The History of the Gi

A martial artist in Ann Arbor holding another judoka's gi

Are you curious about the history of martial arts? 

Have you ever wondered why martial artists wear Gis? 

Knowing the history allows you to have a deeper connection and understanding of the art you practice. 

The Judogi, or Gi, is the first modern martial arts uniform. From concept to industry standard, the Gi has inspired many changes in the martial arts community.

Origin Story

The Gi was invented by Jigoro Kano Sensei. While Kano was practicing judo, he realized the traditional Japanese kimono was not suitable for practice. To alter the kimono into the proper attire for martial arts, he made the material thicker and heavier, giving the wearer better anchorage while practicing.  Along with making the material heavier, he also loosened the fit of the garment, making it more suitable for grappling techniques. Over time and alteration through history, the modern long-sleeved Gi is now known as the “traditional cut”.

Standardizing the Uniform

In 1986, another alteration to the Gi had been made. Perhaps the most commonly known and controversial alteration to the Gi is the contrasting blue Judogi. This alteration was made for a distinct contrast between opponents for judges, referees, and the audience watching.  Other than a difference in color, white and blue are the same. 

As well as the color distinction, rules and regulations on manufacturing a Judogi were put in place. The material, manufacturing, and sizing of the Gi are all regulated by the International Judo Federation (IJF). Included in these rules is the requirement of a red label for competitors to show complicity of the IJF rules.

Learn More About the History of Martial Arts in Ann Arbor

Are you interested in learning more about martial arts? With our systematic program, we’ll help you improve your concentration and physical fitness over time. With our classes, you’ll feel a sense of community in the dojo. All you have to do is show up!

To begin your journey with martial arts in Ann Arbor, contact us today!