How to do karate in a Victorian dress

Here’s an informative post by Marie Brennan at, investigating whether it is possible to do karate kata while wearing a Victorian dress and what that experience is like.

I’m sure we were all wondering about that, right?

I decided I would take a moment to walk through a simple kata as a preliminary test. … I got one move in and discovered that the biggest limitation was one that had never even crossed my mind.

It wasn’t the skirt.

I would sure have assumed it was the skirt.

The style of karate I practice, though, is shōrin-ryu. This emphasizes very straight, minimalist steps, almost always taking your foot in the most direct line from its current position to its new one—which turns out to be ideal when you’ve got a lot of fabric along for the ride.

To find out what the biggest obstacle actually was, click through and read the whole thing. It was a surprise to me, and the suggestions for clothing design as part of worldbuilding may come in handy sometime.

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3 thoughts on “How to do karate in a Victorian dress”

  1. Ah. Although she says it’s not an issue in modern clothing, I’ve encountered this problem so many times that it was the first to come to mind, haha.

    Nice experiment. I love seeing assumptions turned on their heads.

  2. I didn’t think of it at all, even though when she pointed it out I sure realized how right she is about the restriction of movement this kind of clothing design causes.

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