The uniform worn in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is called a gi and it takes a while to get used to. Most people start BJJ in no gi and find the gi bulky and uncomfortable; I hated training gi for almost 2 years but I think a lot of the reason is because I didn’t know how to use it to my advantage. I still remember the first time I saw Jason Statham choke someone with his own jacket in Transporter how friggin cool I thought it was. Now I know how to choke people with their own clothing, too. Bottom line is if they wear it, we can choke them with it.
The measurements you need to know are wrist-to-wrist across the shoulders, chest width all the way around, nape of neck to about mid bum (or the desired jacket length), hip bone to ankle bone and inseam. Fushida Sports Corp has an in-depth Fitting Assistance service which will help you find a gi that will fit you perfectly. I have the Fushida “CompLS” and it’s the best quality gi I’ve ever rolled in.
Recently, I replied to a question about gis on Twitter and accidentally “mentioned” Luciana Machado Simon, which led to me being schooled about gis. As you will see in this interview, Luciana grew up in the BJJ culture and has been manufacturing the famous Brazilian MKimonos since 1994. The Buyer’s Guide on that site is the most thorough and easy to understand explanation about gis I’ve ever seen, and I’ve done a lot of research. I hadn’t heard of MKimonos but as you can see in the photo, they’re very sharp and I will definitely consider them the next time I buy a gi.
The Buyer’s Guide linked above thoroughly explains each type of weave available today including the single, double, pearl and gold weaves. It also describes the MKimono Hybrid weave, which is a weave Marcelo Machado developed in the year 2000. Many companies develop their own weaves; Killer Bee Kimonos are made with the Killer Bee weave, Fenom Kimonos are made with a crystal weave and Vulkan gis are made with a honeycomb weave. I have no idea what the real difference is but I do find that some of the softer weaves like Vulkan and Fenom pick up a lot of debris from the mats and are more easily stretched when they get sweaty. I prefer a more tight, durable weave like the Killer Bee weave and the Fushida Pearl weave. Although rip stop is thin and I have seen it rip, it is very comfortable to roll in and ideal for hot summer days. That being said, it is also easier for your opponent to keep a grip on because it is so thin.
In my video review of the Fushida CompLS gi, I said exactly what Josh Simon of MKimonos says in his opinion of collars:
Collar Thickness This is often something that novice grapplers obsess over. They feel that if a gi has a thick enough or wide enough collar they will not be choked. While there is some truth to this, and for a time in the late 90’s gi companies got out of hand with ridiculous collars, there are now IBJJF standards. This means that collar thickness will vary little from manufacturer to manufacturer. Beginners in BJJ should focus on learning to properly defend against chokes, not to find a gi that will mystically/magically defend them on their behalf.
Josh’s Verdict: Don’t worry about it. Any collar will be fine for you.
So you bought a gi…
Gi Washing and Care
No matter which type of gi you end up with, I hope you enjoy choking people with it and remember to always protect your neck!
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