 oz material for day to day training. These suits are generally a lot stiffer, look better and are more hard wearing. They come in European Cut Or Japanese Cut. The former has longer arms and legs, the latter arms and legs remain shorter, but the jacket remains long.

The point is, wear what you feel suits you. Karate isn’t a fashion statement. I’ve seen so many people with all the posh gear, but lacking the fundamental skill to show the suit off to it’s maximum potential. Save your money in the first Instance, and start at the beginning with a basic suit that fits well.

Belts also come in a variety of sizes, and are relatively cheap at around £5. When you progress up the belt structure, you’ll want to wear that new belt, It’s Important that you feel proud of your achievements. These are tricky to tie and get right, so just ask if you need help.

I love to see new members in their new suits, It’s almost like they feel part of something special, and they really are. It means that they can throw themselves into new techniques without worrying that their sports clothes may get damaged.

Our style of Karate can be quite heavy handed, and these suits are really up to the job.

Some local clubs offer a free suit, which turns out to be little more than a t shirt and satin trousers. Whilst this is fine for kick boxing, It wouldn’t stand up to the rigours of throws, pulls, chokes that can be expected in a class such as ours.

On the flip side, we don’t really use any safety equipment, preferring to learn the skill of control, focus and distance. Again, we won’t have pads and mitts etc In the unfortunate event that we need to use our skills in a real life situation. Like the old adage says, train hard, fight easy.


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