I've bought many Tokaido Karate Gi for both in the dojo and competition and I'll explain how they fit, what I like and dislike about these Karate gi and what I would recommend when shopping for a Tokaido Gi.
Hi, I'm Colton Woodard and Tokaido is one of my favorite brands. Maybe it was just the cool logo that drew me in, or the history of the brand but I'm glad I went down the rabbit hole of buying these uniforms.
A quick cool story about Me in Osaka Japan and the Tokaido shop.
TOKAIDO ASIA Co., Ltd. (TOKAIDO ASIA HEADQUARTER- CONTINENTAL DISTRIBUTOR FOR ASIA AND AUSTRALIA)
2F-3-8-22 Nanba-Naka, Naniwa-Ku, Osaka, JAPAN 556-0011
phone: +81 6 6633 3277
fax: +81 6 6633 3278
In 2016 I went to Osaka to train for the upcoming World Karate Federation tournament in Okinawa. My Sensei, Soke Kozo Kuniba allowed me to visit his house and train in the bottom floor dojo. His Grandfather was a literal Samurai and made the very first dojo in Osaka.
I needed a new karate gi for the tournament, and despite being closed due to a holiday, Soke was able to pull some strings. He called the Tokaido store Owner and had him literally meet us at the store and help me pick out some things. With my Kids level Japanese, I probably wasn't the easiest customer to deal with but it ended up being a fantastic experience that I will never forget. This also might have given me a slight bias that makes me favor the rich culture of Japan and the Tokaido brand.
The Tokaido Karate Gi models that I currently own are:
Tokaido Kata Master Gold
Tokaido Kumite Master
Tokaido Yakudo TSA
Tokaido Sen Spark
The SEN SPARK is a medium weight canvas 10oz fabric, 70% cotton and 30% polyester for strength and comfort with 3cm longer in the jacket back for freedom of movement while maintaining a well balanced, symmetrical look. This is my recommended Tournament Gi for any competitors. The fabric is light and crunchy, which is a hard combo to find when buying Karate uniforms. It allows a better range of motion than the traditional heavy weight gi which can be very stiff and uncomfortable.
Unfortunately this Karate Gi is completely custom order and you must allow about 9 weeks for production. I usually just email the shop owner at email@example.com (they do not speak much English so please use a translator if you cannot read and write Japanese). You will need to know your measurements for the gi as well.
The Reason I LOVE this gi is the snap and flexibility and customization. I followed the WKF trend of wider legs for freedom in stances and kicks and the long cape is nice for the aesthetic and snap.
The Tokaido Kata Master Karate Gi is probably the one I wear the most in the dojo. It has lasted me about 6 years so far with only minor fraying from wear and tear and washing. I like how stiff and heavy it is. The gi is built extra big which is a positive and a negative in the review for me. It's a super thick gi and has a lot of snap.
I like how wide the pants are for being an out of the box standard gi. I wish the waist was a bit bigger, and the groin to wist ratio a little shorter. I don't like to wear my gi pants high waist so this is personal preference.
The karate pants kind of sit a little bit flared to the rear so they touch your shins, so you have to re-adjust a bit during sessions.
I like the karate gi top fit, especially the thick quality hemming, collar and cape.
However, I find the sleeves flare out too much for my liking, and the mid section has just a bit too much fabric, making me look wide. It provides lots of room for freedom of movement so that's great for practical training in the dojo so despite the nuances it's still my go to for sweaty training.
You can purchase one of these Tokaido Karate Gi here:
The Tokaido Kumite Master Gi isn't my favorite. I like the pants and that's about it. It feels so cheap to me because I like the kata gi so much. It has the elastic waistband and is very long. If I don't wear it high waisted then it touches my ankles and the floor. The last thing I want while sparring is to trip and fall, giving out a free ippon.
The top also bothers me with the sleeve length and how the gi just seems to open at the chest. It's great for ventilation, a very light gi, and the fabric has moisture wicking properties. I can see why people like it, it's just not my style. Also, this Kumite gi has a tokaido logo on the left check which just feels out of place.
If you like lightweight Kumite gi, or are a Kumite player, this is a good WKF approved choice. I prefer old school snappy gi.
Ok this is for my old school Karateka and badass sensei out there. This is my all time favorite Tokaido Karate Gi. The fit is insanely good in the gi top. It's made tight to the body and has tapered sleeves that make you look more muscular. The gi is a heavy but soft material with the loudest snap of any gi I've ever worn.
The pants are short and skinny like Okinawan style. My suggestion is get one size up or have custom measurements for more room in the hips and thigh.
The gi top is too short. I'm 6ft tall so maybe that has something to do with it, but order a half size up or ask for 3 extra inches on the cape.
I've won a ton of medals in this karate gi, and wish it were WKF approved. This is my Sensei gi, I like to wear it on special occasions or for video filming.
It's hard to get this gi. You can try KuroObiya here.
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About the Author:
Colton Woodard is a 7th Degree Black Belt in Kuniba Kai Karate Do and holds the title of Kyoshi as well. He loves to teach Karate, Kobudo, and Iaido and considers himself a lifetime student in pursuit of self improvement in both Martial Arts and in Character. Colton loves to visit Japan and speaks conversational Japanese and can write quite a few Kanji. He is a Karate competitor and coach and loves to exercise and make new memories with people all over the world.
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