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      Fighter — cat_Gi Guides

      What Size Jiu Jitsu Gi Do I Need?

      What Size Jiu Jitsu Gi Do I Need?

      Nothing's worse than an ill-fitting gi. It's one thing to have ill-fitting street clothes, but you don't normally have people grabbing and pulling you into Del la Riva guard on the street.

      In jiu jitsu, it's important to have a gi that fits well. If it's too baggy, your opponent has plenty of material to grab and wrap you up in. If it's too tight, it restricts your movement and you won't be able to pass, sprawl or invert as freely. Simple enough... but when the vast number of gis are sold online, finding a gi that fits well right out of the package is no easy feat. 

      Of course, there's no substitute for trying a gi on before you buy. That's when physical store fronts (Fighters Market has one in San Diego) and pop-up stores at the major IBJJF events come in handy. But if you're not in San Diego or a competitor, you have few other options than to shop online.

      Here are some tips to help you out: 

      Don't Let Your Ego Get in the Way

      Just as with your regular everyday clothes, it's easy to think you're a size smaller or bigger than you are, based on how you'd like to see yourself. But as I mentioned before, you don't want to make this mistake with a gi. How do you know if it's the right fit? For one, your gi pants should be large enough that you can do a full squat in them without the material stretching too tight around your thighs or your backside, but not too large that the hems go well past your ankles. Likewise, your gi jacket should be roomy enough around the shoulders that you can easily rotate them, and the lapel ends should be able to cross when you close the jacket around your middle. However, you don't want the sleeves to be too long that they cover your hands, or too wide that your opponent can easily grab them. 

      Check the Sizing Guides

      Almost all gi brands will have a sizing guide that you can reference to find the right size. Most of the time, these guides are limited to height and weight, which - as you can probably guess - isn't always the best. If you're an average body type, yeah, these sizing guides will be fairly useful. But how many people really fit the average? So take these sizing guides with a grain of salt. There are some gi brands that also include arm and leg length, and others that include even more specific measurements. Especially if you're shopping on an e-commerce site like Fighters Market, it's wise to check both the sizing guides posted on the site, as well as the sizing guides that the brands post on their own websites. And know that these days, a lot of gi brands offer alternate sizes, like L and H (for long and husky) body types. 

       

      Know that All Brands are Not Equal

       

      If you've already bought a gi or two, and you're looking to buy more, maybe from another brand... you must know that all brands are not created equal. If you're a size A1 in one brand, you may not be a size A1 in another. And if you are a size A1 in both, one may not fit exactly like the other. This is because most brands have their own pattern that they use, which is sized up and down accordingly. So when you're buying gis, keep this in mind and don't get upset when the gi you've ordered online from a new brand doesn't fit exactly as you're used to. 

      Return... But Wisely

      To accommodate the inconvenience of not being able to try on a gi, online gi retailers offer returns - sometimes free, sometimes not. Before you purchase a new gi, it's important that you check the website to see their return policy. Of course, you definitely want to avoid the lengthy and irritating process of having to buy a gi, find it doesn't fit, return it, and wait for a new one to arrive, but if it's unavoidable, it's unavoidable. Just practice wise returning, as I've already detailed in a previous blog post

      Finding the right size gi is a pain, especially when you're just starting out on your jiu jitsu journey and you don't have as much experience doing it. But hopefully this article has given you some useful guidance. 

      Train on... Oss. 

       

      What Do Gi Colors Mean?

      What Do Gi Colors Mean?

      The short answer to this question: jiu jitsu gi color means absolutely nothing. While BJJ gi belt colors carry some serious significance - primarily in alerting you to the level of shark you're swimming with on the mat - jiu jitsu gi colors don't carry any special significance. 

      However, while we're on the topic, it's worth noting the history of the jiu jitsu gi colors, as well as when certain colors are more appropriate than others. 

      First and foremost, white is the most traditional uniform color for many martial arts with Japanese roots. In Japanese culture, the color white signifies "purity" or "truth", which is likely why it was adopted as the color for martial arts training, particularly judo and jiu jitsu. When judo competitions became popularized, a blue gi was utilized to distinguish one competitor from another, and this was subsequently adopted by jiu jitsu. 

      Today, white and blue are the only colors available for judo gis (the sale of which is heavily regulated by the International Judo Federation (IJF), which keeps regulation judo gis limited to those two colors). The International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), the largest worldwide jiu jitsu promotion, allows for black gis as well... which is great for those who fancy themselves as modern-day ninjas. However, for the major events, like the IBJJF World Championships, black belt competitors can only wear a white or blue gi in the finals. 

      The greater jiu jitsu community is quite a bit more relaxed when it comes to gi colors. While some academies have strict "white gi only" requirements during class, most academies don't... which is why you'll see jiu jitsu practitioners rocking everything from grey and green, to camo, pink and everything in between. I've even seen a tie-dyed rainbow gi! 

      Often, the choice to wear a colored gi over the traditional white gi is simply due to personal preference. However, keep in mind that a white gi is always harder to keep clean - and white - than a colored gi. Even if you take all necessary precautions, your academy may use puzzle mats, which have a tendency to discolor a white gi, or it just may not keep the mats clean enough to eat off of. 

      Whatever gi color you choose, just remember to tap early and tap often. 

      Train on... Oss. 

      How Much Does a Jiu Jitsu Gi Weigh?

      How Much Does a Jiu Jitsu Gi Weigh?

      Few questions have been asked as much - and as often, especially around competition season - than "how much does a gi weigh"? Oh that elusive answer! The reason it is so hard to answer is precisely because there are a number of factors involved that affect the weight of a gi. 

      Why Ask? 

      First of all, why do people need to know so badly? For those who compete, the answer is fairly simple: because of weight cuts. There are relatively few competitors out there who don't try to cut weight for a tournament. The reason being is that they want to be as lean and mean as possible, so that they end up on the top of their weight division, where they believe they'll have the best opportunity to smash their opponent. As tricky as it is - because dropping weight without sacrificing strength due to overly-rapid weight loss and dehydration - nearly everybody does it. And if you've ever cut weight, you'll know that every ounce counts. 

      Which is why a BJJ gi's weight is important. The heavier the gi, the more weight one has to cut, because weigh-ins are usually done in the uniform a competitor will compete in, and usually right before he/she goes out on the mat. 

      For those who don't compete... well, the preoccupation with gi weight probably has to do with some neurotic obsession with feeling "dragged down" by a heavy gi. This is funny to me because unless you're wearing a serious double weave gi, you can't really feel the difference of a few ounces, especially when you're wearing the bloody thing. 

      So What Affects the Weight? 

      It's silly to ask "what's the weight of a jiu jitsu gi" because the very question assumes a universal standard in gis. The fact is, there isn't one. The weight of a gi depends on four factors: fabric type, size, cut, and adornment. 

      • Fabric - First of all, not all gis are made from exactly the same fabric. There are a number of different jacket fabrics, as well as pant fabrics, to choose from. Each weave or fabric type will have a certain weight per square yard. Some brands give you a clue as to the weight of the gi when they identify the fabric type. For example, if you're looking at a gi with 450 GSM jacket and 10 oz pants, you'll know it'll be a bit heavier than a gi with a 375 GSM jacket and 8 oz pants. Please note, that doesn't mean that pants themselves weigh 10 oz, just that the fabric they were made out of was a 10 oz weight fabric. 
      • Size - This should be self-explanatory, but here I go anyway. The bigger the size, the more fabric needed to construct it. More fabric = more weight. How much more depends on the fabric type and cut. 
      • Cut - This is the factor that explains why a size A2 Kingz Kimono is not the same weight as a size A2 Tatami gi. Every gi brand has their own special cut, and some brands even have a variety of different cuts. A gi with a slimmer profile will use less material than a gi with a wider profile. 
      • Adornment - Every little piece of fabric or stitching on a gi affects the weight. Individually, they may not matter, but when you have ten patches, a sublimated lining, and the gi brand logo stitched on every available piece of real estate... that all adds up to weight. Looking for an ultralight gi? Choose the plainest one you can find. 

      So How Do You Know For Sure??

      Some - and probably sometime in the near future, ALL - gi brands include gi weight in their size charts. However, sometimes these gi weights are out-dated, so always check with customer service before you rely too heavily on those charts. 

      The absolute best, most accurate way to check the weight of your gi is to weigh it yourself. For those of you geniuses who can't figure out the logistics of doing this: 1) step on scale without gi, 2) step on scale again while holding gi, 3) subtract the weight in step 1 from the weight in step 2. 

      Train... and weigh... on. Oss. 

      Do You Have to Wear a Gi in Jiu Jitsu?

      Do You Have to Wear a Gi in Jiu Jitsu?

      If you HAD to wear a gi in jiu jitsu, I'd probably have quit a long time ago! The simple answer is "no, you don't have to," but it's a little more complicated than that. Depending on the class or academy you're training at, you may or may not "have" to wear a gi

      Jiu jitsu is comprised of two different styles: Gi and NoGi. The more predominant "gi jiu jitsu" is just referred to as "jiu jitsu", simply because Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - and it's antecedent, Japanese Jiu Jitsu - have traditionally been practiced in the gi (the term used for the jiu jitsu kimono). Just as it sounds, NoGi jiu jitsu is practiced without the gi.

      Practitioners of NoGi jiu jitsu typically wear a snug-fitting rash guard and shorts or "spats" (athletic leggings). The use of a t-shirt and shorts with pockets is frowned upon in NoGi jiu jitsu classes due to safety reasons. When a cotton t-shirt gets sweaty, it stretches easily and your opponent can get a foot caught in the baggy material and hurt him/herself. Likewise, pockets are also hazardous for the same reason. Because jiu jitsu is a very close-contact, physical, and often explosive activity, it's easy to break a finger or toe if it catches in a pocket while your opponent is moving quickly and/or aggressively. 

      Most Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies principally offer classes in the gi, with maybe two or three NoGi classes each week. Many academies don't offer any NoGi classes at all. And very few academies - largely those affiliated with 10th Planet - offer only NoGi classes. 

      My suggestion, especially for those just embarking upon their jiu jitsu journey, is to find an academy that offers both gi and NoGi classes. You may find that you prefer one over the other, but from personal experience, practicing in the gi improves your NoGi game by teaching you pressure and precise execution of technique, while practicing NoGi improves your Gi game by improving your explosiveness as well as your ability to scramble and push the pace. 

      Whatever you choose, welcome to your marvelous journey. 

      Train on... Oss. 

      How Much is a BJJ Gi?

      How Much is a BJJ Gi?

      While this question can easily be answered by spending a few minutes actually shopping for a gi - especially here, at the Fighters Market website, where we have some handy dandy price filters - I'll go ahead and humor the idea... as well as raise you a few insights on cost versus value. 

      The vast majority of gis range from approximately $70-$90 for a simple, basic gi to approximately $160-$180 for a fancier and/or more durable gi. Of course, you can always find those off-brand jiu jitsu gis sold on Amazon for much less, but you have to keep in mind that "you get what you pay for". That doesn't mean that all basic gis aren't worth buying. I actually wrote a blog, "Battle of the Basics: BJJ Gi Comparison", about those basic gis that we felt were definitely exceeded their worth. Since then, other gi brands - such as Maeda Brand with their Red Label Gi and Progress with their Foundation Kimono - have really stepped up their basic gi game. 

      So what makes a BJJ gi worth more? More often than not it's the quality of materials and construction. A jiu jitsu gi that costs more should - we would hope, anyway - last much longer than a cheaper gi. The fabric is typically a thicker or tighter weave, or is a brand new weave technology that might be lighter but is designed to withstand greater stress, or the attention to detail and care taken during construction is on a different level. Sometimes the extra cost is directed into the aesthetic elements of the gi, such as an illustrated interior jacket lining, or fancy patching and embroidery work. These latter increase the cost of labor for each and every piece made. Then, of course, there are some gi companies that can charge $200+ for their gis... but the "higher value" is usually thanks to clever branding and marketing ploys rather than any real inherent worth. 

      So, how much should YOU pay for a gi?

      That's really all relative to your budget and preference. If you're just starting jiu jitsu and you're an average Joe, I would suggest starting with a single basic gi until you decide that you're really going to stick with it. Once you're hooked, you'll quickly find that you'll need at least three or four gis to get you through the week. At that point, you might consider investing in a couple slightly higher quality gis, as well as a nice fancy gi that you can go compete in. If you're just starting jiu jitsu and you're the type of guy or gal who likes to show off his/her success... go crazy. Just please, make sure that whatever you buy, it fits and makes you feel like a boss. Here's a little guide on how to do that

      See you on the mats.. Oss.