We know that for those starting out and looking to buy their first BJJ Gi, the task can seem a bit overwhelming, with so many choices, sizes and variations to take in to account.
We have put together this buying guide to try and simplify the process and to help you make the right choice for you.
The first part of this guide has been broken down in to 5 sections and will cover important things to take in to account, such as;
1 – Material
2 – Weight
3 – Appearance
4 – Colour
5 – Size
1 – Material
In general, Jiu Jitsu Gis are made from 100% cotton, however there are exceptions to this, such as the Hayabusa GSP Rising Sun Jiu Jitsu Gi which has Bamboo woven in to its fabric.
The type of “weave” used to construct a Gi is something that you should also be aware of when buying for the first time, as this will reflect its the physical weight and durability.
There are many different kinds of “weave” out there, so we have listed the different options below to help you get a better understanding.
• Single weave
The majority of Gis out there are Single Weave and some brands offer the option of a Light Weight and Heavy Weight version.
If you are looking to buy your first Gi, then Single Weave options like the Venum Challenger BJJ Gi make a great choice as they are normally the least expensive. Their relatively low cost is due to the lesser amount of material used in the basic Single Weave manufacturing process.
• Pearl weave
Some BJJ purists say that weave variations outside of the Single, Double and Gold Weaves are used to help their products differentiate themselves from the rest. However we do know that Pearl Weave Gis, like the Spider Jiu Jitsu Gi and Hayabusa Shinju Pearl Weave Jiu Jitsu Gi are light in weight akin to that of the Single Weave, but they also place a strong emphasis on their durability properties too.
• Honeycomb weave
As with the Pearl Weave, this further variation on the Single Weave offers another light weight option. The name comes from the Honeycomb like pattern of the weave that can be seen when view up close.
• Double weave
This kind of weave produces heavy, durable and long lasting Gis. Often used for Judo, this weight of Gi has declined in popularity for Jiu Jitsu practitioners in recent times, with preference for Light Weight Gis being the more popular choice. The relatively expensive cost of Double Weave Gis is due to the increased amount of material used for their construction.
• Gold Weave
Long lasting and durable like Double Weave Gis, Gold Weave Gis like the Hayabusa Goorudo Gold Weave Jiu Jitsu Gi are normally heavier and again more expensive than their Single Weave counterparts.
The aim of this kind of Gold Weave is to combine the best of being both light weight yet strong and durable. In essence, replicating and combining the most desirable properties of both the Single and Double Weave Gis.
Similar in appearance to canvas like material, Ripstop is designed to reduce tearing as much as possible. Some brands will use Ripstop as the material of choice for both the Jacket and Pants, or like the GRIPS Athletics Secret Weapon BJJ Gi 2.0, use a combination of a cotton jacket and Ripstop pants,
The main pro of Ripstop is it’s light weight, however as tends to be the case with light weight materials, you may find that your opponent will have a better chance of applying a tighter grip on your Gi during training or competition.
• Triple Weave
A relative newcomer, this type of construction was first used on the Hayabusa Mizuchi Pro Jiu Jitsu Gi and Hayabusa Kanji Pro Jui Jitsu Gi.
Unlike the name might suggest, this is not a material that is three times as thick as a Single Weave, but is in fact a variation of the much lighter weight Ripstop material. The properties of the Triple Weave are therefore light weight and durable.
2 – Weight
BJJ Gis are available in different weights, which can sometimes add further confusion for a beginner when deciding what to buy. The weight of a Gi will ultimately be based on your own personal preference over time.
Gis are measured in gsm (grams per square meter), a system used to quantify the density of a fabric. We have listed the commonly used fabric weights that you will find below:
• 420 gsm
This weight of material is used for a lot of Light Weight Gis and is popular for those competing in tournaments. Whilst strong enough for regular use, a lot people prefer to wear a heavier weight for everyday training.
• 450 gsm
Again, popular for competition use, this weight is naturally more durable than a 420gsm Gi and offers a good balance between weight and durability.
• 500 & 550 gsm
As expected, 500gsm and 550gsm Gis are in the Heavy Weight Gi category and usually this comes with an increased price tag too. Gis of this weight are long lasting and very durable.
3 – Appearance
Ranging from the minimal to the outlandish, Jiu Jitsu Gis are available in a variety of designs to cater for all tastes. The favoured design will usually include a vertical brand logo patch on the arms or chest of the Gi, as seen on Hayabusa’s Jiu Jitsu Gi designs.
Like with any range of sportswear, style is down to your own personal preference, however in BJJ there can be restrictions on the appearance of Gis when competing (see IJJBF guidelines at the end of this guide). Again, as with other sports, the more flashy the design of your clothing or equipment, the more attention you will draw to yourself! Unless you’re just a naturally super confident person, we’d recommend that you get your technique up to scratch before being the centre of attention down at your local club.
4 – Colour
The same as design styles, Gis also come in a variety of colours. Traditionally the most popular colours are; White, Black and Blue. If you are a beginner at a new club it is always worth finding out if there are any restrictions about the colour of Gi allowed before making your first investment. It has been known for new practitioners to make a purchase of a new Gi without consulting their instructor first, only to find out that the colour they have chosen is not allowed at their club!
By no means a hard and fast rule, the colour of Gi is sometimes linked to the experience and rank of it’s wearer. Beginners and traditionalists normally tend to opt for a White Gi and we believe you can’t really go wrong with this colour. Mainly because White Gis tend to be a universally accepted colour with regards to club and gym restrictions.
Blue Gis are again popular, and as with wearing White, as a beginner you won’t draw any unwanted attention to yourself early on in your BJJ career.
Black Gis, although becoming popular with practitioners at all levels, has normally been the colour of choice for more experienced and higher ranks.
5 – Size
Due to the variations that exist between brands, it is always recommended that you check the size guide for each brand before buying. Adult Gi sizes are standardised in to the categories shown below. To simplify each size without using measurements, we have labelled each one with corresponding; Small, Medium, Large and X-Large to give you an idea.
A4: X Large
Sizes A0 (X-Small) and A5 (XX Large) are also available but those listed above are the most common.
It is important to note that not all brands offer a gi that is sized and cut specifically for women. However brands like Grips Athletics™ do have Gis that are designed and cut for women. Their Amazona Womens BJJ Gi is a an example of this kind of specially designed Gi.
For Women’s sizes, the equivalent Small to X Large sizing guide is the same, however you will notice that before the number will be either the ‘F’ or ‘W’.
As with the standard Adult sizes, it is advisable to consult the relevant brand size guide before making your choice.
F4: X Large
Check out Part Two of our BJJI Buyers Guide for more handy buying guide hints!