My Favourite Karate Gi: Shureido (Part 3 of 3)
Last in the series of posts about what I consider my favourite karategi is none other than Shureido.
It’s important that I state that I in no way listed the posts in order of preference. All three karategi are my top choice and each serve a different purpose.
The Seishin is light, airy, and has great snap; ideal for the hot Okinawan conditions.
The Kamikaze is heavy, hard wearing, and I know to be long lasting so it will be with me for a long time, giving me the best cost per wear.
The Shureido is something special however; from Okinawa, the birthplace of Karate, the K10 is a heavyweight 100% cotton keikogi.
Made from Japanese No. 10 Duck canvas, a material used especially for dogi and which comes in a slight blue tinge which fades over time.
I read somewhere on the vast web of the internet that this blue helps protect the white keikogi from yellow discolouration from constant use.
However, if you just wash your keikogi after every use this shouldn’t be an issue.
There is no exact weight given but a size 4 pant and top weighs roughly 2kg.
It feels great during long and hot training sessions and feels solid every time you put it on.
The stiffness is just right to feel like it can handle grabs and pulls from your fellow karateka and is also able to deliver good snap when performing techniques.
The bottoms sit comfortably on the waist with enough room in the gusset for kicking high (although not common in Okinawan Karate).
They have a range of other keikogi, but these are usually lighter and a blend of man made fibres; I may come around to using a composite material but for now I am a fan of 100% cotton.
Whilst in Okinawa I went directly to the store, a few weeks before I was due to leave, and had my K10 selected and adjusted to my requirements.
My short leg pants were triple checked and I had to reassure them that yes, I like mine half way up my shin.
I got my name embroidered on, in Katakana of course, so that introductions in Okinawa were easier and also to ensure that my keikogi wouldn’t get mixed up amongst the many others worn on the island.
It was ready within a week and it fitted perfectly, albeit without much space for a lot of body weight increase, but my plan was to lose some more anyway.
During training it was very comfortable and didn’t have overly baggy elements and without the fabric tugging on body parts as you move.
However, would I have bought a Shureido karategi had I not already been in Okinawa?
There are lots of karategi out there that are older in their lineage (if that is important to you), and the Karategi is technically a Japanese invention, despite Karate being from Okinawa.
With that I never looked at Shureido as being any more special than the Japanese brands, Tokaido and Hirota, although they are more expensive which is why I have been happy to buy non-Japanese alternatives like Kamikaze, Adidas and Arawaza.
If you are going to be in Okinawa there is something cool about walking into the main store, talking with the staff, checking out the weapons, books and memorabilia, and walking out with a brand new keikogi that is tried and tested by many great Okinawan karateka on the island.
After all, the keikogi itself serves as a sponge for your memories of training on the island, once the bruises have healed.