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Why do Shaolin-Do students wear seemingly “Japanese” uniforms to practice Chinese Kung Fu?

Actually the “Gi” uniform is much closer to the garments the Shaolin monks wore than any other uniform commercially available. What is now called a “traditional kung fu uniform” has only recently become popular for martial arts and was mostly worn by normal, non-martial arts people in China. I have several pictures of ancient statues of Shaolin monks taken when I visited the Shaolin temple in 1998, and they all wore a wrap-around style “Gi”. In fact, this uniform is similar to a style of garments worn by peasants and farmers (and monks) during the Tang Dynasty in China (the golden age of martial art development at the temple). The picture below was taken outside the temple village. The iron monk statue has a wrap-around style “gi”. You will not find the frog-button style “kung fu” uniforms that we have become used to seeing in martial arts movies, and were popularized by Bruce Lee in the 1970’s.

monk