Lately I’ve become a real dictator about kids having their belts tied correctly and their uniform being worn correctly. Part of it is self interest, the more kids that can tie their belt the less belt I have to tie on in an average day (which is a lot :).
But more than that, I’m wanting my students to learn a sense of what belongs to them and what is under their direct control. You can’t promise me you will win all your matches or learn the technique of the day perfectly. You can show up with everything you need to have a great class and prepare yourself physically.
I believe two things at the same time, how you look doesnt matter and does matter.
For example: when I first moved back to Charleston, I was training 2 hours a day five days a week. I had one gi. You better believe that it wasn’t a nice one and did not make me feel fancy. But I took so much delight in going to my first tournament in SC as a blue belt and matching up with guys that had all the cool gear but still lost to me in my junky $60 gi.
Its important for kids to know that how you look isn’t the most important thing.
On the other hand, now that I”m a bit older and have competed at things where the stakes are a little bit higher, it matters to me to give myself every advantage. I know that if I am wearing a good fitting cool gi, I will think all of my movements look better and will thus be more confident.
Its silly but its absolutely true. Its rare that you see a kid who is sloppy in their uniform and not also sloppy in their technique. Learning to take mastery over something as simple as a belt not sets you up for success.
So even though on a larger level your appearance doesn’t dictate your skill, I think its a good practice for kids to dress for success. Be sharp, even in the title things and you will amaze yourself.