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History Of The Jiu Jitsu Gi

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So all of us that train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu know what a gi is. The heavily stitched, cotton uniform that we wear when we train and compete. There are different colors, different brands, and different qualities, but in the end, we all wear the same uniform. But do you know the history of the gi? It has a rich origin that is over 100 years old. Though there has been some minor differences, it has been relatively unchanged from that time. Want to know the history of the gi? Keep reading…

The origin of the uniform starts over 100 years ago, all the way from Japan. The founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano decided that he needed to create a uniform for his students. He needed something that would show uniformity among those training Judo, but something that would be able to take a beating from the constant throwing, pinning and choking techniques of the art. Kano took inspiration from the kimono, and other Japanese garments to make the gi. Originally it was an off-unbleached white made from heavy cotton that would be able to take the abuse in training. It was the first ever martial arts uniform and was universally adopted by other Japanese martial arts.

Eventually, the art of Judo would reach Brazil from Mitsuyo Maeda. He would take on a few different students, a couple who were from the now infamous Gracie family. The Gracie family would switch focus from standing grappling techniques to more ground focused attacks. As they modified the art, they modified the gi as well. While the Judo gi jacket was baggier, which was great for throwing techniques and sleeve grabs, the Jiu Jitsu gi was changed. The sleeves became shorter and more narrow, the skirt became shorter and the whole uniform gained a tighter cut.

So next time you put on your gi to go train, give a minute to think about the history of the uniform you’re putting on. From Japan, to Brazil and now all over the world, the gi is an important aspect of our art. It is used to show that we train in a style that we are all proud of. If you need to add another gi to your collection for training or competition, then check out some of the awesome gi options at BJJ Fanatics.

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