Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gis Australia
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Fuji Single Weave
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BJJ Gi Buyer’s Guide
Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art, combat sport and self-defense system that focuses on grappling, takedowns and ground-based fighting. It was originally developed in 1916 by Luiz França and Carlos Gracie, who adapted the art of Kodokan Judo to create a system that could help smaller, weaker people defend themselves against bigger, stronger assailants. Brazilian jiu-jitsu uses leverage techniques to take fighters to the ground and then applies joint locks and chokeholds to win.
BJJ is one of the fastest growing – and most well respected – combat sports in the world due to its successful application in mixed martial arts competitions such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
One aspect of Brazilian jiu-jitsu that separates it from other martial arts is the sporting side. In addition to a self-defence system it’s also commonly used to promote physical fitness and build character; therefore, live drilling (aka rolling) is a huge aspect of the art.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu gi is the most important “weapon” on the mat. Wear the wrong gi and you’ll find yourself at a significant disadvantage, no matter how good you are. The wrong gi will cause you to loose mobility and will make you more susceptible to attacks.
The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gi Buyers Guide
Like many Japanese martial arts, the word for a Brazilian jiu-jitsu uniform is a “gi” or “kimono.” BJJ gis are similar to a judo gi, but have tighter cuffs on both the pants and jacket. This provides a closer fit and less material for opponents to take hold of; which in turn makes moves more difficult to execute.
A Brazilian jiu-jitsu gi is required in order for practitioners to gain promotions within the sport and engage in competitions; however, since the inception of mixed martial arts, “no gi” jiu-jitsu has been growing significantly in popularity. This form of BJJ has adapted moves for the octagon and MMA so you don’t need to hold a gi to implement certain techniques.
The whole culture of the Brazilian jiu-jitsu kimono (gi) has come a long way since the inception of the martial art. Originally the Gracie family would hold and wash gis for their students as part of the tradition, but that soon faded as more and more clubs opened up around the world and mainstream brands started sponsoring fighters. The BJJ gi is now a staple feature of jiu-jitsu from both a practical and combat perspective.
While the name “gi” is shared across many different forms of martial art, there’s a reason why they are specific to certain styles. For example, karate gis are generally thinner, looser and very flexible; – not suitable for heavy duty grappling and submissions – therefore, if you are starting Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you need a Brazilian jiu-jitsu gi. This may seem obvious, but plenty of first-time buyers make this mistake and find themselves spending more money than they need to.
In today’s world of sponsorships and mixed martial arts crews, you may feel hard pressed to find a gi that isn’t branded with some kind of tribal insignia. It can actually be difficult to find a single, solid coloured gi nowadays that makes the grade. If this is what you’re after, steer away from world famous mixed martial arts brands and purchase a more traditional gi – possibly something from Brazil.
Before you buy a Brazilian jiu-jitsu gi it’s important to know what colour to purchase. While most clubs take a very informal approach, certain colours and styles aren’t approved for competition. Traditionally the sport’s colours are white, blue and black; however, gis are available in virtually any colour scheme.
Note: Always check with your local club to find out what colour is appropriate.
If you are planning on engaging in competition, check the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s website to find out the approved colours.
How much does a good gi cost?
A BJJ gi that’s suitable for competition isn’t cheap. Expect to pay at least $150-$200 if you plan on entering competitions or engaging in serious and frequent training. It is possible to find gis for a fraction of this price, but it’s doubtful that they’ll hold up to scrutiny. Fundamentally, you can’t expect to hone your skills if you don’t have the right attire.
BJJ Gi Brands
Virtually every mixed martial art brand produces a line of Brazilian jiu-jitsu gis, and many even have their own specific size measurements and weaves. Gis from brands that are known within MMA circles, such as Venom and Bad Boy, can seem more expensive; however, many of them sponsor and work alongside some of the best practitioners in the world to ensure that their products make the grade. While you’re not obliged to purchase branded goods, they’ll almost certainly provide a quality garment and sense of style that can’t be matched by cheaper, less known companies.
The right size gi can literally make or break a bout. BJJ gis usually come in sizes that range from A0 to A5. The A stands for “adult” and the number represents the size with higher meaning larger. However, different brands have different size guidelines. While it’s fairly easy to guess what size will be appropriate for you, it’s always worth trying on a gi before you buy one – providing it’s the same brand. Gis for children generally follow the same pattern; however, the A will be changed for another letter; usually M.
A tight gi can significantly hinder agility, while a loose gi can make it easier for opponents to implement certain techniques. In short, a decent gi should be loose around the crotch area to allow greater leg mobility and tighter (but still loose) everywhere else.
Pre-Shrunk and Shrink-to-Fit
Most Brazilian jiu-jitsu gis are made using pre-shrunk cotton to ensure they don’t get smaller after washing; however, if you prefer you can also use shrink-to-fit gis. As they sound, these gis will shrink after washing.
To adjust the size of a shrink-to-fit gi, follow these steps:
- Wash the gi as per the manufacturer guidelines.
- Put your gi in the dryer on a low setting.
- Take your gi out of the dryer every 5-10 minutes and test the size.
- Keep repeating the process until it’s the perfect fit.
- Remove the gi and hang it up to air dry if it isn’t already.
- Never put it into the dryer again!
People will often purchase shrink-to-fit gis in order to get the absolute perfect fit. Remember, you only have one chance to get them the right size, so if you make a mistake and end up with a gi that’s too small, there’s no going back.
The weight of a BJJ gi can have a direct impact on how quickly and easily you can move. In addition, if you expect to compete, then you’ll also have to take your weight division into account. A BJJ gi is still included in your weigh-in, so you must always think about how much the extra weight will affect your training routine. Too much and you may struggle to lose the excess weight, and too little and you’ll have to bulk. While these weight differences are small, they’re always worth thinking about.
The weight of a single weave, an A2 BJJ gi is usually between 1.8 and 1.6 kilograms; gold gis are generally heavier at around 2 kilograms, and double weaves are heavier still at between 2.5 and 3 kilograms.
Gi Weave Types
The weave is without a doubt the most important part of a BJJ gi as it will determine the thickness, weight and durability or the garment. There are several different types of weave, and each have their own positives and negatives, depending on how you use them.
The single weave is the most basic Brazilian jiu-jitsu gi and, therefore, the cheapest. The single weave isn’t as durable as other construction methods; however, gis made this way are perfect for practicing if you don’t want to invest too much money. They are also generally not recommended for competition because they’re flexible nature makes it easier for opponents to grab and hold on to.
Click image to enlarge.
Double weave gis are constructed using the same technique as a single gi, but twice over. This makes them twice as durable and gives them more weight and thickness. Double weave gis are better for competitions as they make it more difficult for opponents to hold on to. The only problem with double weave gis is that their thickness and flexibility can disadvantage the wearer if they aren’t the perfect fit; therefore, getting it right is paramount. Double weave gis are generally favoured among serious hobbyists.
The gold weave provides the best of both worlds – the strength of a double weave and the weight of a single weave. For this reason, they are generally more expensive. Gold weaves are often favoured by competitors and those who take the sport of BJJ very seriously.
Some brands and manufacturers create their own weaves. Common examples include the ripstop, honeycomb and platinum. If you’re ever in doubt, query the supplier and ask them which type of traditional weave it resembles the most.
Always check the collar fill before you purchase a BJJ gi as some clubs and competition guidelines have certain requirements. Most competitive practitioners prefer to use a rubber filled collar because they make it more difficult for an opponent to choke them; however, they are also far less comfortable. In addition, rubber is healthier as it reduces bacteria formation and dries faster, which can prevent infections, rashes and other skin-based health issues around the neck.
The sleeves are hugely important because they are probably the most common grip point, especially on open guard techniques. Too big and they will give opponents an edge, but too narrow and they’ll make it more difficult to perform certain techniques.
The IBJJF has recently implemented new rules that make narrow sleeves punishable by disqualification as they can make it impossible for opponents to perform certain techniques. On average, the sleeves should have a seven centimeter opening when they are fully extended.
Just like the jacket, trousers can significantly impact your comfort. The same weight and stitching calculations apply to trousers that apply to jackets, so always take this into consideration. Look at the belt ties to ensure your trousers will stay safe and secure throughout competition, and if possible, opt for knotted ends. If knotted ends are unavailable consider tying your own.
Gis for Women
As the sport of mixed martial arts ventures deeper into the mainstream, it’s becoming more and more common to see female fighters in the octagon. While gis are designed to fit all, women specific models will certainly fit the female body shape much better by providing a little more flexibility around the chest, and shorter sleeves and jackets. In addition, women’s gis are tapered at the waist, which provides a tighter fit.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a grappling based art and many of the moves in the traditional form rely on gi grabbing and pulling, etc.; therefore, your gi should be able to withstand a great deal of pressure without breaking. A weak garment won’t be able to cope with heavy strain and should be avoided at all costs.
Your BJJ gi could significantly enhance or impede your abilities. It would be impossible to state what the best gi actually is, as everybody has different preferences and opinions; however, by following this guide and putting these ideas into practice, you shouldn’t run into any issues.
The Best BJJ Gis
There’s no such thing as the “best BJJ gi” as it’s all down to personal preference; however, if you aren’t quite sure what you’re searching for and need a little nudge in the right direction, the BJJ gis on this list are known throughout the sport for being excellent products and great value for money.
Soul Roll Jiu-Jitsu Gis
Every Soul Roll jiu-jitsu gi goes far beyond expectations. With excellent quality patchwork and embroidery, they’re unlike any other gis on the market. The Soul Roll Alpha is generally considered to be one of their finest designs. With rip-stop pants, triple stitching at stress points, 6 drawstring loops and a unique trim, the 350gsm super light top is a more than adequate candidate for mainstream competition.
Break Point Jiu-Jitsu Gis
The 2014 Break Point Deluxe has been hotly anticipated. They are made from an ultra-light material and come with two different types of trousers; rip-stop or lightweight. The gi has been designed to provide maximum flexibility, lightness and resistance. The two types of trousers make them ideal for both competitions and casual training. Break Point gis are 97% pre-shrunk.
Contract Killer Jiu-Jitsu Gis
Made from 100% light-weight cotton and containing reinforced stitching and rip-stop material at stress points, the Contract Killer is an excellent gi for the price. One of the best things about this gi is that the top doesn’t contain an uncomfortable back seam, which can be very distracting. In addition, it’s 95% pre-shrunk, breathable, durable and suitable for beginner, intermediate and professional practitioners.
Storm Jiu-Jitsu Gis
Storm Supreme gis are considered by many to be the finest kimonos in the world. Storm kimonos have been at the forefront of the industry for many years and are one of the most respected brands among the world’s elite fighters. The Storm Supreme is made from strong ultra-light weight cotton, has a zero warp collar, a mouth guard pocket, and is complete with anti-microbial treatment.
Tatami Fightwear Jiu-Jitsu Gis
Tatami Fightwear produce some of the most stylish looking jiu-jitsu gis on the market. At 550gsm, they’re fairly light-weight and able to withstand a huge amount of stress. The canvas rubberized collar is very hard wearing and helps retain the shape of the kimono. Gis are triple stitched across stress points, have extra knee padding, and provide 4 drawstring loops on the trousers.
Bad Boy Jiu-Jitsu Gis
Bad Boy is one of the most respected brands in mixed martial arts. Their gis usually contain double reinforced knee padding, rip-stop material and canvas eva foam collars, which makes them extremely durable and suitable for intense training. On most designs the patchwork and embroidery is minimal – usually featured on the ankles and upper arm.
Vulkan Jiu-Jitsu Gis
Vulkan gis are highly regarded within the BJJ world due to their unique honeycomb weaved fabric and rubber lapel construction. While light, these materials are extremely strong and dry faster than most products. There are two models; ultra-light and pro-light. Ultra-light weighs a mere 1.3kg making it excellent for meeting tournament weight limits. All Vulkan gis are pre-shrunk and made in Brazil.
As the martial art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu increases in popularity, brands, clubs and governing bodies are working together to improve equipment and ensure that the sport is as safe and balanced as possible. While only hard work will make you an accomplished martial artist, purchasing the right equipment for the job will certainly help push you in the right direction.