About Ichiban

Ichiban International’s vision is to provide Exclusive Suits to all karate practitioners (from beginners to black belts). If you practice this beautiful art you will know what it's like to feel great on the inside. Now it's time to look great on the outside! 

Look good and feel more confident in Ichiban's custom-fitted karate suits.

All Ichiban suits are exclusively made and are favoured by expert karate-ka and famous instructors. However, the benefits of an Ichiban suit can be felt by everyone, from white belt to Dan grades and instructors. You will feel the difference immediately and enjoy your karate even more. It's a great investment in the long run. Why wait years when you can buy one today?

Ichiban International was founded in London in 1997 by Elena Floris. Elena worked with some of the world's top Instructors to develop a unique offering and help Ichiban thrive on a global basis. All our karate suits and belts are hand made in Japan to the highest quality standards.

Initially, Ichiban imported Tokaido karate suits and black belts. Since 1999 we have specialised in distributing Hirota karate suits and black belts. These are tailor-made and personalized with the finest characters in either Kanji or Katakana style, translated by our native Japanese staff. Ichiban International strives to provide you with

  • the finest quality materials
  • obsessive attention to detail 
  • highest standards of service

For further information on Ichiban International or Hirota you can send an email to Elena.

Elena Floris: the founder of Ichiban International

Elena Floris - the founder of Ichiban International

Elena Floris - Founder 

Elena Floris (formerly Elena Akita) is originally from Sardinia (Italy). She came to the UK in December 1983 and karate quickly began to take over her life, as she explains,

"I started Shotokan karate in 1986 with Keinozuke Enoeda Sensei in London. In 1988 I joined Masao Kawasoe Sensei (Click here for his Profile) and trained with him 3 - 4 times a week for 20 years. During this time I travelled around the UK and abroad to attend regular seminars with World famous Shotokan Karate Masters such as Kancho Hirokazu Kanazawa, Hiroshi Shirai Sensei, Yasuyuki Aragane Sensei, Hideo Ochi Sensei and others.

I became part of the UKTKF(United Kingdom Traditional Karate Federation) national team in the early 1990s. In 2004 I spent a year in Japan where I studied Karate with the JKA (Japan Karate Association) in the Gifu prefecture. I also studied the Japanese language. I even entered the JKA regional championship and won 1st place in Kata and 1st place in Kumite. It was a wonderful experience, further fuelling my passion for karate and the benefits to mind and body.

Through Ichiban and my karate clubs in West London I am fortunate to be able to share my passion and experience with so many people. I admit I'm a little bit obsessive. I've never been able to settle for anything less than the best, whether that's performance or clothing (I am Italian after all!). I am proud to be associated with Hirota karate suits - every day I can see and feel the difference it makes to wear a suit of the highest quality."

For advice on choosing your karate suit, email Elena Floris at

Elena has an impressive list of achievements at National and International level:

*    Open World champion - Kumite (fighting) 1st place in 1999
*    Open World champion - Team Kumite 2nd place in 1999
      (Elena won every single fight for the team, but lost in the final)

*    European champion - Kumite 3rd place in 1995
*    European champion - Synchronised ladies team Kata (form) 3rd place in 1995

*    UK National champion - Individual ladies Kata 1st place from 1995 to 2000
*    UK National champion - Individual ladies Kumite 1st place from 1995 to 2000
*    UK National champion - Synchronised ladies team Kata 1st place from 1995 to 2000

Elena now balances her life between her two young children, Ichiban International, Ichiban Team Building and her own karate clubs in West London

Size guide

Ichiban International size chart

Please stretch out flat before measuring

JacketTrousersHigh waist trousers


All sizes are in centimeters

Assuming you order the correct size the arm sleeve length will fall one third up between the wrist and the elbow. The leg length will be just above the ankle. 

If you like wearing a shorter sleeve and shorter trousers Ichiban recommend you order a part made to measure suit (giving exact dimensions of sleeves and legs). The sizes go according to the person’s height. Every person comes in different shapes and sizes, therefore Ichiban has created the above chart to assist you in choosing the correct size.  Please note that this is only a guideline. Diamensions may vary slightly from one batch to another. Please e-mail Ichiban if you need further assistance.


Belt length


When the belt is made up, lift both ends and ensure that they do not pass your chin.
This is to prevent it from slapping your face when kicking.

To assist you could apply the following formula:

for the Regular belt (4cm width) :
• (Waist in cm) x 2 + 110 to 120 cm (depending on if you want a standard length belt or long hanging belt. This can in turn be dependent on the amount of embroidery.)

for the Wide belt (4.5cm width):
• (waist in cm) x 2 + 120 to 130cm (depending on if you want a standard length belt or long hanging belt. This can in turn be dependent on the amount of embroidery.)