4 Steps to Finding Your New BJJ Gi
With the increasing popularity of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the number of Gi brands and models has grown enormously. It can be quite a challenge to find a new Gi when there is just so much to choose from. Especially when you are buying a Gi for the first time, you might need some help. In this article we discuss 4 quick steps to finding your new BJJ Gi:
Step 1. Decide about your budget and the purpose of your Gi How much are you able or willing to spend? For a lot of people price is an important factor in their decision making. If you roughly know your budget, you can then select the brands and models that fit the price range you have in mind. Some brands are more expensive in general, while others offer models in both the cheaper as well as the more expensive price classes. Also think about the purpose of your Gi, in other words, what are you going to use it for? Training, and how often? Competition? If you are going to use if very frequently, you might want to invest in a bit higher priced Gi of better quality. Many competitors prefer light Gi`s as it can help you stay in your weight limits.
Step 2. Choose a brand, model, and color There are different reasons for choosing a certain brand. Many people bought a Gi at one point, liked it, and stuck to the brand. Especially when you buy online, this can give you some security over the quality and sizing of your new Gi, as you already have experience with the brand. Picking a brand that other people in your gym are wearing is always safe, as it allows you to ask them for their experiences, and fit the Gi to see if it fits and you like the cut. An important question when buying a Gi: are you going to compete or not? This will influence the color as well as the position of patches on the Gi. At IBJJF tournaments only uniform colored Gi`s, in the colors black, royal blue, and white are allowed. Patchwork also has restrictions: Regarding the material of you Gi, there can be requirements as well. The IBJJF does not allow ripstop jackets for example, while you don`t want your Gi to be too heavy at the same time. For more information on the Gi requirements at IBJJF tournaments, go to http://ibjjf.org/uniform/ If you plan to compete at smaller tournaments the requirements are less strict. Requirements at Jiu Jitsu academies can vary quite a lot. Then there`s the weave. Single weave Gi`s are usually very affordable but do not last very long, while double weave Gi`s are more thick and heavy (many Judo Gi`s are produced with a double weave). A gold weave is somewhere in the middle. There is a lot of information available online, regarding different Gi models and the pros and cons. When you choose a good Jiu Jitsu brand, it often pays off to invest a little more in a quality Gi. One of the extras that the more expensive models often have for example is lining inside of the jacket. This is a huge plus as it helps prevent your shoulders from getting too scuffed, especially when you play guard.
Step 3. Find out what size you need Obviously, one of most important aspects to pay attention to is whether the Gi fits. A lot of people tend to have problems with the length of the pants or the sleeves. What you can do to test this is squat down to see if you have enough space for movement. When standing up the pants often seem to fit, but later you may find out that they do not during rolling. To measure the right arm length, simply stretch them out in front of you. It is also important to have the right sleeve and pants length for competition. Again, the IBJJF has the most strict rules, while local tournaments are less strict. When your Gi does not comply with the rules, it is possible that you lose your tournament application fee and are not allowed to fight. Depending on how much bigger your new Gi is, you can shrink it a bit, especially the arms. Wash at maximum 40 degrees, as washing your Gi at a higher temperature may damage the collar and cause excessive shrinkage. How much your new Gi will shrink depends very much on the fabric and the treatment. For example, ripstop weave Gi`s generally do not shrink that much, while some Gi`s with another weave might shrink 10 percent. Some Gi`s have been pre-shrunk, which of course will also decrease the amount of shrinkage you can expect. If you are buying your first Gi, the best thing would be to go somewhere you can physically try Gi`s. Or, if you are buying it online, make sure you can change or return it. An A2 of one brand can be very different from an A2 of another.
Step 4. Pick a belt When you are buying your first Gi, or when you have just been promoted, the next thing you need to select is a BJJ belt. Usually the belt comes in the same size as the Gi you need. If you have a big belly or a very thin waist, you might need a belt size that deviates from your Gi size though. Some best-value Gi models come with a free white belt, which makes them an excellent choice for beginners.