Most traditional martial arts training is done in a training uniform, or Gi. Why, then, do we have “street clothes” weeks?
The traditional Gi, as it is worn today; consists of a pair of loose pants, an undershirt, a long sleeve jacket worn over the top, and a belt wrapped around to hold it all together. We all recognize this as a standard “karate uniform.” When its in all black, maybe we think of it as “Ninja Pajamas.” It seems at odds with what we as modern, western people wear on a day to day basis.
We have special “street clothes” weeks in order to break out from the idea that we need special attire to use our studies. It helps to reinforce that what we do will still work when we leave the dojo. Our To-Shin Do isn’t something relegated to the training hall. It is just as applicable walking to our cars after work or cruising the mall with our friends as it is between bowing in and bowing out of class.
Our gi’s move differently than street clothes. Our blue jeans may not allow the kind of movements that our gi pants do. T-shirts are definitely much stretchier than our gi jackets. Our street clothes offer a new experience that we may not be able to simulate in our gi’s. It is so much safer to have those experiences in the dojo rather then having to adapt in the moment when the situation is much more dangerous than with our laughing, smiling uke.