Wednesday, April 02, 2008

April Fools day Martial art Karate Gi

It was April fools day, and my daughters and I wanted to pull something together that would prank the dojo without causing too much disturbance. I found an old gi that I never wear anymore, and handed the girls a package of markers, and told them to decorate the outfit. This was quite a shock, and joy to my children. In fact, when they told my son that he was allowed, and even encouraged, to color on my karate gi he instantly thought that they were pranking him with an April Fools joke. He refused to come and see at first, but then his curiosity overcame him, and he came downstairs to join in the fun.

Here are pictures of their hard work.

Please notice the fine details:

a) On the left side of the Gi Jacket you will find the words "Ohio, Watashi wa Mireille Desu" which means "Good morning, my name is Mireille." written in Hiragana by my daughter who is studying Japanese. She also decorated the right sleeve of the jacket with half of the Japanese alphabet.

b) At the top of the right side of the Gi jacket are little orange kitty prints.

c) The left sleeve arm shows that I've been "Zapped" by my daughter. This is an elementary school game played among the children.

d) I have a Maple leaf on my left shoulder.

e) The Power Puff Girls cartoon decorate the front of my pant legs. My children were chanting the Power Puff theme as they were coloring: "Using their ultra super powers, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup have dedicated their lives to fighting crime and the forces of evil!"

f) My son wrote "This is my mom." on the bottom of each pant leg just in case anyone became confused.( I guess)

g) There is a clown fish,a Rainbow, and the Avatar cartoon character decorating the back of my pant legs.

h) There is a little girl licking a lollipop on the left side of my gi jacket, and April Fools spread over the back.


Mathieu said...


Why didn't I think of that!!!


Patrick Parker said...

That's pretty cool. You only think you know what those Japanese characters say. That really says, "Eat at Joe's Good Food Cafe - Albuquerque New Mexico."


supergroup7 said...

Ha ha ha Patrick... That's true, my daughter could have written anything that she wanted there, and how would I know?

Anonymous said...

Personally, I would not want to show disrespect to my Sensei and all my training by defacing a gi like that. You are making a joke out of it.

supergroup7 said...

Normally I do not allow Anonymous comments on my blog, but I feel that you made an important point with your comment.

I'd like to agree with the sentiment that this action did deface this gi, and could be taken as disrespectful. At first I had that concern in the back of my mind. This is why I:

a) used an old torn, and stained gi that was destined for the garbage. This gi was far beyond normal use. I chose to recycle it, and turn it into a work of "art"?.

b) I wore the gi to surprise my Sensei before any other students arrived at first, and had brought a change of a clean gi to dress in for training.

c) I asked for my Sensei's permission to wear the "April Fools" gi until it was time to train. Therefore, I wore the "April Fool's" gi for only a limited time. I will keep it for memories, but I do not believe that I will wear it again.

Yes, I made a joke of it. I have such a reputation for having a perfectly clean, ironed gi at every class, that it was a SHOCK to see me in this uniform. And that is what April Fools is all about.

Thanks for your comment, Anonymous.

Colin Wee said...

Anonymous said...
Personally, I would not want to show disrespect to my Sensei and all my training by defacing a gi like that. You are making a joke out of it.

Mireille is one of the most respectful and courteous of martial artists I have personally met in the last 23 years of my practice.

Indeed she was making a joke of it. It *is* an April Fools joke.

Lighten up, will ya? You know practitioners who take themselves too serious increase the probability of tunnel vision.

The drawings are pretty cute. I like the paw prints myself.


Mathieu said...

Anonymous comments, sheeesh....

give an email at least.

Lighten up!
April's fool!

Where's your sense of humour, anonymous?

supergroup7 said...

Hey Mat, and Colin. I sure appreciate your support, and kind words.

I allowed this person's comment on this thread because I agreed that there has to be some consideration given to etiquette. I dread to think that a young teen aged martial artist might run out, buy a package of markers, and decorate their gi only to find out that the results in the dojo are not as positive as they expected.

When I walked into the dojo to face my Sensei with my April Fools gi on, I was totally accepting of any discipline that I might face from that action. In my mind it was worth the amount of push ups I might get just to surprise him this April Fools day.

I thought that decorating my gi was less disturbing to the running of the class than the Martial artist who decided to Quack like a duck instead of Kiai. Although.. I have to admit.. I don't think that I would have been able to hold my emotional control if a student was quacking like a duck during training.

Mathieu said...

Quack like a duck!

I'm laughing only thinking about it!

Sounds "dérisoire" to say the least!

Have a good day

Sarah said...

Wow. I love the thread, I love the gi. The powerpuff girls were my favorite. Fighting crime and defending the world from evil, was it? Haha. Perfect. I would never have the courage to do something like that, but it sounds like a blast. Did someone really quack like a duck?? Gosh, that would make me laugh so hard... but also make it really hard for class to be run smoothly, what with all the laughing. Haha. But there are always days like that, when you laugh more than train - and, personally, they give a really good balance, and keep you realizing that karate really IS fun - and that you can have fun in the dojo. Within reason. Aww, but wonderful idea - particularly because it was personal to YOU - and your perfectly clean and beautiful white gi I imagine you wearing every day.

Anonymous said...

This defaces Martial Arts...especially a Martial so deep seated in tradition in Shotokan...I study Shotokan Karate, and must agree that this is truly a slap in the face to all Karate-Ka. Karate-Do is not meant to be made a joke of, no matter how light-hearted, nor number of steps taken. Funokoshi Sensei would be ashamed to see this...especially from a Shodan. I hope you allow my comment to go through and reply.



supergroup7 said...

I had to decide whether or not to include your comment. Usually, I will not post anonymous comments ( whether they are positive or negative). Due to the fact that you added an email address, I felt that it's not an actual "anonymous" comment, so I chose to post it.

Dear sir/madam..

Let me explain again the whole "April Fools" Gi philosophy. It is the opposite of what is normal, and desired. It is meant to shock, and stun. Since I am usually meticulously dressed in a sparkling clean, freshly ironed Gi for every single one of the classes that I attend, I knew that showing up in this colorful version of the uniform would cause a big shock. Let me remind you that this gi was destined for the garbage as it was already stained, and ripped. It was no longer fit to use as a training tool. Also, I had worn the decorated gi for only a short time before class started, and changed into a clean, freshly pressed gi for actual class, and training. I was neither representing Shotokan, Kyokushin, Karate, or any Martial Art when I wore this decorated uniform. I was playing an April Fool's joke. I could have showed up to class in my pajamas, or in a bathing suit, achieving the same reaction of shock, and shared humor, and then changed into my Gi for normal training.

I do not accept your judgement, and viewpoints regarding what occurred. I believe that you have the right to your opinion which is formed from your perspective of the event.

I believe that you would like a response from my perspective. April Fools Day is of my culture, it is not of Japanese, nor Okinawan origin. I believe that Sensei Gichin Funakoshi would have respected the various differences between our cultures, and have known that there was no disrespect intended. He would have seen that there were serious conscious efforts made to respect Dojo Etiquette while still expressing the silliness of April Fools. He would also have realized that this was a "once in a lifetime" moment that would not be repeated knowing that humor loses it's effect with repetition.

In my mind, Karate-Do can be lived in any situation. Having a sense of humor is a gift of humility, and patience. Our world would have much less violence if people were more quick, and willing, to see the funniness of a moment instead of becoming angry, and insulted.

Anonymous said...

First, I would like to thank you for responding. Had this been any other venue, and any other activity, I would agree with you. Karate-Do is a personal journey, however, there are unifying rules. One can not defile the Gi. The Gi is white in Shotokan, (tradition started by Funokoshi Sensei) to symbolize purity. When one colours the Gi, they are losing their purity. Secondly, there is a deep seated history of Men and Women who have dedicated their lives, and have lost their lives so that you and I can practice this Art outside of Okinawa and Japan. This act shows a disregard for those Men and Women. I whole-heartedly concur that humor is necessary, however in this case, it is very inappropriate. I see your rationale for your prank, and I understand it, but I do not agree with it. I come from a very Traditional school, so this may explain my mentality. I understand that you were not attempting to represent any Ryu of Karate or Martial Arts, however to the untrained eye, you are doing exactly that. Once you dawn the Gi, you embody the spirit of Martial Arts.


Refer to last post for E-mail

supergroup7 said...

I appreciate your returning visit, and your clarification. Thank you.

I can see where you are coming from.. from what I understand in your words it would be similar to adding swirls of color to a military uniform. ( Although, for purposes of camouflage, I can see how this can happen without showing disrespect to the officer.)

For me, Karate-Do goes beyond the Gi, and beyond the dojo. It isn't something that I put on the outside of me, but it is something that affects the very inside of me. Whether I am wearing a white gi, or a black jogging suit, I still attempt to embody the values, and positive choices that I chose to live. It would be my hope that people would recognize something about my actions, and words that speaks to them of the self-control, patience, and positive attributes of Martial Arts. I have seen people wearing a White Gi, and black belt but behaving with less respect, responsibility, and admirable traits than my 9 year old son. I do not wish to imitate this, and I feel that this kind of behavior is far more embarrassing, constant, and shameful to the Founders of Martial Arts than wearing a colored Gi for a short time on April Fool's Day.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for you reply. I see your logic.


supergroup7 said...

Osu, Thank you Anonymous with an email.. :-)

I can also see your logic. I have realized that there is an important line that has to be carefully guarded concerning what a Martial Artist wears when representing their art. I could see how it would be totally wrong for me to show up at a dojo/ tournament/ seminar wearing something outrageous, and then expecting to be allowed to participate there because "I" feel that the decorations on my Gi are acceptable.