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Intro Series: Jiu Jitsu Gi the new LBD (little black dress for the guys)

Updated: Aug 13, 2022

So you found your way into the gym and had your first class. Maybe you did your first class in sweats and a tee-shirt, or perhaps you were able to borrow a Gi. Either way, chances are you now understand the importance of a good Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gi. Now that your whistle is wet and you know you have to continue with this sport, it's time to go shopping!!

I'm one of those women who love shopping. Shopping for clothes, toys, home goods, gifts, just about anything that peaks my fancy. I know not everyone shares my love of the hunt, ideally finding my coveted item at less than retail price as I love the idea of a good deal. When it was time to buy my first Gi though, I got a little lost in the brands, sizes, and details. I was lucky as I had my husband beside me on the couch, to guide my online expedition. Hopefully, you will allow me to be your guide now and this will make your hunt a bit easier, as you are looking for your next little black (or blue, green, white) outfit.

Let's get down to business! (Does anyone else now have Donny Osmond's voice from Mulan, defeating the Huns, in their head now? No. Maybe it's just me.) It is time to buy a Gi. The first thing that you have to be aware of is how Gi's are sized. You need to know your height and weight, as all Gis are sized by a range of height and weight. There is some variance between brands but not enough that you'll find yourself wearing vastly different sizes. I'm essentially an A2 across the boards. I do find that some of the unisex brands are a bit long for me, which is why I tend towards brands for women unless I can try them on beforehand. By trying it on, I mean my husband has the brand and it is readily available. I couldn't even begin to tell you where a retail store is for Gis.

Here are a few examples of size charts that I pulled from the internet to give you an idea:

If you still aren't sure about what your size should be, especially if you have your eye on a certain Gi, ask the upper belts in your gym. There is a good chance that higher belts have gone through a number of Gis and can help you with sizing, pros, and cons. They may even have a similar Gi that you could try on before you buy it; just please ask BEFORE class starts so you don't look and smell like a complete swamp monster. I'm a pretty helpful person, but even I won't let your sweaty bum into my Gi after you work out.

Alright ya'll, we have conquered sizing! I hope you all feel accomplished. Now to move onto weave. It is easy to get bogged down in which weave is the best. Honestly, I don't think there is a "best" weave for people who are just starting out. Unless you are competing, I believe lightweight really is the best option. If you are competing, you will have to check to make sure your Gi is IBJFF regulation. Obviously, if you are purchasing a Gi with the intent of competing then you need to ask your professor about guidance so that your Gi is within competition regulation. I'm here for the more casual roll and training.

Single weave

This is a cotton weave used on many entry-level Gis, but is not to be overlooked. Though it does tend to shrink a bit more compared to other styles, it is relatively light weight and soft as it is a looser weave.

Gold weave

The advantage of this weave is that it is very durable and comfortable, and it tends to be harder to grip than a thinner weave. The downfall is in the likely hood to shrink more than a tighter weave, such as a pearl weave.

Pearl weave

This weave accounts for the vast majority of Gis on the market today. They are cheaper than gold weave, comes in a variety of weights, hardly shrinks and is very durable. Be warned, and inferior pearl weave is stiff and rough which can make training difficult.

Double weave

This weave tends to be heavy and difficult to grip due to the thickness and stiffness of the material. It is expensive to produce and has tended to go by the wayside in the BJJ community though as people cross over from Judo we may see more double weaves.

Ripstop weave

This weave is standard for Gi pants. It is also used for Gi jackets, less frequently. The main benefit is that it is extremely light weight, however it was banned as Gi jacket material by most major tournaments.