The modern uniform
IntroThe martial arts uniform has evolved over the last century. Some changes were good; others not so good.
Modern uniformThe modern uniform is made of cotton or a cotton-polyester blend and is relatively thin and lightweight to allow for breath-ability during training. However, heavier drill cotton or canvas is often used in martial arts that allow some throws and sweeps. The heavy fabric uniform is also used when the wearer wants to create a good impression before judges at demonstrations, competitions, or rank tests. It presents a crisp, professional appearance and makes a "snapping" sound when quick, powerful punches and kicked are performed.
While white is the traditional and most common uniform color, some styles of martial arts wear uniforms of about any fabric, color or color combination, or design. Some martial arts even pride themselves in not having any prescribed uniform.
Some organizations or schools have adopted different color schemes on seams and lapels of their uniforms to differentiate between the ranks or instructor status. Some organizations or schools use flashy uniforms for their demonstration teams, but TKDTutor contents this degrades the martial arts and turns them into an entertainment spectacle best suited for a Las Vegas casino show.
Some organizations or schools use shortened sleeves to prevent the fingers from getting snagged in them while using open hand techniques and to prevent grabbing. Some use even shorter sleeves and pants to make it easier to move when in close-quarters sparring.
Some "masters" wear uniforms with so many colors and accouterments that they would put an Aztec high priest's ceremonial robes to shame. It’s best to just wear the traditional white uniform with a few discreet identifying patches; let your knowledge and skills define your expertise in your art. If a crowd of martial art novices was watching a group of martial artists wearing only plain white uniforms and no belts performing patterns and sparring, the people should be able to identify the masters in the group from their skill level.
Higher rank students often prefer to wear heavier uniforms made of heavy drill cotton or canvas. These uniforms last longer, look better (especially when wet of sweat), and make a louder "snapping" sound when punching and kicking (especially when wet of sweat).
When sparring rules permit grabbing or throwing, some competitors remove the side ties of the jacket. This allows the jacket to slip or even slip off when it is pulled, which gives the person more time to react to the grab.
Tournament competitors also favor longer jackets and belts to further their chances of impressing the judges. The idea is that when they are performing low stances, the longer belt and jacket give the appearance of being lower to the ground.