ⓘ Brazilian jiu-jitsu gi
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu gi is a uniform for training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, adapted from the keikogi in modern Japanese martial arts, especially Kodokan judo. A gi, meaning dress or clothes, is typically composed of a heavy cotton jacket, reinforced drawstring trousers, and a belt which communicates rank. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu gi is also sometimes referred to as kimono by non-Japanese speakers. Some Jiu-Jitsu school systems avoid using a gi.
1. General regulations
The only colors allowed for international championships are white, black or blue. In some jurisdictions this is relaxed to allow any single solid color.
According to article 8 of IBJJF rules, a competition gi must conform to these specifications:
- Athletes are not permitted to compete with torn kimonos, sleeves or pants that are not of proper length, or with T-shirts underneath the kimono except for females.
- Colors may be black, white or blue, no combined colors white kimono with blue pants, etc.
- The jacket is to be of sufficient length down to the thighs, sleeves must reach the wrist with arms extended in front of the body. The sleeve should follow the official measurements according to IBJJF this is measured from the shoulder to the wrist.
- The gi must be constructed of cotton or similar material and be in good condition. The material may not be excessively thick or hard to the point where it will obstruct the opponent.
- Belt width must be 4–5 cm, with belt color corresponding to the practitioners rank. The belt must be tied around the waist with a double knot, tight enough to secure the kimono closed. An extremely worn/discoloured belt may need to be replaced before competing.
- A BJJ practitioner is not allowed to paint his/her gi. Exceptions can be made for teams competition.
In addition to the above requirements, pockets of any kind are not allowed in a gi used at tournaments.
A special gi checking tool is sometimes used to determine acceptable measurements and fit of the gi. This tool resembles a block of wood 3.5 cm x 2.5 cm x 15 cm with a slit cut in the middle and is used to measure the following:
- There must be at least 7 cm of room from the bottom of the competitors wrist to the bottom of the sleeve.
- The jacket lapel must be 5 cm wide.
- The jacket lapel must not be thicker than 1.3 cm.
1.1. General regulations Patches
According to article 13 of IBJJF rules, patches may be placed on the gi in one of thirteen different locations:
On the jacket:
- Front right upper shoulder
- Front below the belt
- Front right upper arm
- Left upper arm
- Back below the belt
- Back below the collar and above the belt
- Left upper shoulder
On the pants:
- Along the back of the right leg
- Along the back of the left leg
- Above the front left knee
- Above the front right knee
- Below the front right knee with at least 15 cm of space to the floor without patch to allow for grabbing
- Below the front left knee with at least 15 cm of space to the floor without patch to allow for grabbing
2.1. Fabric and weave Pants
Traditionally, gi pants are made of a sturdy cotton canvas, or denim with reinforced seams/knees. Tough and light weight materials have started to become more popular in recent years as cooler hot weather gis have become more popular. It is common in tournaments to see competitors wearing ripstop pants with a standard cotton gi top.
2.2. Fabric and weave Jacket
Single Weave Cotton: This is lighter and typically less expensive. It is often used for hot weather training. Being lighter weight typically between 300–550 g/m 2, this weave is not as durable as a heavier fabric.
Gold Weave Cotton: This material is in-between the single and double weave with regards to weight and durability. Gold weave is a standard that was originally required for competition by the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Confederation, although this has now been relaxed to allow different jacket weaves.
Double Weave Cotton: This gi top is made of significantly more fabric than a single weave. It is heavier, harder wearing, and is typically more expensive. The thickness of the gi can make it more difficult for an opponent to grip the fabric, but the weight of the gi typically between 650–1050 g/m 2 makes them retain more heat. The stiffness of the material can make double weaves more abrasive on the skin of opponents and wearers alike.
Ripstop Fabrics: Ripstop fabrics are made of many different materials woven together to produce an extremely strong and light weight material that is difficult to tear or rip. Due to the weave of the material this type of Gi top can be made light weight lighter than a single weave gi while still remaining strong. Since this material is woven thinner than cotton gis, an opponent can more easily grab and manipulate it.
Due to the nature of wrestling/grappling and the diseases that can come from close contact between people, the gi is typically washed after each class. As with most cotton products, a cotton gi must be laundered in cold water and line dried to avoid shrinkage. This is important to most Jiu-Jitsu practitioners as even pre-shrunk gi material has a tendency to shrink further in hot water and a hot dryer cycle. To preserve the life of the gi, bleaching is highly discouraged, as this can weaken the fibers of the material and cause them to tear more easily. Line drying in bright sunlight is commonly suggested to help remove smells from the gi, due to the bacterial killing properties of UV light. Hanging the gi in direct sunlight can damage the integrity of the fabric and reduce its durability, and can also stiffen up fibres in a gi.
While most gis sold today are made of a colorfast material, some manufacturers recommend that a darker coloured gi be washed with 2-3 cups of white vinegar the first time that the outfit is laundered. This helps to set the dye in the gi and will minimize fading.
It is advised to leave a gi to dry in indirect sunlight, and avoid drying in drying machines, as this can cause shrinkage.
4. Similarity to the judogi
The Jiu-Jitsu gi is similar to the judogi with a few slight differences. Jiu jitsu regulations allow for tighter cuffs on the pants and jacket, and the skirt section of the gi beneath the belt is shorter. This allows the practitioner to benefit from a closer fit, providing less material for an opponent to manipulate. Team, sponsor, and manufacturers patches are often more prominently displayed on a Jiu-Jitsu gi than would be allowed in judo. A judo gi may be worn for BJJ tournaments, but a Jiu-Jitsu gi will not meet guidelines for a judo tournament.