A Beginner’s Gi Buying Guide
There are a lot of things that we are unsure from the moment we decide to bring a change in our lives by stepping into something new. The kind of sport or lifestyle that we take up varies from person to person, some of us decide to take up running, whilst some of take it a step further by venturing into martial arts. If we want to understand our training needs for a particular lifestyle, there is a ton of information available on the internet. It sometimes becomes difficult to sort out the information available and arrive at the means best suited to the activity that we are taking up. What if, we had the means that would direct us to the right medium, that would help us get the apt information.
With this view in mind, we have tried to highlight the information presented below, in an attempt to guide you to the knowledge that we have gathered from our own experience, from our peers, as well as the enormous amount of data available on the internet. The information will focus on the elements that you ideally should consider, while buying a Gi as you begin your JiuJitsu Journey.
The Gi Buying Guide:
Things that you need to look for while buying a Gi are as follows:
GSM – A Jiujitsu Gi usually comes in three standard GSMs: 350, 450 and 550, light to the heaviest in that order. You can make a choice based on your requirement.
For example: If you are a jiujiteiro who has to travel and you still want to train irrespective of the location, then you’d be more inclined to get the lighter 350 GSM Gi rather than a 450 or 550 GSM. However, some of the brands on the market have their own customized GSMs like the Ronin Plain BJJ Gi. It is the training situation that will define the choice of the GSM.
Note: The weather conditions of the place you are residing or travelling to also plays a factor in determining the GSMs.
The strength and the durability of the Gi however is not defined by the GSM but the WEAVE, which we are going to delve into next.
Weave – It is defined as the way the Gi Fabric is stitched together in different patterns.
The commonly used Gi weaves are Single Weave, Double Weave, Gold Weave and Pearl Weave.
Single Weave – This is the simplest of weaves used. The main features of the weaves are it is Lightweight and inexpensive. However, it is easier for the opponents to grip and control and it is less durable. The image below will help you to identify a single weave Gi, the next time you come across one.
Double Weave – It is a double layered fabric of weave. It is similar to the single weave but the weaves are done twice over. It is thereby a little expensive and more durable as compared to the single weave fabric.
Gold weave – It can be easily identified from its distinct ladder like appearance. The main features of the Gi are it is light, durable and stronger than the single and the double weaves. It is however the GI which tends to shrink a lot and also expensive than the previous two weaves discussed.
Pearl Weave – An easy way to identify these Gis are, it has the appearance of multiple strings of pearls woven together, like pearls stitched together (hence the name). It is lightweight and durable and usually comes in 450 and 550GSM. Inspite of higher GSMs, the pearl weave is able to maintain it’s light nature. It is also available in 350GSMs. The Pearl weave takes care of the shrinkage. It does not shrink as much as the Gold Weave fabric. Most pre-shrunk Gis are Pearl weaves.
Apart from these weaves there are a few different types of weaves which are also available such as Special weave – a blend of cotton and a performance polyester fabric, Pearl weave pro – denser pearl weaves, Honey-comb weave, Platinum weave, ripstop weave (not IBJJF legal and most commonly used to make Gi trousers) and diamond weave.
Shrinkage: Gold weave shrinks the most. However, Gis of different weaves also tend to shrink if proper wash care instructions are not followed. Lack of wash care also leads to discoloration and reduces the durability of a Gi, like most products. A list of wash care instructions are provided at the end of the section.
Comfort: It is a subjective topic to discuss. However, rip-stop weave stands out as the most uncomfortable fabric to be used in Gis or Gi trousers both for you as well as your training partners. As long as you stay away from the rip-stop fabric and take good care of your Gi, you will have a good experience in training with your Gi.
Price tag: It is one of the important factors that we look at while making a purchase. As the type of weaves increase the cost of the Gi increases as well. However, some of the aspects must be kept in mind while making the choice based on the price tag.
For example: A low cost Gi doesn’t necessarily imply that the Gi is not durable or it is made of a cheaper material. The type of weaves as discussed above should be the criteria for determining it’s strength and durability. A Gi’s lifespan usually starts from two years or more. So, ideally your investment is for a period of two years.
Brand: There are a lot of brands out there internationally and a few nationally in India that are selling Gis. However, it is important to look at each of their mission statement and what they stand for. If it is something that you as a customer and a practitioner of BJJ connect with, it makes sense to go ahead in making the purchase, after all the areas as discussed above is ticked off. It implies not only what they say on their website, but keeping a track of their activities to understand whether they follow through with their statement. This is what differentiates a brand who is in it just for the business or do they actually want to make a difference in the community.
Anyone stepping into the community of BJJ, the above points will give you a fair idea about the things that you need to look for in a Gi while making a purchase. Once you are aware of this, it will help you to make an informed decision.
There are no strict rules to follow, as it depends on an individual and his needs.
It is not a rule but rather a guide.
The Gi wash care instructions are:
Wash the GI at a temperature of 30° and less, low/medium spin
DO NOT dry the GI under direct sunlight
Dry the GI under the shade inside out at all times
DO NOT iron the prints/logos
Using as few chemicals as possible will ensure your GI lasts even longer