Best Women's BJJ GI
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has always been a male dominated sport, and this dates back to Helio, and Carlos Gracie when they first created Gracie Jiu Jitsu. The legends of the art were heavily entrenched in the fact they only wanted to teach males the art. It took time throughout the evolution of Jiu Jitsu, before women could become equally as involved in the sport. Thanks to the work of Yvonne Duarte, Marcelo Behring, Rickson Gracie, and Osvaldo Alves, women were finally allowed to compete in BJJ in 1985. Nowadays the rise of female grappling has become quite extensive, as champions like Michelle Nicolini, Gabrielle Garcia, Beatriz Mesquita, Ffion Davies, Patricia Lage, and Leticia Ribeiro have paved the way for women in the sport. As the art of BJJ has grown, so has the acceptance of women grapplers. This has bred a new development for Gi manufacturers to specifically design slimfit Gi's for women. There is an extensive range of Gi uniforms for women as manufacturers like Hyperfly, Tatami, Kingz Kimonos, Koral, Elite, and Venom just to name a few are making a significant availability for ladies to purchase Gi apparel.
What this article covers:
- The Rise of Female BJJ
- Why Is It Important for Women to Have a Good Fitting GI
- How to Find the Best GI's for Women
- The Best Female GI's
- The Best GI Brands
THE RISE OF FEMALE BJJ
Not everyone may know the story of the rise of women's grappling, as it began in the mid 1980's. Going back to the start of the origins of BJJ, Helio Gracie, and Carlos Gracie were extremely stubborn and set in their ways, as they only allowed Gracie men to train and compete. The idea of women grappling was so far fetched to Helio, as he dismissed all claims. It took most of the 20th century before women's BJJ began to gain some significant momentum. By 1985 women no longer had to resort to training at home, as they would commonly use the best grappling dummy for bjj to practise techniques. As the community began to accept women in the sport, they began pouring into BJJ academies across the states.
Yvonne Duarte became the pioneer for women's BJJ, with her dedication, and perseverance to the art of BJJ. Yvonne grew up in the town of Boa Vista in the Brazilian Amazon state of Roraima. When she was only 14 years of age she began living with her grandparents, and her brothers in Rio de Janeiro. In 1978 Yvonne started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with her older brother Pascoal Duarte, and a friend of his named Sergio Penha. A short while later she joined Osvaldo Alves' Jiu Jitsu Academy. Yvonne was the only woman training at the time, but before long the number of women grew to 14. Yvonne would watch her brother Pascoal compete at BJJ competitions, as she began aspiring to compete herself. Yvonne would ask Marcelo Behring and Rickson Gracie if women could be included in a local tournament called the Carioca Championship. After conferring with Helio Gracie, he approved the addition of women within the tournament, but would sternly stipulate that no women of the Gracie family were allowed to participate.
In 1985 female competitors were finally allowed to compete in a division of their own, as the Rio de Janeiro BJJ federation added the first ever women's division. The under 60 kilogram division included women of all different belt ranks, and Yvonne Duarte won the competition. Over the next ten years Yvonne did not lose a match, as she won multiple divisions, despite being a smaller framed woman at 52 kilograms. Around 1990 Yvonne settled in Brasilia, and opened her first ever BJJ school, which was the first academy ever run by a woman. Later that year Osvaldo Alves awarded her with a black belt. This innovation from Yvonne paved the way for women to compete in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as nowadays the women's divisions are stacked with high end talent like Rafaela Guedes, Beatriz Mesquita, Ffion Davies, Jessica Flowers, Michelle Nicolini, and Talita Nogueira.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR WOMEN TO HAVE A GOOD FITTING GI
Now that women are becoming just as influential as men in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the necessity for womens apparel is paramount. Just like finding the best mouth guards for bjj, the importance of finding a Gi that fits is crucial to a female athlete. There are many different factors that go into why women need a comfortably fitting Gi. Being a woman in the modern world is hard at the best of times, as they are under a constant barrage of being sexualized by their peers. This means it is significantly important for women to have custom Gi's tailored to fit the contours of their body. This is the same for women of all shapes and sizes, as some women may struggle to find Gi's that have both girth, and length. Not only is it important for women to have the right fit of Gi to match their body type, but it is extremely important in terms of maximising their performance inside of competition. When an athlete has the wrong fitted Gi it means for the length the Gi it might be too baggy, and a perfectly fitted Gi might have sleeves that are too long. This can cause many problems when competing for women, as their opponents may have a greater opportunity to open a looser Gi, and use lapel wraps to maximise their advantage. When a woman wears a properly fitted Gi there is only so much slack in the Gi, which means their opponents have only a small opportunity to utilise grips, or various lapel wraps.
HOW TO FIND THE BEST GI'S FOR WOMEN
There is a large range of women's Gi that athletes can source from multiple platforms across the web. Nowadays fightwear apparel companies offer an extensive range of lightweight, durable and comfortable Gi's in all different shapes, sizes and colours. Some bjj must haves is a rotation of Gi's, meaning that athletes need at least 3 Gi's so they can wear one while they wash one, and still have a spare. Sometimes a Gi might take a couple of days to dry, and if an athlete is training multiple days throughout the week then they need a few different Gi's. Finding the right Gi is extremely difficult, and this is due mainly to the fact that buying Gi's online, means they are buying blind. If a student cannot try on a Gi, then their only way to know if the Gi is good is by word of mouth, or from reading the reviews. There are stores where women can go and try on Gi's, as well as most competitions have stalls that sell them, and most of the vendors will let an athlete try them on. Most athletes will buy Gi's from online stores, so it is important to check the online sizing guides to get the right fit, and this is especially important for women.
THE BEST FEMALE GI'S
There are many different Gi's for women, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. There is a difference between the best bjj gi for competition and Gi's that can be worn during training. Women already have a disadvantage of carrying around a heavier chest, so it is important for them to source a lightweight Gi. In terms of durability, typically women that compete are lighter weights meaning the need for a really thick and durable Gi is non existent. Women that compete in the heavier weight divisions might want to think about a more durable Gi. Understanding the difference between the type of weave in a Gi is crucial to deciding which one to buy. A single weave is a very lightweight Gi, but can be torn or stretched easier. A double weave is a lot heavier, meaning it has a greater durability. A gold weave is extremely common in BJJ as it combines the lightweight of a single and the durability of a double. The pearl weave is one of the best in the modern era, as it also is similar to a gold weave with the added bones of coming pre washed meaning there is less shrinkage.
One of the best Gi's for women is the Gold BJJ Women’s Aeroweave Gi. This Gi was designed with input from some of the world's best female athletes, as the cut of Gi is clean, comfortable and simplistic in its design. This Gi is designed to be at 40 percent lighter than any other standard pearl weave Gi, as this will allow for more flexible movement which contributes to a more ventilated Gi. All the Gi's made by Gold BJJ come pre shrunk which means less shrinkage after purchase, and a much better fit. The Gi has an EVA bolstered collar, and has reinforced stitching at many of the high stress points, as well as ripstop lined cuffs. As the Gi has a lightweight material, it is one of the better options for women. The Gi comes with multiple colour options, and is one of the most popular choices among highly competitive athletes.
Tatami have created the Estilo 6.0 series, which has seen a lot of action throughout the BJJ community, as many female athletes have chosen this high quality Gi. In comparison to the male version of the Estilo 6.0, the female Gi is a cheaper option while still securing quality within the garment. The Estilo is a great choice for competition, or training, as it complies with the IBJJF standard of legal Gi's. This Gi sports a pearl weave, meaning it is lightweight, and extremely durable. The only downside to this Gi is the shrinkage issues, as athletes may need to wash their Gi in cold water, and keep it away from a dryer. Other than that fact the Estilo 6.0 is a great Gi for women, especially ones that are heavily attached to competing.
Elite Sports is a high quality brand that doesn't receive as much notoriety as it should. Their Gi's are designed for comfort, and durability, all while keeping its appeal with its new stylish look. The Elite Sports Ultra light Gi is one of the best women's Gi's circulating around the market. Elite have created one of the most comfortable Gi's, with its high focus on durability, and performance. The reinforced stitching makes sure the Gi does not rip away during training, and the jacket is made from 400 gsm pearl weave, while the pants are made from 400 gsm ripstop fabric. The Gi also comes in 5 different colours, and with its attention to detail, the Gi is IBJJF competition legal. This Gi is a great investment for women, as the affordability of the garment makes the Ultra Light Gi one of the best Gi's for its price.
THE BEST GI BRANDS
Hyperfly is one of the world's leading Gi manufacturers, and with their large range of different conceptual Gi's, they are climbing their way to the top of the market. Hyperfly have become extremely famous, as they have been known for their synonymous work in sponsoring athletes. The Hyperfly motto, being "you can't teach heart" is the catchphrase that makes them one of the most sought after ambassadors of the sport. Many famous BJJ athletes including Vicente Cavalcanti, Miguel Alencar Flores Junior, Grant Radcliffe, Kane Gehling, Tyronne Coppedge, Rafael Rodriques, and Robbie Paraha have become beneficiaries from this outstanding pioneer of the modern Gi. Hyperfly makes Gi's of all different weaves, and stitching, as they range from extremely lightweight, affordable, and durable Gi's, all the way up to the more heavy duty Gi's with reinforced stitching. They have even cornered the market by innovating fresh new colours like purple, pink, cammo, brown, aqua, and dark green.
Braus is an Australian owned Gi brand that has achieved some significant notoriety through their charitable endeavours. The Braus company not only makes quality Gi models, they also sponsor fighters, and have worked extensively with underprivileged children and refugees. The Infinity symbol that showcases Braus was designed to signify the limitless journey of life, people, connections, learning, and BJJ. Braus believes that everything is connected, and that limits only exist in a student's mind. The Fight Never Ends is the motto for Braus, and it expresses an unforgettable sentiment, that reminds people to never give up, and to forever keep working hard, this is how students will thrive both on and off the mats. Braus is involved in a lot of charitable work, with the beneficiaries being many underprivileged children. Braus has set up a foundation called Rolling For A Reason, this foundation was built on compassion, with an inspired vision that is focused on giving back to the community, and supporting individuals. Their foundation was born with one sole purpose, to make a difference, and to change lives. Braus has a long list of sponsored athletes like Alexandre Santos, Paulo Miyao, Ana Schmitt, Thalison Soares, Ricardo Evangelsta, Yago Espindola, Duda Tozoni, Ariel Tabak, Paulo Polimeno, Guilherme Neves, Ben Hall, Daniel Almeida, Marcos Cunha, Alexandre Vieira, and Jess Fraser.
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