Monday, October 15, 2007

Training clothes? Martial Arts Uniforms?

Most martial arts schools require that students wear a martial arts uniform (gi, dobok, etc...). There are many merits to doing this, such as having dedicated clothing that are durable enough for your particular training style, and the feeling of belonging to something bigger when you look around at everyone around you dressed the same.

There is, however, a downside to training barefoot in your stylish martial arts uniform. How likely is it that you will be attacked, mugged, or raped while donning your karate gi? You wear it for the couple hours training each day and the rest of the day you'll be wearing something else, and so will your assailant.

Have you ever tried training in your street clothes or the suit you wear to the office or your high heels or your snow boots and long winter jacket? How did your techniques work for you?

The best way to train for street self defense is to train in something similar to what you might be wearing when you are attacked. Next time you decide to toss out that shirt, jacket, skirt, or footwear that's no longer "in style", think about keeping it a little longer and use it for training purposes. Find out if your techniques still work in that tight or baggy clothing. You may find high kicks to the head difficult wearing tight pants or a long coat. The extra padding of an insulated leather jacket might absorb some of the impact of your favourite body strike.

Suggest to your instructor that you have one day a month when everyone can wear their regular clothing to class. Maybe make it a special bonus class! If your instructor isn't open to the idea see if a few of your fellow classmates are interested and get together to practise.

Be prepared now! Don't be surprised when you can't afford to be!

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