Senshin: The Enlightened Mind

Martial Arts Blog

normrobitza On June - 21 - 2013

whiteheavyweightgiThere are several ways to fold your gi and I am not talking about rolling it up and throwing it into your gi bag at the end of each class.

In some organizations, a student must show proper care for their gi to pass their first belt. They must demonstrate both how to properly tie their belt and fold the uniform in a traditional manner.

Traditionally known as a dogi,  the karate gi was adopted from Judo’s judogi by Gichin Funakoshi. The judogi is a little heavier material and made in a weaved pattern for durability. Funakoshi changed the gi so it would be lighter and removed the weave pattern. The uniform includes the uwagi (jacket), zubon (pants) and obi (belt).

Folding of the karate gi not only makes it easier to put away but it also helps eliminate wrinkles in the material without having to iron it. With each fold you smooth out the material with your hands removing wrinkles and helping to compact the material.

While searching for information on traditional folding of the gi, I discovered over 10 different ways to perform this ritual. Much like any activity that is taken by the culture, there is much ritualistic method to the folding of the uniform. Everything that is worth doing in Japan seems to have a beauty to it. That includes the folding of ones karate gi. Some of the “traditional” gi folding methods that I have found are not at all artistic therefore I removed them from the search. They included a more western method of folding the jacket and pants then tying the belt in a “granny knot” around the two parts. This is definitely not traditional.

My next elimination was any method that did not include all three components of the gi. Some did not include the pants. Others left out the belt. Some only had the jacket. If the method only showed the folding of the jacket it was thrown out. I do not see the point of folding your jacket and leaving the pants and belt rolled up in a pile.

Next there were several methods that showed the two components rolled up into a cylindrical shaped log of cloth and tied with the belt. I eliminated this for two reasons: 1. Rolling your gi does not seem artistic to me, and 2. It is not FOLDED!!! The key element in traditional gi FOLDING!!!

This eliminated most of the methods. From what was left, I picked what I believed was the only method of folding that seemed the most artistic, beautiful and included all the components of the gi. The following images were taken of my gi in a step my step diagram for publication in the 2013 IKD Canada Cup program. folding

Thanks to the British Shotokan Traditional Karate Association for posting the following video, which I believe is the best method to fold your dogi. It is beautiful and will compact even the heaviest gi.


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