People often joke that the robes worn by martial-arts practitioners resemble pajamas, but that may not be such a far cry. Read on to learn more about these ancient garbs.
Though its proper name might not spring to mind, the customary outfit of a dojo sensei, commonly known as a gi, is eminently recognizable: a jacket called an uwagi tied by a belt (or obi) over a pair of short pants (shitakabi), the whole ensemble draped loosely to allow for swift and acrobatic movements. The particular materials used to make the gi follow the needs of specific martial-arts styles. A karate master who relies on quick strikes and powerful blows, for example, will likely don a lighter gi, whereas a judo fighter might enlist heavier, more durable fabric to endure the endless grapples and throws. In Japan, the catchall term for the customary robe isn't gi but rather keikogi?keiko translates to "practice." The name might also take on a prefix according to its intended discipline: judogi, karategi, aikidogi, and so forth.
Despite being a symbol of martial-arts culture for centuries, the gi's origin remains unclear. Some speculate that the airy uniform was simply designed to accommodate the lifestyle of the Okinawan farmers and fishermen who invented it. Others contend that, in light of a 13th-century imperial ban on the possession of weapons, warriors trained at night to avoid detection. In a pinch, the robes could pass for sleepwear, concealing their transgression.
Gibsons Fitness Health & Wellness spans two floors and a slew of specialized areas, from the Upstairs RPM Spinning Room to the dedicate nutrition store downstairs. The gym's owners pack the floor with Cybex or Nautilus machines, and dedicate their classrooms to yoga, Les Mills Bodypump, or Zumba. Meanwhile, personal trainers make use of both types of areas, creating customized programs to help clients reach personal fitness goals such as losing weight or bench-pressing an actual park bench. The whole team strives to make trips to the gym easy by offering extra services such as child care, an on-site apparel shop, and lockers for personal belongings.
The instructors at Southampton Martial Arts prioritize instilling the values of respect, responsibility, and confidence, so that students can be mentally prepared—but not eager—for an aggressive scenario. In addition to tang soo do's strikes and blocks, they draw techniques from krav maga, muay thai kickboxing, jujitsu, and MMA disciplines. The roots of these teachings span from Korea to China, boasting both ancient efficacy and enough adaptability for modern martial arts.
The staff adjust their classes to suit all skill levels, and welcome guests aged 5 and up to hone focused punches, kicks, and defensive postures. The gym also features yoga classes for all levels and fitness backgrounds. The instructors guides groups through fluid movements that promote flexibility, core strength, balance, and mental control. They use their years of experience and knowledge to work with students to achieve their fitness goals, whether it be weight loss, muscle gain, definition, or technique. They are located throughout the Philadelphia and Delaware Valley area, with locations in Aston, Southampton, Paoli, Swarthmore and Glen Mills.
One gym can hardly contain Master Solomon Brenner's martial-arts expertise, which is why his school—Action Karate—has expanded to 13 different locations. Brenner believes that the martial arts are a lifelong pursuit, so he takes on students aged 3–93.
His classes for kids blend fitness with self-discipline, whereas his classes for adults focus on toning exercises and self-defense. Not all of his classes involve combat; some dedicate entire hours to pure strength training or cool-pose striking. He and his staff also host birthday parties for kids, which include fun martial-arts instruction, games, and a ceremonial slicing of birthday cake with a samurai sword.
Winner of more than 100 mixed-martial-arts competitions, Tiger Schulmann shares his pride and love for fighting and self-defense with both adults and children in gyms across five states. From first-time grapplers to expert muay thai fighters, students of all fitness and experience levels are welcome to dive into a class at Schulmann’s. At more than 47 locations, adults can take classes in kickboxing, MMA, and jujitsu—the last of which instills students with the skill and confidence to take down opponents of any size, strength, or telekinetic ability. Kids, meanwhile, can learn martial arts for fun, or gain useful experience in bully prevention; the kids’ classes help victims immediately identify and safely diffuse situations when pitted against an aggressor.