Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My $10 Gi!

I bought a new gi at the tournament last weekend - a brand-new, fresh out of the package one for just 10 bucks!

If you've ever shopped online for a karategi, you know that you can find lots of size 000, student weight (seven ounce), white uniforms for that price - but the one I got was a 12oz size five in black - the color used in USA Goju. Usually, the relatively large size and darker color add another $20 to the cost even before shipping, so imagine my happiness when I found the one that would soon be mine on one of the tourney vendor's shelves.

For the longest time, I've trained in 8.5oz gis. I know that heavyweight gis give that amazing "POP!" during kihon and drills, but they end up doubling in weight by the end of class it seems because they soak up so much sweat. Since the 8.5 oz made just enough noise for me, I was perfectly happy until I noticed that my training partners at my new (now year old, LOL) dojo all donned heavy- and even super heavyweight gis. Interested in seeing what all the buzz was about, I saddled up to the Internet one evening with my credit card in hand only to find it wasn't easy to score a heavy-weight gi without a traditional wrap-around drawstring waistband in the pants (I'm kinda partial to elastic waist gi bottoms) - in a black size 5 for less than a small fortune.

Could a $10 gi possibly fit the bill? When I opened the package to try on the pants (because we know that all size 5 gis are not created equal, that's for sure), I found my elastic - and felt like doing a happy dance right in the aisle. Best part was that the pants covered my ankles without making my almost four-feet long legs all but disappear, the jacket fit my shoulders and the sleeve length was comfortable - even though it was stiff and made me walk like a mummy. Heck, even if one sleeve was noticably shorter than the other, I was going to buy it at that point because, well, it was only $10.

My sensei kind of smiled when I told him of my find and showed him my purchase - before mentioning that he'd never heard of that particular brand of uniform and reminding me of the old "you get what you pay for" adage. I only plan on using it to compete and grade in as I will stick to my lighter gis for his brutal two-hour classes. But seriously, if it fell apart after one washing, I think I'd be able to say I got my money's worth, don't you? And did I mention it was only $10?!?

But my gi hunt still may not be over. One of my training partners told me about a new gi by Century designed specifically for women's narrower waists and shoulders. Might have to look into it...

Do you wear a different gi style, type or weight for competitions or gradings than you do for regular class? Are you partial to a particular brand or weight or am I just thinking about this too much?


  1. It's funny how different the designs and materials are for different styles. When I started training, 15oz gis were about as lightweight as it got. In order to withstand the rigors of ground fighting, the gis had to be pretty stout.

    Recently, though, many companies are moving to different weaves which are much lighter, but just as strong.

    To answer your question, it's pretty common nowadays to purchase very lightweight gis for competition. More and more tournaments are weighing in competitors in their gis just prior to their matches. The difference between one gi brand and another could be 2 or 3 lbs, which is significant.

  2. $10 is amazing! They are reaaallly expensive here. Mine was $80!

    And drawstring only... What I wouldn't give for an elasticated waistband. With all the sweat I find the drawstring things get stuck and I end up standing in my apartment under the aircon vent tugging at it until it eventually gives and I can go take a shower!

    By the way, I posted your parcel yesterday, so I guess you can expect it next week some time :)

  3. A $10.00 gi...awesome find!

    My favorite gi is Shureido. I still have one that I bought in 1997. The nice thing about Shureido is that they come in half sizes.

    I prefer a 12oz uniform for class and competitions.

  4. Hi Felicia, bargain of the century! I don't mean to rain on your parade but, guess what? I'm getting my next gi for free! That's cheaper than $10 even accounting for a lousy exchange rate! LOL. (It's a reward for writing a blog for my karate organisation (which is different to my blog). I also get to go on their courses for free as well!)

    Sorry! Getting competitive. Your gi sounds like a great buy, I hope you get a lot of use out of it.

  5. From Ocean_Heart (minus the viagra ads, LOL):

    I have always felt that blogging has been an art where people express their experiences in the best manner. This is something that is very informational. I must appreciate your article writing skills. Every time i come here i see something very new.Thanks for sharing the information. I love when you share your views through the best articles. Keep sharing and posting articles like these. This article has helped me a lot. Keep posting this stuff.

  6. And from my friend, Marcel (whose comment came via email):

    The glitch in the uniform, if all else is still good, may be the dye. Washing hint: Add some vinegar to the wash, it sets the dye. Hell my last gi, I did it twice just to be sure and it's still BLACK after +2 years of washing... NO DRYER!

  7. @ Steve: I was thinking of doing it in reverse - using the heavy weight gi to compete in and the lighter weight gis to train in. I just love how the heavy-weight gis look - very sharp, crisp and clean - but they are too heavy for me to keep on for a two hour class (double the weight of my regular gi before a drop of sweat has been absorbed!) - especially since we don't do loads of grappling. I'll hafta break it in in the dojo first, but it is just too hot here now (mid summer and we train in gi bottoms and t-shirts until October). Will give it more thought, though...

    @ - I really DID do a happy dance when I found it - and it was the elastic waist that made me shake my booty! Lost too many drawstrings in the pants right as I was stepping into them (two minutes before class started) with no safety pin (for re-threading) in sight - so I feel your pain. Got your goody bag, BTW! Still ooooh-ing and ahhhh-ing! When you heading home?

    @ Michele - I've heard great things about Shureido. Didn't know they did half-sizes! Might have to check them out as a 5 is a teeny bit too big (it gaps in the chest when I move my arms over head - which I do every now and again in kata; hafta tug at the bottom every five minutes) while a 4 looks like I'm wearing my son's gi as it is a teeny bit too small...

    @ Sue - Free is ALWAYS better than super cheap! I'm doing the happy dance for you as well (while wondering if your organization needs any more bloggers :-)...

    @ Ocean_Heart - glad you enjoyed the blog. Thanks for stopping by :-)

    @ Marcel - the gi is in the wash as I type! I'll hang it on the drying rack - which means it should be dry, maybe, by Tuesday's class, LOL. Thanks for the tip!