Why is The karategi white?
Despite the fact that you can see karategi of all colors around you, the traditional color of karategi is white!
But why the white color? Especially when so many other martial arts wear black uniforms?
Why not adopting something more practical that, for example, doesn’t get dirty so easily?
Here, we must dive into Japanese culture, which places a high value on cleanliness. It is for this reason that people wear face masks when they are sick, shoes are always left at the door and toilets look like magical monuments to personal cleanliness.
There are several theories that explain why the color of karategi is white. In this article we will start from the most general reasons up to two main theories: a philosophical and a practical one.
White as cherry blossoms
With its white color and the absence of ornaments, the karategi symbolizes purity and simplicity. White, like the cherry blossoms, was a symbol that, together with the sword, represented strength, purity of soul and courage for the samurai.
As pure as the spirit of a beginner should be when he approaches the practice for the first time.
An even simpler reason is that the karategi has to be a simple and humble dress, it follows that the white color is just the natural color of undyed cotton.
In Japan, white is the color of mourning (black and white are the total opposites of the west).
In fact, when you die you are buried in a white garment very similar to a karategi.
The symbolism of the white karategi is your mortality, whoever wears it should be like “dead”, detached from earthly things, pure and sincere in his actions and intentions, and when you train, you must train in all seriousness with these thoughts in mind.
Considering this aspect, we can say that white is excellent because it is easy to wash, especially considering the number of washes it will have to sustain if we train and sweat properly.
Have you ever considered why nurses wear in white?
The classic white is in high demand because it is synonymous of cleanliness and order.
But consider this:
In case there were to be any blood loss, where would it be most noticeable: on a white or a black uniform?
Of course, on a white one.
We wear white in the dojo for the same reason, so that blood stands out and injuries can be treated quickly.
A white gi is more than just a symbol of humility: it also conveys the seriousness of the practitioner.
The condition of the gi is a reflection of the state of the martial artist’s mind.
A karateka has to take care of his karategi as a mum takes care of his son.