Why the Black Gi?
Traditionally many martial art tournaments would not allow the wearing of black Gi’s, or, opponents would not step on the mat with somebody that was wearing a black Gi for superstitious reasons.
In 1937, when James Mitose started teaching his own style of Kenpo, he knew it would be looked at as just another martial art of Japanese/Okinawan style. In an effort to avoid this he made a bold statement by going against most every Japanese martial art tradition by making the standard Kenpo Gi black instead of white. Kenpo was not a Japanese martial art, tho the Kanji is Japanese, the art and the people, are Chinese. The color of the Gi was meant to send the message that Kenpo is a true war art, and disassociate with the Japanese martial arts, with Mitose feeling that black was symbolizing death, trauma and bruising.
Originally only instructors, or students of high rank were allowed to wear the black Gi. This was because the beginning students did not know the art well enough, and were not yet capable of representing Kenpo as the war art that it truly is.