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Gi or kimono, which is the correct term?

Gi or kimono, which is the correct term?

In martial arts, especially in disciplines such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), judo and aikido, the traditional attire used during training and competition often raises questions regarding its correct name: should it be called a gi or a kimono? The answer varies depending on the cultural context and the specific discipline.


Origins and Terminology


The term "kimono" comes from Japanese and traditionally refers to the national clothing of Japan, worn on various formal or ceremonial occasions. However, in the context of martial arts, "kimono" has been used to describe the specific attire worn during practice.


Gi: The Predominant Choice in Martial Arts


On the other hand, "gi" is an abbreviation of "keikogi", which means "training clothes" in Japanese. This term has been widely adopted in martial arts communities to refer to the uniform used in practices and competitions, distinguishing it from the traditional Japanese kimono. In disciplines such as BJJ, judo and karate, the term "gi" is the most commonly used.


Cultural and Discipline Differences


The choice between "gi" and "kimono" may also depend on the cultural context and the specific discipline. In Japan, "kimono" is more likely to be used to refer to any type of traditional clothing, while outside of Japan, "gi" has become popular to specify martial arts attire.




In conclusion, although both terms may be technically correct depending on the context, "gi" is the preferred and more accurate term to refer to the attire used in most martial arts. It reflects a clear distinction between specific sports clothing and the traditional Japanese kimono, avoiding confusion and respecting the cultural roots of each garment.


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