Taking up a new hobby or sport is always a great reason to invest in some new clothing, and it can be a lot of fun picking out new styles you wouldn’t normally wear and getting a chance to try out a new look for the gym.
Many people now choose martial arts as their workout of choice because it can be interesting, great for fitness, and also empowering as you learn to defend yourself and get into shape. If you are thinking about learning a martial art, whether it’s Thai boxing, karate, krav maga or tai chi, you’ll probably be wondering what to wear to those first lessons. Here is what you need to know.
Most Schools Have a Uniform
While only some traditional martial arts like judo and aikido require you to wear a gi (the ‘pajama’ style white outfit you see in martial arts movies), almost every school or gym has some form of uniform. For things like tai chi that are traditional but Chinese, this may be a traditional mandarin collared shirt and silk pants. For more combative and practical Chinese styles like wing chun, this may simply be a sports shirt and shorts with the branding of your gym or school. For grappling styles that don’t use a go (for instance, some styles of Brazilian Jujitsu), you may simply have some special Under Armour embroidery to mark yourself out as part of your club or school. You won’t be expected to have the right uniform as a beginner. However, once you have committed to your school, you’ll need to wear the uniform.
When the Uniform Is Key to The Sport
In some martial arts such as tai chi and kickboxing, the uniform is just to stick with tradition or to show that you are a member of a certain school. However, in others, where the gi is worn, it is part of the sport itself. In judo, for instance, you cannot really execute a lot of techniques without starting from a position where you are holding the sleeve and collar of the other person’s kimono top. This means that without a gi, you can’t really practice and progress. In jujitsu, there are two styles of training – one with the gi and one where you wear a rashguard or Under Armor, and the techniques actually differ depending on the training you do.
Whether you are studying a style where you have to wear a uniform or a traditional outfit or one where you don’t, for your early lessons, you’ll be fine with just normal, comfortable sports clothing. You need to be free to move, so an outfit similar to what you might wear to a yoga or dance class will be perfectly appropriate.
Taking up martial arts doesn’t mean investing in a special wardrobe from the very outset, but be aware you may need to buy a uniform once you commit or get used to training in something traditional like a gi.