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Old 05-08-2008, 08:06 PM   #1
Laura Donohue
 
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Dojo: Aikido of Olympia
Location: Olympia, WA
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Lightbulb Hemp Gi (well, sort of)

Hi,

I have just joined a dojo, and though I practiced martial arts in the past, I never needed a Gi for what I was doing. When I was researching Gi's I came across a couple references of individuals who provided hand-made hemp/cotton Gi. I was greatly intrigued by this, because not only is Hemp a more ecological fiber than conventional cotton, but it is 4 times as strong, allowing for a lighter fabric with the same strength. Hemp is quite stiff when bought, but gets softer with each washing, and because it is stronger when wet, it does not lose its strength after multiple proper washings.

(*NOTE: for those of you thinking about making jokes right now, Hemp fiber is absolutely THC free, and the only high you would get from smoking it would be from a lack of oxygen to your brain from holding your breath)

Unfortunately, one supplier no longer has a viable web-site, and the other (Ground-Force Kimonos), will not have a line available till summer. I believe in absolute practicality, and did not want more than one gi, or an outfit that could not really be used for any other purpose, so I did not order a cotton one. I kept looking, and found references for a suitable alternative with www.rawganique.com. They sell 70%hemp 30% organic cotton "Hemp Yoga Karate Pants" (http://www.rawganique.com/PantsKarate.htm), and a "Hemp Karate Meditation Samui E Jacket" (http://www.rawganique.com/Dept-Mens/...et-samui-e.htm).

The pants run about $86 US, and the jacket about $74. They are sustainably made in Europe with no slave/sweatshop labor. They come in several colors, the pants with several sizes, and the jacket in extra small, uni-size, and extra large

I purchased both, in the unbleached/undyed cream color. They arrived a week later from Canada.

I have practiced twice in them. I love how I feel now that I have a gi to train in, and not only that, I love the ancient natural feeling of the material. I learned that summer kimono used to be manufactured from hemp till US post war pressure, so I feel that what I am wearing is even authentic to the spirit of this art that I am beginning to practice.

As to the functionality, the material feels extremely strong, like fibrous chain mail. I was going to line the knees before I started practicing, but i might not even bother. My sensei likes the material, and mentioned no criticism for me using it instead of a more common type.

One criticism is that the jacket (unisize) is just a wee little bit short, but not too inhibitively so. To let you know, I am 5'8", medium build for female, would be small build for mens sizes.

I also get fairly sweaty in it, but havn't worn it since I washed it. I think it might get airier as it relaxes. I also don't know how sweaty I would get in another gi.

My camera battery has died to never be resuscitated, so will post pictures in a few days...
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Old 05-09-2008, 09:23 AM   #2
Janet Rosen
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Re: Hemp Gi (well, sort of)

Laura, thank you for posting this. For years there has been a woman making hemp gis in rural Mendocino/Lake counties but she doesn't really have an online presence, so I'm glad to hear there is now an alternate source.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 06-01-2009, 05:30 PM   #3
Keoma
Location: Nashville TN
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Re: Hemp Gi (well, sort of)

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Laura, thank you for posting this. For years there has been a woman making hemp gis in rural Mendocino/Lake counties but she doesn't really have an online presence, so I'm glad to hear there is now an alternate source.
Sorry to butt in, but you wouldn't happen to have contact information for this lady, would you? The one link posted here for her is broken, and I've been desperately looking all over for somebody to make me a couple of Hemp gi.
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Old 06-01-2009, 07:32 PM   #4
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Re: Hemp Gi (well, sort of)

Does it shrink like a cotton gi?

David
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Old 06-01-2009, 11:46 PM   #5
lifeafter2am
Dojo: Shindai Aikikai
Location: Orlando
Join Date: May 2007
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Re: Hemp Gi (well, sort of)

I never thought of looking for a hemp gi. I will be looking into this for my next gi though.

Thanks for the info!

"The mind is everything. What you think you become." - Siddhattha Gotama Buddha
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:47 AM   #6
Janet Rosen
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Re: Hemp Gi (well, sort of)

I believe Machiko in Lake Co is taking orders for her custom order hemp gi again. I'll check next time I'm at the dojo and see about posting contact info if she is.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 06-03-2009, 12:22 AM   #7
Keoma
Location: Nashville TN
Join Date: May 2009
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Re: Hemp Gi (well, sort of)

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
I believe Machiko in Lake Co is taking orders for her custom order hemp gi again. I'll check next time I'm at the dojo and see about posting contact info if she is.
That would be wonderful, thank you.
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:14 PM   #8
Janet Rosen
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Re: Hemp Gi (well, sort of)

It looks like she's busy on other pursuits right now (making music) so not making custom hemp gi.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 06-30-2009, 03:08 AM   #9
Keoma
Location: Nashville TN
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Re: Hemp Gi (well, sort of)

That's too bad. Well thank you for finding out for me.
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Old 07-01-2009, 08:01 PM   #10
Suru
Location: Miami, FL
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 453
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Re: Hemp Gi (well, sort of)

That sounds like a fine dogi. Hemp is a high quality material. As far as making jokes like calling you a weed smoker, that would make me a hypocrite, as I have partaken of the cannabis at some points in my life. I found it comical when I learned that George Washington had a substantial amount of marijuana in his yard, mainly for fabrics, but my random guess is he and Martha enjoyed the mild hallucinogen from time to time. When I was a kid, every American president was like a perfectly straight-edged deity. Now I think differently.

I didn't know hemp was stronger than cotton, but is it actually rather comfortable? I remember how fun it was to show up at the dojo in something other than tee shirt and shorts one day; it was a mildly euphoric experience. And it was a natural high ;-)

Drew
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