Okinawa, karate practitioners wore ''Han Hakama" (short pants above the
knees) until the beginning of the Showa Era, which began in 1926, for
karate training. The top was usually bare.
As Karate gradually spread to the other prefectures, Judo wear was
copied until the use of present day Karate wear, which has become
popular. Judo begins with a grappling position. Therefore, the length of
the top, outer sleeves, mouth of the sleeves, belt, length of the hakama
(pants), etc. were decided in detail. It is design so be able to grab
easier. For ex ample, the belt is use in a throwing technique, and is
also wrapped around the wrist for katame waza. If Judo had different
wear, I believe those techniques would have been completely different.
In Karate, being topless does not have any adverse effects on technique.
The bottoms may be necessary, but the tops are not used. The bottoms are
best as Han Hakama (short pants). In Karate, the main purpose of wearing
the top is to keep sweat from flying all over during training or
competition. A shortcoming to wearing a top is that it slows the
movement of strikes and blocks. It especially becomes a hindrance when
using the "ukeharai" (block). training the use of both arms. the feeling
at the moment of the "uke" or to evade a bIow, etc. For those who prefer
to wear a top, a haIf-sleeve top (above the elbows) is most suited.
Karate wear of pre-World War II were all half-sleeves.
Some may feel that being bare-chested is rude to others. But I ask you
how about the Japanese national games such as Sumo, or wrestling and
boxing of other countries? I believe that muscles developed through
karate training should be shown. Developed muscles of Sumo, wrestling,
boxing. weight lifting, etc. have attracted many and have resulted in
its spread and development.
Recently, some have extended the sleeves of the Karate tops down to the
wrist. They punch through the air making snapping sounds are ecstatic
with themselves. The pure white of the native Karate wear is to maintain
cleanliness. Recently among foreign practioners, the black Karate wear
has become fashionable. This is not all admirable. This will eventually
leads to filthiness. By wearing short pants and training bare-chested,
the movements become better and the skin gets stronger. It is also more
economical, easier to carry and easier to wash. During major Judo
competitions, the matches are halted because the belts come untied or
the wear becomes disarranged. There is already talk of improving the
Judo wear. For Karate, after sufficient probing, there is a need to have
Karate wear that is unique to Karate.
Eiichi - Okinawa Den Goju Ryu Karate-do, 1978)
is from Andrea
Guarelli (Jundokan Italia)