Those of you that have read my posts or articles on this forum, or in Jissen or other magazines, know that I teach a system known as DART. You may also be aware that I consider DART to be Karate (and quite old fashioned Karate) even though we currently wear tracksuits and make a lot of use of body armour and other modern equipment and information.
In DART we went from wearing white Karate Gi (since so far as I was concerned I was teaching karate) to Ju Jitsu Gi with trousers (harder wearing jackets for some of the drills we did), to Ju Jitsu gi with t shirts (and occasional jacket wear) to make wearing chest guards easier, to tracksuits with trainers and coloured t shirts instead of coloured belts (for ease of moving in and out of armour quickly in class). What we are wearing is very appropriate for what we do, especially for randomly pulling on or off armour for exercises, but I do wonder whether the lack of uniformity and/or the traditional white is costing us in terms of footfall coming to try classes. We say that we are Karate on our website, but what does the public expect of Karate? It's difficult to know whether the right way forward is to reimpose gi and belts, or simply to gain greater uniformity by insisting on the same type of trousers! A toss up between practicality and marketing in some ways! I know that ultimately it doesn't matter what you wear, it's what you do - but what does a random person choosing a martial art or looking for a karate class think?
To illustrate my point, have a look at these videos.
Here is a video of me talking about a kata in a gi:
Here is another video of me talking about a kata, but this time it's in a class and I'm wearing a tracksuit:
Here are my students engaging in our equivilent of free sparring, all wearing our distinctive T shirts over their body armour (the many colours here are to help distinguish each other following course feedback and are not reflective of the colours I use for grades):
What do you wear for your training? Is it what you'd prefer to wear given the choice? Do you think uniforms make a big difference to club/style perception and identity?