Dress code
Written by Rachel
     

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Requirements

It is customary for martial arts classes to have a dress code and our class is no exception:

  1. 3-tier uniform

  2. Standard uniform

  3. Tights?

  4. Workshops

  5. Winter

  6. Belts/sashes

  7. Yellow & orange

  8. Green onwards

  9. Frog buttons

  10. Armour

  11. Black belt

  12. Wrap-over

  13. Teaching assistants

  14. Longevity patch

  15. Baguazhang

  16. Women

  17. Egotism


3-tier uniform

There are 3 different levels of tai chi uniform in our school. Each corresponds to the level of training being undertaken:

  1. White T-shirt

  2. Black T-shirt

  3. Kung fu suit

A student wearing a white T-shirt is a health practitioner improving their health. The black T-shirt indicates the start of taijiquan training.
When a student is learning more martial skills the they can wear a changshan or a wrap-over.


Standard uniform

(i) History

In China there was never a traditional kung fu uniform. People just wore their normal clothes.
When Kanō Jigorō developed judo (the first modern fighting art), he created the first actual martial arts uniform. It was comprised of a fireman's jacket and a loincloth.


(ii) All beginners wear:

White cotton crew-neck T-shirt
Black cotton martial arts trousers
School badge sewn onto the T-shirt
Flat footwear; preferably not training/sports shoes
Female students wear thin tights



(iii) Optional (but recommended):

White cotton crew-neck sweatshirt


Tights?

If a woman was studying classical ballet, she'd be required to wear tights. There'd be no discussion.
Think of tai chi as being along the same lines. They are an Asian aesthetic.

In tai chi bare ankles or socks are considered inappropriate for women. Thin tights emphasise femaleness, grace, femininity and elegance.

Non-lycra tights are best for tai chi (and leg health) e.g.:
https://tuclothing.sainsburys.co.uk/p/5-Pack-15-Denier-Tights/133251217-Natural
https://tuclothing.sainsburys.co.uk/p/Black-15-Denier-Tights-5-Pack/133251049-Black


More...


Workshops

All students wear:

Cotton crew-neck T-shirt
Black cotton martial arts trousers
Socks for men
Female students wear thin tights


Please note that 'leggings', yoga attire and T-shirts with pockets are not appropriate attire for workshops.


Winter

Students who are working through the health/fitness syllabus are permitted to wear a plain long-sleeved white sweatshirt over their white class T-shirt.
Sew a class badge onto the chest.
e.g. Women's sweatshirt & men's sweatshirt.


Belts/sashes

Belts have no ancient meaning or history. They are a learning tool.
Mikonosuke Kawaishi - a Judo instructor - introduced coloured belts in Paris around 1935. This was adopted by other martial arts. China only followed suit much more recently.


(i) Optional

Although the syllabus is split into belts for learning purposes, the wearing of the belt itself is optional.
You can wear a belt if you want to. Or you choose not to. It's your choice entirely. 


(ii) Colours

There are 9 belt colours in the taijiquan syllabus:

  1. White

  2. Yellow

  3. Orange

  4. Green

  5. Blue

  6. Purple

  7. Brown

  8. Black

  9. Red


(iii) When do you start wearing a belt?


Students who have passed the white belt syllabus have the option to wear a belt.


(iv) Passed

You wear the colour you have earned, not the colour you are working on e.g. a student who is wearing their blue belt is now working to pass their purple belt.


(v) Fighting skill

In our school, the darker the belt, the better your fighting skills need to be.
Sifu will only issue a darker coloured belt to a student with combat ability who knows all preceding material to the required standard.


(vi) Black belt

The black belt grades are all trial-by-combat, the same as in judo.
No black belt will be issued to a student of taijiquan or baguazhang unless they possess considerable kung fu skill. Pretty forms are not enough.


(vi) Red?

The master level instructor may choose to wear a red or black sash or none at all.


Yellow & orange
 

Students who have passed the white belt syllabus wear a black T-shirt:

Black T-shirt
Black cotton martial arts/karate trousers
School badge sewn onto the left upper chest
Belt/sash (optional) - white/
yellow/orange

This uniform indicates the start of taijiquan training. The individual is no longer a health student.

In Winter, taijiquan students may wear a plain long-sleeved black sweatshirt over their black class T-shirt. Sew a class badge onto the chest.


Green onwards

The Manchu invaded China in 1644. They insisted that every man wear a long shirt (changshan) with high collar and frog buttons. This is what most Chinese martial arts uniforms are based upon nowadays.

(i) Long shirt

Students who have passed the green belt syllabus wear a kung fu suit:

Black cotton changshan
Black cotton martial arts/karate trousers
School badge sewn onto the left upper chest and the neijiaquan patch on the right sleeve
Belt/sash (optional) - green/blue/purple/brown/black

The full kung fu suit is sold by
CIMAC. Price 23 + 8 postage.
Be careful to keep the long shirt well washed and ironed. If it looks unkempt and scruffy, you will be advised. Please note that satin or silk uniforms are not permitted. It must be black cotton.

 


(ii) Vest

Students seeking to wear something beneath their changshan must wear a black vest, not a T-shirt. If you wear a T-shirt beneath the longshirt, you will be asked to remove the jacket.


(iii) Wrap-over

Students may wear a wrap-over with a shitagi and sash for more vigorous combat work (or in Winter time).


Frog buttons

It is common for frog buttons on a changshan to unravel. Please see Rachel immediately and you will be taught how to re-knot yours.


Armour

Taijiquan students may benefit from lightweight body armour:


(i) Leg shields

CIMAC sell fabric and foam elasticated leg guards ideal for shuai jiao. They will not hamper movement. They will also not prevent injury. But they will reduce the risk of bruising.


(ii) Boob shield

Female taijiquan students are encouraged to purchase a boob shield.


(iii) Groin cup

Male taijiquan students may wear a comfortable groin guard (if required).


Wrap-over

Students who have passed the green belt syllabus may wear a wrap-over in Winter time or for shuai jiao or rigorous combat practice.

(i) History

The wrap-over uniforms (gi) worn by Japanese martial arts nowadays stem from the Chinese 'hanfu' design. In Japan they were developed from a fireman's jacket by Judo creator Kano.
Up until 1644 the hanfu wrap-over was standard attire in China and throughout Asia. Modern Taoist martial artists have returned to this style.


(ii) Uniform

Heavy black ju jitsu or karate suit
White cotton shitagi beneath
School badge sewn onto the left upper chest and the neijiaquan patch on the right sleeve
Belt/sash - green/blue/purple/brown/black

The suit is sold by Blitz (and other suppliers). The shitagi is sold by Nine Circles.


(iii) Wear a shitagi

If you wear a T-shirt beneath the jacket, you will be asked to remove the jacket.


(iv) Belt

Wear a sash to hold the wrap-over closed.


Teaching assistants

Teaching assistants wear a pale grey tai chi T-shirt:


Longevity patch

The longevity patch is worn by '
indoor students':

  1. Family members who train with Sifu Waller outside of class

  2. Indoor students

  3. Lineage students

It signifies a long-term commitment to learning taijiquan with our school. The patch is worn on the left arm.


Baguazhang

Baguazhang students wear an I Ching diagram T-shirt:

There are only 4 belts colours in the baguazhang syllabus:

  1. Blue

  2. Purple

  3. Brown

  4. Black

The student may only wear a black belt after passing 1st dan grade (providing they already possess a black belt in taijiquan).


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Page created 26 November 2007
Last updated 05 May 2020