The BJJ Gi is the ultimate mark of a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. It is akin to the armor warriors wore in battle, especially for. At the very least, every grappler needs a BJJ Gi to train in. With the spread of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so did the industry focused on producing Gis. Today, there are multiple brands available, all of which have just one goal -sell their product. So, if you’re pondering buying a new kimono, make sure you go through our list of the best BJJ Gis for 2018.
For people that already have experience in Jiu-Jitsu, buying a new BJJ Gi is a ritual. You either have an eye for something you noticed online or something a training partner wears in the gym. Experienced grapplers do their research before deciding on their new BJJ Gi. That said, every now and then people do go for the wrong GI. In the case of beginners, this is not at all unusual. So, we make the selection process easier by covering every aspect of buying a new BJJ Gi.
For starters, we are going to cover everything you ever need to know about a BJJ Gi. From types and sizes, through material and durability all the way to how to take care of your BJJ Gi. Finally, we’re going to take a look at a few of the best options on the market for 2018. Some of them are better suited for training while others are a dream come true for competitors. Let’s get into it!
BJJ Gi History
The Gi is not specific to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Actually, the Gi, or Kimono was the traditional outfit of the Japanese samurai. In those days, different colored Gi’s demonstrated affiliation with different clans. Those Gi’s were nothing like the ones we know today, though. The modern concept of the Gi is mainly due to Judo’s founder, Dr. Jigoro Kano. His modifications resulted in a tighter Gi, that fit better and was also sawn differently.
This model of the Gi is what we still have today, with certain small modifications. Actually, Gis for different martial arts has the same base but different specifications. Compared to Kano’s model, the BJJ Gi has tighter sleeves and is made from a much sturdier material.
In the beginning, BJJ only had white Gis, just like Judo. It was somewhere around the 1970s that people started experimenting with different colored Gis. As the competitive scene of Jiu-Jitsu grew, so did the interest of different businesses. This, in turn, resulted in the first patches of sponsors appearing ton the Gis of competitors. As we all know, today’s BJJ Gi variations are endless, although only a few fit competition requirements.
Basic BJJ Gi Properties
OF course, financial availability of the Gi is one of our primary concerns. But, this must not be the only determinant of whether or not you’re going to acquire new armor. There are a few more factors that massively influence how a BJJ gi is going to fit you.
BJJ Gi sizes range from A0 to A5. The letter A stands for adult sizing. The number is a representation of the actual size of the Gi, in terms of adults. These are just the main numbers, as there are categories that are in between. For example, some brands offer sizes like A 1,5 etc. remember to always check the size chart of the brand you’re considering buying. While you’re looking at size, also make sure you choose the correct fit for you. You want neither a tight BJJ Gi nor a very baggy one.
The rate of shrinkage is the rate at which the Gi is going to get smaller after you wash it. This plays a huge role if you’re at the upper border of a Gi size. For example, buying an A3 Gi might not be smart if you end up looking at A4 sizes after washing it for a few times. Nowadays, most Gis is pre-shrunk. However, always leave a little room for skepticism as a small shrinkage rate might still be in play.
The Gi Color is important if you are a competitor. Later on we’re going to discuss competition rules more, but for now, know that you’ll be limited to three main colors. IF you’re Gi is not white, black or blue, you won’t be able to compete in it. Check out the IBJJF Gi color rules here. When you train, you can go for any color, or combination of colors you like.
BJJ Gi Material Variations
This is where most people go wrong. As you become more experienced in Jiu-Jitsu, you’ll discover where your desire lies in terms of BJJ Gi material. For now, you need to be aware of the basic options and what each of them brings. Honestly, considering the average cost, what people mostly look for in a BJJ gi is durability. This is very closely tied to the material and weave the Gi is made of.
The thickness of the Gi is one more very important property that people should consider. The thicker the BJJ Gi, the harder it is for the opponent to grip and manipulate. .The tougher it is for them to close their fist, the better for you. However, thickness often time means more weight, so be careful. The thickness of a BJJ Gi is determined by its weave. There are several main types of weaves common to Jiu-Jitsu Gis.
1. Single Weave is the most basic BJJ Gi weave. It is a popular type of weave among grapplers, mostly due to its price. It is very similar to the double weave, but with the added benefit of less weight. this makes them perfect for competitors or training in hot areas. One more category of grapplers that can consider a single weave Gi are beginners. It is affordable, comfortable and easy to take care of. The drawback of this Gi is obviously, durability. Furthermore, it does offer a good gripping surface for your opponent which can also be a hindrance.
2. Double Weave Gis contain the same pattern found in a single weave Gi. The main difference, though, is that the single weave is repeated. This feature makes the double weave one of the best out there. It provides more thickness, durability and is heavier compared to a single weave. It is very difficult for opponents to establish grips on a double weave Gi. The thickness which may make it hard to wear is the only con of this weave.
3. Gold Weave is a combination of the double and single weave. Its primary function is to take only the best of both and discards the useless. it has the thickness and durability of a double weave but posses the lightweight fa single weave. In the modern day game, many competitors go for the gold weave. It offers a lot of advantages and next to no faults. What it also does, is cost more than any other weave. If you can afford it, do not think twice.
Competition GI Hacks
When you compete, there are several guidelines you need to follow with your BJJ Gi. It has to fit the standards set by the organizers. It also has to give you every advantage over your opponent. There are a few aspects of a BJJ gi that you have to consider in this sense.
Rulewise, you need to have either a blue, black or white Gi. Apart from the patches that come with it, you most likely won’t be allowed anything more. So make sure you do not have an academy or personal patches on your competition Gi. Furthermore, you need to have the size and state of you Gi right. Your sleeves can’t be too long or too short. This also holds true for your pants. furthermore, you need to have a clean Gi with absolutely no tears anywhere. Otherwise, you won’t be able to even enter the competition area.
The best bet for competitors is going for a lightweight Gi. When you cut weight, this is going to come in really handy. Furthermore, any Gi that makes your opponents struggle for grips is a great option. The BJJ gi also needs to fit you perfectly and not impede your movement. Look for a Gi with narrower sleeves. do not forget the rules and shrinkage rate, though. In terms of Gi pants, what you want is durability. Always go for rip-stop versions.
Folding The BJJ Gi
Having a BJJ Gi means you need to be able to take it with you. As we can see, the average weight of a Gi, along with the pants and the belt is 3-5 lbs. That means that you need to know how to make it take up as little space as possible for transportation purposes. As such, there are several folding methods available today.
The first one is a method that’ll help you fit your Gi into any BJJ backpack or bag. To begin with, place the Gi on a flat surface and smooth it over. Fold the jacket sleeves towards each other first. Then, fold each edge of the Gi jacket inward, so that they meet in the middle. Then fold the Gi pants lengthwise twice, and once widthwise. Place the pants in the middle of the Gi jacket and fold each end over the pants. You can take it like that, or use the belt to secure everything in place, ending up with a tight bundle.
Another practical option is folding your BJJ Gi directly into a backpack. To do that, first, place your pants inside the GI jacket, and then proceed to fold the Gi just like you did before. At the end, instead of folding each end of the Gi inwards, only fold it once so you have space to fit the belt. Then, tie the belt around the side where the two ends meet. Thread one end of the belt inside and tie it on the other side with a regular knot. Hide the knot and you have backpack straps ready to go!
How To Have Your Gi Last Longer
Since BJJ Gis get used a lot in all kinds of unusual ways, they tend to give way after a while. No matter how sturdy the material, constant (ab)use on the mats is going to get the better of your BJJ Gi at some point. In order to extend your kimono’s life just a little longer, there are a few practical tips you can follow.
If you want a Gi to last, go for one of the heavier fabric options. It will last longer, but it is heavier and not really the best fit for training in warm environments.
Also, make sure you’re washing your Gi in the best way possible. For starters dry it out completely before putting it in the washing machine. Use colder water if you want your Gi to remain the same size. The warmer the washing program, the more your Gi is going to shrink. Also, avoid using dryers to quick-dry the Gi. It is only going to shrink the Gi further. Instead, let it dry outside or at room temperature for as long as it takes.
Another huge thing that ruins Gis even before they get thorn is the smell. A smelly Gi is a useless one. In order to prevent smell, a useful hack is adding a bit of white wine vinegar when you’re washing it. Drying a Gi in sunlight is also helpful here. Oh, and for those nasty stubborn blood stains, hydrogen peroxide helps like nothing else does!
The Best BJJ Gi Options For 2018:
So, now that every aspect of selecting a Gi is clear, let’s look at some examples. The following few Gis are all viable options of great quality. they do have different properties so everyone is going to find a suitable option. There are great fits for competitors, beginners, different body types and they’re all at a great price. Here are our top picks for this year:
Since we went over the Estilo 5.0, the updated 6.0 version hit the market. Not only that but I also had the chance of giving it a try. You won’t find many brands out there that take one Gi model into such lengths as Tatami did with the Estilo series. But they can make a mean Gi, as they’ve proven over and over again!
The latest Estilo Gi is a long-lasting, pearl-weave Gi that is surprisingly light for such a material. It is the perfect fit for people that compete often. It fits all competition standards while having a longer lifespan than most others. Plus it won’t make you cut excessive weight. Also from a competition standpoint, the latest Estilo is reinforced right where it needs to be. It also fits perfectly, reducing the opponent’s gripping options ass much as humanly possible.
Furthermore, the Estilo comes in a larger variety of sizes than other Tatami gis. As far as this Gi is concerned, every competitor should own at least one.
Tatami is a classic BJJ Gi brand. It has been around forever, and there are plenty of Gi variations on offer. However, none can beat the Tatami Estilo. This time, it is version 5.0. The Estilo is a universally accepted Gi that is a great fit for everyone, especially those just starting BJJ. The latest version has the best fit so far, in terms of the jacket. The Gi is a pearl weave, which makes it sturdy yet mobile. Once you buy it, it is going to serve you for a very long time.
Make note that the sizes tend to be big. Even with the rate of shrinkage, you’re best off choosing on the smaller side. The Estilo BJJ Gi comes in a very wide variety of colors and is very comfortable to wear. It has a medium price tag but it is worth every penny in terms of durability. Highly recommended.
Another BJJ classic. Atama is a Brazilian brand of Jiu-jitsu kimonos that is as old as BJJ itself. IT is one of the top quality brands for Jiu-jitsu practitioners. From the get-go, be aware that this BJJ Gi is going to cost you. It is on the high end of the cost scale but it is an all in one product. While beginners might not have a need for it, it is perfect for both training and competition. It is lightweight, very sturdy and impossible to hold on to for your opponents. The latest model 9 is very similar to the previous model 7.
The Atama Mundial uses and original weave called the Carioca weave. This means there are no seams and the whole Gi is made out of one piece. Rip-stop technology is present in the sleeves and pants. Some of the highest-level competitors favor this make and model of a BJJ Gi.
Hypnotik Base – Currently Unavailable
The Hypnotik Base BJJ Gi comes in many colors. As far as beginner’s Gis go, this is by far the best choice. Once again, it is a hybrid weave Gi. It is lightweight and very durable at the same time. Every area of the Gi has heavy cotton seems like reinforcements. The Hypnotik Base is as basic as a BJJ Gi can get. The rate of shrinkage for this Gi is minimal if any at all.
The collar is thick and reinforced, without being too big and uncomfortable. The pants are so light they might even feel thin, but they’re as durable as the jacket. The whole Gi is very comfortable to wear and does not become heavy even after infusing it with sweat. It is a fantastic Gi that is on the lower end of the price range. Perfect for beginners or as a backup training Gi for the more experienced grapplers.
Scramble is one more of those Gis that are considered mainstays of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. One thing to know about this BJJ Gi is that it is heavy. Actually, it may be the heaviest one in this list. This is an advantage though, as there’s no Gi more durable than the Scramble Athlete. There’s version 3.0 out and about and it is magnificent. It is a slim fit BJJ Gi with a Pearl Weave pattern. It weighs about 2 kg in total.
The Scramble Athlete Gi meets all IBJJF Gi requirements while giving you every possible advantage. there’s simply no holding on to it, it is comfortable, thick and very lightweight, despite the weave. Sleeves and pants are rip-stop all over and boast a rubber collar. All in all the perfect competitor Gi. Once again, the price is towards the higher end, but, just like the Atama Mundial, it is one Gi made to last.
A lightweight competition BJJ gi straight out of the top drawer. The Venum Elite Light is the toughest lightweight Gi available on the market today. It is a GSM reinforced weave Gi that makes it super strong and durable. At the same time, you’d be hard-pressed to find a lighter kimono anywhere. As far as competition Gis go, having one of these is a must
Additional features include advanced moisture management, Rip-stop technology all over, absolutely no rate of shrinkage and reinforced slots on the jacket. And that is not the best part! The Venum Elite Light is a medium price Gi that brings you all the benefits of the most expensive kimonos available! The top choice for competition and very useful for training as well. Perfect for frequent travelers.
This one is for all the BJJ ladies. The Grips Amazona is a very high-quality Gi that has a surprising number of great features. For example, it has a CoolMax lining on the knees and shoulders, offering complete protection of your joints. It is arguably the most comfortable Gi on this list, extremely light and soft. The pants are on the thinner side but durable nonetheless.
One aspect you need to consider is that this is a slim fit Gi, so make sure you have the right body type for it. Furthermore, its price is medium to high and it may not be the best bet for beginners. It is awesome for competition and training for people that have experience in BJJ. If you’re looking to buy your first Gi, maybe look for a different variation. As a second or competition-only option though, hardly any Gi can surpass the Grips Amazona.
The Latest Creation of Senso Brand is the Yuki Gi! Yuki GI jacket is made of 100% cotton pear weave of 450 GSM. There’s a COOLMAX material over which lines the shoulder and the waits. The material that is made of makes it feels very soft and comfortable. Even if you’re using rashguard underneath or not it still feels great. If you wonder about the collar, I can say that it’s great. It’s made of EVA foam and it’s neither stiff or soft. I feel like it’s just what it should be like. It has some really neutral feel that a lot of grapplers will enjoy having. If you like branding on the exterior of the upper part you’ll love this one. All of the patches are sorted very well and the design is pretty nice. Although not many people will like this much patches and branding around but if you do you will love this GI. The only Color of this BJJ GI is white. The material is not “pure white” as it has some kind of very faint blue hue so it’s just a bit different than “normal” white Gis but it still looks great. No matter the very faint blue color it’s still IBJJF legal.
The pants are made of the ripstop material, 10oz 100% cotton. For those who like reinforced kneepads, Yuki GI has doubled them up with reinforced-ment. Just like the jacket, pants also have Coolmax material inside to make them feel comfortable enough. There’s taping found at the cuffs of pant’s legs. Thanks to elastic rope drawstring your pants will be kept in place.