Black/White Gi's?

Discussion in 'Kenpo' started by hunnysan, Jul 28, 2005.

  1. hunnysan

    hunnysan Valued Member

    Now, i know why black gi's came about in Kenpo karate and how it was so you can see that Kenpo was not like any other karate..well that's what i heard..

    My question why is it some schools have the White gi, but then once you achieve your brown belt, then you have to wear black gi's...i mean shouldn't u start wearing black gi's??? Or has this how kenpo has always been, because some schools i've seen everyone just wears black and some i've seen just wear white...i know not one way is correct, but what's the purpose of holding it back until you reach brown belt..?? Is this uncommon in Kenpo or is it in actuality very common in Kenpo??

    DJ hunny
  2. Tigermoth

    Tigermoth New Member

    black is back

    Every school is different. Our instructor gave us a choice of practice gis. All but one have chosen black. I like black better because they don't show dirt as easily and they're not see-through. However we are not allowed to wear different colored(red/blue...) gi tops. That is reserved for black belts. It all depends on the instructor and the type of Kenpo. You are right about the black gi and old kenpo though. There are reasons for leaning toward black but I don't think there are any bylaws about it.
  3. Satori81

    Satori81 Never Forget...

    As far as I know, the concept of the "Colored Gi" stems from practicality. When you walk into a school, it is much easier to spot the instructor if his uniform is different than the students.

    Also, a black uniform is much cleaner looking, and doesn't show sweat or other stains. Because a higher ranking student will often be teaching class, it makes sense to allow them to wear a "nicer" looking uniform in order to look more presentable.

    Keep in mind that white gis are typically more available and cheaper, and that making a student wait for a black gi is also a way of saving them money until they are proven to be committed.

    May you achieve
  4. hunnysan

    hunnysan Valued Member

    oh ok..that makes sense, i've always preferred black gi's myself, and i hate waiting to wear one that's black belts can choose to wear whatever color gi they want?? i never knew that...
  5. dbmasters

    dbmasters Valued Member

    I was told that William Chow went with the Black Gi for Kenpo because he felt it stood for "pain, trauma and death".

    Dunno if that's true, but that's the story I got.
  6. John Bishop

    John Bishop Valued Member

    Traditionally, in the Hawaiian kenpo schools, black gi's were only worn by the instructors. Students wore white gi's. Mr. Parker kept this tradition in his system for black and brown belts. But many from his lineage have now abandoned his traditions, and use what ever gi color they want.
    The first use of the back gi for all practitioners was around 1955, when Adriano Emperado adopted the black gi as the trademark uniform for Kajukenbo, to distinguish Kajukenbo from all the Japanese and Korean styles that wore white.
  7. KenpoDavid

    KenpoDavid Working Title

    We switch at 5th kyu (blue) from white to black gi.

    it is a real feeling of accomplishment. Halfway up the ladder!

    also it makes the senior students stand out from the crowd.
  8. dbmasters

    dbmasters Valued Member

    We are all black Gi's from thew white belts on up...only belt colors are different...of course we don't require Gi's at all if people don't want to wear them...I like to, it gets me in the mood.
  9. hunnysan

    hunnysan Valued Member

    i agreee..wearing my gi gets me hyped up..and it is an acomplishment to get to wear black..i remember my instructor talking bout how hard it is for junior black belts to take it off and start anew..and how so many don't want too
  10. Kwajman

    Kwajman Penguin in paradise....

    The school I go to now wears black all the time. From white belt on up.
  11. Ceicei

    Ceicei Knowledge Seeker

    At the studio I go to, beginners wear white gi. By the time we reach blue belt, we can switch to blue gi if desired. Almost all females tend to switch to blue as soon as they can. By the time we reach brown, we can wear black gi.

    - Ceicei
  12. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

    Hey guys... Sorry for chirping in on this thread, I thought you might like to see an opinion of a 'third party' reading what you're saying about coloured gi.

    First off I think it's only fair to explain that I don't study Kenpo, I am a Yudansha of Aikikai Aikido and additionally study the Japanese sword. My arts necessitate a 'standard' uniform thus, as a traditionalist I have opinions about gi colours and what they may represent.

    As someone who read through this thread I'm left with a couple of mixed opinions. Firstly "Each to their own" if your schools require you to wear a particular scheme of gi so be it, and far be it for me to be over critical of something I'm neither involved in or know much (if anything) about however; as a Budoka of some 18 years I can't help raising the odd eyebrow when I meet or come into contact with people who wear a multitude of different gi.

    May I ask; from within your own schools, where do you buy your respective gi from ? A supplier of your choice or, do you have to buy from your Sensei ?

    I ask this question because one or two (prolly more than that unfortunately) Sensei I have met use this as a means of (unfairly IMHO) raising money for themselves. Essentially making their students buy particular gi at often over the odds prices. Couple that with (as you guys mention) changing the colour of the gi at a particular grade can, IMHO be a big source of revenue.

    Additionally, I hold the opinion that instructors don't need to 'outwardly' look different to the rest of the students, it has been my experience that those who do wish to look different do so because of the ego, (which is my second opinion) I don't subscribe to the theory that making the Sensei (or senior students) look different helps beginners identify who's who - That's what coloured belts are for.

    Any way, I'm not attempting to flame anyone, just expressing an opinion.

    Regards to all
  13. KenpoDavid

    KenpoDavid Working Title

    At our schools, new students get a free uniform (white). When they get to 5th kyu (usually about 2 yrs for an adult) they do have to buy their own heavyweight black gi. But the school doesn't make any money on it.

  14. dsp921

    dsp921 New Member

    Dave, I can definitely see your points. I train in Kenpo and in the system that I do we wear a black gi from day one. There isn't any difference between the uniform an instructor wears and one a first day student wears. I think the multiple gi colors may have something to do with commercial schools trying to keep things interesting and give the new students/lower ranks something to work toward. Maybe something along the lines of all the colored belts. While there may be monetary and ego reasons behind the multiple stages of gi color I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt and think (hope) that it is done to present a goal to students to keep them motivated. Now if the new gi color is required and must be bought through the school, well....
  15. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

    ...Don't get me wrong, the actual colour of the gi isn't an issue for me, and just because I wear a particular colour of gi/hakama/****agi/obi/tabi etc doesn't mean that every school in the world has to do likewise; I do of course accept that every art will have its 'norm' however; what I find odd, is when the students/instructors themselves wear a multitude of colours, sometimes within the same gi, adorn said gi with a likewise multitude of badges and patches and then (sometimes) use this as an excuse to further the lining of their pockets.

    I accept the point you make about encouragement and the goal setting which might be helped along the way with the notion that; reaching a particular grade means a student gets to wear a particular coloured gi, my only thought on this is... This is why the coloured belt system was first introduced into western Budo study By Kano Sensei, has this means of identification of grade etc lost its value?

    Regards as always
  16. dsp921

    dsp921 New Member

    I understand you don't have an issue with what color is worn. Honestly, I really don't see a need for multiple gi colors within a system either. I'm not a big fan of the patch covered gi so I think we agree on this whole subject. You're right, all the different gi colors and patches that schools sell is a money-maker for the owner. The only thing to consider is a lot of a commercial school's ability to remain in business depends on kids. Kids need more things to look forward to, colored uniforms and patches give them that. If you put everyone in the same gi and only used white, green, brown and black belts, the casual student will get bored. Most need some feeling of accomplishment on a regular basis to stay interested. I would bet most schools would lose a large percentage of their students if they had to train two years or more in a white belt until getting to green. I think the colored belt system is still of value as the main identification of rank. The ability to wear a different color gi at some point is an added bonus for achieving a certain rank. In the end it's all about making money so the school can stay in business. Most school owners I know also have a "real" job, so they aren't getting rich off of this stuff, they do it to stay open so they can continue to teach. I just try to cut them a little slack, they aren't all greedy.
    For me, and you it would seem, the training is the important part, not the color of the gi or the belt.
  17. hunnysan

    hunnysan Valued Member

    I think allowing a student to only buy products from their instructors is jus wrong. And it is probably for money...but there is the exception that, sometimes the instructor prefers their students to buy from them is because it could be cheaper. For an instructor to be able to buy products like gi's and sparring at a whole sale price, they can turn it around and sell it for bout the same price if not cheaper for the student. Plus around my area, not many martial art stores are around that sell sparring gear i i might have to buy it off-line..then i'd have to pay shipping..same goes for the uniform...My instructor advises us to buy from her cuz it's cheaper..but she could care less if u bought somewhere long as u didn't get ripped off...

    DJ Hunny
  18. Pacificshore

    Pacificshore Hit n RUN!

    In my experience, back in my earlier years of training, I would buy my uniforms and gear from my instructor as a way to support our club. Plus, my instructor wasn't the type to mark things up, so we paid him what it originally cost him. Now, moving light years forward ;), I would still buy gear from my home dojo as a means of supporting the organization. Sure I get an instructor's price and then its up to me to charge my students what I think is fair. Depending on what it is they are buying, really depends on how much I want to charge them. If for example, the item is a school t-shirt, then I'll charge what the less than what it would cost to buy a similar brand t-shirt w/design off the rack at a retail store, but a lil more than what I will get it for at my instructor's price. The "profit" margin on my end is actually very nominal, and will only allow me to make additional purchases of t-shirts when needed.

    If they are larger items such as gear bags, custom weapons, I'll just charge them what the main dojo's student prices are. As for anything else, then it's what I can get them for cost plus shipping.

    All in all, there really is no profit being made on my end as an instructor. Then again, I'm not a commercial karate instructor that has overhead to worry about :)
  19. John Bishop

    John Bishop Valued Member

    I'm not totally familiar with the "AikiKai" traditions. But is it not true that in some or most aikido systems students wear plain white gi's, and instructors and/or black belts are allowed to wear hakama? And hakama colors can also vary?
  20. dsp921

    dsp921 New Member

    That's a good point. There are several uniform combinations shown on the website in Dave's signature. If they are using the traditional Aikido belt system where there are no colored belts and their uniforms are the indication of rank I can understand. Otherwise it is no more necessary than the multiple gi colors used by other systems.

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