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"From white belt to black belt you shape the tool, at black belt you start to learn how to use it." ~ Unknown

The uniform used in traditional karate dojos is called a dogi (or gi for short). It consists of three parts: the top (kimono), the pants (zubon) and the belt (obi).  The gi worn in the dojo is white, following the philosophy that everyone training is equal, regardless of social status, occupation, sex, race or religion.


The top is worn with the left lapel on the outside and may be fastened with the strings located on the sides.  Your gi should always be kept clean and tidy.  Any rips or tears must be repaired quickly.  Nothing is to be worn under the top of your gi (women may wear a white t-shirt).


The obi (belt) should always be respected, but not revered.  It contains symbolic meaning.  You can tell a lot about someone and their attitude solely by the care with which they wear and treat their obi.


How to Tie Your Belt (Obi)


Here is the proper procedure for tying it:

  • Fold your belt in half and find the center.

  • Place the center just below your navel and wrap both ends around your waist twice

  • Bring the tips back to the front. Make sure not to twist it and that the ends are even.

  • Bring the left over the right and tuck under both parts in front of your waist, pulling the ends left and right to form the first knot. Bring the top over the bottom and tie your second knot pulling left and right (horizontally).

How to Fold Your Dogi (Karate Uniform)


There are many ways to fold your dogi, the most popular being the Shikaku no Gi (Square Fold).  Lay the jacket out on a smooth surface, for example a clean floor.  Spread the sleeves out so that they point out to the sides in opposite direction.  Smoothing the dogi throughout the process will help eliminate wrinkles.

  • Put your folded pants over your open jacket.

  • Fold the jacket sides over the pants, then fold back the sleeves.

  • Fold up the jacket/pants from the bottom twice.

  • Tie your belt around the whole package.

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