The following article was submitted to Fight Quality by Ronan, a writer from breakinggrips.com.
The Gi is also known as a Kimono and is the traditional uniform of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It was adapted from modern Japanese and is very similar to the uniform worn in Judo. Some BJJ schools such as 10th Planet do not use a Gi and train in what is known as Nogi (rashguards and shorts) However the vast majority of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academies practice Jiu-Jitsu in the Gi.
If you are new to the martial art picking the right Gi to buy can be a bit confusing. First of all the sizing can be tricky and it can be hard to figure out what type of Gi you need for your prospective academy and the type of training that you will be doing.
In this article I look at some of the main things to look out for when choosing a Gi.
Gi’s typically come in 5 standard sizes. These are A0 – A5 with A0 being the smallest and A5 the largest. Many brands offer half sizes in order to provide a better fit (For example A3.5 or A3L).
Most Gi retailers will have a sizing chart on their website along with body measurements that should give you a decent indication of what size Gi you are.
However the problem is that sizes can vary drastically between brands. For example an A3 Tatami Gi may fit completely different to an A3 Fuji Gi. Just because you purchased one brand of Gi at a particular size does not mean that size Gi will fit you when using a brand. For this reason it is always a good idea to check the sizing chart.
It is also worth noting that most Gi’s will shrink approximately 10% after the first couple of washes. A Gi that initially seemed quite baggy and loose can feel fitted after a few weeks of use.
Weight & Composition
The weight of the Gi can differ drastically depending on the density and amount of material used.
A typical Gi consists of a heavy cotton jacket, and reinforced trousers with a drawstring. Gi’s are typically advertised as single or double weave. Single weave is a pattern that uses less fabric than a double weave and means the will be light. Gi’s are sometimes available in gold weave which is mixture of the two.
The weight of a Gi is very much a personal preference for people. Some people prefer heavier Gi’s as they feel they are harder wearing and will last longer. Other people prefer lighter Gi’s as they feel like they can move easier with limited restriction.
It is also worth considering your climate when choosing a Gi. In summertime BJJ schools can be very warm (especially when the sparring gets going). As a result a lighter Gi may be a much more comfortable option for training.
Brand & Styling
This one has more to do with personal taste rather than anything else. Some brands offer simple Gi’s with minimal design and customisation whereas other brands offer signature Gi’s and one off releases.
Some of the most popular brands include Tatami, Kingz, Scramble, Future, Venum, and Hyperfly. Each brand have their own signature logo along with certain designs.
When you turn up at training you will notice that many of the students will have patches sewn onto their Gi. The most common patches include the name and logo of their team. Other patches may simply be worn as a personal preference. Patches often come with Gi’s but can often be purchased separately. Patches often include Jiu-Jitsu humour and BJJ lifestyle memes.
BJJ Gi’s typically come in 3 colors – White, Blue and Black. Most academies will allow Gi’s in any of these 3 colors but it is worth checking with your prospective academy first. This is because some schools have a white Gi only policy for training.
Gi’s are available in lots of different colors but be warned that you will be stick out like a sore thumb if new to the academy and you turn up in a pink Gi.
If you plan on competing in Jiu Jitsu you need to make sure that you get a Gi that will benefit you on competition day. Competition Gi’s are usually light weight to allow you to move faster and also to make sure that you make the required weight on the day of competition.
BJJ Competition organizers such as the IBJJF have strict rules on the Gi’s that must more worn in their competitions. For example you can only wear White, Blue, or patches are not allowed in certain sections of the Gi. So if you plan on competing make sure to download a copy of the rules and pay particular attention to the rules regarding the uniform.
Gi’s can range anywhere in price from $40 – $200 depending on the brand and the Gi. Like most training apparel you get what you pay for and a cheap $40 Gi will likely need replacing within a few months.
Many of the top brands offer novice Gi’s that are reasonably priced. These Gi’s often come with a white belt which is great as many people don’t realise that the belt is sold separately.
Limited edition Gi’s typically tend to cost a lot more. For example Shoyoroll offer limited editions through infrequent drops that often require an invite. These Gi’s sell for a lot more than the average Gi and they are so popular that there is a resell market for them.
The views and opinions in this article are those of the guest author and are not necessarily representative of Fight Quality’s own views. We welcome guest posts from knowledgeable and passionate writers, but have no affiliation with the author or connected companies/products.