What Is a Karate Outfit Called?

What Is a Karate Outfit Called?

Karate is a form of Martial arts practiced by a community that seeks to balance body and mind through training in various fighting techniques. Of course, such a community requires a standardized uniform or outfit to indicate a sense of belonging to a common cause or discipline. But, what is a karate outfit called?

Karate outfit is called a Gi (ghee). Traditionally, according to the Japanese culture it’s referred to as a ‘Do-gi’ or ‘keiko-gi’. Or you can simply call it a karate-gi.

This cotton-thick, non-absorbent, & breathable outfit has a lot to it, apart from keeping you comfortable whilst looking like Bruce Lee. 

It has various parts, each designed to provide the comfort you need while you train. Also, there is a specific way to clean and handle the outfit. So it doesn’t wear off easily.

Read on as we delve further…. 

Parts of the Karategi

There are three main parts of the karategi, namely: 

  • UWAGI or Jacket (upper uniform)
  • Zubon or Trousers (lower uniform) 
  • Belt

UWAGI – Jacket 

This is a cotton crossover jacket which forms a V-neck shape once you close it. It is also known as the upper uniform.

The reason why it’s so large is to ensure less restriction on upper body movement. Such as rotating of arms, twisting of waist, & freedom to throw punches.

Parts of the UWAGI:

Sode – The is the arm sleeve. It covers the rest of the user’s arm apart from the wrist down to the fist.

Sodeguchi – this is the cuff of the sleeves. It exposes the wrist and the fist.

Waki – this is a part of the UWAGI that covers the user’s armpit. 

Migoro – Bodice

Eru – This is the lapel on the UWAGI (crossover jacket). It’s located on either side of the jacket. The left eru is pulled over the other for fastening. 

Parts of the Zubon:

This is the lower part of the karategi. Just as the UWAGI is spacious for easy body movement, so is the Zubon. It is designed in such a way it allows enough leg movement to meet the diverse leg stance & kicks karate has to offer. 

Uesuto – this is the waist region of the Zubon (Trousers). It’s made of cotton and will remain comfortable before and after tight fastening.

Mata – it’s located around the user’s groin region. And it’s stretchy enough to do high kicks and intense leg stance without ripping or causing discomfort. 

Himo – these are the strings. It can be found a few inches below the armpits. And along the waist. They’re used to fasten the karate-gi. 

Hiza – this part covers the user’s knee.

Sune – it covers the user’s shins. 

Suso – trouser cuff

Obi – Belt  

This is not necessarily in all karategi. In fact, high quality gi’s lack this feature. But when it’s present it serves as a fastener or indication of rank. E.g white Belts indicate one is a beginner.

How to Maintain Your Karategi 

A well-dressed karate student will be respected. It’s a virtue which shows discipline to the art. You can say it’s also part of your training. 

Here are some tips to keep your gi fresh, clean, & admirable: 

Always clean your gi immediately after practice

Be it winter or the summer, after every session you are definitely going to sweat. Your sweat contains bacteria which will soak into your cotton gi. This process will lead to the development of stains and smells. Thus commencing the rotting of your Gi. 

With this fact in mind you should be cautious enough to know a quick wash is non-negotiable.  

Note: don’t reuse an unwashed go.

Don’t waste time!

If you let your gi seat after your training without washing, then it’ll develop a stink which could be very hard to get rid of. 

To avoid this from happening, you need to constantly remind yourself to clean your Gi. Set a reminder for closing hours on your mobile device if you have to.

Make Sure it’s Dry

Wearing a wet karategi is not only uncomfortable but also risky. As you leave yourself vulnerable to the bacteria. It’s best to hang your gi out in the presence of the natural sunlight. 

This will take a little while but if your environment is very humid, it could take at least 2 days to dry. If this is your case then you should consider buying more karategis’ just in case. 

Note: Another alternative is to use a sensor dryer. But don’t let it overdo, as you could end up with a shrunken gi.

Wash your belt 

This is a necessary practice so it doesn’t stink and lose its color. When washing the obi (belt) it’s best to wash it separately. So you don’t end up giving your UWAGI and zubon color.

Also, avoid washing your belt constantly as you should the UWAGI and the zubon. 

Note: before you wash your belt, make sure to soak it in salty water for a while and then rinse it properly. This technique is bound to ensure your belt keeps its color for a very long time.

How to clean your Gi

Step1: let it soak in your washing machine for 20-25 minutes. And it must be cold water. Why? Hot water could shrink up your Gi. 

Step 2: add a fabric whitener and a stain remover if the stain and smell persists.

Step3: start the washer!

How to Fold Your Gi

You don’t want to leave your gi looking wrinkled and unkept. Here are several steps for folding your Karategi properly: 

How to fold the jacket of your GI

First step

Spread it out.

Find a wider flat surface or just use the floor. Then spread your gi on the surface with the sleeves pointing out in their respective (opposite) directions. It must be done with the UWAGI’s (Jacket’s) back facing the flat surface or floor.

Second step 

After spreading the jacket, pick one of the sleeves and take a part (about a quarter) of the Jacket’s torso so you can fold them over the other sleeve. 

Note: At this point you should brush things that got stuck on the jacket.

Third step 

Once you’re done with the last step, then fold the sleeve again in such a way it gets back on itself. While you’re at that, repeat the same process for the other part of the jacket.

Fourth step 

The next move is to make two extra folds from the bottom of the torso region to the top. At the end, your UWAGI should be a perfect square. 

How to Fold your Zubon (pants)

First step

Lay your zubon on a flat surface or the floor. After that, brush it till it’s flat enough. Then fold the zubon in half and then bring over one side to the other.

Second step

In this step, fold the pants in half from the top. And then make another three folds. So it’ll appear rolled up.

Third step

Lay your jacket on your pants and then tie them together with your belt. (If it comes with one).

What to Avoid When Washing your Gi:

Don’t wash your Gi with other coloured clothings

If you end up doing this, your entire karategi could be given a new color. Especially if a corrosive detergent (bleach) is being used. So it’s best to clean it your gi separately.

Don’t use bleach unless you can properly manage it

Bleach is very strong and if not used effectively, your clothing can be ruined.

Prevent using hot water to soak it. It will shrink your Gi

Hot water may seem plausible. But it is a risky solution as you could be left with a shrunken gi. Thus making cold water the ideal alternative for safe washing. 

Myth about the Karategi

No cleaning 

Sometimes people can be so obsessed with attaining that seniority status, they decide not to wash their gi. This behavior stemmed from urban legends that say karate belts shouldn’t be washed. And so others went extreme and decided to not wash their Gi at all. 

Truth: such practices will just make you look horrible. And the smells could push other members away. 


By now, you’ve gathered a solid understanding of what a karate-gi is and how it holds an emblematic role in a karateka’s journey. But the pathway doesn’t end here. In fact, it opens up to a larger world of options suitable for each practitioner’s unique needs. If the search for the ideal gi captures your interest, let us guide you towards the Best Karate Gi available currently. This article will help you elevate your karate experience by providing detailed insights on various karate gi brands, their origins, their quality, and how to find the one that fits you best.

Now you know the Karate outfit has several names such as Do-gi, keiko-gi and plain simple karategi. With each of them having their own interpretation but they share the same meaning.

Also, apart from the names, you now know all it’s parts and how to maintain it.as well as the misconception relating to the karategi. All so you can understand its importance and take care of yours.

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has been training in the art of kickboxing for over seven years, holds a Taekwondo black belt, and has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. He's a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster.
Article by

Vladimir Vladisavljevic

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He has been training in kickboxing for over seven years and holds a Taekwondo black belt. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. Vladimir is a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster. He was known as The Bulgarian Cowboy in the Western world. In addition, he has a YouTube channel where he talks about his love of esports, one of the fastest-growing fields in the world. Our testing and reviewing method.
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