Buying Your First Gi
What kind of BJJ Gi should I buy? Is this brand of gi better than this one? Can you recommend a BJJ Gi that I should buy?
These questions are the most commonly posed question that instructors hear. In fact, there are also commonly search terms online. Because there are so many options out there, the purpose of this article is to help you narrow the field and pick the right gi for you.
The very first thing to consider is whether you should be thinking about even buying a BJJ Gi at all. Keep in mind that they can be expensive, and the cheap versions won't hold up for very long at all. It’s good to do a double check and ask yourself how serious you are about practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Are you a barely starting or have you been fairly consistent over the last six months? Of course, these questions are even more important if you are thinking buying a gi for a young person, since their interests and size can change quickly.
After you are sure that you want to make the investment, its important that you understand the difference between BJJ Gi and other types of gis for instance an Essimo judo gi, or a karate gi. BJJ gis are specially designed to have extra reinforcement in vital stress areas, such as arm pit, crotch and seams. They are built to be tough, they can handle being tugged, pulled and repeatedly washed without losing their shape. The lapels are a bit different also. They are thicker than other gis to help protect you from certain typical BJJ moves, like the lapel choke.
Another detail that makes BJJ gis different is that they have narrow sleeves, which help you avoid being grabbed by your opponent. Judo gis commonly have wider sleeves since they don't engage in grappling.
Be forewarned that gis tent to shrink after washing...a lot! Because the fabric is cotton, it WILL shrink, even if you spend the extra money and buy a gi that is advertised as "pre-shrunk". Also, drying them is the dryer isn't highly recommended because it can ruin the label. Its best to wash in cool water and line dry it in order to keep it in tip top shape.
You can get your Brazilian jiu-jitsu gi in one of three different weaves, single weave, double weave and gold weave.
Of the three, the single weave is probably the most common. Its lighter in weight than the other two which some say allows them to move more freely. The double weave BJJ gi is much thicker. There are pros and cons to this thicker weave. On the plus side, most agree that the thicker fabric is more difficult to grab, but on the other hand, it could potentially slow you down a bit. Although, I’ve seen the pros in competitions, it doesn't seem to slow them down much! In between these two weaves stands the gold weave which is a happy middle weave of the two.
Hopefully, this information and more will help start you on the road to buying a BJJ gi for yourself Stay tuned for more updates and tips to helping you buying your first gi.