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TAISEI: Most famous Karate Gi in Japan in The Dojo Shop

The picture shows Tadashi Ishikawa wearing a Taisei Karate Gi.

TAISEI belongs to the most popular Karate Gi brands in Japan. However, the premium Karate Gi manufacturer is almost unknown in the West despite famous brand ambassadors like Tadashi Ishikawa (8th Dan) from JKS. The Dojo is going to change this now. “Together with our distribution partner SaikoSports are we going to offer three of TAISEI´s premium Karate Gis in our The Dojo Shop: KAZE, MIZU, and HI“, says Dr. Christian Tribowski, managing director of The Dojo. Read here the full story about TAISEI and what makes their Karate Gis so special.

TAISEI: The Story

In Japanese Dojos we see TAISEI’s karate suits everywhere … serious and disciplined Karateka in perfectly fitting Keikogis. We could feel the tension in the air. And the aesthetics of their movements is still persistent in our mind.

Dr. Philipp Lang, Managing Director, SaikoSports

TAISEI means “peaceful life,” said Kenzo Takasu, smiling but firmly. Mr. Takasu is the owner and master tailor of TAISEI. He started karate over 40 years ago and still trains himself. But right from the start of his Karate life, Mr. Takasu was confronted with a major problem for Karatekas: bad fitting Keikogis. Luckily Mr. Takasu is a master tailor by training. So, he decided to utilize his skills to solve this problem.

The picture shows Kenzo Takasu, owner of TAISEI, in his workshop.
Mr. Kenzo Takasu in his workshop

For several years, he improved his own Karate Gis by changing their shapes and sizes in order to make them more comfortable and visually appealing. During that time, he gained a lot of experience about the optimal cut and the perfect material for a Keikogi. He learned what it takes to create a Dogi that fits well, has an elegant and traditional design but is yet robust and long-lasting.

His improvements and redesigns of his Karate Gis even caused the interest of his Senseis. Therefore, he started to alter their Karate Gis, too. Not long after that, he also took care of the Keikogis for his fellow Karateka in his Dojo.

The picture shows Kenzo Takasu, owner of TAISEI, in his workshop.
Mr. Kenzo Takasu, owner of TAISEI, in his workshop.
The picture shows Kenzo Takasu, owner of TAISEI, in his workshop.
The picture shows Kenzo Takasu, owner of TAISEI, in his workshop.
The picture shows the TAISEI workshop.
The TAISEI workshop in Aichi prefecture in central Japan.

The demand for his alterations grew significantly. Due to this success and and because of his wish, to design own Dogis, he opened his own workshop in his home prefecture, Aichi, in central Japan. Here a very traditional Japanese building he designs and sews all Dogis by himself. For Mr. Takasu traditional designs and most comfortable but elegant cuts are of paramount importance.

His Karate Gis even caused the attention of Karatekas far beyond Aichi. Today, TAISEI officially supplies one of the biggest Karate associations in Japan. Renowned grand master Tadashi Ishikawa (8th Dan) of the JKS is one of the most prominent ambassadors of the TAISEI Karate Gis.

The picture shows Shihan Tadashi Ishikawa, who likes to wear the TAISEI Karate Gi.
Shihan Tadashi Ishikawa wears the TAISEI Karate Gi.
The picture shows Shihan Tadashi Ishikawa, who likes to wear the TAISEI Karate Gi.
The picture shows shihan Tadashi Ishikawa, who likes to wear the TAISEI Karate Gi.

Mr. Takasu is very happy about the endorsement of by Karate grand masters like Shihan Ishikawa. He says that his craft, like karate, is one of the few constants in our fast paced life’s. The master himself, however, is at rest. He sings songs during his work and still using his JUKI sewing machine. Seeking always perfection and premium quality in his work he puts the values ​​of Karate-Do into every handmade Dogi. The new owner should feel the spirit in every part of the Keikogi.

The picture shows Kenzo Takasu, owner of TAISEI, in his workshop.
Mr. Kenzo Takasu and his JUKI sewing machine

What makes TAISEI different!

The key to optimal Karate training lies, on the one hand, in the execution of techniques. On the other hand, the fabric and cut of the Karate Gi is also very important. It must perfectly fit, give enough freedom to move, and must look good. It also must be manufactured under humane and ecological sustainable conditions. Then, a Karateka can fully concentrate on karate training. “

Dr. Philipp Lang, Managing Director, SaikoSports

Three major features make TAISEI Dogis special and different:

  1. Triangle Cut: It makes the Karate techniques faster and more precise without resistance.
  2. Japanese Blue-White Effect: The Karate Gi stays longer white.
  3. 180° Movement of Legs: Guarantees absolute freedom for the legs in Karate training.

Beside that, TAISEI Keikogis distinguish themselves from other brands through some more features. The traditional Japanese cut of TAISEI is the result of decades of experience by Mr. Takasu. He has compared cuts of other brands to find the best fit for Karate training. The different Karate Gis, TAISEI offers, differ mainly regarding their fabric thickness: HI (13 ounces), MIZU (11 ounces), and KAZE (9 ounces).

The picture shows Shihan Tadashi Ishikawa, who likes to wear the TAISEI Karate Gi.
The picture shows Shihan Tadashi Ishikawa, who likes to wear the TAISEI Karate Gi.

The special cut enables absolute freedom of movement for the arms thanks to the high seam under the armpits. How high the level of craftsmanship of Mr. Takasu is can be observed at the seams of the suits. They are processed from the inside out and have a barely noticeable inner web. Every Dogi comes with an integrated inlay in the upper back area.

All Karate Gis are made in Japan and from 100% pure and high quality cotton (original canvas cotton). That gives the suit an impressive and inimitable sound.

No Difference between Kata and Kumite!

Another major feature of TAISE GIs is that there is no difference between Kata or Kumite Gis. All Karate Gis come with a traditional cut.

However, heavy Karate Gis are often preferred for Kata. Light ones, on the other hand, fit better to Kumite. TAISEI offers Karate Gis between 9 and 13 ounces.

TAISEI Karate Gis

The Dojo is going to offer three TAISEI Keikogis in The Dojo Shop:

KAZE 9 oz

KAZE (風) literally means “wind” in Japanese. The lightness and elegance of the TAISEI KAZE Karate Gi gives the feeling of being surrounded by pure and fresh air.

The picture shows the Kaze Karate Gi from Taisei.
The picture shows the Kaze Karate Gi from Taisei.

MISU 11 oz

MIZU (水) literally means “water” in Japanese. The dynamic and straight elegance of the TAISEI MIZU Karate Gi gives the feeling of water in constant flow.

The picture shows the MIZU Karate Gi.
The picture shows the MIZU Karate Gi.

HI 13 oz

HI (火) literally means “fire”. The energetic and powerful elegance of the Taisei HI Karate Gi gives the untamable strength and creative power of a blaze.

The picture shows the HI Karate Gi by Taisei.
The picture shows the HI Karate Gi by Taisei.

All TAISEI Karate Gis can be individually embroidered upon request.

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The Shotokan Times becomes The Dojo

The picture shows the Logo of The Dojo.

The Dojo is coming soon. In the upcoming weeks, The Shotokan Times will undergo a far-reaching change from a single-style journal into an 360° karate and budo platform with a special focus on dojos. Thus, it will be renamed and rebranded into “The Dojo – Platform for Karate and Budo”. Following we explain what is behind this step and give an outlook to the new format.

The Shotokan Times – A Story of Success

The last one and a half years, during which we have built up The Shotokan Times, have been a pleasure, educative, enlightening, enriching, challenging, and a gigantic adventure. We have been stoked by the thousands of views and visitors our website collected. Within these 18 month we have been welcoming 623,935 views and 355,807 visitors on The Shotokan Times. This is an incredible success and it had proved us right that a quality online journal for Shotokan karate beyond associations has been desperately needed.

From the beginning, it was our aim to put the individual Karateka first, to give them a voice, a stage, and a place to present his or her ideas and skills. This stage was widely utilized.

Since last year, we published more then 150 articles (roughly 7 per month). We initiated the series Women of Shotokan, which became a gigantic success and gave inspiring female Karateka an own fora where they could express their way of Shotokan. A clothing and karate equipment shop became also part of our platform. And our latest achievement is the Dojo Finder for which already 200 Dojos have registered within 10 days.

However, we also gained three insights about Shotokan in particular and Karate in general.

Karate and Water

The first insight is: One cannot discuss or understand Shotokan without considering other Karate styles. Okinawa Karate has, of course, coined Shotokan historically. But even today a foundational knowledge of Okinawa styles leads to a deeper understanding of Shotokan. The same goes for Kyokushin. One might ask: Why did Masutasu Oyama develop Kyokushin Karate although he held a 4th Dan in Shotokan?

Modern Sport Karate and Karate Combat have amplified our view on Karate as well. Both focus on the physical dimension of Karate and by doing so giving us deeper insights about limits, opportunities, and ramifications of Karate.

The major idea behind this insight is: A fish does not know what water is. Water is so natural to the fish that it only understands its characteristics and structure when it leaves it. Therefore, we only can understand our Karate and our way by comparing it with other styles. Only then we can distinguish what is water, what is air, and what is land.

The Dojo as the Nucleus of Karate

The second insight we gained: The Dojo and not the individual karateka nor the association is the nucleus of Karate. Especially the current global COVID-19 pandemic has made this obvious: One cannot walk successfully on the Karate way alone. We need a social structure, in which we are embedded, to learn karate properly. This social structure is not the association though.

It is first and foremost the Dojo in which we gather several times a week. The Dojo is the place where Karate knowledge is transmitted, where we are challenged, encouraged, criticized, accepted with our flaws, and go beyond our limits. Here we grow under tutelage into Karateka and find the community with the same values that carries us through the bumpy and difficult passages of the way.

However, the Dojo does not get much attention. It seems to be a blind spot of Karate. And somehow it appears to be taken for granted like an autonomous self-organizing structure. This conclusion is false. Like any other social group with a division of labor and division of roles it holds the potential to fail or to flourish.

Therefore, the Dojo needs more of our attention. Because the African saying is right: When you want to go fast, then go alone. But if you want to go a long distance, go with others. The karate way is a life long journey. Hence, the group that supports us on this way should not be taken for granted. And even Musashi had companions.

The picture shows Musashi and his adopted son Iori.
The picture shows a statue of Musashi and his adopted son Iori.

Karate and Budo

Karate Do is Budo. This becomes obvious in the moment one considers the etiquette and ethics that accompany Karate. These values are strongly connected to the Dojo, the space, which is separated from the profane daily life by distinct rules and expectations represented in the Dojo kun. However, this distinction between the outside non-Budo world and the inside Budo world is not unique to Karate. The Dojo is the place where all Budo´s – Kendo, Judo, Iaido, Kyudo, Aikido, Sumo etc. – intersect.

The Dojo is the place of cultivation of budo. Or as Prof. Dr. Wolf Herbert shows in his entry for the Encyclopedia of Shotokan:

“The manda (= dojo) is therefore the place, where the “essence” of enlightenment is present.”

To bring Karate closer to Budo – like many practitioners claim – might lead through a stronger consideration of the Dojo as a space for the cultivation of Budo. In other words: When have you got down to the ground and cleaned the Dojo the last time?

What will The Dojo be about?

The Dojo will cover all sorts and styles of Karate, for instance:

  • Shotokan
  • Shotokai
  • Goju-ryu
  • Shito-ryu
  • Shorin-ryu
  • Wado-ryu
  • Kyokushin and its offsprings
  • Sport karate
  • Karate Combat

Our special focus will thereby on the Dojo and the teaching of Karate:

  • General approaches and strategies behind styles,
  • Techniques and tactics,
  • Training methods and curricula,
  • Ethics and values,
  • History and present developments.

Beside that we will also cover more general topics related to Dojos, for instance:

  • What is a Dojo and what is it not?
  • How to run and organize a Dojo?
  • Social structure in the Dojo
  • How to build and develop a Dojo?
  • The Dojo and its environment
  • How to educate and teach Karate to different target groups?
  • Conflicts in and outside the Dojo
  • How to create an atmosphere of spirit?

In addition, we will relate karate and the Dojo to other Budo´s.

  • What can we learn from Iaido and Kyudo about mental strength?
  • Does the highly competitive Kendo offer us a new perspective on Sport Karate and Karate Combat?
  • Which role did and does Judo play in making Japanese martial arts popular?
  • How has Judo coined Karate?
  • Where does the Budo terminology come from and how do we have to interpret them in a Karate context?
  • Is it a good thing to die for the honor of ones Daimyo?
  • What are the limitations of Budo and where else do we have to look for further answers?

We seek to offer our readers helpful, educative, demonstrative, and inspirational content about Karate and Budo from a Dojo perspective. It is our utmost wish to support you on your Karate way and to make your Dojo flourish so that it becomes the community you want it to be.

The Dojo will also accept articles from external authors! Please consider our Guidelines for Submission. They will stay the same.

What happens next?

  • The Dojo will be reachable through its future main url: https://the-dojo.org/.
  • The completion of the transition of the website will take between one and two months. You can visit our website and read our articles during the whole time.
  • The Shotokan Times products will stay available in our shops – even after the transition.
  • The Dojo Finder stays the Dojo Finder.
  • Our social media channels will change accordingly.
  • The Encyclopedia of Shotokan will become the Encyclopedia of Karate and Budo.
  • For all the fans of The Shotokan Times, who want to discuss with us solely about Shotokan, feel free to join the The Shotokan Times Facebook group.
  • Please, send feedback and questions to: theshotokantimes@gmail.com

We hope you are excited as we are and that we can also welcome you on the-dojo.org soon. Oss!