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Green gi

Buying your first BJJ gi: a beginner's guide

Whether you just stumbled into your very first trial class or you are already a few sessions in, it might be time to buy your first jiu jitsu gi. It can be hard for beginners to know what to look for when buying their first gi. While asking more seasoned jiu jitsu practitioners can provide some direction, it doesn't always work out the best.

Not only do styles and sizes vary from one brand to the next, the sheer abundance of options can be overwhelming. That's why we explore the differences between gis and provide you with a guide as a kickstart to your jiu jitsu journey!

Knowing what you want

Before we dive in, let's consider a few things:

Do you plan on competing? A bright red gi might not be the right choice. Do you live in hotter climates? A heavier GSM gi might not be the right option. Does your gym dictate the style or colour? You might need even want to add a patch or two.

The more you already know about your intentions and immediate requirements, the easier it will be to find the perfect gi for you. Don't be overwhelmed by these things though. We recommend considering the following three things when purchasing a jiu -jitsu gi. This will help you narrow down and select the perfect bjj gi for you!

1. Deciding on BJJ gi colour

Jiu jitsu gis are available in every colour under the sun so why buy a white one? White gis are absolute classics. Some jiu jitsu gyms like a very uniform look and require you to wear a certain colour of gi. If that's the case, it usually includes white gis and you'll be required to stick with the code.

If you plan on competing, several competitions have restrictions on colours you can compete in. The most prestigious gi tournaments are run by an organisation called International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF). The three colours that are legal in IBJJF competitions are white, royal blue and black. Although you might not want to compete any time soon, it's worth considering this should you think you might like to in the future.

If you don't want to stand out on the mats, these colours are also more common and will help you blend in with the crew. Those that like to embrace their uniqueness, however, have endless possibilities. We currently offer options in grey and forest green, with more colourful options on the way!

Grey gi

2. Selecting the right bjj gi size

The next thing to consider and probably one of the most important things to consider is the sizing of your jiu jitsu gi. Even the most beautiful designs won't look cool if the fit isn't right.

You'll want to move freely in your gi without the fabric hugging your body or restricting your movement. There's nothing worse that being held back by the fabric of your gi while trying to retain your guard. On the flip side, you don't want your gi to fit like your favourite oversized pyjamas. With gis being a heavy garment, all this excess fabric is going to weigh you down, make you feel uncomfortable and hinder your movement almost as much as a tight gi.

That's why we suggest referring to the brand's own sizing chart. They can be a great tool to direct you towards a certain size as long as you remember that every body is unique and weight can be distributed very differently between one body and the next. Generally, brands use a height and weight size chart, like the one below, to help guide you to the appropriate gi size. 

Size Chart

If available, we also recommend reviewing the gi specific measurement chart. The measurement chart will generally provide the most critical measurements to consider when buying a bjj gi.  Used in combination with the height and weight chart, this can be very useful. 

Generally, sizes range between A0 and A5 for men and F0 to F4 for women. For those with longer limbs, an added 'L' at the end of the size declares that both sleeves and pants will be longer while the rest of the dimensions stay the same. This is important if you plan to compete, as many bjj competitions have guidelines to ensure competitors wear gis that make competition fair.  In this instance, sleeves or pants that are too short may provide a benefit for one competitor as it makes it harder for the opponent to get grips. 

Hooks Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gi sizes
Consider, too, that most gis will shrink slightly over the first couple of washes and especially if you tumble dry your gi. To minimise shrinkage, always cold wash your gi and hang dry it before using it again.

The ideal way to pick a well fitting gi is by trying it on. Consider visiting a shop or warehouse with a storefront to try on different sizes before settling on one. If this is not an option, most brands allow you to return a gi and exchange it should it not be used or washed. If you are still unsure, reach out to the brand for advice.

3. BJJ Gi Weight

You may want to consider the weight of your gi for a variety of reasons. If you, for example, live and train in a hot climate, you might prefer a lighter gi. Lighter weight gis are generally softer, breathe better and won't feel as heavy - especially when they're soaked with sweat during a training session. They also make for good travel gis as they're easy to pack and won't weigh down your suitcase.

If you're not fussed about a lightweight gi and would rather feel like you're putting on a suit of armour, you might prefer a mid to heavy weight gi. Especially in colder climates the heavier and thicker fabrics are a great and durable choice. Ambitious competitors might even choose a thicker gi so their opponents can't grab them as easily. While you're not allowed to wear a gi that's too tight or too short, the thick gis you'll find on the market are perfectly legal.

Most competitors, however, like to allocate as little weight as possible to the gi so they don't have to cut as much or move up to a higher weight class. While some gis are so light they'll barely weigh you down, their material might be too thin for competition. Check on the brand's page or cross reference the so called GSM requirements with organisations like the IBJJF. If you're unsure, make sure to reach out to the brand's customer service team.

Black gi

There is so much more to explore in the realm of gis including gi fabrics, weights and fits - stay tuned for more in-depth articles in the future.

But for now, if you are new to jiu jitsu and looking for your first bjj gi, we suggest considering the three factors above to help you narrow down your search. And, please feel free to reach out to us if you need further advice. 

Happy Rolling! 
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