We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Martial Arts Gi?

By J. Beam
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Sports n' Hobbies, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A martial arts gi refers to a uniform worn in the practice of martial arts. The Japanese word keikogi (meaning practice dress or clothes) is typically shortened to gi in English. The Korean term for a martial arts uniform is dobok. In English, the word gi is pronounced as “gee” and the Japanese and Korean terms are often used interchangeably, regardless of what style martial arts is being practiced.

Karate, Judo, Taekwondo, Jujutsu, and Kenjutsu are examples of various types of martial arts. In English terms, a martial arts gi is the uniform worn by a practitioner of any of the martial arts. The uniform may vary, depending on the specific martial art practiced, but the most common uniform is the standard white top and pant worn with various belts. A design or emblem specific to the organization may be found screen printed or embroidered onto the uniform in some location.

The uniform is typically loose fitting and constructed of lightweight fabric, although certain martial arts may employ different weight fabrics and different styles of pants or tops. Typically, there is an order of belt colors that signifies a practitioner’s progress through training and rank.

In part, a martial arts gi may be designed to be true to the form of art being practiced, but designs may also relate to a specific school or method. Uniform standards are often set forth in competitive martial arts, and competition may require a specific weight fabric or style.

Generally speaking, a person would not need specific knowledge of a dobok or gi when beginning martial arts. Typically, the studio or school where a practitioner begins designates a specific uniform to be worn to classes. Whether or not the uniform is purchased, rented, or included in class registration or fees is dependent on the individual school. In cases where multiple uniforms may be needed, many retailers also sell various forms of the martial arts gi as supplies, and individuals may sell used uniforms cheaply. Before a student purchases a uniform, however, it is a good idea to find out from the instructor if a specific style is required for classes or competition.

Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Belted — On Oct 19, 2012
My son is thinking of signing up for karate, but I need to know how much the average gi costs. The lessons are already pretty expensive and the dojo is not anywhere near our house. If that uniform costs too much it might be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
By anon132626 — On Dec 07, 2010

and don't forget that the gi, in jiu jitsu for example, allows some techniques that couldn't be done otherwise.

By anon113000 — On Sep 22, 2010

It covers so much to protect the body. The thick fabric of the top lessens the impact of blows, and mat burn is a pain. I grappled last Saturday without a gi and I've got scrapes and such from the mat everywhere!

By highlighter — On Aug 10, 2010

@ BreakofDay- I used to study Aikido, Karate, and Tai Chi as a kid. Every Gi I owned was made from a heavy canvas like fabric. I always thought they were designed to protect the skin from abrasion, yet be loose enough to allow for full flexibility.

My friend used to practice Kendo, and his Gi had what looked like a loose skirt or long kilt covering the pants. They do pretty well at taking some of the sting out of hits, and they definitely protect the body from mat burns. I am not sure if this is the purpose of this piece of martial arts gear, but this is what I observed.

By breakofday — On Feb 05, 2010

I've always wondered why a uniform that covers so much, could be easy to move in. It seems like shorts or short sleeves would be the logical choice. Don't they ever get tangled up in each others gi during competitions?

Is the full coverage of the gi kept solely for tradition or does it provide some special advantage or protection?

Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.