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How to Wear a BJJ Gi
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How to Wear a BJJ Gi

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Since Brazilian Jiu Jitsu began in the early twentieth century, many high calibre athletes have sported the Gi. The Gracie family were famously known for their fighting wearing the Gi, as Royce Gracie entered the Mixed Martial Arts stage wearing one. The result of his family's innovation led to a worldwide phenomenon that consisted of students abroad wanting to learn his dynamic, and complex grappling system. In recent times Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has begun to dominate the world scene of combat sports, as BJJ has become synonymous with cage fighters like Demian Maia, Charles Oliveira, BJ Penn, and Ronaldo Souza.

What this article covers:

The international scene of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become extremely popular, as thousands of competitors flock to California every year for the IBJJF World Championships. This high level grappling tournament attracts world class athletes in both the male, and the female divisions. Household names like Roger Gracie, Marcus Almeida, Marcelo Garcia, Gabrielle Garcia, and Beatriz Mesquita have all enjoyed top level success, as world class black belt Gi fighters. Even black belts had to begin somewhere, as new students to the art will need to learn the ropes by firstly learning how to wear the BJJ Gi, including how to tie the belt around their waist. 

5X World Champion Bernardo Faria has come to the rescue of older grapplers everywhere with his newest series.  Check it out at BJJFanatics.com!

what to wear under bjj gi

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THE INTRODUCTION TO BJJ

Starting out at a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy can be extremely daunting, and half the battle is literally walking through the doors. A common thought that brand new students have is what to wear to jiu jitsu, because unless a student understands what Jiu Jitsu is all about, it is hard to know. Luckily for new students a BJJ academy is extremely supportive, encouraging, and will explain the ins, and outs of what is involved. This includes what a student needs to wear, as most BJJ academies also offer brand new students a loan Gi to borrow, so they can try out the class. All new students will need to sign an insurance waiver, which is basically a recognition that they are undertaking a dangerous sport, and that the academy has no liability if the student potentially hurts themself. This may be a concerning start to a BJJ class, but new students can rest assured that it is a common practice with all types of Martial Arts, and workout gyms. Accidents can always happen, but a BJJ academy is a highly professional organisation that will endeavour to provide their students with a duty of care, and a worry free training experience.

HOW DID THE GI ORIGINATE

The origin of the Gi dates back to feudal Japan, where the ancient Samurai would wear a Gi like outfit called a kimono. As the samurai started perfecting Japanese Jiu Jitsu techniques, they realised that strikes were ineffective against armed warriors. As a result the Samurai began using throwing, and pinning techniques, where they gripped onto an assailants armour, or clothing. This was basically the birth of early Judo, and Japanese Jiu Jitsu, as they discovered how to neutralise an opponent by using their clothing. As the centuries rolled on, so did the evolution of Martial Arts, including the Gi, as it was passed down from generation to generation. Throughout Japan's rich history, many Japanese Martial Artists formed many different types of Jiu Jitsu, and Karate, and they all used different variations of the Gi.

It wasn't until a Japanese educator, and Martial Arts lover named Kano Jigoro, founded his own creation of kodokan Judo. Kano traveled abroad, and learnt many different forms of Martial Arts, as he put them all together into one more deadly form. Kano would also utilise many throwing techniques with the Gi, as his art was an early form of Judo. Kano would pass his Martial Arts down to one of his most prized students in Mitsuyo Maeda. After learning Kano's intricate system of Martial Arts, Mitsuyo travelled around the world spreading his philosophies. After reaching Brazil Mitsuyo passed his knowledge onto the Gracie family, including the intricacies of the Gi. It was here that Helio, and Carlos Gracie developed an even more intricate system of ground fighting techniques that involved many different Gi chokes, and maneuvers that helped neutralise their opponents.

As Helio Gracie began teaching his form of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, he soon came to realise how much of a nuisance the Judo Gi's were. There was just too much slack in the Gi, which made it easy for his opponents to wrap him up, and neutralise him. It was here that the Gracie family altered the Gi, and made it tighter to fit around their waist. This was a huge innovation that paved the way for Gi Jiu Jitsu to be born. As the art of BJJ has evolved even further, so has the Gi uniform, as many Gi manufacturers have taken it a step further, and created some of the world's most technologically advanced Gi's. Nowadays Gi brands like Hayabusa, Elite, Kingz kimonos, Hyperfly, and Tatami are creating Gi's that are used for different purposes. Pearl weave, and Gold weave Gi's are made extremely lightweight, and really durable for a more comfortable fit for the athlete. Aeroweave Gi's is even more advanced, as it has extra breathability making an even more comfortable fit. There's no telling where the technology will go next, as many of the Gi's are extremely well ventilated, and are antimicrobial built, to help with bacteria prevention.

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BJJ UNIFORMS

The next step in joining a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy is learning what uniforms are acceptable. In the beginning an instructor will allow a new student to wear shorts and a t-shirt, but after a while they will be expected to buy a Gi. Students may ask their instructors how many bjj gi's should i own, and in the beginning one Gi is more than enough. As the student progresses through their journey they will accumulate multiple Gi's, and this will usually happen when they are training multiple Gi classes per week. It is important to note that the IBJJF will only allow three different coloured Gi's, white, black, and royal blue, so it's a good idea to buy one of these competition legal Gi's, in case the student has aspirations of competing in tournaments.

Wearing a BJJ Gi can feel extremely suffocating at first, because depending on the weave of the Gi it can feel really heavy. Some students will need to cut weight in order to enter a certain weight category at a local competition. An important fact to know is how much does a bjj gi weigh, as all competitors receive a 3 kilogram weight allowance, this means if they buy a lightweight Gi like a pearl weave that only weighs 1.2 kilograms, then they won't have to drop weight before a competition. Some students may not be interested in competing at all, and this is totally fine, as instructors will not force their students, they will only encourage them. Competing as a novice student is a great way to battle test their learning, because one of the best ways to learn something is to jump in the deep end.

Students that simply just want to train will need to know how to actually wear the Gi. It is pretty basic, as the pants go on like common sense, and so does the jacket. A good tip to remember is wearing a rash guard underneath a Gi is important to help stop any spread of bacteria that a student may pick up. Once the student has everything on, the left side of the jacket goes over the right side, and a belt is tied around their waist to keep the jacket closed. Any students wondering how should a bjj gi fit, this is typically how. It is important to remember that a student must wear their belt rank, as a new student will start on a white belt, and can only move up in rank once they are promoted by their instructor.

There is another BJJ uniform, and that is used in the No Gi division. This version of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is basically a hybrid of BJJ, Judo, Wrestling, and Sambo. The No Gi art has almost become a separate sport, with its significant rise through the platform of the ADCC. A No Gi grappler will wear compression pants, a rash guard, and shorts over the top. Although this is not a mandatory uniform, as some students will not wear compression pants, and only wear shorts and a rash guard. Some athletes, especially when competing in the ADCC will only wear shorts and no shirt, just like a Mixed Martial Artist. Most No Gi fighters are sponsored by apparel companies, as they will market their rash guards in the international competitions they star in. 

THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD HYGIENE 

It is all good understanding how to wear a BJJ Gi, but it is even more important to know how, and why a Gi needs to stay clean. Learning how to wash a bjj gi is crucial to the safety of all academy members. This may sound like a fairytale, but it is of the utmost importance that all Gi's, belts, and No Gi gear is washed after every training session. One of the more common problems that keeps occurring within a BJJ academy, is the widespread of different infections like staph, and ringworm. These types of infections can occur, as germs, and bacteria will spawn inside of dirty Gi's, dirty belts, and inside the mats themself. Training in BJJ is a highly energetic, and dynamic Martial Art which causes students to perspire profusely, and if a student is carrying an infection this is how it can spread from one member of an academy, to the next. The easiest course of action is to wash all of their BJJ gear, and doing this straight away is vital. Leaving their BJJ gear to marinate in its own germs overnight, is not a good idea.

5X World Champion Bernardo Faria has come to the rescue of older grapplers everywhere with his newest series.  Check it out at BJJFanatics.com!

how to wear a jiu jitsu gi

A good question that students need to ask is how to shrink a bjj gi, because if a student washes their Gi incorrectly, it will shrink considerably. The best course of action is to wash their Gi in cold water, and not exceed 100 degrees. It is fine to wash their belts, as there are no magical powers inside the belt, and no! students will not lose their mojo. Belts are just like Gi's, they get sweaty, and they carry bacteria, so they must be washed. This is a non negotiable, and is crucial if a student is to understand Jiu Jitsu to a higher level. Another important tip is not to use bleach at any time, as this can seriously damage a Gi. Chucking a Gi in a dryer is also a bad idea, as it will shrink, so the best course of action is to hang up the Gi in a shady place, and let it dry naturally. 

Good hygiene doesn't just stop at keeping an athlete's BJJ gear clean, as it also is about their own bodily hygiene. It is extremely important that all students shower before they come to training, so they don't spread whatever bacteria they have on their body onto the mats. An unspoken rule is for students to wear deodorant, as this is common sense that a student learns from a young age. It is vitally important that students wear shoes when they are off the mats at all times, this includes when they leave the mats, and walk over the floor to grab a drink, they must be wearing shoes. If a student walks off of the mats bare footed they can easily pick up bacteria off of the floor, and then transport them back onto the mats. This is how germs, and bacteria can spread, which will once again cause infections like staph, and ringworm. Bacteria often festas underneath a student's fingernails, that is why it is crucial that all students keep their nails trimmed, and filed to reduce the risk of spreading bacteria. Every BJJ academy will make sure that the mats are properly cleaned with disinfectant, and usually bleach, as this is how they will kill all germs, and bacteria after every class. An academy will always do their part in stopping the spread, and it is up to every student to show the same respect, and come to class clean, with all their gear clean, and are ready to train uninhibitedly.

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