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Knowing the JIU JITSU GI

Updated on January 29, 2015

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A self-defense system, martial art and combat sport based on grappling and ground-fighting, it uses gravity, body weight along with a proper technique to subdue one’s opponent. The idea is that even a small or weak person can defend against a stronger or bigger opponent with the help of leverage and proper technique. Apart from being a martial art, it is a sport and a very popular method for promoting physical fitness. Carlos Gracie created this martial art using the fundamentals from Kodokan Judo ground fighting taught to him by Mitsuyo Maeda and Soshihiro Satake. Over the years, through experimentations, adaptations and practices, Jiu Jitsu has eventually come to be its own art.

Jiu Jitsu Gi

The “Gi”

“Gi” is the uniform worm by the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. It is often used as a tool to gain leverage, attack and even escape. The “No-Gi” Jiu Jitsu is a variation without the grips where no clothes can be grabbed by the participants. Traditionally, the wearing of the Gi during training is a requirement to be promoted, however, today, giving out belts to No-Gi practitioners is becoming common. The outfit is also referred to as a “Kimono” sometimes. There are women and kids Jiu Jitsu Gis available too.

The Judo Gi and BJJ Gi

- Although it’s similar to a “Judo gi”, it has tighter cuffs on the pants and jacket. The closer fit provides less material preventing manipulation by the opponent.

- However, the longer and wider sleeves of the BJJ Gi facilitate gripping while the Judo Gi is designed for getting and breaking grips.

- The significant overlap in the standards for both uniforms allows a carefully selected Gi to be suitable for both style.


The rules governing the Jiu Jitsu gi:

- The jacket should reach the fists of a fully extended arm (downwards) and cover the thighs as well.

- The left side of the jacket is crossed over the right and should have a minimum of 20 cm overlap near the bottom of the ribcage.


1. Belt

o A signifier of the practitioner’s skill/rank, it is worn over the Gi keeping the jacket closed. The colors are: white, blue, purple, brown, black, black and red and red.
o It must be 4-5 cm wide.
o It needs to be tied with a double knot.
o Only a white Gi is allowed while the belt color is white. The practitioner is free to wear any color once a blue belt is obtained.
o White, black or blue are the only allowed colors for international championships.

2. Patches

o The patches of the team, sponsor and manufacture may be displayed prominently on the Gi in one of the thirteen different locations specified in the rules.

Fabrics and Weaves

1. The pants are usually made of canvas, sturdy cotton or denims.

2. The jacket has one of the following weaves:

Single weave cotton which is lighter, less expensive and good for hot weather training.

Gold weave cotton, with the weight and durability in-between a single and a double weave.

Double weave cotton is harder wearing, heavier and more expensive.the weight makes it retain more heat while the thickness makes gripping difficult.

Ripstop fabric is usually a combination of different materials. It light weight but extremely strong.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Uniform

Importance of Choosing the Right Gi

Since the Gi is used as a weapon, it is of utmost importance for every competitor participating in the sport. A lot of patience is required to select the best Jiu Jitsu Gi since it is an investment towards the success and development of an athlete. To move up in BJJ belts rankings one must train with the Jiu Jitsu Gi. The following points need to be kept in mind while choosing a gi:


Weight, while a double weave will make it difficult for your opponent to hold on, a lightweight one is most comfortable.

• The pants have no impact in the selection of the gi.

Ease of maintenance, light weight Gis are easier to wash and dry.


Utmost care needs to be taken to wash the Gi due to the close contact between people during the wrestling/grappling. To avoid shrinkage, Gis will need to be laundered in cold water and line dried since even pre-shrunk Gis have a tendency to shrink further in hot water. Bleaching of Gis should be avoided since it weakens the material fibers leading to easy tears.

Drying in sunlight will help in getting rid of the smells of the Gi but long exposure might decrease its durability by weakening the fabric’s integrity.


Always use cold water

Use color-safe laundry detergent and fabric softeners

Hand or line drying is best

Soaking the Gi in white vinegar for 30 minutes before wash will help in setting the color.


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