By Lavinia Calvert | December 2010
When we set out on this journey we knew there'd be a degree of resistance to what we were contemplating. People were either intrigued or skeptical. They wanted to know how we'd deal with traditionalists. Would we go to the top level of each martial arts code and try and persuade the sports' administrators to endorse our product? Or would be build awareness and acceptance from the ground level up?
We said we'd focus our efforts on the players themselves – all those martial artists out there who are dissatisfied with their traditional cotton gi, who are ready for change and looking for a performance advantage. And over time the market would tell us whether or not we were on the right track.
As for push-back from traditionalists – yes, there are deeply-held, important traditions and philosophies that characterize many a martial art but that doesn't mean the needs, desires or preferences of those practicing them are the same today as they were a century ago. Fact is, our lives are governed by constant change. It's how we evolve and grow. Without it, we stagnate.
Professor Jigoro Kano, founder of Kodokan Judo, understood this well. An educator and an innovator, his desire was to modify judo so that it fit the social and cultural needs of people living in the Meiji era. In doing so, he kept judo relevant and current to the times. And not just in Japan. His innovations extended beyond international borders, transcending language, cultures and customs. But this didn't come at the expense of tradition. Somehow Kano-sensei was able to maintain that delicate balance.
We believe there is room for both tradition and change in the martial arts. Surely there has to be? In designing our new range of performance gi we have worked hard to maintain a balance between convention and evolution. Our gi still look like traditional gi. They just happen to be made from different material – fabric designed specifically for use in martial arts uniforms and to perform under extreme duress.
As a result, a Gimono gi differs from a traditional gi not in its overall design but in how it functions and the impact this has on the wearer's performance. In a word, a Gimono gi breathes. It draws moisture away from your skin which means you get to stay cooler and dryer for longer. This helps your stamina, performance and recovery. Gimono gi don't shrink, stink, fade or tear either. They're super strong, light weight, machine washable and compact in size.
These are the sorts of qualities that today's athletes want and expect of their sportswear – regardless of whether they're training in the martial arts or for a multi-sport event. The only difference is that if you're a multi-sporter you've probably been enjoying the benefits of high-tech gear for some time. Isn't it time martial artists got to enjoy similar benefits?