In recent years, the popularity of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has skyrocketed, thanks in part to its representation within the world of mixed martial arts.
Based on ground fighting, this combat sport features heavily within the UFC, where its grapples and submission holds have become trademarks of the sporting franchise.
But what exactly is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and where did it find its origins?
Originally developed around 1920 by Brazilian brothers Carlos, Oswaldo, Gastao Jr, George, and Helio Gracie, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was based in part on teachings Carlos received in traditional Kodokan Judo.
Having received training in Kodokan Judo by a traveling Judoka (Judo master) from Japan (Mitsuyo Maeda), the brothers later began to develop and market their own brand of martial arts known as Gracie Jiu Jitsu.
This was later developed and fleshed out over the years, incorporating elements of both Gracie Jiu Jitsu and Judo to create what is now known as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a martial art based on the concept that, through its practice, a smaller or weaker combatant can defend themselves against larger and more powerful opponents using simple leverage and weight distribution.
With a strong basis in ground and pound tactics, as well as submissions and rolls using the above mentioned weight distribution techniques, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was based on Master Maeda’s teachings surrounding Judo, wherein he believed physical combat could (and should) be broken down into distinct phases.
These phases were the striking phase, the grappling phase, and the ground phase, and Maeda’s teachings instructed that in each of these specific phases, the combatants should commit themselves entirely to the requirements of the moment.
The way BJJ differentiates itself from other martial arts is through its primary focus on ground fighting.
Due to this, many BJJ practitioners combine their training with elements of wrestling and Sambo (a Russian form of wrestling), as well as the incorporated elements of Judo.
Primary ground positions within BJJ include: side control, knee on belly position, full mount, back mount, north-south position, and guards.
Common submission holds also include: compression locks (the compression of muscle against bone), joint locks (such as arm bars), and chokes (such as the famed “rear-naked choke”).
Whilst arm and leg locks are encouraged, specifically targeted attacks against the knee joints, elbow joints, and the spine are not allowed, as the techniques needed to cause even slight pain are the same ones that could also inflict serious, debilitating injury.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners commonly compete wearing either a gi or a komono.
Meaning “dress/clothes”, a gi is an article of clothing adapted from the modern Japanese keikogi, and generally consists of a heavy cotton jacket, a pair of draw-strung trousers, and a belt indicating associated rank (as in most martial arts).
Junior belt colors consist of white, gray, yellow, orange, green, whilst senior belt colors range from white, to blue, to purple, and finally to brown.
Once they have progressed to black belt status, the gradings span from black (0-6), black and red (7), red and white (8), and red (9-10).
Finding the right uniform and equipment, especially when competing on a professional level, is very important. Tighter fitting clothing is better, as this reduces the risk of opponents grabbing and manipulating you during combat.
Modern MMA usually sees fighters adopting the “no-gi” style, wearing only shorts, a rash guard, gloves, and foot coverings.
Now you know a little bit about the history of the gi, the requirements of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and some of the things to look for when purchasing the right gear, it’s time to see a few of our top picks and suggestions.
So without further ado, here are our picks for the top 5 gis on the market covering men, women, and children!
OUR TOP PICK
In no particular order, the first item on our list is the Power 2.0 by Venum.
Boasting imported premium cotton for a durable but lightweight design, the Power 2.0 is IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation) approved, and offers a breathable wearing experience perfect for training or professional competition.
Featuring a range of three colors (black, royal blue, and white), the Power 2.0 offers the highest quality for a price that won’t break the bank.
The material is heavy duty to offer you the maximum longevity and protection during use, whilst keeping you looking good at the same time.
The extensive sizing range means you can find the best fit for your body type, so as to encourage the best range of movement, grace, and flexibility during use.
With the Power 2.0, the wearer feels fitted and protected, without feeling uncomfortable or restricted, and offers enough range of movement without being too baggy or a liability during a fight.
The 280gsm ripstop fabric is also reinforced at the tension points to protect against rips and tears during moments of stretching and unconventional movement.
- Very durable.
- Good looking design.
- Range of colors.
- Rugged for longevity and protection.
- Modest price tag.
- Value for money.
- Sizes can run small.
- Sizing guides need careful study before purchase.
Next on our list, the V.2 by Sanabul comes in a range of colors (white, black, green, gray, navy, and royal blue) and sizes, ensuring everyone’s personal preferences and sizing needs are catered for.
Made from 100% cotton, and designed for cold water washing only to avoid shrinkage or damage, the V.2 boasts the perfect fit, thanks to preshrunk products that won’t alter after cleaning.
Tested by professionals, and offering high quality at a fair and modest price, the V.2 is designed to go on your fitness journey with you, offering you protection, longevity, and style during any level of combat intensity.
With a classic, “uncluttered” style that promotes timelessness and grace, the V.2 is a favorite of BJJ black belt Guilherme Bomba, and Jiu Jitsu coach John Danaher, both of whom regularly put the material through the ringer and still come out smiling.
Lightweight for ease of movement and agility, yet heavy duty for peak protection and performance during use, the V.2 is the perfect all rounder.
Also the stiff, rubberized collars, tapered sleeves, and dense, single weave design mean that quality and ruggedness aren’t sacrificed in the name of speed. (Find out How To Fix A Stretched Collar here)
With a free colored belt with every purchase, this gi is the perfect choice for amateurs and veterans alike.
- Rugged, heavy duty material.
- Lightweight design.
- Professional tested and endorsed.
- Preshrunk sizes.
- Modest price tag.
- Value for money.
- Sizes can run large.
Specifically designed for the female form, and available in a variety of colors (including black, white, pink, and purple), the Elite Sports are purposely designed to avoid discomfort and promote ease of movement during training.
Made from quality material, and boasting a lightweight design which promotes comfort and movement, the gi offers absorbent qualities that help during heavy bouts of sweating.
The gi is reinforced with expert stitching to avoid rips and tears during heavy use, ensuring you are taken care of during even the most intense training sessions.
But what the Elite Sport offers first and foremost is a combination of comfort, style and breathability, encouraged by the cotton/polyester blended material, and a rigid, rubberized collar which ensures shape and stylishness during wearing.
- Range of colors.
- Breathable and Comfortable.
- Lightweight and hard wearing.
- Modest price tag.
- Value for money.
- Specifically designed for women.
- Runs small (check sizing guides and reviews for best fit).
Available in 12 different colors and designs, the BJJ Gi by Fluory places individuality and stylishness alongside good quality, comfort, and functionality, ensuring you always look and feel confident, be it in training or competitive situations.
With a promise of quality, Fluory have developed something of a name for themselves on the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu market, and believe attentive service and high quality products are the way to ensure longevity in business.
The material they use feels cooler and lightweight, offering comfort and breathability during extended use, and the pre-shrunk fabric, EVA foam collar, and tapered slim fit ensure the best fit for the individual.
Ultimately, what Fluory offers is customization, and the products can be further improved with reinforced stitching along high tension areas, as well as the cuffs, elbows, and knees to ensure longevity, durability, and added protection during combat.
- High quality product.
- Durable and long lasting.
- Lightweight and breathable.
- Affordable price tag.
- Specifically designed for the female form.
- Wide range of colors and customizable features.
- Gi pants reportedly run small.
Available in 8 colors and a variety of sizes to fit both boys and girls, the Youth BJJ Gi from Elite Sports ensures your children are not only protected during training, but also look cool doing it.
The cotton/polyester blend promotes breathability for maximum comfort, and the pre-shrunk fabric ensures that no unforeseen shrinkages happen after washing.
The material is lightweight to help ease of movement, yet the material is heavy duty and supported by reinforced stitching to keep elbows and knees safe from harm or wear.
Approved by the IBJJF, this gi is the perfect choice for tiny combatants.
- Modest price tag.
- High quality design.
- Lightweight and breathable.
- Heavy Duty and durable.
- Range of colors and sizes.
- Gi pants run short in the leg (check sizing guides for more details).
Best BJJ Gi Buyers Guide
When purchasing a gi, be it for training or professional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions, there are several things that are important to consider before committing.
Of course, with any clothing, the design is always going to be important.
People generally buy clothing, be it daily use or sports clothing, because they find the design appealing.
With a gi, the important elements are the material it is made from, the fit, and the overall design and shape.
The material is important, as it needs to be rugged and able to withstand ground combat and wear, and it also needs to be somewhat sweat absorbent and breathable to promote comfort during use.
The way it fits is also important, especially when it comes to organized competitive fighting.
The fit needs to be loose enough so as not to hinder movement during combat, but also tight enough so as not to become a liability that the opponent can exploit.
Once again, the shape and design also needs to aid free movement, allowing the wearer to roll on the ground, twist, grapple, and engage in submissions with minimal discomfort and restrictions.
In this vein, the gi shouldn’t be baggy under the arms, nor between the legs, as this could seriously restrict movement during use.
Similarly the sleeves and legs shouldn't be so long as to cause obstructions or potential accidents during fighting.
With any consumer product, the price is always going to be an important factor.
As far as price goes, there are some factors to consider, namely garment quality, longevity, and value for money.
Firstly, whilst a cheaper price tag might indicate an inferior product, this is not always the case.
Look at the reviews to see what the customers are saying about the feel of the material, the quality of the craftsmanship, and the way the material looks when worn.
With regards to certain items of clothing, like leatherwear and other such materials, paying more money generally assures a better quality of product, however when it comes to sporting goods there are plenty of mid-range items that will do the job without breaking the bank.
I suppose this all comes down to value for money, and how you measure that value.
A cheaper item might not cost as much, but will more than likely require more frequent replacement, whilst a more expensive item might offer greater longevity, but is harder to replace when the inevitable eventually occurs.
Once again, when buying online, it is best to place some of your faith in the reviews.
Look for the common denominators when it comes to quality and craftsmanship, and try to choose the best item for the level of activity you plan to engage in.
Whilst not necessarily as applicable with items of clothing, the specific features a product offers can be a game changer when it comes to sportswear.
Breathability, specially designed materials, and maintenance are all important factors.
You want the product to be easy to clean, especially in combat sports where sweat and blood are a factor.
You also want them to be streamlined for ease of movement, rugged for longevity, and breathable to keep you cool.
All of these factors are down to what material is used, and are important to consider when looking for the perfect BJJ gi.
Check the item specifications to see what material they are made from, so you can then choose accordingly.
Similarly, another feature to look out for is reinforced stitching on the knees and elbows.
These can help protect the clothing during fighting, and can also help reduce the strain and injury to knees and elbows during heavy use.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Gsm?
Gsm stands for grams per meter, and is the internationally accepted metric measurement for fabric thickness and density.
What Materials Are Best?
While there is no agreed upon fabric, most gis are commonly made from cotton, have pearl weave jackets, and ripstop pants to ensure longevity and comfort.
What Is EVA Foam?
EVA stands for ethylene-vinyl acetate, and is a very soft, elastic material used in many gis.
Does Price Affect Quality?
Whilst it can be an indicator, there are plenty of alternatives online that offer quality for affordable prices.
And there we have it, our top picks for the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gis on the market, all available at Amazon.com.
Ultimately, the best things to remember when looking for the perfect gi are durability, breathability, lightweight designs, and comfortable materials to promote comfort, movement, longevity of the product, and protection during combat.
For further recommendations or information, try asking your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor to see if they have suggestions, or to see what they use for their training and competitive fights.