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Why the White Judo Gi Great article by Mark Lonsdale Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   KAZR 

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 01:46 AM

Why the White Judo Gi?
By
Mark Lonsdale

Trying to decide which color judogi to buy, blue or white, should be an easy choice. And yet so many judo students and parents make the wrong choice by going for the “cool blue one”. But why is that wrong, you may ask; isn’t the blue judogi officially sanctioned for competition?

Answer: It is important to understand that most recreational judoka (over 90%) will never reach the level of competition where they are required to have a blue judogi. Blue is mandatory only at National and international championships, and only if the judoka is the second player called.
Playing devil’s advocate for the moment:

Do I own a blue judogi? Yes.
Do I wear it for training? Almost never.
Why don’t I wear it for training? Because the blue gi is intended for national and international level competition only. I have a Japanese-made Mizuno Yusho, broken in and shrunk to exactly the right size, hanging in the closet until it is needed.
Do you wear it when teaching? No, I don’t want to set a poor example for my students (even though many instructors who have never competed at the elite level choose to wear blue).
When would I wear my blue judogi in the dojo? On the rare occasion that all three of my white judogi (two training and one competition) are in the wash, or have become soaked with sweat at a multi-day training camp.
Will an individual get kicked out of a dojo for wearing a blue judogi? Not in the US, but possibly in Japan.
Can you wear a blue judogi in a kata competition? No
Can you wear a blue judogi at the Kodokan? It is frowned upon, but some latitude is given to traveling elite players.
Do the Japanese ever wear blue judogi? Yes, but only for IJF sanctioned competitions and at training camps when their white judogi are soaked in sweat from the morning’s training.
Judo is a martial art and sport with many traditions, some of which make sense and some not so much. We bow in judo to show respect for the dojo and our peers; we remove our shoes before stepping onto the mat, and we learn Japanese judo terminology. Another tradition that we have maintained is the white judogi, which represents the purity of judo and the purity of spirit embodied in the sport. In a combat sport that requires close contact and grappling, it is also nice to know that the other students’ judogi are clean. This is not so easy to tell if they are wearing a darker color.

 

The IJF’s introduction of the blue judogi was to make judo more visually interesting for television, and to make it easier for spectators to differentiate between the two fighters. There is also an obvious collateral benefit for the referees and judges in visually and mentally keeping track of the competitors. Then why has the IJF recently changed the rules concerning which color is called first?

Up until the end of 2011, the rules required that the first fighter called wear the blue judogi. But if you understand how a competition draw is structured, the top ranked fighters are always seeded first. This meant that the first judoka called were the top competitors, were always in blue, and invariably drew more attention from the television cameras. Similarly, photographs of the champions also showed them competing in blue, and then on the medal podium, still wearing their blue judogi.

As a result many junior judoka wanted to emulate their heroes by buy and training in blue judogi, which created a number of problems. First, the white judogi is still mandatory for all competitors, and even if blue gi are permitted, each player is still required to have a white one. Blue gi are also forbidden at traditional kohaku style red and white shiai. Another problem arose when manufacturers complained about the increased number of blue judogi that they had to produce to meet the unexpected demand.

So as of 2012, and in deference to the traditions of judo, the order has been reversed. The first fighter called is now required to wear white and the second blue. And for all medal ceremonies, the winners must wear their white judogi on the podium. The anticipated result is that the champions will be seen and photographed fighting and medaling in white – as it should be.
International competition aside, at the club level I have no problem with my students training in a blue judogi, if that is the only one they have. But I explain to them, and their parents, that the white judogi is still mandatory for competition. For new students, our dojo only stocks and sells white judogi. If they want a blue one they will have to buy it themselves (but it is discouraged). Similarly, if we have a new student who turns up in a jujitsu gi, compete with all the patches, advertising, and tighter fit, then I explain that they can use that gi in the interim (two weeks), but they must purchase a proper judogi.
On that subject, what are the acceptable patches or adornments to a judogi?

Even in traditional judo it is acceptable to have your name and your club logo on your judogi, but it should be clean and simple
The judogi manufacturer’s logo can be on the sleeve (i.e. Mizuno), or shoulder (i.e. Adidas)
A dojo or national team patch can be embroidered on the front left chest
Your name can be embroidered on the bottom of the jacket in English script, or in Japanese down the lapel, just above the IJF or manufacturer’s label
Your name can be embroidered in small script on the top left of the pants in English, or in Japanese near the label
National and International competition patches are sewn to the back, along with the competitor’s name. There is also some allowance for limited sponsorship markings (See IJF / USA Judo rules for exact dimensions)
For juniors, unless they are national level competitors, it is generally not recommended that they embroider their names on the judogi since they are growing so fast. We also encourage the parents to donate used judogi back to the dojo for future beginners and hardship cases, where the parents may not be able to afford a new judogi.

Finally, most referees can tell just by looking at a judoka if his or her judogi is too short to meet competition standards. For example, the sleeves must come to within 5 cm (2.5”) of the wrist bone with the arms extended; and a closed fist should reach to the bottom of the jacket. Understanding that judogi can shrink after washing, but as with jeans (which should never be washed in the same load as a judogi), they can be stretched back out by pulling on the sleeves while still damp (about one inch). But as a coach I keep a sokuteiki on hand to gauge the judogi of my players before they attend a tournament.

So for all you Smurfs out there – invest in a good quality white judogi and keep the blue one for the Nationals.


Mark Lonsdale is a USJF, USJA & USA JUDO certified National Judo Coach and former international competitor.
 
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#2 User is offline   JudoBrad 

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 02:03 AM

The blue judo gi being "cool/different" has definitely been the biggest hype behind people getting them. New kids to Judo come in with a white gi, see a really good kid wearing a blue, and a few months later they have one. Not knowing said good kid has it because he needed it for Nationals and just needed a different gi that day,etc.

With that said, my son wears both blue and white gi pretty regularly. He does Judo 3 days a week and keeps them both on him at all times as he sweats/dirtys them out pretty quick. I get alot of parents asking if they should buy their kid a blue gi and I always respond with, "Sure, if you plan on traveling to one of the 3 National events, which will run you a seperate $500+ in expenses" that nullifies the investment in a blue gi a portion of the time.
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#3 User is offline   judoratt 

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 10:37 PM

View PostKAZR, on 28 May 2012 - 06:46 PM, said:

Why the White Judo Gi?
By
Mark Lonsdale

Trying to decide which color judogi to buy, blue or white, should be an easy choice. And yet so many judo students and parents make the wrong choice by going for the “cool blue one”. But why is that wrong, you may ask; isn’t the blue judogi officially sanctioned for competition?

Answer: It is important to understand that most recreational judoka (over 90%) will never reach the level of competition where they are required to have a blue judogi. Blue is mandatory only at National and international championships, and only if the judoka is the second player called.
Playing devil’s advocate for the moment:

Do I own a blue judogi? Yes.
Do I wear it for training? Almost never.
Why don’t I wear it for training? Because the blue gi is intended for national and international level competition only. I have a Japanese-made Mizuno Yusho, broken in and shrunk to exactly the right size, hanging in the closet until it is needed.
Do you wear it when teaching? No, I don’t want to set a poor example for my students (even though many instructors who have never competed at the elite level choose to wear blue).
When would I wear my blue judogi in the dojo? On the rare occasion that all three of my white judogi (two training and one competition) are in the wash, or have become soaked with sweat at a multi-day training camp.
Will an individual get kicked out of a dojo for wearing a blue judogi? Not in the US, but possibly in Japan.
Can you wear a blue judogi in a kata competition? No
Can you wear a blue judogi at the Kodokan? It is frowned upon, but some latitude is given to traveling elite players.
Do the Japanese ever wear blue judogi? Yes, but only for IJF sanctioned competitions and at training camps when their white judogi are soaked in sweat from the morning’s training.
Judo is a martial art and sport with many traditions, some of which make sense and some not so much. We bow in judo to show respect for the dojo and our peers; we remove our shoes before stepping onto the mat, and we learn Japanese judo terminology. Another tradition that we have maintained is the white judogi, which represents the purity of judo and the purity of spirit embodied in the sport. In a combat sport that requires close contact and grappling, it is also nice to know that the other students’ judogi are clean. This is not so easy to tell if they are wearing a darker color.



The IJF’s introduction of the blue judogi was to make judo more visually interesting for television, and to make it easier for spectators to differentiate between the two fighters. There is also an obvious collateral benefit for the referees and judges in visually and mentally keeping track of the competitors. Then why has the IJF recently changed the rules concerning which color is called first?

Up until the end of 2011, the rules required that the first fighter called wear the blue judogi. But if you understand how a competition draw is structured, the top ranked fighters are always seeded first. This meant that the first judoka called were the top competitors, were always in blue, and invariably drew more attention from the television cameras. Similarly, photographs of the champions also showed them competing in blue, and then on the medal podium, still wearing their blue judogi.

As a result many junior judoka wanted to emulate their heroes by buy and training in blue judogi, which created a number of problems. First, the white judogi is still mandatory for all competitors, and even if blue gi are permitted, each player is still required to have a white one. Blue gi are also forbidden at traditional kohaku style red and white shiai. Another problem arose when manufacturers complained about the increased number of blue judogi that they had to produce to meet the unexpected demand.

So as of 2012, and in deference to the traditions of judo, the order has been reversed. The first fighter called is now required to wear white and the second blue. And for all medal ceremonies, the winners must wear their white judogi on the podium. The anticipated result is that the champions will be seen and photographed fighting and medaling in white – as it should be.
International competition aside, at the club level I have no problem with my students training in a blue judogi, if that is the only one they have. But I explain to them, and their parents, that the white judogi is still mandatory for competition. For new students, our dojo only stocks and sells white judogi. If they want a blue one they will have to buy it themselves (but it is discouraged). Similarly, if we have a new student who turns up in a jujitsu gi, compete with all the patches, advertising, and tighter fit, then I explain that they can use that gi in the interim (two weeks), but they must purchase a proper judogi.
On that subject, what are the acceptable patches or adornments to a judogi?

Even in traditional judo it is acceptable to have your name and your club logo on your judogi, but it should be clean and simple
The judogi manufacturer’s logo can be on the sleeve (i.e. Mizuno), or shoulder (i.e. Adidas)
A dojo or national team patch can be embroidered on the front left chest
Your name can be embroidered on the bottom of the jacket in English script, or in Japanese down the lapel, just above the IJF or manufacturer’s label
Your name can be embroidered in small script on the top left of the pants in English, or in Japanese near the label
National and International competition patches are sewn to the back, along with the competitor’s name. There is also some allowance for limited sponsorship markings (See IJF / USA Judo rules for exact dimensions)
For juniors, unless they are national level competitors, it is generally not recommended that they embroider their names on the judogi since they are growing so fast. We also encourage the parents to donate used judogi back to the dojo for future beginners and hardship cases, where the parents may not be able to afford a new judogi.

Finally, most referees can tell just by looking at a judoka if his or her judogi is too short to meet competition standards. For example, the sleeves must come to within 5 cm (2.5”) of the wrist bone with the arms extended; and a closed fist should reach to the bottom of the jacket. Understanding that judogi can shrink after washing, but as with jeans (which should never be washed in the same load as a judogi), they can be stretched back out by pulling on the sleeves while still damp (about one inch). But as a coach I keep a sokuteiki on hand to gauge the judogi of my players before they attend a tournament.

So for all you Smurfs out there – invest in a good quality white judogi and keep the blue one for the Nationals.


Mark Lonsdale is a USJF, USJA & USA JUDO certified National Judo Coach and former international competitor.



Sorry mark we require blue and white gi's localy for many events, and it is very rare that anyone complains. There is not a kid doing judo that doesn't want a blue gi. Also with blue and white gi's we have beter refereeing, fewer mistakes. I realy don't like watching a blue belt fighting a white belt it realy bothers me, I have no reference of the players level and it can be a safety issue if you don't know the players level when they are out there.

BTW If I count I have six blue gi's If one goes to my profile you can see a beautiful blue gi. :big grin:
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#4 User is offline   bythesea 

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 10:57 PM

View Postjudoratt, on 29 May 2012 - 03:37 PM, said:

Sorry mark we require blue and white gi's localy for many events, and it is very rare that anyone complains. There is not a kid doing judo that doesn't want a blue gi. Also with blue and white gi's we have beter refereeing, fewer mistakes. I realy don't like watching a blue belt fighting a white belt it realy bothers me, I have no reference of the players level and it can be a safety issue if you don't know the players level when they are out there.

BTW If I count I have six blue gi's If one goes to my profile you can see a beautiful blue gi. :big grin:


Hey judoratt, at least you admit you wear blue because you like the color. So many people try to come up with a bunch of reasons just to justify what is essentially a personal preference/fashion choice and looks 'cool' to them.

Personally, I wear white because it's the color of the judo uniform. I have never minded when people had blue gi on for various reasons.

I do notice that I think some people like to wear a blue gi to stand out or even to thumb their nose at tradition. But, I think most like blue. I guess Kano should have polled more than just Japanese people on gi color eh?

cheers!

This post has been edited by bythesea: 29 May 2012 - 11:02 PM

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#5 User is offline   smitty2A35 

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 06:58 AM

I know this is an older thread; but I am posting in it because I had a conversation about this very thing at class tonight with a newer student. First actual experience with the issue. I had never considered myself to be a stickler on the color of someone's judogi and was just happy to have people to work out with at the previous clubs I trained at. Tonight however, I learned that in my own club there apparently is a strong feeling about it. Weird. I must have picked it up somewhere along the line.

An adult that has been coming to class for about a month now has been using one of our donated "club judogi." He told me that he's decided to buy one of his own and was asked me what I thought about a particular camouflage judogi that he was going to purchase for about $150.00. I found myself kind of smiling and then I realized he was dead serious. We had a conversation about the plain white judogi, the reasons behind it, as well as competition regulations... that and I just didn't want him wearing a camo gi to class.

No real point to the post other than to share.
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#6 User is offline   degster 

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 10:25 AM

I do enjoy these threads regarding judogi colours and can rarely resist putting in my two penn’orth. However I am amazed that people still get themselves in a twist because of it.

The world of judo has moved on from plain white – we now live in a multi coloured world and newcomers to judo expect that to be reflected in the training gear that they wear. The judogi is just that, a training outfit that facilitates practice and which needs always to be clean, well fitting and in good repair. Acceptable or unacceptable colours are merely in the eye of the beholder.

I have white, blue, black and plum coloured gis that I wear when instructing and / or practising at my dojo; as far as I am concerned you can wear any colour you like when training with us. Similarly with kata training, this just requires a gi not a mandatory white gi, ju no kata doesn’t need a gi at all!

For competitions however players conform to whatever the competition organisers specify or they don’t take part, “simples” – but competition is not the same as training. But I do advise my players to research the preferences of any other clubs / dojos that they might wish to visit as not everyone has embraced this bright new world of colour!

At our club our judo mind-set for our sessions is guided by the ways in which we interact with each other e.g. respect for one another, following certain agreed codes of behaviour / etiquette, understanding that we are doing something really special, attempting quality judo and enjoying what we do. Gi colour has no import for me whatsoever; although “camo” sounds pretty cool.
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#7 User is offline   Michael Hanwell 

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 01:07 PM

View Postdegster, on 04 July 2012 - 11:25 AM, said:

The world of judo has moved on from plain white – we now live in a multi coloured world.... The judogi is just that, a training outfit that facilitates practice....
...respect for one another, following certain agreed codes of behaviour / etiquette, understanding that we are doing something really special....


You are perfectly within your rights in your club to accept whatever colour gi you wish. After all, it is your club. It would appear however, that whatever understanding you may have of being involved in something special does not extend to your gi which you regard as simply an item of sports apparel. Presumably you regard your tataimi as nothing more than gym mats whilst your dojo is seen as a training room, just that.

You may run a highly efficient, respected and disciplined club and you are to be congratulated if that is the case. But your world of multi coloured gi is new, unconventional and is as yet not widely accepted. Your non-adherence to customs and tradition regarding judogi, white or otherwise, demonstrates your disregard for etiquette. What a striking sight you must make, lecturing your students on etiquette whilst standing there in your plum coloured gi; apologies, training kit! <_<

This post has been edited by Michael Hanwell: 05 July 2012 - 07:06 AM

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#8 User is offline   Steve Leadbeater 

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 11:46 PM

When I was running 6 classes a week and then backing up for Training at SUJC on a Saturday and a Competition on a Sunday I was wearing every single one of my numerous Gi of differing brands, (at one time 21 Gi) after some very severe weather conditions in which nothing was able to dry on the line, (and I refuse to put a Gi in the Dryer unless I am breaking in a new unworn one) the only options I had were miss training or wear Blue !!
I took the Blue option and turned up at Sydney University Judo Club on a Saturday afternoon in my Blue Gi...................I was met at the dojo door with absolute silence and looks of incredulity...........(I could hear the whispers from the Junior grades.." Leadbeater is wearing BLUE, this should be interesting"),
had I committed some foul and socially unacceptable offence against Animals, Juveniles and/or Members of the Clergy, I would have received a more warm welcome, on this occasion I spent the entire session apologising to each person I worked with for wearing Blue, or getting up off my back if it was a Senior who had me.

Moral of the Tale.............Miss training = Bad Judoka...............Blue Gi at SUJC = Pain........choice is quite clear !!
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#9 User is offline   migo 

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 02:42 AM

View PostMichael Hanwell, on 04 July 2012 - 05:07 AM, said:

What a striking sight you must make, lecturing your students on etiquette whilst standing there in your plum coloured gi; apologies, training kit! <_<


The only thing that's important is cleanliness. Don't track dirt onto the mats. Shower. Wear a clean gi, ideally no stains, but definitely that doesn't stink. Requiring it to be close to appropriate competition fit (no ridiculously wide setsugi, no excessively fitted sleeves) is also reasonable, but there sometimes blue is the better option - blue gis shrink a little differently from white gis, so if you're just on the edge of an appropriate fit, barring getting an expensive custom fitted one, the blue might be the only one that's appropriate to wear (obviously depending on the individual the white one might shrink better as well). Anything else and you just have someone who's trying to make up for some personal deficiency by overstating the importance of gi colour, which is a step removed from overstating the importance of belt colour.

I noticed a quite striking difference in a Hapkido class, between some of the senior belts felt the need to critique newbies on their attire, while the 2nd degree black belt with 30 years of experience let it be - what was important to the less experienced senior students was superficial, what was important to the head instructor wasn't. Gi colour is superficial. And no matter what you might say about what they do in Japan, about etiquette or tradition, gi colour remains superficial.

I say this as someone who prefers a plain white gi with no embroidery, even small branding. That's a personal preference, but I don't make any assumptions or critiques of someone else because they don't share my personal preference.
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#10 User is offline   fozzit 

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 06:09 AM

I wear my white Mizuno gi when I visit other dojos because i want to avoid the bigotry. But to me etiquette is wearing a clean gi to practice, having short finger nails and toe nails, and practicing good hygeine. I usually wear a rash guard to practice as I have contracted staph infection and never want to get it againb. Good treatment of my gi is washing or rinsing it after use and hang drying it. It shows I respect myself, my uniform, and I respect my training partners.

I have Blue gi's and White gi's, both judo and jiu jitsu and I wear whichever I grab first for practice as long as they are clean and I am clean. To give somebody a hard time, especially children because you disagree with their gi color seems rather childish and rude.

Why do I like Blue gi's? It hides the blood and dirt.

Regards
Ken
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#11 User is offline   Davaro 

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 06:35 AM

Each to our own.

Its not giving someone "a hard time", its simple education.

As an instructor, one owes it to oneself to read up on and study judo. All of it.
If done, and if you understand what you study, you will probably end up wearing a white Gi...

But hey! I dont refuse anyone wearing a blue Gi (I will any other colour) but I do try to educate them as to why white is preferable.
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#12 User is offline   Mike2 

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 09:12 AM

Agreed - perhaps because I'm old (I've accepted that for some time now and it doesn't hurt so much) But a personal view when I see a blue gi in local surroundings is that I hope the wearer's technique is up to "bucking the tradition" since they choose to 'stand out from the crowd' and 'be different'.
Much as when I see someone REALLY outrageously dressed or with a bizarre hairstyle or multiple piercings " Gee, I hope you're self-employed, don't deal with the ordinary public, are a (really good) singer, musician, artist, have inherited millions, are from another planet" since you've set yourself so far apart.
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#13 User is offline   Bonesworth 

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 12:04 PM

As a beginner, I always thought that Judo, being created by a Professor, used a standard trainning outfit to create the idea of coesion or unit inside the dojo, making people feel that they are part of a group, reinforcing that they need each other to learn.
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#14 User is offline   SODO 

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 01:06 PM

View PostBonesworth, on 16 August 2012 - 12:04 PM, said:

As a beginner, I always thought that Judo, being created by a Professor, used a standard trainning outfit to create the idea of coesion or unit inside the dojo, making people feel that they are part of a group, reinforcing that they need each other to learn.



Exactly,

I am aa traditional judoka, all our students wear white gi simply because they get them through the club, we sometimes have visitors who wear blue. or karate gi or even once a black gi :big grin: fine they are visitors and we are glad of every "body" that we can get on the mat. If they become a member we do ask that they get a judo gi (in white) in the case of the blue judo gi which was his only one we said fine but when you get a new one please make it white :mellow:

The important thing is that everybody is the same, I have seen photos of the bummble bee outfits in california :big grin:
great if the kids like 'em and everybody in the club wears them why not, they achieve their purpose as per :huh:

atb

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