WHAT YOU MUST KNOW BEFORE BUYING A BJJ GI
A lot of people consider starting Brazillian Jiu Jitsu, and a lot of those people don’t know where to start. Now the video isn’t like a lot of our coverage here on FightstorePro, where we compare brands and products and review them in the typical fashion. This is more of a buyer’s guide, so any comparison made is really in the interest of informing you of the basics of the Gi rather than an actual review.
The first thing our Gear Guru Alex Wright will tell you is to try a Gi on before you buy one. If you don’t have that opportunity for whatever reason, then watch the video and read this accompanying blog post closely.
Most Gi’s are made from cotton, with some more modern Gi’s being made from ripstop material but that material is typically confined to the bottom half of the Gi. For those who don’t know, ripstop is a mix of cotton and polyester/nylon material. There are a whole range of different weaves also available.
These weaves are:
- Single Weave and Gold Weave aren’t covered in this video or article, but I will leave you a good link here if you want to read up a bit more on those particular options.
- Pearl Weave
- Platinum Weave
- Double Weave
- High Tech Weave
The weave is how the Gi material is put together, and is largely down to personal preference. There will be differences between brands in cuts, sizing, and styling, but most Gi’s start off on a level playing field.
Another thing that you’ll see when shopping for a Gi is the weight. Gi weights are measured in GSM and range from 250GSM to 700GSM, going from very lightweight single weave to big, bulky double weave. GSM stands for ‘grams per square meter’ and is the weight of the fabric.
The other basic idea that you need to watch for is that a lot of the Gi’s available on the market are pretty much equal. Any Gi priced beyond the £80 mark, as Alex states, is priced beyond that for the cosmetics and not necessarily the performance.
The first part of this buyer’s guide, after the basics, is sizing.
Most brands have Gi’s that cater to children, male adults, and female adults. Right now, this video and article are focussed on the male adult sizing, but the differences between the female sizes and male sizes will largely be the cut and fit of the Gi for the female body and the same applies with children’s sizes.
The size guide is incremental, like in the image above. However, there are some exceptions to the rule of the size guide.
Alex, for example, is 6’3 and 93-94kgs. On the size chart, that would put him in the range of an A4 size gi. In the video, he puts on an A4 Kingz Gi and it is way too large for him, especially in the sleeves. Everyone’s body and body shape is different, and that’s why it’s important to try a Gi on before you buy one.
Someone who is shorter than Alex, and is a little bulkier might find an A3 to be too small, despite being the right height in the size chart. An A4 will fill out a lot better, and will shrink in when washed.
Another important part to the Gi is the sleeves. While it doesn’t make a great deal of difference in training, for competition, the sleeve length is an important thing to consider. If it’s too long, or too short, it’s illegal. Things are looser in training, however, and the Gi will shrink after the first few washes.
The brand of the Gi will also factor into the cut and the fit. As shown in the video, Fuji Gi’s are on the slim side, whereas a Kingz Gi or a Revgear Gi would be a bit looser, I’d imagine, for western practitioners.
Moving on to the pants section of the guide, the materials that were covered earlier come back into play. The Fuji Gi pants are a ripstop material, 50% Cotton and 50% Polyester. It is worth noting that while ripstop is pretty indestructible, ripstop jackets were outlawed in competition settings because they’re not the kindest material to the hands. The pants, however, are very lightweight for their construction. The only drawback is the feeling, and it is realistically down to personal preference.
Gi pants also have a belt cord for fastening, and a useful tip to keep in mind is to tie the belt against one of the belt loops, if your Gi has belt loops to begin with which most do. As with the jackets, no particular brand wins out in a straight comparison. The consensus is that, besides cosmetics and ripstop or cotton for the pants choice, most Gi’s are created equal.
To round off the video and article combo, the final piece to the buyer’s guide is that of pricing. It’s common to see most brands that sell BJJ gear to offer three types of Gi’s; a bottom of the range/starter Gi, a mid-range/club style Gi, and a top of the range Gi. It is very important to know that while the top of the range Gi will retail at, in some cases, double the price of the starter Gi, there isn’t much of a difference in terms of the build quality and performance you’ll get from it. At that point, you’re paying for the bling and the patches like on the Fuji Sekai Gi, the Revgear Venice, or the Venum Elite.