Jacksons Lane Shotokan Karate Club
A karate gi(or karategi) is the traditional Japanese uniform worn by karateka(karate practitioner) for practicing karate. There are various types and styles but the main styles or 'cuts' are Japanese, European and Kata.
Japanese cut is a fairly short sleeve and pants, European cut has a more normal length of sleeve and pants, the Kata cut has a very short sleeve and pants.
Traditionally consisting of white jacket and pants made of cotton, more modern types are made of polycotton mix which allows easier washing and drying. Polycotton also does not shrink and tends to be lighter. Polycotton suits tend to be used more by students just starting out as they can be cheaper, cotton gis tend to be worn by longer term students who need a tougher material that can last for many years.
The traditional cotton gis are a heavier material(10, 12, 14, 16 ounces) usually of better quality and will tend to last longer and many instructors will still be using a gi that is 10-20 years old.
Cotton gis can shrink so it is sometimes best to get a gi that is either slightly larger or has been preshrunk sometimes known as Sanforizing. Sanforizing is a process which can reduce shrinkage down to less than 1% for cotton. The process consists of moistening the cloth and passing it between a rubber sleeve and a heated cylinder, the rubber sleeve will be compressed and expands outwards, then contracts and relaxes back to it's normal state, the cotton being passed through will follow this movement and becomes shrunk. The process can be done more than once to ensure that the shrinkage process is complete. After the process the cotton material can be regarded as shrink proof or pre-shrunk and can then be used for garments where shrinkage would not be desirable.
Karate gis that are not pre shrunk can become unwearable so choose one with care. A good selection is usually found with karate gi suppliers.