If you are planning to kick start your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training soon, a good Gi is one of the first things you will need, but choosing the right one can be really confusing. In this article, we will make life easier for you and provide you with all the information you need regarding the weave types, styles, sizes and importance of Gis.
Things to consider
Although it may look like a simple piece of clothing, choosing the perfect Gi can be a very complex process. At the end of the day, your main objective is to have the best experience and be comfortable while you are rolling. Therefore, having a deeper understanding of what’s available in the market can help you make the right decision.
The three important factors to consider when buying the Gi are weight, thickness and durability. If you are not used to training in the Gi, a heavier Gi would be very problematic, so buying a lighter one will be suitable for your humble beginnings. You should also pay close attention to the thickness of the Gi. A very thick Gi will make life difficult for you and your training partner, and a very thin one may not be very durable.
Gis with stress point reinforcements should be preferred as they are more durable. Since lighter Gis have become very popular, stress points, or areas which are normally grabbed and pulled a lot, should be reinforced with additional stitching in order to keep the Gi from ripping. Another advantage of stress point reinforcements is that it makes the Gi harder to grip.
While some higher end Gis are made from hemp, most of the Gis available in the market are made from cotton and some from bamboo. Cotton Gis are very popular among BJJ practitioners as they are durable and affordable. If you are a beginner with a limited BJJ skill set, the cotton Gis are the perfect match for you, because as well as being affordable, they are durable, comfortable and very easy to maintain.
Cotton Gis are also very easy to dry after washing, which you will be doing quite often. Hemp Gis are a great value for money as well, but they are very high-end. Hemp is a fantastically strong and breathable material. Hemp Gis also have antimicrobial properties, which can protect you from all sorts of germs and bacteria. If you have been practicing for years and want to upgrade your Gi, you can buy a hemp one, but for beginners, keeping things simple and comfortable with a cotton Gi is recommended.
Gis are also made from Bamboo. These Gis are very soft and don’t shrink even after multiple washes. One of the major benefits of this material is that it actually gets softer after a few washes, unlike cotton, which hardens over time. The Bamboo plant also has bacteria fighting capabilities, which provides you with the protection you need while you roll.
There are also a number of pre-shrunk Gis available in the market. Pre-shrinking process is specially done to make sure that Gis don’t shrink after washing. However, they can still shrink a bit depending on how you wash them throughout their lifespan.
BJJ Gis come in different weaves. The three main weaves are Single Weave, Gold Weave and Pearl Weave, but the attire also comes in Double and Ripstop weaves.
Almost all Gi manufacturers will identify the GSM or grams per square meter of the Gi fabric. Most Gis range between 375 GSM and 890 GSM. The lower GSM range mostly comes in Single Weave and Pearl Weave, the mid GSM range comes in Pearl Weave and Gold Weave and the heavier GSM range is featured as Double Weave.
Single Weave cotton is the basic weave used on many entry-level Gis, which is because it is a lot cheaper than the other alternatives available in the market, and it shrinks a little more. A Single Weave entails a single weft thread woven up and down single warp threads, leaving a smooth and flat appearance to the fabric.
Although it’s less expensive than its many counterparts, it isn’t a bad choice by any means. This weave is extremely comfortable to train in.
Gold Weave is a thicker weave, which appears like parallel ladders because its heavier threads are mingled with regular threads. The looser weft is then woven over and under sections of thinner warp threads.
This weave used to be the most popular material, but it fell down the pecking order because of the rising costs of its production and the rise in popularity of Pearl Weaves. However, there has been an increase in its popularity again during the past few years, with some companies going as far as producing only Gold Weaves. The reason for a rise in its popularity is that it’s very comfortable to train in and is very durable. It does tend to be harder to grip and shrinks quite a bit, however.
Pearl Weave gets its name from its appearance, which looks like it is made from rows of tiny pearls. This appearance is created when a thin and tight set of weft are woven in alternate order with a looser and wider set of weft. The looser weft creates the pearl-like appearance of this Gi.
Pearl Weave cotton is the most popular material for Gis right now, as almost 80 percent of the Gis are currently made from it. The major reason is that it is very affordable compared to the Gold Weave, comes in a variety of weights, rarely shrinks and is very durable. However, not all Pearl Weaves are made equal. A good quality Pearl Weave Gi will have all the attributes mentioned above and it will be soft and comfortable, but inferior quality of Pearl Weaves can be stiff and very rough, which can make your training experience really sour.
A Double Weave is created when a double set of warps is woven together with a double set of weft, resulting in a double layer fabric. Double Weave Gi is therefore twice the weight of a single weave. It’s still popular in some circles, but most BJJ students prefer lightweight Gis due to the comfort element. Double Weave cotton Gis are also more expensive than the Gold Weaves.
Ripstop fabrics are made by using a special reinforcing technique that makes them resistant to damage. Thick reinforcement yarns are interwoven in a crosshatch pattern during weaving at 5 to 8 millimeter intervals. These Gis saw a bit of a rise a few years ago, but they aren’t widely preferred by BJJ practitioners. In fact, Ripstop was banned by most major tournaments like IBJJF after some practitioners complained that the Gi jacket had a waxy feel on their skin. Nonetheless, Ripstop Weave is still used to make Gi trousers and some grappling shorts. Some companies still use this material to produce jackets as an alternative to the thicker ones in summer,
The collar area is something most people ignore when they buy a Gi. Gis comes in both thick and thin collars, with each having its own advantages. A thicker collar makes it hard for your opponents to submit you with a collar choke, while a thinner collar is a lot more comfortable and easy to maneuver in.
Most collars are made with cotton, like the rest of the Gi, but some Gis also come with rubber collars, which are easier to dry and can reduce the growth of mold on the Gi.
Colour and Design
While belt colors signify rankings, Gi colors mean absolutely nothing as far as rankings are concerned and are solely for aesthetic reasons. That being said, even if you are going to the gym to hone your BJJ skills, you still want to look good. White is too boring, right? That's why BJJ Gis come in a variety of colors and designs.
If you are planning to compete in a tournament, you have to keep the rules in mind. Most tournaments only allow white, black and blue Gis, so if you buy a fancy pink or yellow one, you won’t be able to use it when competing. It’s better to stick with the traditional white, blue and black ones, but you should also check with your gym instructors, as some gyms don’t allow specific colors in class.
You can also purchase BJJ Gis with custom designs and patches. You can add logos of your team and sponsors on your Gi, but be mindful of the fact that BJJ bodies such as the IBJJF only allow certain areas on a Gi to be patched or designed. If you place a patch on an unauthorized area, you will not be allowed to compete in that piece of cloth.
Here are the areas where the IBJJF allows patching your Gi:
Fitted and Classic Cut Gis
Fitted Cut BJJ Gis are perfect for smaller body types. Not only will they be harder for your opponent to grab, but they will also give you a custom made Gi like feeling if you buy the perfect size. These types of Gis allow you greater freedom of movement, especially if they are made with a lightweight material.
Classic Cuts, on the contrary, are loosely fitted and come in a variety of weaves and colors. They are also more commonly used in comparison to Fitted Cut Gis.
One of the most common questions asked about Gis is regarding its size, which obviously varies from person to person. If you are facing issues finding what Gi size fits you best, we have got your covered. We offer a number of different sizes for adults and kids. However, it is important to note here that you will get some crossover with all the Gi sizes. For example, some adults could fit a lower end adult size Gi, while a small female adult could fit a bigger size kids Gis.
Below is how our BJJ Gi size chart for adults looks like:
And here is our BJJ Gi size chart for kids:
The importance of a Gi
The Gi’s importance in BJJ or other forms of grappling, such as Judo, can’t be emphasized enough. The word Gi literally means ‘practice clothes’, and consists of a jacket, pants and belt. The Gi is worn for a number of reasons:
The Gi is made with user experience in mind. It is a very comfortable, kimono-like attire, which allows you the liberty to train for longer periods of time without any issues. It also keeps you protected from germs and bacteria on the mat by restricting direct skin contact with your opponent and the mats.
Practicing BJJ in the Gi is extremely beneficial for improving your overall skill set. The garment is heavy and dries out the sweat, making it difficult to move around fluidly, therefore there’s a greater amount of focus on technique. The Gi also boosts strength as the constant gripping and pulling of your opponents’ attire strengthens your muscles and tendons.
The Gi has a rich history. Over a hundred years ago, Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo, decided to create an attire, which would develop uniformity among those who practice martial arts, particularly Judo and JuJutsu.
Kano took inspiration from the Japanese kimono to create the Gi. When the Japanese JuJutsu made its way to Brazil in the early twentieth century, BJJ kingins, The Gracies, made their modifications not only to the sport, but to the attire as well. While the Japanese kimonos had baggy jackets, the Brazilians decided to make the sleeves shorter and give the Gi an overall tighter cut.
BJJ and even Judo practitioners have been using the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gis for centuries now, and it is one of the most important parts of grappling, if not the most.
A BJJ dojo is a different world altogether, where the worries of the outer world are set aside, and the focus is solely placed on learning the gentle art. While every person has their own unique personality and appearance outside, everybody’s one and the same inside the dojo, where hardwork and commitment are what sets one apart from the rest.
When you step inside the dojo and put on your Gi, and as does everybody else, you develop a sense of belonging with the people around you, helping you grow together as a unit.
How much does a BJJ Gi cost?
A Gi can cost anywhere around $50 to $300, depending on the brand and quality of the Gi. The hemp and Brazilian cotton Gis are the most expensive ones, but that doesn’t mean they are the only best ones out there. Gi prices can vary depending on the material, weave, size and colour of the product. Another important factor which can affect the pricing is the brand you are buying from. If it’s a popular brand, expect to pay a lot more.
But if you are not willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a Gi, because of course you have to take care of other expenses as well, for example your dojo and supplement expenses, then you should have a look at the options available on our website. You can purchase high-quality products for a very reasonable price.
Frequently asked questions about Gi size
Your Gi size is the one that fits you perfectly, it’s as simple as that. Moreover, you can also see the above charts to know which one fits you perfectly. But if you have tried it without any success, please let us know your height and weight and we’ll help you out.
The important thing here is to check the sizes mentioned on the chart to pick the right length of Gi for you. Whether you want a tight fitting Gi or a baggy one is completely up to your preference. Some people choose tight fitted Gis, while others go for loose ones as they provide them the comfort they need.
The sleeve length shouldn’t be more than 5 cm from your wrist. It is also a good way to find out the size of your Gi. If the sleeves are lengthier than 5cm from wrists, maybe you need to get your Gi replaced.
Thanks for reading.
Until the next one,