Dear Karate Nerd™,
Have you ever experienced any of the following problems when training Karate?
- Every time you try to kick, your gi pants get stuck on your thigh.
- Every time you do a high block, your gi jacket gets curled up.
- Every time you punch, you desperately try to hear that “snap” sound, but it rarely appears.
- Every time you do a deep shiko/kiba/zenkutsu dachi, you need to pull your pants up a little.
- Every time you finish kata or kumite, your gi is all messed up.
These are everyday problems facing any Karate practitioner out there. Problems that, when added up, make regular Karate training a bigger pain in the ass than it honestly should be.
(I know, because I used to have ALL of the above problems. And I hated it.)
Now, as if that wasn’t enough, please have a look around the dojo next time you’re training, and then tell me the following:
Who actually looks good in his/her gi?!
Who actually has a gi that fits his/her physical composition?
Truth be told, most people are actually too skinny, too fat, too buff, too short, too tall or too handsome (sorry, that’s just me!) to be wearing their regular gi! But, since they have been using the same ol’ gi for so many years, they aren’t aware of their horrible “wardrobe malfunction”. They have become blind to the fact that they could be looking, feeling and yes, even performing at a whole new level simply by upgrading their gi!
Why is this the case?
I’ll tell you why.
In fact, I’ll gladly tell you why:
Because 99% of Karate uniforms on the market today are pure crap.
Yeah, that’s right.
I said it.
And I know what I’m talking about, because I’ve had them all; from Hirota, Shureido, Kamikaze and Arawaza to Tokaido, Tokyodo, Blitz and Adidas. The list goes on. If it exists, I’ve probably owned it. Most of them even in several sizes, models and versions!
The sad reality of most Karate gi on the market today is that they’re are made by inactive people behind big desks, with no actual, hands-on knowledge about the true demands that hard Karate practise places upon the gi you’re supposed to be wearing! I mean, seriously, you don’t have to be Einstein to calculate that the results from hour upon hour of intense punching, kicking, blocking, falling, jumping, striking, throwing and sweating – week after week, month after month – are enough to make any regular Pakistani pajama (that’s where most modern gi are made) resemble an old piece of dishcloth.
Yet, when you compare an elite gi to a regular gi, that’s how it looks!
This is what most people imagine a good Karate gi looks like:
When, in fact, this is what a real gi should look like:
If you’ve worn both types of gi, you know the difference is like night and day!
Now, you might be wondering what the heck I’m trying to say here, and that’s okay. I know I can be confusing sometimes.
So let me just rewind the tape a little:
A year ago I got an e-mail from a concerned reader who was asking about help when choosing the perfect Karate uniform (gi). And, as you know, I get a lot of e-mails from concerned readers. This was nothing strange. So, as always, I tried to honestly answer the question to the best of my ability; explaining about different gi brands, sizes, materials and such. But, as my reply steadily grew longer, I gradually started noticing a thought pattern evolving in the back of my mind. A thought pattern that would prove to change a lot in my life, although I didn’t know it at the time:
There is no such thing as “the perfect gi”.
Sure, I know, it might not sound like much. But this exact e-mail, and the deas it sparked in me, was the starting point for what would eventually turn into an obsessive personal quest, taking me all the way to Okinawa, Japan, Turkey, Italy and beyond. You see, for little over a year now, I have been secretly working on a huge project.
And now the time has come to tell you:
I’m engineering the perfect Karate uniform.
The perfect Karate uniform
Together with my team of highly skilled textile experts, I’ve been secretly seeking to craft the “ultimate” Karate gi for over a year now.
And to tell the truth, not even in my wildest dreams could I imagine it would take this long! (To be completely honest, I’m not even there yet. But I’ll tell you more about that in a moment.)
You see, kind of like Dr. Frankenstein, I’ve been fanatically experimenting with a plethora of uniforms, fabrics, cuts, brands and sizing charts collected from all over the world, together with invaluable contacts I’ve made during my trips (especially in Okinawa), in my mission to ultimately create the perfect Karate uniform for the regular Joe. A gi that conforms to the body, is durable enough, looks naturally amazing, is free of weird chemicals, feels awesome and just makes people around you go: “Damn, I want to have a gi like that!”
A gi that makes you wish you never had to wear anything else – ever.
It’s simple: Because I’m tired of finding small faults in every friggin’ gi I buy! Because no gi, let me repeat that; NO GI I’ve ever worn has been 100% perfect in terms of sizing, fit, texture, durability, fabric, usability etc.
(Hey, there is a reason why this is the longest, hardest (and weirdest) secret project I’ve ever been working on…)
This is a gi made by Karate people, for Karate people.
And you, dear reader, is the first one I’m telling this to.
Because I need YOUR help now.
The gi I’ve been making, which comes in three models (labeled KATA, KUMITE and KEIKO) is almost done. I can’t disclose too much information about stuff like the actual name of the brand, the unique features, marketing strategy, associated partners etc. but I can tell you that I’ve already had two of the models (KATA and KUMITE) officially approved by the WKF (World Karate Federation) for global competition, which is something of a monumental task in itself. In other words; the sizes are right, the labels are there, the material is awesome, a majority of the details have been adjusted, it’s fully hand-made… but there is still one thing missing.
One crucial thing, in fact.
I NEED PEOPLE TO TEST THE GI.
I need people who are truly passionate about Karate, interested in acquiring an original gi, obsessive about finding details of improvement, and – most importantly – attracted to the idea of being amongst the first people to build this future gi brand from the ground.
I NEED YOU.
And please, don’t get me wrong now: this is certainly no small hobby or side project of mine. Oh no. I’ve invested far too much time, sweat, money and energy for this to be some tiny footnote in the chronicles of Karate history.
Read my lips:
And now I’m giving YOU the chance to help me get off the ground in the last phase of this bold undertaking.
Here’s the deal: I only have about 50 (fifty) gi left of the initial test batch. Only KATA and KEIKO models. The KATA is intended for kata practise, while the KEIKO is for all-round training. (The KUMITE has unfortunately been used up, since I’ve been secretly handing out test examples to elite national team members and other kumite veterans/experts around the world). That’s all I can say for now.
Again, you can be one of the FIRST people to test the KATA or KEIKO gi models, making you not only an owner of the initial uniform from the future “ultimate Karate gi” brand in the making, but also an official freelance contributor to my Research & Development team (your full name will be featured on the brand website, which is about to launch later this year) for your invaluable contribution.
And if you are anything like me, I KNOW this sounds interesting.
(Personally, I’m almost jumping out of my chair just from writing this!)
But, of course, there’s a catch.
More correctly, there are some important requirements. I mean, naturally I can’t be having just any McDojo street bum testing these exclusive gi, as this project is far too important for that. Briefly, here’s what I need from you, if you choose to be a part of this mission:
- You need to have owned at least two gi. The brand(s) doesn’t matter, but the more the better.
- You need to be available to regularly train with the gi for a test period of three weeks.
- You need to fill in a mandatory online form after the test period is over (very important).
After the test period is over, you will keep the gi.
Because you will have bought it.
That’s right. You need to buy the gi. The reason is simple: I know that many people will email me after this article, going “Jesse-san, I want to test the KATA/KEIKO gi, send me five free samples!” and before you know it, I have fifty free gi spread out all over the world – with little or no control over the end result!
And I can’t be having that.
Obviously you will get it significantly under retail price, and I will of course include free shipping to anywhere in the world as a bonus for your help.
That’s how I roll.
So, if this sounds even moderately interesting, and if you fit the criteria (mandatory), here’s what you need to do:
NOTE: THE KARATE GI PROJECT IS CURRENTLY FULL. FOR FUTURE UPDATES AND NEWS ON THE PROJECT, MAKE SURE YOU SUBSCRIBE TO MY POSTS. THANK YOU.
When the fifty gi are taken, the offer will immediately become inactive and all future contact with the chosen participants will be handled directly through e-mail.
And that’s it.
Now… how does this sound?
I know it’s a pretty crazy task, but I’m 110% confident it will be a success once it’s completely done (believe me, I’ve come way too far to give up on this thing!) – as you will see for yourself.
As a matter of fact (this was supposed to be top secret, but what the heck): I already have a couple of World Champions, European Champions, Okinawan Champions and Pan-American Champions on the boat. Just so you know.
But in this phase, YOUR job is more important.
Lastly, whether you choose to be a part of engineering the perfect Karate gi with us or not, I sincerely hope you take a second look at your current gi and ask yourself:
- “Was this the best they could make?”
The answer will tell you exactly why we will take over the Karate world.
I’m waiting for your application.