Sunday, 23 September 2007

Size and fabric - how to buy a keikogi

I guess many people have already experienced the problem of buying gi (uniform) or hakama of an appropriate size. I have a recent experience in hakama measuring, choosing and ordering, so I thought it would be useful to put a couple of paragraphs together about sizes. You can read about the keikogi sizes and fabrics in this post, the "hakama buying guide" will follow some time later.

The first thing I experienced when I was a really beginner was the sizing of the keikogi. For me it was surprising that you have to give them your height and they will give you a good sized gi. I rarely experienced anything like this before because my not-so-robust body always made it hard to find anything good (i.e., tight enough) in my size. I was skeptical, but it turned out, that since the gi trousers are loose anyway, my skinny nature was not a problem at all. One of the first very good points and positive experiences from the time I started doing Aikido...

But it wasn't so easy just to give my height to get a good gi. I was 177cm, but the gis are sized 170 and 180. 180 is closer but does it work like that? No, it didn't. I was suggested to buy a 170 one, but only because the fabric of this particular keikogi didn't shrink much when washed.

So here are a couple of points to consider when buying a gi (I think it's worth reading even if are lucky enough to try them on and inspect them before buying):

  1. If you are between two sizes, e.g., your height is 175cm (sorry, I can't count in inches but as far as I know we can convert the sizes so that 4' is roughly 10cm), always choose the smaller one. It may still shrink but in aikido it's not a problem if the sleeve of the jacket is shorter (it's easier to grab and hold your arms when doing a technique).

  2. Karate gis might be OK for a while but you will see that they are not so durable because the jacket is not created for constant pulling and throwing (katadori, munedori techniques). If you don't have access to aikido gi specifically, a judogi is a good solution as those jackets are thicker and are built for durability. Also, a judo and aikido gis' trouses are reinforced at the knees (for suwari waze techinques). Both of my gis so far have been judogis, I just need to tuck up the sleeves twice, it's absolutely fine like that.
  3. I almost forgot: the gi should be white with no fancy 'Aikido Dragon' big emblems anywhere :). This might be different for other aikido clubs, but the only non-white things allowed in our organisation are: the logo of the Hungarian Aikido Foundation (our mother-organisation), the three ai-ki-do kanji and your name. You should also note that 'aikido' (usually written on advanced students' gis, e.g., from 1st dan) and/or your name is generally written there during seminars by a very experienced aikido master (in our case, Fujita Masatake shihan who always goes around with a black marker asking for your name :)). These signs also prove and show that you have attended a seminar of a master. And, obviously, you can ask your mom to embroider these signs on your gi :) to prevent fading.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Go to Kyoto and next to the Budo Centre there is a nice budo shop with some really nice guys selling cheap and good quality certified aikikai dresses. Including keiko gi and hakama.

Also next street down from the centre and the shop there's the best quality japanese restaurant by the river, called te-o-ke bento and for a mere 11500 yen you'll get the meal of your life. Unforgettable.