What Is Gi In Jiu-Jitsu?

Anyone who is interested in taking up jiu-jitsu will need to become acquainted with what a jiu-jitsu gi is, what it is used for, and why it is significant. 

More than simply a uniform for your classes, the jiu-jitsu gi has both historical roots and functional use in jiu-jitsu.

What is gi in jiu-jitsu

In this article, we will cover the practical and historical reasons for the gi, why it is so integral in the sport and everything else you need to know about the jiu-jitsu gi. 

Jiu-Jitsu Gi Basics

First things first, let’s cover the basics of owning and wearing a gi. 

At first glance, the jiu-jitsu gi is probably not like anything you have worn to do sport before. 

While it is a fairly unique workout outfit, it is quite simple to wear and use. 

Components Of A Gi

A jiu-jitsu gi is composed of a jacket, pants, and a belt. 

The cut of the jacket and pants ensures that the wearer has full freedom of movement during their jiu-jitsu practice, and allows partners to grab ahold of the material during a sparring match.  

A jiu-jitsu gi should not be overly large or baggy on the wearer. 

If it is too big it may be the wrong size or simply need shrinking a little.

Jiu-Jitsu Gi Materials

Due to the role of a gi in jiu-jitsu, it needs to be made from durable material, they are entirely composed of fabric with no poppers or zippers to avoid injury during practice. 

Hemp, denim, and cotton are the most common materials for a gi to be made from.  

Most commonly, a jiu-jitsu gi is made from cotton, although it is possible to purchase genuine jiu-jitsu gi made from other durable materials as mentioned above.

If you are shopping for a jiu-jitsu gi and come across one that is made from any other material be aware that it may not be as durable. 

During jiu-jitsu, your partner will be gripping, grabbing, and pulling on your gi, therefore, you need to make sure that the material is going to withstand this treatment.

How To Put On A Gi

As we have seen, a jiu-jitsu gi is not a complicated outfit. 

Therefore, it is not complicated to put it on either. 

However, there is an order in which to put the gi on that makes it a simpler process.

Always start with the pants.  Put the gi pants on first and tighten the drawstring to secure them comfortably in place. 

Remember that your opponent will be pulling at your pants and you don’t want them to come down during a tussle. 

Put the jacket on second and fold the front closed. 

If you feel more comfortable wearing a tank top underneath your jacket, that is fine. 

Tie the belt around your waist to secure the jacket closed. 

There are a few different ways to tie your jiu-jitsu belt, find the way that feels most comfortable and secure for you.

How To Use A Jiu-Jitsu Gi

There are many ways that you can use a gi in jiu-jitsu. 

One of the most effective ways to use a gi against an opponent is to perform a choke with it. 

It is also possible to use a gi for takedowns, sweeps and passes with various gi grips. 

What is gi in jiu-jitsu (1)

History Of The Jiu-Jitsu Gi

The gi used in jiu-jitsu originates from judo. 

The first person to invent this style of uniform for his students was Jigoro Kano, a famous master of judo. 

Jiu-jitsu students naturally adopted the same uniform style, having developed their martial art from Kano’s original judo style.

Difference Between Jiu-Jitsu And Karate Gi

When you are looking to purchase a gi, especially online, you will find that a karate gi can be purchased for almost half the cost of a jiu-jitsu gi. 

While they look very similar and work in a similar way, there are significant differences between the two. 

In karate, the gi isn’t used in the same way as the gi in jiu-jitsu. 

A karate gi is made from smooth, thinner cotton than a jiu-jitsu gi. 

This accounts for the much cheaper price.  It also renders a karate gi almost useless for jiu-jitsu. 

With all the gripping, pulling, and stressors placed on a gi in jiu-jitsu, a karate gi would break far too quickly. 

It is important to make sure that you purchase a genuine jiu-jitsu gi for your jiu-jitsu practice to ensure that it lasts and is appropriate for the type of activity you will be doing. 

Jiu-Jitsu Gi Or Jiu-Jitsu Kimono?

Sometimes a jiu-jitsu instructor may use the terms jiu-jitsu gi and jiu-jitsu kimono interchangeably. 

There is no reason for this to be an issue, in Japanese, kimono means “a thing to wear”, and gi means “clothes” or “dress”. 

However, it is commonly understood that gi refers specifically to the uniform of martial artists, and a kimono refers to other forms of traditional Japanese clothing.

What Is No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu?

You may have come across the term “no-gi jiu-jitsu”, but what is it?  

No-gi jiu-jitsu is an alternative form of jiu-jitsu in which martial artists do not don the traditional gi. 

Within the rules of no-gi jiu-jitsu, there is to be no grabbing of an opponent’s clothing. 

Instead, you must grab your opponent’s limbs to perform takedowns and other moves.  

No-gi jiu-jitsu is a modern variation of jiu-jitsu that has gained popularity and is now as commonplace as traditional jiu-jitsu.

Final Thoughts

The gi in jiu-jitsu has technical and traditional significance within the sport. 

The gi plays an integral role in jiu-jitsu, being used to perform a variety of moves. 

This makes it different from gi which is used in other martial arts in both function and material. 

Christopher Anderson
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