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      Fighter — cat_Gi Guides

      BJJ Gi Weaves: What's the Difference?

      BJJ Gi Weaves: What's the Difference?

      If you've shopped enough jiu jitsu gis, you've probably asked yourself: What is all this "weave" nonsense about? What is the difference?

      Well, we've broken it down for you...

      GSM = Weight

      Almost all jiu jitsu gi companies will identify the GSM of the fabric. This stands for "grams per square meter" and is the weight of the fabric used. Most gis range between 375 GSM and 890 GSM, with some outliers on either end. You'll typically see the lower range featured as Single Weave or Pearl Weave, the mid-ranges as Pearl Weaves or Gold Weaves, and the heavier end of the spectrum as Double Weaves. 

      Unfortunately, there's no official naming standard in the gi market, and some gi companies will simply use Pearl, Gold, and Double, as it directly correlates to the fabric's weight. 

      Weave = Appearance

      However, you may have noticed that the fabric on some gis look a little different. That's because there is actually a difference in weaves. This has to do with the manner in which the "weft" is woven through the "warp." The warp refers to the set of threads, aligned parallel to each other, that are stretched on the loom first, before the weft is woven through. 

      Single Weave

      A single weave, logically, entails one set of warp, with weft woven through. In the gi world, a single weave usually is the simplest version of this, with weft crossing over one warp thread and under another. This leaves a smooth, flat appearance to the fabric. Notably, under this definition, pearl and gold weaves are also technically single weave fabrics. However, what differentiates them is how the weft is woven.

      Pearl Weave

      As its name implies, the pearl weave has the appearance of multiple strings of pearls aligned together. This happens when a looser, wider weft is alternated with a thinner, tighter weft. The looser weft creates the appearance of raised pearl-looking bumps. The Pearl Weave Plus is similar, but the looser weft is woven at a slight diagonal, giving a flattened rope appearance. Pearl weaves are the most common fabrics used for gi jackets.

      Gold Weave

      A gold weave has a distinct ladder appearance, created when wider, heavier warp threads are interspersed between thinner warp threads, and the looser weft is woven over an entire section of the thinner warp threads, before weaving through another section, then jumping back over again. Similarly, a honey comb weave also features weft jumping across several rows of warp threads, but without the delineating heavy warp threads, the a more hexagonal "honey comb" shape is left in the areas where the weft weaves tightly through warp.

      Double Weave

      A true double weave fabric is when two or more sets of warps and one or more sets of weft are woven together, essentially creating a double layered fabric. Because significantly more threads occupy the same square meter space, the fabric is therefore much heavier. 



      What's Better? 

      "Better" is all personal preference. Sorry guys and gals, we don't have the magic answer for you on that. 

      Some people like lighter gis, some heavier. Some people feel a double weave is harder for their opponent to maintain grips. Some claim the gold weave shrinks more than the others. Some people think the heavier the gi, the more durable it is and the longer it lasts. This last claim does appear to have anecdotal support, but the longevity of your gi is affected more by its use and care than by its weave. 

      When it comes to gis and their weaves, there are only two things that really matter: heavy versus light (or something in between), and how you like the feel and look of the fabric. 

      Battle of the Basics - BJJ Gi Comparison

      Battle of the Basics - BJJ Gi Comparison

      A good basic jiu jitsu gi is a staple in every jiu jitsu player's closet. Not only is it an inexpensive entry gi for those new to the gentle art, but it's also a good wardrobe filler for the serious practitioner, the kind who trains several times a week and puts a lot of miles on their kimonos. 

      The bjj gi market features a ton of great basic, entry-level jiu jitsu gis. We know... we've tried and tested them all, bringing you only the best. 

      But even among the best, there are variations. So we decided to give you a run-down of our three favorites: 

      KINGZ BASIC 2.0

      Released in 2016, the second edition of Kingz' Basic BJJ Gi features a lightweight 400 GSM High-Tech Pearl Weave jacket, 10 oz cotton pants, and newly designed woven patches along both shoulders and a single square patch on the front left hip. This gi comes with a free white belt, and has a cut for women and kids.

      Color options - White, Blue, Black

      Price point - $89.95


      In it's latest - 2015 - iteration, the Tatami Nova BJJ Gi features a relatively lightweight 425 GSM High-Tech Single Weave jacket, 10 oz twill cotton pants, and woven patches along both shoulders and down both legs. This gi also comes with a free white belt, and has a cut for women and kids.

      Color options - White, Blue, Black

      Price point - $89.95


      Having been around for about a decade, the Fuji All Around BJJ Gi pretty much set the standard for affordable, basic gis. It features a mid-weight cotton single weave jacket, durable cotton pants, and exceptionally minimal styling, with the Fuji logo embroidered on the left arm and back of the jacket. This gi does not come with a free white belt. Fuji does offer a kid's version of this gi.

      Color options- White, Blue, Black, Navy

      Price point - $90.99


      As you can see, each of these gis are comparable, but offer something just a bit different than the others. Your choice between the three will ultimately come down to gi weight and fit.

      Fuji is the heaviest of the three, followed by Tatami and then Kingz. Depending on your individual goals - everyday training versus competition, for example - you might prefer a lighter gi over a heavier, or vice versa. As a great basic gi should, all three have a solid range of sizing, with options for the variety of body types, including the shorter, longer-limbed, or huskier practitioners. Fuji tends to be roomier in the arms and shoulders; Kingz has a more tailored, competition style cut, but offers a few popular H (husky) sizes; and Tatami has options for both the shorter (S) and extra-long (XL) individuals. 

      Of course, nothing beats trying the gi on yourself - so don't miss an opportunity to hit up the Fighters Market San Diego store and our booths at the major IBJJF events. But for those who can't, we hope this article gives you a good place to start! 

      Train on. Oss.

      GUIDE: Caring for Your Jiu Jitsu Gi

      GUIDE: Caring for Your Jiu Jitsu Gi

      So you bought yourself a brand spanking new gi. Congratulations. Now how do you care for this thing, so that you can get the most use out of it without accidentally killing it?

      Here’s how:

      • To shrink or not to shrink

      Whether you’re in-between sizes, or you like your gi to fit a bit more snug, you may want to shrink it. You can do this with a cotton or hemp gi, but not so much with your ripstop pants. If you do opt to do this, don’t just go blasting your brand new - and potentially expensive - jiu jitsu gi with hot water and an industrial grade dryer. It’s hard to go back from over-shrinking your gi. Most gis are made from 100% cotton, and during construction, the cotton fibers are put under tension - basically pulled and straightened before they’re woven together. Heat releases this tension, which allows the fibers to relax and reduce to their natural size. So instead, take your time and monitor the shrinking process. Start with washing hot and air-drying, then if you need to, add heat and tumble dry low. Rarely will you require high heat… but, hey, it’s your gi. Do with it what you want.

      • Wash your gi (i.e. don’t be “that guy”)

      Assuming your gi is the size you want it, you now have to keep it clean without destroying it. First rule of jiu jitsu club: wash your gi after every use. Yeah, some guys say they can get two training sessions out of their gis, but once you sweat - even a little bit - the naturally-occurring bacteria in your skin makes themselves at home in your gi. At the very least, you’re gi will smell a little funky during the second practice. At the worst, you risk spreading some kind of skin fungus or infection. So wear once, wash once, and repeat. In the process, wash in cold and avoid bleach or harsh detergents. This prevents the natural fibers from breaking down, diminishing the lifespan of your gi.

      • A little heat goes a long way

      The preferred method of drying your gi is letting it air dry. Take care air-drying in direct sunlight, however. While the sun’s ultraviolet rays have a natural anti-bacterial effect, it can fade colors and the heat can potentially shrink the cotton fibers. However, depending on where you live - humid climates, for example - this might not be an option at all. The “air dry” setting on your dryer is a great alternative. Tumble drying low is fine, if you want to tighten up the fibers, but avoid leaving it in too long. Finally, unless you want to give your gi to your kid sister, avoid drying on high heat. Not only does this shrink it mercilessly, the heat can also damage the fibers - regardless of whether it’s cotton, hemp or polyester - diminishing the lifespan of your gi.

      • That questionable stain

      Blood, grease, hair dye, or that bit of chocolate cookie you ate after training… whatever it is, you’re guaranteed to get some kind of stain on your gi. Before you mourn your pristine gi and throw it in the wash with a gallon of bleach, try to spot clean it first. For a white gi, a tiny bit of bleach applied directly to the stain and allowed to sit for a few minutes prior to washing isn’t going irreparably bleach the rest of your gi - including your colored embroideries or patches. For both white and colored gis, if the stain is oil-based, work a mix of vinegar and dishwashing fluid into it before washing. Most hair dyes will wash out fine, but if you’re worried, the vinegar/dishwashing fluid also works in this case as well. If all that doesn’t work, call your grandma. She’ll know what to do.

      • It’s aliiiiiiive….

      You heard it: that terrifying ripping sound. Maybe you squatted a little too low the day after Thanksgiving, or your training partner was a little too aggressive with his/her lapel game… whatever it was, your trusty gi has finally ripped. Don’t give up on it just yet. Depending on the size and location, some tears can be repaired. If you’re not confident in your own patching skills - remember, you need to add another strip of fabric behind the tear to anchor your stitches - take it to your nearest tailor. They’ll be able to tell you if it’s salvageable. I had a gi that I brought back from the dead a record six times. I called it the “Franken-gi.”

      • The dreaded “gi funk”

      Everybody experiences it. It’s a constant battle… one that you will ultimately lose. However, you can postpone the inevitable with a few good habits and tricks of the trade. First of all, and referring back to No. 2 in this article, wash your gi after every use. The sooner, the better. If you can risk the slight shrinkage mentioned in No. 3, air drying your gi in the sun before you wash it is also useful in keeping the odor-causing bacteria at bay. Adding a bit of vinegar to your wash, or even soaking a stinky gi in a vinegar/water solution prior to washing can also help. If you’ve let it get too far, and you’re desperate, you can hit it with industrial grade carpet and fabric cleaning detergent (the kind you get at Home Depot). If all else fails, throw caution to the wind and wash it with bleach, but expect it to come out with off-color patches and embroideries. Eventually, you will have to make the decision to just let it go. It’s hard, I know, but the last person your training partner wants to roll with is the person with the funky smelling gi.

      Train on. Oss.

      GUIDE: Choosing the Right BJJ Gi For You

      GUIDE: Choosing the Right BJJ Gi For You

      Back in the day, buying a jiu jitsu gi wasn't complicated. That’s because you didn’t have much to choose from. Today, there's a growing industry dedicated to the jiu jitsu lifestyle, including a ton of companies offering gis of all different styles, materials, and sizes.

      So what bjj gi is right for you? Here's what to consider:

      • Not too loose, not too tight

      First and foremost, your gi needs to fit right. If you’re a long-time veteran of the gentle art, you probably already have this down. If you're just beginning your journey, it’s easy to end up with a gi that’s excessively baggy or uncomfortably snug, especially in the pants. That’s because the only reference you have for how a gi is supposed to fit are your everyday clothes. The problem is you don’t normally roll around on the ground in your everyday attire. So when you’re gi shopping, you need to test the fit. Do a full squat to check that you’re pants aren’t too tight. Rotate your arms in all directions to check that fabric around your shoulders don’t obstruct your range of motion. Have a friend grab your sleeves and pant hem to ensure that you don’t have an excessive amount of material. If you can hide a bowling ball up your sleeves, they might be too baggy. On the flip side, you also need to make sure you have enough fabric around your arms, otherwise you’ll get some dirty looks from your fellow training partners over your skin-tight, gripless gi. IBJJF gi regulations require at least 7cm of clearance between your skin and the fabric.

      • Length

      The length of your gi is largely personal preference. Many practitioners favor the more traditional style, in which your hems hit exactly below the wrist or ankle joint. Others like their gis a bit shorter. The shorter the gi, the farther your opponent has to reach to get a hold of it. For those long-legged folks, some brands offer “L” (long) sizes, which give you an extra few centimeters without having to look like you’re wearing a tent. However, if you are or plan to be a competitor, your gi has to comply with the guidelines set by IBJJF, UAEJJF, and other promotions. For example, IBJJF requires that the edge of your sleeve be no more than 5cm from your wrist when your arms are outstretched in front of you, and your pant hem be no more than 5cm up from your ankle. If you don’t compete, no need to worry about that. Rock them high waters like it’s 2008 again.

      Cotton is the most widely used material for jiu jitsu gis, but many companies offer styles made with ripstop as well. As the name suggests, ripstop is a durable polyester or polyester/cotton blend fabric that resists tearing better than standard cotton fabric. It also tends to be lighter and resists shrinkage. If you’re a competitor, keep in mind that only your pants can be ripstop; for most promotions, your jacket must be cotton (or a cotton-like fabric, i.e. not ripstop). On the other hand, cotton does shrink when washed in warm or hot water and tumble dried, which could be a good thing, depending on how you like your gi to fit. Many practitioners will buy a gi slightly larger and wash/dry it to fit just so. The fabrics differ in feel as well, both when dry and when wet.

      Well what about hemp? Okay, you hippie, yes, there are hemp BJJ gis out on the market today. Like cotton, hemp can shrink; however, hemp is said to be far more moisture absorbent than cotton, and has anti-microbial properties, so it won’t get as much of a “sweaty gi funk” when left in your gear bag or trunk too long after training. If you have the cash - hemp gis are usually a bit more pricey - a hemp gi can be a nice addition to your collection.

      • White versus colored

      Again, this is personal preference, and jiu jitsu gi colors have meaning. However, keep in mind that you might be limited to specific colors by either your academy or tournament regulations. A lot of academies these days limit you to wearing only a white gi during class, so if you’re a fan of color, you’ll have to wait to wear your colored gi during open mats or tournaments. The IBJJF and UAEJJF allows competitors to wear colored gis, but limit your options to blue and black, and your gi top must match your gi pants. Several gi brands offer a wide range of colored gis - from the standard white, blue, and black, to red, grey, green, yellow, pink, purple… and even ninja turtle. If you have mad skills, you can even customize your gi color yourself. For example, I had a friend who liked to tie-dye his gis in his grandmother’s wash machine.

      Finally, before you make your decision, ask yourself, “Do I feel like a badass in this gi?” If the answer is yes, then you’ve chosen wisely young Padawan.

      Train on. Oss.