How To Fold A Gi

Owning a gi is a huge part of being a martial arts student, not only does it make you look the part it can also assist you in mastering different moves. 

The last thing you want is for your gi to look crumpled, creased, and in poor condition. 

How to fold a gi

So it is important that we learn how to properly look after our gi, including the best way to transport it to and from practice.

Why Should I Fold My Gi?

Folding a gi performs the same function as folding any other item of clothing. 

If you fold your T-shirts before putting them away rather than simply throwing them into the drawer, you know the benefits. 

You get to put on a clean, neat shirt that makes you look more put together than one that is full of creases. 

The same goes for your gi. 

To maintain the nice, crisp fit that your gi has when you first get it, it is important to look after it properly, which includes folding it properly.

The Importance Of A Gi

A gi has great significance in martial arts, especially jiu-jitsu. 

More than simply a uniform or workout clothes, your gi forms an integral part of the art. 

Being grabbed, pulled, and thrown about during practice sessions can take its toll on your gi, so looking after it becomes all the more important.  

Ultimately, martial arts are about respect, and the easiest way to show your respect for the art is to show that you respect your gi.

How To Fold Your Gi

While there is technically no single correct way to fold a gi, there are a couple of traditional options that not only keep your gi looking neat and well maintained but also make it easier to fit your gi in your training bag. 

If done correctly, you may not need to put it in your training bag at all.

Shikaku No Gi Fold

The first folding method we will look at is called the Shikaku no Gi fold or the square fold. 

Occasionally referred to by BJJ martial artists as “the right way” to fold a gi. 

This method is fairly simple but may take a little bit of practice to get your square as neat as possible.

Lay Gi Flat

The first step is to lay your gi jacket on the floor with the back flat against the floor. 

This is the time to smooth out any creases or brush off any debris from your session.  

Cross The Front

Take the part of the jacket that you would fold across your body if you were wearing the gi and cross them like you are tying the jacket on someone loosely.   

The arms should be laid out flat to the side and the sides of the jacket should be straight vertically.

Fold The Arms Across

Take the arms of the gi jacket one at a time and fold them across the body of the gi. 

It may be necessary to fold the arm back on itself to make sure that your gi is now looking like a square. 

How to fold a gi (1)

Fold In Half

Take one side of the gi jacket and fold it in half lengthwise. 

You should now have a neat rectangle shape with the arms of the jacket folded neatly inside.

Lay Out Pants

Take the pants from your gi and fold them in half lengthwise also. 

Again, take this opportunity to smooth out any creases with your hand to make it as neat as possible.  

Fold Pants

Take hold of the widest part of your folded pants, usually the inner seam of the crotch, and fold it in to make the pants more rectangular. 

Then take the waistband and fold the trousers in half, top to bottom.  Fold the pants in half again to make a small square. 

Wrap Pants In Gi

Place the pants square at the top of the jacket. 

Fold the jacket to the middle, using the square pants as a guide. 

Fold the bottom of the jacket over the square. You should now have a neat square bundle of your gi jacket and pants.

Secure With Belt

Fold your belt in half and slide it underneath the gi bundle. 

Thread the ends of the belt through the looped end and pull to tighten and secure. 

You can now carry your gi using the length of the belt instead of a bag if you want to.

Maki No Gi Fold

The second folding method we are going to look at is the Maki no Gi fold, or the round fold. 

Much like the Shikaku no Gi fold, this method is simple but may take a little bit of practice to perfect.

Lay Gi Flat

Just like the Shikaku no Gi method, begin by laying the gi jacket flat on the floor or surface that you are using.

Make sure that the front of the jacket has been crossed like before.

Place Pants

Fold your gi pants in half lengthwise and place them in the middle of the jacket. 

If your pants are significantly longer than your jacket, you can fold the ends in to make the end product neater. 

Fold Arms

Fold one side of your jacket over the pants and then fold the sleeve back on itself to ensure that it fits inside the width of the jacket. 

Repeat this step for the other side too. You should end up with a rectangle shape.

Roll Tightly

Simply roll the gi up from the bottom. The tighter the roll the better, it will make the fold look neater and easier to secure.  

Secure With Belt

Again, fold your belt in half and slide it under the gi sausage. Thread the ends through the loop and pull to secure. 

You can now carry your gi using the belt straps. 

Final Thoughts

While there is no right or wrong way to fold a gi, folding is always better than simply throwing it in your bag to ensure the gi is respected and well looked after.  Your Sensei will be proud. 

Christopher Anderson
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