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Thread: Black Gi

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    Default Black Gi

    What is the meaning behind the wearing of a black gi?
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    Default Re: Black Gi

    It represents an instructor. However many wear it in tournys to hide the dirt from a strike or kick during sparring.
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    Default Re: Black Gi

    What a black gi represents depends largely on the school. In some schools, only an instructor, or at least a higher level student, is allowed to wear it. In other schools, everyone wears it, from white belts on up.

    I have heard that traditionally in Japan, it was symbolic and indicative of the practice of a war art/killing art, vs. a sporting art.

    Ultimately, at least in the Western Culture, it really just represents some choices and esthetic decisions made by the school owner and teacher. It doesn't have one single meaning that is true in all cases. Some people just prefer the color.
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    Default Re: Black Gi

    Blood stains don't show up as bad.
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    Default Re: Black Gi

    Quote Originally Posted by flying crane View Post

    I have heard that traditionally in Japan, it was symbolic and indicative of the practice of a war art/killing art, vs. a sporting art.
    Al Tracy mentions that on his website too, but sadly he doesn't quote any historical sources. What is the history behind that? What arts were "white gi arts" and which were "black gi arts" ? I didn't hear of any such distinction when I was in Japan so I'm curious to the story.

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    Default Re: Black Gi

    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Kaur View Post
    Al Tracy mentions that on his website too, but sadly he doesn't quote any historical sources. What is the history behind that? What arts were "white gi arts" and which were "black gi arts" ? I didn't hear of any such distinction when I was in Japan so I'm curious to the story.
    White symbolizes "purity." Black represents "death" or "bruising."

    There are some places in Japan where they won't let you in the door if you're wearing a "black gi" because it must mean you're a mean old nasty street fighter.

    I also remember reading an interview with Chuck Norris from the 70's some time where he stated something like, "..yeah, I try to stay away from the guys in the black gi's...they're ruthless..." and then he continued by saying, "..especially the ones with the beards..." though I have no idea what that was supposesd to mean.

    I had some "data" saved before my last PC went ka-put. I'll see if I can dig it up again.
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    Default Re: Black Gi

    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Kaur View Post
    Al Tracy mentions that on his website too, but sadly he doesn't quote any historical sources. What is the history behind that? What arts were "white gi arts" and which were "black gi arts" ? I didn't hear of any such distinction when I was in Japan so I'm curious to the story.
    I have also seen this on Al Tracy's website.

    This was told to me by my instructor, Ted Sumner, a senior instructor under Al Tracy. He said that at one time a group of karateka were visiting from Japan and came to Ted's school to train (I don't know what the event was, or why they were there, I wasn't part of Ted's group at that time). They were upset by the fact that Ted and his students were wearing black gis, and were hesitant to train with them. This problem was brought to Ted's attention, and he explained to the visiting sensei that they wear the black gis to simply acknowledge that our art is a serious war/killing art, and not a sport, and they keep that in mind when training. He further explained that it did NOT mean that they meant any antagonism toward their Japanese guests, nor that they intended any injury to them in training. This explanation was satisfactory for the Japanese, and they were able to have a good training session.
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    Default Re: Black Gi

    Quote Originally Posted by flying crane View Post
    I have also seen this on Al Tracy's website.

    This was told to me by my instructor, Ted Sumner, a senior instructor under Al Tracy. He said that at one time a group of karateka were visiting from Japan and came to Ted's school to train (I don't know what the event was, or why they were there, I wasn't part of Ted's group at that time). They were upset by the fact that Ted and his students were wearing black gis, and were hesitant to train with them. This problem was brought to Ted's attention, and he explained to the visiting sensei that they wear the black gis to simply acknowledge that our art is a serious war/killing art, and not a sport, and they keep that in mind when training. He further explained that it did NOT mean that they meant any antagonism toward their Japanese guests, nor that they intended any injury to them in training. This explanation was satisfactory for the Japanese, and they were able to have a good training session.
    Ahhhhhhh! NOW I understand it a lot better.

    Thanks very much. I figured there must be more to the story but these kinds of things can be hard to look up.

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    Default Re: Black Gi

    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Kaur View Post
    Ahhhhhhh! NOW I understand it a lot better.

    Thanks very much. I figured there must be more to the story but these kinds of things can be hard to look up.

    You're welcome. It is interesting to hear these stories from the guys who were there. Some of these issues are difficult to pin down, sort of elusive and such, so I guess we gather our understanding mainly from anecdotes and stories, so long as the storytellers are trustworthy.
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    Default Re: Black Gi

    I think most American Kenpo schools have their students wear white gi's until they are green belts.
    As far as the black gi, I'm going to guess that it was a way of creating an identity for American Kenpo as opposed to other arts who wear white.
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    Default Re: Black Gi

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikael151 View Post
    I think most American Kenpo schools have their students wear white gi's until they are green belts.
    As far as the black gi, I'm going to guess that it was a way of creating an identity for American Kenpo as opposed to other arts who wear white.
    The kajukenbo guys were wearing black before the kenpo guys were, the old school kaju guys talk about how kenpo copied them on the mainland.

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    Default Re: Black Gi

    Quote Originally Posted by Blindside View Post
    The kajukenbo guys were wearing black before the kenpo guys were, the old school kaju guys talk about how kenpo copied them on the mainland.

    Lamont
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    The Black key was designed to be worn by instructors in Mr. Parkers Kenpo. This information is what both Mr.and Mrs.Parker shared with me and others.
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    Default Re: Black Gi

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    What came first the chicken or the egg?

    The Black key was designed to be worn by instructors in Mr. Parkers Kenpo. This information is what both Mr.and Mrs.Parker shared with me and others.
    The black gi was worn by both Mitose and Chow (see Infinite Insights I), and is documented in use by the kajukenbo guys in Hawaii while Mr. Parker was still a student, or prior, I've got a picture of a 1947 kajukenbo school where the mixture is about half and half black and white gis.

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    Default Re: Black Gi

    Quote Originally Posted by Blindside View Post
    The black gi was worn by both Mitose and Chow (see Infinite Insights I), and is documented in use by the kajukenbo guys in Hawaii while Mr. Parker was still a student, or prior, I've got a picture of a 1947 kajukenbo school where the mixture is about half and half black and white gis.

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    Default Re: Black Gi

    I think it is also of note that both Tokiado and Shureido have only relatively recently added black gis to their lines as they both would not compromise their integrity by doing so.
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    Default Re: Black Gi

    I've also seen older photos of Japanese Iado guys practicing, wearing black gis under their hakama, so it's definitely been an established practice among various groups for some time.
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    Default Re: Black Gi

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler View Post
    Blood stains don't show up as bad.
    I wear blood stains proudly on my white gi! Better when it's someone else's.
    *giggle*

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    Default Re: Black Gi

    Quote Originally Posted by Blindside View Post
    The black gi was worn by both Mitose and Chow (see Infinite Insights I), and is documented in use by the kajukenbo guys in Hawaii while Mr. Parker was still a student, or prior, I've got a picture of a 1947 kajukenbo school where the mixture is about half and half black and white gis.

    Lamont
    Whoops, that should have said 1957, it was sometime prior to Joe Emperados death in '58.

    Take a look at the top picture on this page, again sometime prior to '58.
    www.rosaleskarate.org/kajukenbo-history.htm

    And the one on the bottom of this page, apparently 1955ish:
    www.cha3kenpo.com/photo%20album.htm

    Still lots of white, but it looks like the instructors are wearing black, just as Professor Chow did.

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    Default Re: Black Gi

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler View Post

    I also remember reading an interview with Chuck Norris from the 70's some time where he stated something like, "..yeah, I try to stay away from the guys in the black gi's...they're ruthless..." and then he continued by saying, "..especially the ones with the beards..." though I have no idea what that was supposesd to mean.

    I have it on good authority from Chuck himself that...."...Good guys wear black..."


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    Default Re: Black Gi

    Quote Originally Posted by SifuDangeRuss View Post
    I have it on good authority from Chuck himself that...."...Good guys wear black..."

    Yeah, but only because he let's them. lol
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