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How Much Does a BJJ Gi Weigh?
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How Much Does a BJJ Gi Weigh?

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become one of the most prolific combat sports in the modern era. The rise of international grappling has become significant, ever since Royce Gracie dominated the Mixed Martial Arts scene in the early 1990's. The evolution of BJJ has seen the sport split into two different versions, with the Gi, and the No Gi divisions becoming exceedingly popular. Many world class competitors are sponsored by Gi apparel companies, as athletes like Royler Gracie, Mica Galvao, and Marcus Almeida all compete while representing their respective brands. Nowadays the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gi has become an international icon, as students all over the world are lining up to buy some of the most technologically advanced Gi apparel. The fierce competition between Gi manufacturers like Hayabusa, Hyperfly, Tatami, Shoyoroll, Venom, Elite, Gold, Koral, Braus, and Kingz Kimonos are setting the standard for excellence in Gi construction. 

What this article covers:

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THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING THE RIGHT FIT GI

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a highly dynamic, and strenuous form of Martial Arts. Fighting in the Gi can be extremely hard on the joints, and the muscles, as practitioners will regularly wear out their grips. Understanding how to wear a bjj gi properly, will result in a student outhinking, and outplaying their opponents. Gi fighting is unlike the freedom that a student may receive in the No Gi division, as one wrong move in the Gi can cause a student to be stuck for the entire fight. Getting stuck underneath an opponent that has exceptional top pressure can be a daunting process, especially if they know how to stifle a student with their grip fighting. This is why it is comprehensively important for students to have the right fitting Gi, as this will help a student in a number of different ways.

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how much does bjj gi weigh

Wearing a thicker, and more durable Gi, means that an opponent will find it harder to hold onto the Gi with any real intention. If students can wear out their opponents grips by sporting a thicker lapel on their Gi, then this can be an obvious advantage. Sometimes wearing a more durable Gi may be a disadvantage, as it can become heavy making it harder for the student to move out of control positions. There are also advantages with wearing bjj attire like a lighter Gi, as the lapel may be thinner, therefore not being able to apply as much pressure as a thicker lapel. A lighter Gi may also offer comfort, and breathability, so if a student gets stuck in a bad position, they might have an easier time to recoup before they can escape the position. Sometimes a Gi that is too loose, or too big for a student can result in their opponent being able to wrap their lapel around their neck, giving their opponent too much leverage. This is why the importance of having a nicely fitting Gi is exponential, so that their opponent cannot gain any definitive advantage in the heat of a battle.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE PURCHASING A GI

Sometimes students are compulsive, and will buy the first Gi they see just because it looks cool. This can be a vital mistake for a student, especially if they have aspirations of competing. Firstly students that wish to compete need to make sure every Gi they buy is IBJJF approved, as not all Gi's will meet the standards of this competition level. Not only does the size, and standard of the Gi need to be approved, students will also need to know what colour gi for bjj is IBJJF approved. The IBJJF only allows white, black, or royal blue coloured Gi's, which puts many customised Gi's out of contention for the competition level. The other important aspect for students is to understand what each Gi is made of, so they can make the most informed decision about which Gi they might need.

The most important aspect about knowing what Gi is right for each student, is to understand what a Gi weave actually is. The fabric on each Gi will look different to the next, and this is because there is actually a significant difference in weaves. The best way to explain a weave is that each Gi is woven with cotton, and all Gi fabrics have a weft, and a warp. A loom is used, as the warp is stretched onto it first. The warp refers to the set of threads that will be aligned parallel to each other, before the weft, which is another set of threads woven through the warp. There are different kinds of weaves like the single weave, the double weave, the gold weave, the pearl weave, and the ripstop weave. Every weave has its own significant purpose and each individual student will choose which weave suits them the best.

All Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gi manufacturers will identify the fabric of their Gi's through a term called GSM. This terminology stands for grams per square metre, which is a measurement of weight. This means a Gi that is 300 GSM will be lighter than a Gi that weighs 500 GSM. The lower range of GSM is typically seen in single weave, or a pearl weave Gi, and this is due to the extremely lightweight nature. Some Gi's can weigh 1000 GSM or more, which would translate into an extremely heavy, thick and durable Gi. The question students should be asking is how should a bjj gi fit, and if they can understand the GSM, then they can work out which Gi may suit them the best. Students need to remember that when they are competing they will receive a 3 kilogram Gi allowance, this means if they buy an extremely lightweight Gi then they can potentially be 2 kilograms heavier for their weight division. Finding the right Gi means they will not have to cut weight unnecessarily, which can be an extremely valuable advantage heading into a BJJ competition.

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THE SINGLE WEAVE 

Single weave Gi's are typically designed for novice students, and this is because the single weave is extremely lightweight. Single Weave Gi's are made thinner, and more loosely woven, meaning the Gi is much cooler, and lighter on the body of a student. The single weave is best described as one set of threads stretched, while another set is woven through going under and then over, creating a locking system within the threads. This leaves a smooth, and flat appearance to the fabric, which is why it is called a single weave. The upside to purchasing this Gi is that it is extremely cost effective, so new students can buy them for a cheap price. Single weave Gi's will range from 300 to 600 GSM, and are not generally recommended for competition, or for practitioners that train a lot. The downside to the single weave Gi is that it can be easily ripped, and stretched if an opponent uses too much force. Single weave Gi's are good for training, so the student can be more comfortable, but in terms of high intensity grappling, which is what a student will find at competition level, single weave is not the best option. 

THE DOUBLE WEAVE 

The double weave is when the Gi is woven with double the threads. The double weave fabric is when two, or more sets of warps are woven together with one or more sets of weft, as this will create a double layered fabric. The Gi will become significantly heavier due to more threads that will occupy the same square meter space. The double weave is much heavier, which will make for a longer lasting material that is increasingly harder to grip onto. The double weave is more tightly woven then a single weave, which in turn will add more heat into the garment. The upside is that students will have a more durable Gi, and opponents will struggle to keep hold of the fabric, as their grips will most commonly wear out. The downside is that a student will lose all weight advantage when they try to weigh in, as the double weave Gi is at the high end of its weight capacity. This Gi can also be much more abrasive on the skin, due to the thicker, and rougher areas of the Gi. 

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THE GOLD WEAVE 

The gold weave Gi is a mixture of the double, and the single weaves. The gold weave shares the same lightweight as the single weave, and also carries the durability of the double weave. A gold weave Gi will range from 600 to 1100 GSM, meaning some of them can be extremely heavy. The gold weave has a distinctive ladder appearance, which is created when wider, and heavier warp threads are interspersed between thinner warp threads. The looser weft is then woven over an entire section of the thinner warp threads, before weaving through the next section, and then threading back over again. The gold weave Gi was the main competitive choice, before other more technologically advanced Gi's came onto the market.

THE PEARL WEAVE 

The pearl weave Gi is iconically one of the most used Gi weaves in all BJJ competitions. The pearl weave is the lightest Gi which is allowed in competitive Jiu Jitsu. The best element of the pearl weave is that it combines a lightweight, and a comfortable feel with an extremely durable finish, making it the best hybrid version of Gi engineering on the market. The pearl weave is light enough, which allows air flow to pass through the fabric, making the Gi more breathable to wear during training, or competition. The pearl weave gets its name because of its appearance, where multiple strings of pearls are aligned together. This effect is made when a looser, wider weft is alternated with a thinner, and  tighter weft. The looser weft creates the appearance of raised pearl like bumps. This is a similar process to the pearl weave plus, except the weft is woven on a diagonal angle, giving a flattened rope appearance. The pearl weave is probably the most commonly used by Gi manufacturers, and is usually just as affordable as a single weave Gi, the only difference being a pearl weave will last a lot longer.

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THE RIPSTOP WEAVE

The ripstop Gi weave rose in notoriety during the early 21st century. Most ripstop weave Gi's are made of cotton, which are IBJJF legal, but not all ripstop fabric is of the legal standard in the IBJJF. Ripstop was originally only used in making Gi pants, and this was because of the extremely thin, and light nature of the weave. Recent developments have seen ripstop made into a more durable weave, which is an extremely important aspect for BJJ competition. Ripstop has a unique pattern that is highly recognised all over the competitive grappling world. Ripstop is created into a square pattern, due to one set of thicker threads that is woven through in a grid over the smaller bunch of threads. The upside to using a ripstop weave is that it is specifically designed to stop any tears from spreading throughout the weave. The downside is that the material is extremely thin, making it very easy for an opponent to grip onto. This tightly woven Gi has very little breathability, and can make the fabric extremely slippery, meaning even though it's easy to grip onto, it is also easy to slip, and lose grip. Ripstop is the perfect choice for training in hotter climates, or for packing into suitcases and travelling around the world. Ripstop can also be an extremely good Gi for competition, but like all Gi's, students must make sure that the specific ones they buy are all IBJJF approved.

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bjj gi weigh

THE CONCLUSION

There are many different Gi's that students can buy, and finding the right fit for them is crucial to the success on the competition arena. Students may start to wonder how many bjj gi's should i own, and this is a fair thought, as there are many awesome Gi's. Different Gi's have different weights, as most of the lightweight Gi's only weigh one kilogram. Some of the heavier Gi's like the double weave can weigh between two, and three kilograms. It is important to keep track of the GSM, which is the grams per square metre, because this is the only way students can know the weights of their Gi when they are buying from the online platform. Not all Gi's can be purchased in a store where a student can try on the Gi, and see how light, and comfortable it is. This is why it is extremely important to understand the GSM, and the different types of weaves within each Gi. The best recommendation for students is not to be too worried about the weight of the Gi, but worry more about the comfort levels. Some light Gi's will still be uncomfortable, compared to a heavier Gi that may be more comfortable. It really will depend on each individual, and what suits their body type the best.

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