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Most of us have at least one friend who is a martial arts, more specifically a karate enthusiast. Maybe they are an instructor, master, philosopher of karate, or in some position or job which is deeply connected to karate, where the person can totally express their passion for the art. Well, the fact is, these people also have birthdays. They also have Christmas, large exams, name days, weddings, welcome baby parties, and a number of other occasions, where one should get them a gift. Now, with someone who has a deep passion for something, it is much easier to get a gift than to someone who doesn’t, because you are aware of the general direction in which you should be looking, but you still might have trouble picking the right gift for them or even coming up with ideas. In this article, we will give you 20 amazing karate gift ideas for that karate enthusiast you want to surprise!
1. A Premium Gi
A gi is the outfit karate practitioners wear, the iconic white robe-like dress. Anyone who is seriously into karate will want a high-quality gi, for the training experience, the durability, and also for the heritage and legacy of the product. This is why one of the absolute best things you can buy a karate enthusiast is a premium, Seishin Gi.
Seishin gis are regarded as some of the (if not the) world’s best gis. They are extremely high-quality products, made from 100% cotton and delivered to you straight from Okinawa, the birthplace of karate itself. They are extremely durable and are the industry standard for someone who actually plans on becoming a master. We talk a bit more about in our best karate gi article, which is also focused on how to buy and maintain a gi, so if you are interested in that, do check it out. These will definitely be some of the more expensive gifts if you plan on giving them to someone, since a standard Seishin gi, male or female, comes at around 250 USD. Click here to check out this karate masterpiece on Amazon if you are interested!
2. Bruce Lee Outfit
This one is a quirky and somewhat funny gift, for the enthusiast who has everything else you might get them. Bruce Lee’s most iconic outfit is the yellow jumpsuit, which he wore in the hit film Game of Death. This gift is one of those prank-gifts, which will certainly result in a lot of laughs.
There are many available options on Amazon, but we think Amazon’s Choice, the COSFLY Men’s Chinese Martial Arts Costume is the one you should choose, should you decide to surprise your friend with this gift. It does cost around 40 bucks, but will surely impress your friend. Click on this link to check it out on Amazon!
3. Ip Man Outfit
Another very famous martial artist was Ip Man, who was portrayed in a series of films recently by Donnie Yen. Ip Man is always shown wearing a tangzhuang, which literally translates into “Chinese suit”. It originated hundreds of years ago but is still worn today, especially by men.
This gift is not only a throwback at the cinematic experience of watching Ip Man, it is also a heritage piece, one with a lot of martial arts history and legacy to it. If your friend is enthusiastic about karate, they will definitely find this piece of clothing very interesting. Click on this link to Amazon if you are interested!
Nunchaku, otherwise known as nunchucks, is probably the most iconic Eastern martial art weapon alongside the katana. Countless martial artists (including Bruce Lee) have used it, and countless martial arts have adopted it and developed techniques for it. Not many people know that nunchaku are originally Okinawan, just like karate. Some forms of karate even teach the use of nunchaku, though these types of karate are quite rare. If your friend is interested in Eastern martial arts, karate, and weapons, a nunchaku will definitely be something they are happy to see. However, wooden or metal nunchaku are very dangerous and are illegal in many countries and U.S. states, so we will only recommend foam nunchaku, which is just as good to practice. Click on this link to Amazon if you are interested!
5. Breaking Boards
One of the most famous practices in karate and many other martial arts is board breaking. There are even board breaking competitions and championships worldwide. Anyone interested in karate is most likely to be interested in breaking boards, since it is very satisfying to do, and it also conditions the hands. There are different types of boards available, we will link to two different types on Amazon, one a plastic, re-breakable board, and another will be a set of traditional wooden boards. The receiver of this gift will definitely try it out the day you give it to them, maybe even at the party itself, since they are so tempting to try. Click here for the plastic board, and here for the wooden board if you are interested!
6. Thompson Tee
Thompson Tees are very interesting and well-designed products, which unfortunately aren’t too widespread yet. Basically, they are sweat- and odor-proof undershirts, tees, and tank tops you can wear under button-up shirts, suits, or in your friend’s case, a gi. It is one of the best options for clothing under the gi since the material is very soft, it is very comfortable, and the padding at the armpits helps control sweating and odor, which can come in handy in training sessions. Click here to check it out on Amazon!
7. Foam Roller
Karate consists of many things, one of them being strenuous exercise. Usually, every karate practitioner’s muscles are sore the day after training, even with proper nutrition and stretching. One way to enhance blood flow, muscle recovery, and flexibility, is by giving yourself a massage with a foam roller. It is one of the best tools in this domain, so if your karate enthusiast friend doesn’t have one, definitely get them one as a present, they won’t only thank you at the birthday party when you give it to them, but also months later for helping them. It is not only fun and pleasurable, it is insanely useful and functional. Check it out on Amazon by clicking here!
8. The Essence of Karate
The Essence of Karate by Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of modern-day karate and the Shotokan karate style, is an essential read for anyone who wants to know more about the philosophy and thought behind the martial art. In this book, he writes about the narrative of modern karate and the philosophical and spiritual underpinnings of the art. It also includes some memories of his own training, as well as of other karate masters and the history of the martial art as he knows it. If the person you are giving the gift to is truly a karate enthusiast, this gift is not going to go unappreciated. Click here to check it out on Amazon!
9. Agility Ladder
Karate requires many types of skills and competencies, like speed, power, precision, and agility. One way to increase the speed and agility, primarily of your footwork, is by training with an agility ladder. It will make you much quicker on your feet, which is really useful for being able to use your karate effectively. In sparring and fighting, there is a lot of stance-changing, a lot of kicking, feigning kicks, and a lot else which can be done a lot more quickly if you spend at least a couple of hours weekly training with an agility ladder. Here is a link to Amazon if you are interested!
10. Karate Mug
If you aren’t all that into buying large gifts, or you are dealing with a person who has everything else you can think of and loves coffee or a nice Asian green tea, buying a mug with some funny, cool, or poetic karate quote or design might be your best option. There are a lot of very good karate mug ideas on Amazon to choose from, so you can adjust to the personality of the person you are buying. Click here to check out a mug on Amazon which we thought would be a cool gift!
11. Compression Underwear/Compression Shorts
A great way to enhance a karate training experience is by investing in some compression underwear or compression shorts. They have been scientifically proven to improve blood flow, increase stamina, and thus better your overall performance in any sort of training. Aside from these benefits, they are usually more hygienic, and always a lot more comfortable than your standard boxer briefs or panties. They are, as the name suggests, compression clothes, so they hug your body really neatly, they don1t slide up and down or move from their place, so you won’t have to worry about them being uncomfortable or adjusting them. Check out this link to Amazon if you want to make training more enjoyable and productive for your friend!
Bubishi is another one of those absolute must-reads for any serious karate practitioner, who wants to reach master levels. You cannot be serious about becoming a karate master without reading this book. It is legendary, it has been passed on in secret from generation to generation by Okinawan people, and it describes the art, techniques, history, philosophy, and other topics which have to do with karate-do. Click here to check it out on Amazon!
13. Karate Jewelry
If you are looking for something simple yet unique, you can get various pieces of karate-themed jewelry as a gift for an enthusiast or practitioner. There are countless versions of it, both for men and women, kids, teens, etc. You can find rings, armbands, necklaces, earrings, and more. If you know someone who likes to wear jewelry and also trains karate, getting a small gift like this one for them would be a symbol of how you do pay attention to them and appreciate them as a friend. Click on this link to check out a cool karate ring on Amazon!
14. The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate
Another book for our karate nerds. It was also written by Gichin Funakoshi, the legendary founder of Shotokan karate and with this, modern-day karate as a whole. One of the most famous quotes from this book is “The ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory nor defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants.”. This is the type of thinking and philosophy you can find in this masterpiece. It dives into the philosophy and the principles of karate, which have been all too much forgotten by modern schools. If you want to provide a valuable read for your friend, this book should definitely be near the top of your list of potential gifts. Check it out here on Amazon!
15. Standing Punching Bag
Many karate instructors and masters stress the importance of training at home. Without doing so, you only train on training sessions, which is good enough, but if you want to get as close to perfection as you can, and if you take karate seriously, you cannot afford to not train at home. One way to train striking accuracy, power, and speed while also training technique is to buy a standing punching bag. This is a great gift for any karate practitioner since it is functional. It is a gift they can use for a long time and thus get a lot of value out of. Check out this link to Amazon if it’s what you want to surprise your friend with!
16. Striking Pads
Another great way to practice karate at home is by using striking pads. For this, one does need a training partner, but the training can be almost as valuable as a proper karate session if done correctly. Striking pads can also help you develop your defense and evasive movements, and you can create a dynamic training environment with various strikes, high or low. If you have someone you could possibly train with, or who has someone you know they can train with, getting striking pads for a karate practitioner will definitely be a well-received gift. Check it out here on Amazon!
17. Board Holder
This is a piece of equipment that can come at quite expensive costs but can be useful for someone who takes karate seriously. Buying karate boards for breaking might be really cool and attractive, but with nobody to hold them, they are useless. That is why board holders were created. You can place a board, or perhaps multiple boards onto such board holders and hit them as if they were held by a training partner, sometimes even better, since the holder has less instability. If you want to surprise someone with a board holder, check out this link to Amazon!
18. Wall-Mounted Makiwara
This is another great option if you want to provide a way to train at home for the person you are getting it for. It is a wood and leather plank-like device, designed in Japan, which you can place on the wall and punch or kick. There is Makiwara which is not wall-mounted, but much rather standing ones, which can be used just as well. Not only does it allow for the practice of technique and speed, but also for the conditioning of the hands and the leg joints. It has been used for possibly hundreds of years and is a traditional element of Okinawan karate, so any karate practitioner who likes what they are training will be more than happy to receive one. Click here to check it out on Amazon!
19. Karate-Do: My Way of Life
The last book on our list, Karate-Do: My Way of Life is another book by the founding father and supreme master of karate, Gichin Funakoshi. It describes his more than 80 years of life. It is an autobiography in which he reflects on his impact on the world of karate, seeing as he was the one who pioneered the spreading of karate, and also its legalization in Okinawa back in the 1800s. It is a very interesting read, which is also very simple to read and understand, yet is very valuable. Any karate and Gichin Funakoshi fan would enjoy getting this as a present, especially if they are interested in the history and philosophy of the art. Check it out on Amazon by clicking on this link.
20. Protective Gear
Protective gear is used commonly in karate. Groin-guards are a must in most places, while shin-guards, head-guards, and gloves are usually bought a couple of months into training, if not more. If you have a friend or someone you know who trains karate and fights (sparring) quite often, they would probably be really happy for some protective gear, which will enable them to train better, since the threat of injury will be a lot smaller. Check out this link to Amazon for gloves if you are interested!