The Protocol of Karate Uniforms

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Despite their simplicity, Karate uniforms require a specific protocol for where things need to be put on the suit. Learn the basics of wearing a Karate uniform from a professional martial arts instructor in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: Karate Uniforms and Equipment
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Fred Mergen. I'm a fourth degree black belt in American Kenpo karate, and today I'm going to share with you the uniform protocol. In karate, they use different uniforms. Traditional karate use white uniform, and also other karates use different colors: Black, blue, red, and camouflage. You have all different types of colored uniforms. The white is to demonstrate the pure essence of karate, to show that you're pure. You also have different belts, starting with a white belt, everybody starts with a white belt. And then, they move on to different colors depending on the martial arts or karate you're studying. I was told when I was younger that when karate first started, there was only a white belt, and the way you could tell who was the highest ranking belt had the dirtiest white belt, because he was there the longest, and trained the hardest. You have different variations of belt ranks. You could have white, yellow, orange, purple, blue, green, brown, red, red black, and black. I know in American Kenpo, we use white, yellow, orange, purple, blue, green, first brown, second brown, third brown, and then we move on to our first degree black belt. Which brings me to the black belt. In American Kenpo, your degrees are portrayed by one red stripe, up to four single red stripes, and then one big red block. And then, a big red block with one stripe would be sixth, two would be seventh, and so forth. There's a - the patches on the uniform varies. In American Kenpo, most of us wear the crest on the left side, and your universal pattern on the left side, with the shape of the heart. This Tapout patches are different. It all depends on your instructor, your school, and the association you belong with, and where the want the patches, what patches to wear, or how you should wear your patches. Now, how to tie the uniform goes simple as this: When wearing a uniform you take the outside strap on your right side, bring it all the way in to the inside strap. Tie them together, and then fold it over, and get your outside stripe to the inside stripe, and hold it nice and tight. That is a proper way to wear your uniform. The left always goes over the right. Now, I'm going to show you how to tie your belt. I'm going to take my belt off. First thing you want to do, is fold your belt in half, make sure you have even sides. Grab the middle make sure it goes right across your body, and that both ends touch the ground. Bring it across the front of your body, back around, and back to the front. Take the left side over, right side on top, drawing the X. Under both. This side now becomes my left and this becomes my right. The right points to the left, over the top and under, and tighten. Don't tighten this way, you want to tighten to the sides. And, it draws a letter K. And, that was the karate uniform protocol.


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