Bjj Gi Guide

Posted on 28 March 2017


  • BJJ gis are traditionally sized from A0 thru A5. It should be noted that there can be a significant different between cuts/dimensions from different manufacturers (and even models) and that a lot of sizing tables are very generic. Ideally, you’d be able to try on the gi ahead of time but if that’s not an option don’t be shy about emailing the manufacturer or retailer for the exact dimensions. Many manufacturers have added specialty sizes for slim and/or husky athletes to take into account the particular builds of those athletes, husky sizes are less common because traditional sizes tend to fit them best.
  • There are three broad categories of cut for a BJJ gi. The judo cut tends to have shorter and wider sleeves. They’re also less form fitting the gi designed specifically for BJJ. The traditional BJJ cut is essentially a more form fitting version of a judo gi. BJJ “competition” cuts are an emerging trend and are more fitted than the traditional BJJ cut. Competition cuts will typically have sleeves that are narrower at the biceps/cuff and the overlap of the lapels tends to be less. All styles have positives and negatives and are used widely in competition/training based on the preference of the user


  • Pearl weave is probably the most commonly used weave. This weave is intended to provide a balance between strength, weight and durability. Pearl weave gis tend to be the lightest gis made, are cool when training and have minimal stretch. A common complaint of pearl weave is that is can be rough and stiff.
  • Single weave has been the standard for beginner gis in the past. The fabric is light, comfortable and inexpensive. Single weave has a reputation for wearing out, being easy to grab and stretching when used. Single weave has seen resurgence of late because of how comfortable they are.
  • Double weave is what happens when you double up the single weave. These gis are very durable and difficult to grab. As you’d imagine the downside is the weight of the gi and how hot it can get when training.
  • Gold weave is the middle ground between single and double weaves. Purported to have the benefits of single (light and comfortable) and double weaves (strong and durable) without their drawback gold weave is a popular choice for gis.
  • Specific manufacturers may have their own proprietary weaves such as platinum, crystal and honeycomb. The weaves are generally modified versions of the weaves mentioned above.
  • The weight of the fabric is represented by the number of grams a square meter of fabric weighs; ex. 525gr is heavier than 425gr. The lightest gis on the market are ~375-400gr and the heaviest in are 575gr+.
  • An increasingly popular niche for gi is to use “exotic” materials. Traditional gis are constructed of cotton but there also options available in bamboo, hemp, ripstop and wool. You can expect to pay a premium for gis made of these fabrics.
  • We’ll touch briefly on collars. Traditionally collars have been made of folded over fabric but nowadays most jackets have a foam core. Cloth collars tend to be stiffer than their foam counterparts but they take much longer to dry. Foam collars are somewhat less likely to house infectious bacteria and/or mildew. The choice of collar material is a personal preference.

Gi Care:

  • Gi care is fairly straight forward. For a gi that is not white and/or one that has a lot of colors it is recommended to use white vinegar instead of fabric softener with the initial wash. White vinegar can also be used intermittently to whiten gis and remove unwanted odors.
  • Wash all gis as soon as possible after training. Wash in cold on a delicate/gentle cycle and hang dry if you like the fit. If you need to shrink your gi wash as above but dry it on medium to high heat in 15 minute increments. After each 15 time period check the gi for shrinkage and take it out when it’s the size you like. If you dry your gi all the way thru on high once it’s not likely to shrink any further.


  • How many gis you need is based on how often you train. If you’re only training once or twice a week you may be able to get by with a single gi but if you’re training more frequently multiple gis will make your life a lot easier. A rule of thumb is to have one gi for each training session in a 48 hour period. For example, if you train Mon, Tues and Saturday you’re probably going to need 2 GIs.
  • If you plan on competing it is imperative that you know the rules regarding allowed uniforms for that specific organization as they can differ. For instance, the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation is one of the largest organizations in the sport and they have very specific rules for uniforms. The rule most likely to affect your gi purchase is that they only allow white, royal blue and black gis and the gi must be a single uniform color. It’s also a good idea to check with your instructor to see if there are academy specific rules you’ll need to abide by.

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