FEATURED THE COMMUNITY — 25 April 2012
Picking Out Your First Gi

By Robbin Gray:

What to Look For When Purchasing Your First Jiu-Jitsu Gi

In the early 1990′s the Gracie Family created the UFC as a way to showcase their unique and practical martial art known as Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. While jiu-jitsu had been around for quite some time it was the Gracie Family that gave it their own particular spin and brought it to mainstream America. Since the inception of the UFC and Royce Gracie’s domination of early events the number of participants in the sport has grown exponentially and a fighter pretty much can’t make it in the UFC without an above average knowledge of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu or more commonly called just Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. There are two categories within the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu category; gi and nogi. Gi Jiu-jitsu involves training in a traditional uniform which is known as a gi or kimono. Nogi Jiu-Jitsu involves training without the gi (wearing just shorts and a t-shirt).

In the early days training with the gi was a person’s only option, but as the sport grew and BJJ was incorporated into MMA the demand for nogi training became more popular. Essentially gi and nogi Jiu-Jitsu are the same, the only difference being that some of the techniques cannot be applied and some must be modified for nogi. Today there is an equal mix of people training in both types and you will rarely find a person who trains exclusively in gi or nogi. To train Jiu-Jitsu in a gi you will need to purchase one either from an instructor or on the Internet. The Internet is loaded with companies willing to sell you all types of gis, in various colors and with an infinite amount of patches on them. When you go looking for a gi you need to make sure that you are looking for ones specifically designed for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. If you already train Karate or Taekwondo or come across a website selling these types of uniforms for a low price then you need to steer clear. Karate and Taekwondo uniforms are made of very thin material in comparison to BJJ gis and they won’t last very long due to the stress that will be placed upon them from regular training.

The first thing you need to do when purchasing a gi is decide what color you want. You will find a wide array out there, anywhere from pink to camo Gi’s. However, some schools only allow the traditional colors of white, blue, or black and if you plan on competing in certain tournaments these will be the only colors allowed. Your best bet for your first gi would be to stick with a white one. The second thing you need to do when picking out your kimono is to look at the website’s sizing chart. It will ask for your height and weight and for the most part all sizing charts are pretty standard. Now that you know your color and size you need to look at things like weight and material. Some companies make heavyweight Jiujitsu Gi’s, some have lightweight, while others have summer weight ones. Your material choices will be cotton or a blended material that is known as rip stop material. Your best bet with these options are to choose a lightweight, cotton gi that costs roughly $100 to $120. It’s good to stick with these options because you never know if you will like the class or wind up quitting 3 months down the line.

Best not to invest too much money into something you aren’t sure you will be sticking with. Now that you’ve made your choices place your order and wait for the gi to arrive. When you get your gi it is a good thing to try it on before you was it, because it will most likely shrink up upon laundering. If you like the way it fits then wash your gi in cold water and hang dry it. If you want a tighter, more custom fit then wash it in warm water and throw it in the dryer on high for 5 minutes at a time until it fits well and then let it hang dry the rest of the way. All future laundry sessions should be with cold water and a hang dry. Once you have completed all of these steps you are good to go and just need to get in the gym and train.

Robbin Gray is a staff writer for the MMA Zone. You can find her at the local Karate/Kickboxing or MMA training gyms when she isn’t writing about the martial arts.

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About Author

I am a Purple Belt and Assistant Instructor for Draculino at Gracie Barra Texas. I also shoot a lot of videos and created a Youtube channel for Gracie Barra Texas, which got me the nick name "Paparazzi" due to my running around with cameras all the time.

(7) Readers Comments

  1. i am 5,6 weight 63 kg A1 or A2

  2. A quality Bjj Gi is the one that gives you flexibility to your movements when you wear it. You should feel very comfortable inside the Gi. You should never feel any sense of discomfort when you wear the Jiu Jitsu Gi. Then only you can call it a quality Bjj Gi.
    Thanks.
    http://www.fightersmarket.com/

  3. I know I need to get a bjj gi but i am not sure what size. how do i find out the size i need to order online? i don’t live anywhere near martial arts store to try one on.

    • What’s your weight and height? And what build are you? Over weight, lean, muscular? Give me some info and I’ll guesstimate for you.

      • thank you i didn’t know anyone responded. i am 5 ft 4 inch and about 110 lbs, what do you think i should get?

        • I would say an A1 probably. It will still probably be big on you, so make sure you was and dry it, don’t air dry it. Probably even high heat and it will shrink about the width of four fingers.

  4. Thanks for the information!
    My son was in Taekwondo and we bought a uniform. I was hoping that I could use it for the Jiu Jitsu class he just signed up for but I wasn’t sure. I didn’t realize that Taekwondo uniforms are made with much thinner material. I will look for a BJJ gi. appreciate it

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