Judo Gi vs BJJ Gi: Is There a Difference?
If you are getting confused by the lingo while trying to figure out the differences in terms of a Judo Gi vs BJJ Gi conversation, allow us to make some sense of the overall question. While both types are indeed suitable for martial arts, there are some notable differences to be found.
Is There a Style Difference?
At first glance, you will notice that the judo gi has a looser fit with wider sleeves. In contrast, the Best BJJ gis are more fitted and have a hard collar and shorter sleeves. For that reason, consulting a BJJ gi size chart can be helpful. However, these differences are more functional than an overall style choice.
The BJJ gi is designed for the more intense and dynamic action commonly found within the sport. The gi’s fitted profile does indeed show off your muscles but it also makes it easier to maneuver with frequent drops, rolls, and pulls. In comparison, in a judo gi, it is somewhat easy to get tangled up in the large, wide sleeves.
Are Both Judo Gi & BJJ Gi Made from the Same Fabric?
There is a range of quality selections in both judo gis and BJJ gis. However, assuming that you are comparing a high-end choice in both styles, a bjj gi will be significantly more durable.
Edward Carbajal, a popular MMA Analyst, says that Koral has always been his favorite brand of gi — his first one lasted six years (1). Surprisingly, you don’t actually have to spend hundreds of dollars to find a good quality gi. The Sanabul gi is a gi of equally good quality for around $60.
A higher-end gi will be a little bit of investment, but be careful not to confuse the price tag with an indication of quality. It is important to remember that some manufacturers are just good at marketing.
BJJ gis use durable cotton/poly blends. Judo gis are thin, lightweight fabrics like a canvas. This makes for an incredibly comfortable and breathable uniform but likely will not hold up to BJJ’s suitability for more intense action (2).
In both styles, the gis tend to be plain white. For BJJ, simple branding embroidery may be present, as well as flashier details like contrast stitching. While in Judo, there is no branding, and the style remains plain and simple (3).
Are There Competition Restrictions On Types Of Gis?
Unless your school has specific restrictions, you may be able to get away with practicing in either style. While the fit and durability will be different depending on the style, neither one will impede your actions in practice.
However, competitions often have clear style rules (4). If you fail to meet the gi requirements, you may be disqualified from a competition. In judo, fighters face penalties for the flashy styling that BJJ often features. Plus, each fighter is evaluated on the following criteria:
Gi Requirements Criteria
- The jacket must be long enough to cover the thighs.
- The sleeves must be long enough to cover the wrists.
- The jacket must have a minimum overlap of 20cm at the rib cage’s bottom when overlapped, left over right.
BJJ competitions are not as strict as Judo competitions; however, fighters may lose a competitive advantage due to a Judo gi’s oversized features.
Wearing an appropriate gi may also help a fighter perform or attempt certain grabbing techniques. Especially in BJJ, it is common and accepted to use the uniform to grab and manipulate your opponent.
The Takeaway On Choosing The Right Gi
Hopefully, we have cleared a few things up on the differences between the judo gi and BJJ gi. The two have distinctly different styles intended to suit either fighting style. While Judo is more traditional in their uniforms, there are many advantages for BJJ fighters who wear a BJJ gi during practice and competitions.
Still have questions about a judo gi versus a BJJ gi? Well, thankfully, we some more questions and answers below.
Fighters who prefer to practice or compete without a gi are viewed as non-traditionalist street fighters. Convenience is probably the biggest factor in deciding to forego the gi altogether. The belts come undone, and the jackets come off frequently during fights. Some feel that tight-fitting gym clothes are more comfortable and secure. As a result, the debate lives on.
In BJJ, gis tends to be more flashy and contain branding patches. Patches are not common and may even be penalized in Judo.
Yes, beginners should especially always practice in the same attire they will compete to limit bad habits. Plus, in BJJ where it is common for your opponent to grab your sleeves and collar, you will be at a disadvantage if you have never worn one.
- Edward Carbajal, Freelance MMA analyst and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt. Retrieved from https://www.quora.com/profile/Edward-Carbajal
- Judo Combat Ju Jitsu. Retrieved from https://mypages.unh.edu/judo/bio
- IBJJF, BJJ Uniform Guidelines. Retrieved from https://ibjjf.com/uniform/
- Biomechanical Differences in Brazilian Ji Jitsu Athletes. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28217417/