In this, the second part of our BJJ Gi Buyers Guide, we will follow on from Part One by looking at four more points that you will want to consider before buying a Gi.
The four remaining common points that we will cover are;
1 – Gi Pants
2 – Gi Shrinkage
3 – How Much To Pay
4 – IBJJF Legality
1 – Gi Pants
Thankfully for the first time Gi buyer or beginner the variations in Gi Pants is fewer than that of Gi Jackets.
However, pants are available in varying weights, but are generally classed in to the two material categories below:
Some people find Cotton Twill the more comfortable, however this is down to personal preference and opinions will vary.
The main benefits of Ripstop over Twill is that it is much faster to dry and is light weight. There is an unresolved argument between practitioners that the thinner Ripstop material makes it easier for your opponent to maintain a stronger grip than on thicker, heavier Twill material pants.
The quality of stitching on the pants (and the Gi in general) will also be a major factor in the durability of the Gi. It doesn’t matter if you opt for either of the two choices above, if the stitching that holds everything together isn’t of a high quality then you could be dealing with much more problematic issues than comfort, weight and fit!
2 – Shrinkage
Whilst the majority of Gis today are described as pre-shrunk, don’t count on this and it is wise to be cautious and expect some shrinking from all brands of Gi. The average shrinkage after washing and drying is usually in the region of 3% (consult individual brand washing guidelines for specific details).
Washing and drying instructions will vary from brand to brand, but we would normally advise that Gis are washed in cold water and are allowed to dry naturally to prevent any unwanted shrinkage.
By its very nature, cotton absorbs water and expands as a result. During the drying process, cotton shrinks back down to it’s tightest and most condensed form, this is where the shrinkage occurs.
3 – How Much To Pay?
The price ranges of Jiu Jitsu Gis varies vastly and was with anything that you buy, you normally do get what you pay for in terms of quality.
However it is important to note that the higher the price tag doesn’t always mean superior quality and there are excellent quality Gis to be had in the mid level price brackets. It is just a case of doing your research once you have an estimate of how much you are willing to pay. There is one thing that can be said about BJJ fanatics is that they love to discuss the sport and there a plenty forums out there with knowledgeable and opinionated practitioners who often provide very thorough Gi reviews.
With the higher price Gis, although you should of course expect a high standard of quality, you may be paying the extra for things like the brand name, additional patches or detailed embroidery and design features.
4 – Will My Gi Be IBJJF Legal?
The International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation is the renowned for organising some of the word’s biggest BJJ Tournaments, such as the World Jiu Jitsu Championship and Nogi World Jiu Jitsu Championship to name but a few.
If you are looking to compete in an IBJJF tournament, you will need to be aware of the strict rules that are in place with regards to Gi specifications for competitors.
The IBJJF has the authority to change their rules at any given time so we advise keeping yourself up to date via their official website, where you will find the necessary information on their IBJJF Uniform Requirements page.