Professional offices tend to have a dress code for staff but what about for martial arts school staff? Most martial arts schools have a specific uniform to wear such as gis or doboks, which means any sort of dress code usually involves these traditional martial arts uniforms.
However, some schools opt not to use uniforms, for a variety of reasons. Others that do may want their employees to abide by an alternative dress code when they’re working but not instructing or practicing. It really depends on a lot of factors and, here, we’ll breakdown the ones we find most important.
Purpose of a Dress Code
Dress codes serve many functions. For one, they serve to distinguish employees and customers, as well as seniority of employees and their respective roles. In a martial arts context, belts are the signifiers of seniority and employment. Another function is representing your organization with a certain level of decorum.
Take a martial arts demonstration, for example. Your school will look a lot more professional and put together, if everyone in the demonstration is wearing the same martial arts uniform with varying belt colors, as opposed to everyone being in different cuts of t-shirts, shorts and pants.
To Gi or not to Gi
While most martial arts schools have a standard martial arts uniform every student must purchase and wear, there are some that forego this tradition. There are more and more less traditional forms of martial arts popping up that either mix various styles or apply some techniques and philosophies to more of a fitness setting. For these schools, it might not make sense to wear a very traditional uniform.
That being said, some martial arts schools in lower income neighborhoods may decide not to have mandatory martial arts uniforms, because many families wouldn’t be able to afford them. Like always, it depends on many factors. Some schools also choose to offer both gi and no-gi classes, while showcasing the difference in approach, when you don’t have a gi collar to grab on to.
We think professional attire doesn’t make sense in a martial arts school context, unless you’re primarily targeting business professionals or a very high-end practice. In this case, the design of the martial arts school must reflect this, so you have the whole package. Aside from this exception, martial arts schools do well by being very approachable. You don’t want to intimidate anyone with business attire and, at the end of the day, kids make up the bulk of the client base for many martial arts schools. One thing you may want to implement is a dress code forbidding inappropriate graphics, words, etc., as you’re trying to cultivate a family environment.
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