How to Always Look Good in Your Karate Gi (Uniform)

A pear.

A watermelon.

An apple.

The ways people look in their Karate gi can often be compared to a fruit.


And I ain’t got nothing against fruit. I love fruit.

However, when you want to look friggidy fresh in your gi, the last thing you want to be compared to is a fruit sallad!

Have you seen the new Seishin gi? Check it out here.


Today I’m giving you another secret.

The secret to always looking awesome in your Karate uniform.

(Because, believe me, there’s much more to it than just putting it on!)

But hold on.

I know what you’re thinking:

“Jesse-san, why are you so shallow? Who cares how I “look” in my gi?”


But also false.

See, we’re humans. We have an ego. We have emotions. We have a dark side.

Put bluntly; we like to look good!

Like a wise man once said: “When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you do good.”

So, unless you’ve successfully Karate-chopped your way to egoless enlightenment already, it’s nice to occasionally look good in the dojo. Especially if you dislike the idea of looking like the spiritual reincarnation of a pear.


Follow along, as my loyal slav… uh, sempai Elin shows you how to wear your gi – for ultimate comfort, practicality and sexiness. Right here, right now.

Check it out:

Step #1: Put on the gi

1Put on the gi, as you always do.

Here is where most regular people would stop.

But not us.

Step #2: Fix the right side

2Cross your left arm over, holding down your belt, and then raise your right arm.

This will pull some of the jacket above the belt, which means you’ll prevent the gi from restricting your techniques (and buff you up).

Step #3: Fix the left side

3Do just like we did on the right side, but reverse. Cross your right arm over, holding down your belt, and then raise your left arm.

You will feel weird for a sec, but don’t worry. It’s gonna look awesome.

Step #4: Bend forward

4Grab ahold of your belt behind you.

Then bend forward, to strech the jacket in the back.

Step #5: Bend back

5Now hold your belt firmly in front, and lean back.

This is the last step to stretch/pull your gi jacket above the belt.

Step #6: Fix the details

6Lastly, add some finishing touches by pulling here and there to make sure everything is symmetrical and nice.

Step #7: Look like a boss/princess


That concludes this quick and effective guide to looking awesome in your new gi.

How did it work for ya?

Of course, “looking good” isn’t everything. But like I said in the beginning, it will truly make a difference if you do it right – especially when it comes to comfort, self-perception and confidence.


As the saying goes; the clothes don’t make the man.

It’s what’s inside that counts.


  • Marco
    Nice as always, but as a future reference, you can't tell people about looking good and symmetry... And then use a photo with someone that has the belt asymmetrical like that.
    • Actually, I can - and I did. Sue me! :P (To be honest, I didn't even notice. I get your point though.) Thanks Marco-san!
  • Te'o
    I love it!!! Reminds me of the "how to tie your belt" lessons. Especially when I have to say to the new student..."Wait, let me turn around and retie mine. I can never tie someone else's belt." Yes...embarrassing!!! (I'm not perfect yet) Keep it comin' Jesse-san!!!
    • Thanks T'eo-san! This is how the Japanese national team wears their gi, and that's where I picked it up. And yes - sometimes the "how to tie your belt" lessons are some of the most challenging, aren't they! :)
  • karatemom
    Very nice, but incomplete. Given that your slav - whoops sempai - is female, I think a discussion of where the belt should sit on the female form is in order.... Female hips are not in the same place as those of males.
  • Erik
    Yes, please. Women, how do your where your obi? Does it tie in the middle of the hour-glass? ---> ) ( or where exactly below that? It's really hard on young/short women and girls. When we spar, they only expose about 25-30% of their body as a target. Please advise. Now...if I could only find a gi....
    • Erik-san, most women seem to wear their obi/belt pretty high up (compared to men). In my experience, it's because that's the most natural placement due to the female anatomy/body structure.
      • Actually, we tie our belts at the same place you guys tie your belts. The problem is a four-letter word: HIPS. As we move, the belt rides up the line of the hip to the narrowest point, which is on or just bellow the ribs. Such is life. Good thing your YouTube videos are One-Size-Fits-All, Jesse!
      • Nathan W. Tembo
        Nice app
  • AlexN
    "Look good" huh? In whose eyes? I hope your own. Otherwise it's just another "guide" to cloning looks and conforming to pointless standards. The rags we wear can't look good no matter what we do, especially during training. They are not pretty furniture decorations to be admired, they're just somewhat practical rags you bleed and sweat on. In terms of morale.... who the hell thinks about appearance when trying to dodge some rabid partner or when doing kakie with some ogre ? Do you really have that much time to waste on your ego ?
    • Hi Alex-san! Believe it or not, appearance is very important to many people - especially kata competitors (who are judged by their visual appeal). There are many kinds of Karate out there, and although I'm a huge proponent of practical/no-nonsense Karate just like you, I recognize the fact that not all of my readers are. That's why I wrote this simple guide. Personally I always train in t-shirt and short, except when I teach. Thanks for your reality check Alex-san!
  • Ken
    Ya know this has little to do with "looking good" in an egocentric way as it does with comfort and usability. The do gi is one of the most uncomfortable troublesome "rags" you will ever wear. Just making the monster manage le is a help. Thank you sensei Jesse. OSU!
  • your slav sorry ,sempai did a nice job .Long live the karate nerds
  • Odie
    Jesse-san! How can you make your looks good if your chubby with your gi? hehehe
  • Shiro
    I've just tried these tips, and beside that I felt more confortable, the problems is that when I let the front part of the Gi loose, the neckband goes down on my back... So I had to constantly pull it back. I´m wearing a Bokuto Gi, btw. Thanks.
  • Rasta Man
    Yo buddy, why you call she sempai is she your senior?
  • Shaun
    Any tips or ideas on how the top guns (Diaz, Usami, Dack, Kiyuna) tie their gi? Or maybe the different types of gi cuts i.e. the European one and the Asian cut?
  • Nice tips Jessse but the best way to look good in a dogi is make sure to get one that actually fits you properly. Unfortunately, most people tend to wear dogi that are far too big for them, without even realizing it. An excessively baggy dogi can in fact hinder movement and results in the constant need for readjustments, not to mention make you look fatter than you really are. Just the colour is enough to do that. White is renowned for this whilst black is considered a slimming color. just ask any woman and they will tell you this.) Shaun, the top guns tend to wear fully tailored dogi for the perfect fit. They compete at the highest level so the look of their dogi as Jesse mentioned is essential to their success (both aesthetically and psychologically). Diaz, and Usami wear the Hirota Pinack for Kata. Dack I believe wears the Tokyodo AT-2. Ryo Kiyuna will also likely be wearing the Pinack for Kata as Hirota is the official supplier of the Japanese National team. Some members do wear the #163 I believe but the majority wear the Pinack for kata I am told. A fully tailored dogi is not necessary for everyone. You do not need to purchase a fully tailored dogi unless: 1. your weight to height ratio is excessively off (i.e too heavy or too light for your height by the manufacturers standards). 2 . you compete at the highest level of competition. 3. you are an instructor for whom looking your best is absolutely essential for your business. 4. the dogi you want is only available fully tailored (Pinack for Kata, #163) 5. You have a lot of money to burn 6. Your ego really really needs one
  • Every time I try this I somehow for no reason look odd(Dress size must be wrong) I wear a cotton gi.
  • Nico
    Thx! Now I don't constantly fix my gi during class! (I had a sudden mental image of Death the Kid in a Karate gi when I read the symmetrical part...) Nico
  • Haru
    Haha, at first I thought I was the only one that always does this and thought that it's just my body and how the gi doesn't fit well in it since everyone else in the club/association just wears em. Then found out that some of the other guys in the National team that also does it too. The relief that I had that it wasn't just me but it's actually a "karate grooming" method my Nat Team Senpai once told me XD
  • William Spicer
    I want to join
  • William Spicer
    Sign me up
  • Jia
    Thanks! It actually works. This will be a daily habit now :)
  • Michal Matela
    I've been training Kyokushin for over 12 years and this article is a real gamechanger. Thanks!
  • Nathan Ogden
    Jesse Sensei, I know this might seem like a silly question but I have often wondered why karate uniforms never have the top tucked in? I realize there is probably a cultural norm that was established with the karate gi and how to wear it and the belt, however when looking at other styles who use hakama or even in normal Japanese dress with a nobakbama style pan (field or mountain style) a top is usually tucked in. Would it be considered wrong etiquette or improper for a gi too to be tucked into pants and a belt worn on the outside or no belt at all? I realize this may seem like a question that answers itself but I have also learned that Japanese culture and practices have very specific guiding principles but at the same time can seem to be in direct conflict with each other. Have you ever studied this, as to why we wear the gi and belt the way we do and if there are other practices of dress code?
  • YCha
    Hey, what a fun read, Jesse. I think that's pretty much 75% (if not full 100%) of the point of this article. Can't believe folks got so frickin' deep and critical in the comments above - maybe your next article can be about how to get your Karate dogi pants out from a bunch. Well done to you for writing something enjoyable!
  • J.J.
    I'm the only teenage girl in my karate club and wearing tshirts under my gi jacket is really uncomfortable! And every time I'm being thrown my gi jacket comes open and I'm afraid if I wear just a sports bra people would see And I'm not sure if it's okay to wear just a sports bra? Any advice will be greatly appreciated!
  • This is litterally WrOnG for me. I still look like a potato. Not saying that your tricks aren't working I'm just sayin' my face looks like a wonky cucumber so everything 'pretty' for me looks horrible on me.

Leave a comment