by Ryan J Bell
When parents enroll their children into martial arts classes, they're motivated by the advantages they hope their kids will gain. The heightened self-confidence, emotional maturity, and coordination they'll learn at the dojo offer benefits they'll carry with them throughout their lives. In many ways, learning karate, judo, and other styles will have a far greater influence on a child's self-esteem than conventional team sports like baseball and basketball. Having said that, many parents neglect the importance of buying the right uniforms for their children. Each dojo has specific requirements. What's more, the size and build of your child play important roles in the attire you buy for them.
Today's article will explore these issues. I'll describe some of the factors you should consider when purchasing martial arts uniforms (and other gear) for your son or daughter.
Check With The Dojo's Requirements
Most studios offer classes that focus on certain styles. The reason this is important is because students are encouraged to wear specific attire depending upon the martial arts style being taught. For example, if you have enrolled your son into karate classes, you'll need to buy a "gi" for him. On the other hand, a "judogi" is appropriate for judo instruction. Likewise, a "dobok" is used for taekwondo while a "jujutsugi" is used during jujutsu classes.
Occasionally, a dojo might be willing to ignore the type of uniform worn by students, but most will aggressively encourage the proper attire. Also, many schools maintain additional requirements, such as the type of material, weight, and even the uniform's cleanliness. We'll address the material and fabric weight below.
Cleanliness is a matter of respect. Instructors will often require students to attend classes with their uniforms washed and pressed.
Matching Your Child's Size And Build
It's important to keep in mind that martial arts outfits are not homogeneous. Different brands manufacture different cuts. While you may know your son or daughter's height, an outfit can still fit uncomfortably around the hips, waist, legs, or shoulders. Consider your child's height, weight, and body type. If you're purchasing an outfit that is made entirely from cotton, plan for a small amount of shrinkage after washing (unless the outfit is already pre-shrunk).
Design Quality Matters
The material used in martial arts uniforms is normally a pure cotton blend, or a polyester and cotton mix. Cotton allows for a greater level of breathability than polyester. It also offers better absorption, which is important for sparring and other activities during which your son or daughter will sweat.
The outfit's weight is another key consideration. The more it weighs, the more effectively it can absorb both sweat and striking impact. On the other hand, heavier attire is more expensive. Unless you're certain your child will be sticking with his or her martial arts classes over the long run, consider buying a medium weight uniform. It will provide adequate absorption and flexibility at a budget-conscious price.
Other Gear To Consider Buying
Besides a martial arts uniform, your son or daughter may eventually need additional training gear. Avoid purchasing everything upfront. Instead, speak with the dojo's instructor regarding what types of gear are indispensable and what types are optional. For example, if your child will be sparring in taekwondo, you'll need to invest in forearm guards, shin guards, and a safety helmet. Other gear, such as striking pads, kicking targets, and a heavy bag are optional, though helpful for training at home.
To be sure, martial arts classes offer an assortment of important benefits for kids. Before enrolling your son or daughter, ask the dojo's instructors for advice regarding the type of uniform (and other gear) your child needs.
About the Author
The Dojo of Karate combines the ancient art of Wado-Ryu Karate with modern teaching methods in a conveniently located Denver karate school.