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Does The Color Of Your Gi Matter in BJJ? (Gi Colors Explained)

Does The Color Of Your Gi Matter in BJJ? (Gi Colors Explained)

So does the color of your gi matter in bjj?

Maybe you just started Brazilian jiu jitsu, and you are doing your first gi shopping and are wondering why are there so many differe color gis? Why are there so many white and blue gis? Can I wear a black gi as a white belt? Is a certain gi unifrom color required?

Rest assured these are all questions that we will answer in this post.

When I was buying my first gi I had a lot of the same questions then I saw someone walk into bjj class with a bright pink gi and I was very confused – I was even more confused after he bow and arrow choked me three times in the same round.

As a beginner in Gi BJJ, one of the first things you think of or be confused about is what kind and color of the gi are to be used for your BJJ training.

We all are familiar with and used to seeing white GIs everywhere- in schools, gyms, competitions, and even on the internet. 

But to this day, there is now more than just white. There are many colors and designs to choose from when purchasing a Gi. 

But are those colors allowed in BJJ? Does it matter what color to use?

Let’s answer those questions here!

What Do BJJ Gi Colors Mean

First, what do bjj gi colors mean?

To avoid the suspense,

Gi colors do not represent anything special aside from personal preference. The only time you have to worry about your gi color is if your gym requires you to wear a specific gi or if you are signing up for a bjj competition that requires a certain color.

For a straight-up answer, NO, Gi colors do not mean anything special.

The belts colors are what represents your rank in BJJ.

Everyone, regardless of their belt rank, is free to wear a gi of whatever color they like, provided the following conditions are met:

  • The coach or gym accepts it for your classes/training.
  • Your gym/schools don’t have any color requirements for their gis. 
  • You are not participating in the competition put on by a particular organization (some of them, like IBJJF, require only white, royal blue, and black gis.)

Whatever color of gi a person chooses is entirely up to their choice.

However, you should ensure that your school does not have a dress code or required GI that you must follow before you go out and buy a GI that you probably won’t be able to wear in classes. It will save you money and prevent you from wasting a purchase.

History of GI Color in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

The kimono is said to have originated in Japan when it served as the traditional clothing for the Japanese samurai. They came in various colors, each serving as a distinguishing feature for each clan and serving as an undergarment worn under their armor. These Japanese roots are still seen prevelant today.

Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo, had the notion in the early 1900s that he needed to develop a uniform for his students to identify themselves quickly.

The traditional Japanese kimono inspired the designed for the jiu jitsu gi. It began as white and was matched with various colors of the belt to indicate different ranks.

Reylson Gracie, son of Carlos Gracie and a 9th-degree belter in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, was the one responsible for the introduction of colorful gis in the decade of the 1970s.

White, blue, and black are the three colors that competitors in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu most often wear these days to help differentiate themselves from one another.

BJJ Academy Gi Preferences

Though there are a lot of colors and designs of gis to choose from, your choice of gi will still go down depending on your academy’s preference.

White gis were the only ones allowed to be worn earlier in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). This tradition continues today in more traditional BJJ schools. 

Often a BJJ training facility will require you to wear their gi or specific brand and color gis. A good example of this are the Gracie Barra chain of gyms.

Likewise, many schools nowadays have no problems or do not require their students to wear a specific color of gi when training.

Students in academies often wear gis in one of three colors: white, blue, or black.

IBJJF Gi Colors Rules

The following are the IBJJF, International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation rules and requirements in color:

The colors allowed are white, royal blue, and black.
The Gi must be uniform in color- the top and bottom. Wearing different colors of pants from the jacket is not allowed.
It is not acceptable to compete in a gi that has a collar with a contrasting color.
Painted GIs are not permissible, except if the logo is in the allowed areas of the gi and indicates your academy’s logo.

In a case where the paint markings look similar to those on their opponent’s, a fighter must change their Gi.
To compete in the IBBJF black belt finals, a participant must wear either a white or blue Gi.

In addition, it is essential to remember that during a match, each participant must wear a Gi that is of a distinct color. 

So, owning and bringing at least two (2) different colors of Gi is sometimes necessary.

What Gi color should a beginner wear?

When you begin training in BJJ, particularly in Gi BJJ, you will eventually find that you need and have to get a Gi. 

White, blue, and black are the Gi colors that are only seen most often because they are the IBJFF-approved colors that are usually used in competitions.

But since you are just starting BJJ, you are free to wear whatever color you choose and feel comfortable wearing it in your training. As long as your academy allows it, you are good to go.

Why is Gi White?

Why is Gi White

White gis are still the most frequently seen and used among all the colors that are up for grabs.

But why is Gi (often) white?

As we have discussed earlier, Jigoro Kano, founder of Judo, adopted the decision to alter the conventional design of the kimono, which was only in white.

In Japanese culture, white is associated with purity, balance, and truth.

For many Japanese-derived forms of martial arts, white is the color most often associated with uniforms. Some academies in BJJ require the white gis to keep the tradition.

It is also used to make the belts can be significantly seen or stand out, which identifies your ranks. 

Why BJJ gi’s blue

Blue gis is also one of the safe choices in colors, especially when you’re starting to compete in BJJ.

Some competitions and their rules do not allow you and your opponent to wear the same color of gis for differentiation. 

Hence, a blue gi could be a good pair. 

It is also one of the colors approved in the IBJJF to use. 

Another good thing about blue gi, since it’s darker, stains or dirt from the mat could not be that much visible. 

How Many Gi’s Should I Own?

If you train multiple times a week, we strongly recommend owning two (2) gis for BJJ.

This way is to consider a time for washing and drying your gis to avoid showing up to class in a damp – or even worse, unwashed gi.

Your main goal must always be to have a clean and fresh gis every training session you have.

What Should You Wear Underneath Your Gi?

The best option you can wear as an undergarment for your gis is a rash guard (though you can wear your t-shirts for training) underneath your jacket and your BJJ board shorts under your pants.

Rash guards and BJJ shorts will allow you to move more freely and comfortably while wearing your gis.

The IBJJF rules also permit these undergarments, alongside compression shorts and pants, and shirts with elastic material for women with the color of the fighter’s belt rank.

Can I Wear a Black Gi as a White Belt?

Can I Wear a Black Gi as a White Belt

Yes, you can wear a black gi as a white belt.

Though again, factors such as your schools or instructor have criteria/requirements about the color of uniforms, which you ought to follow. 

It is best to check those first of all. Nonetheless, it all goes down to your liking and preference.

Is it disrespectful to wear a black gi?

It is not disrespectful to wear a black gi. 

Even if you’re a beginner in BJJ, it is acceptable to use a black gi as long as your coach or the academy you are in permits it. 

What matters is you understand and abide by their rules.

How do I choose a bjj gi

When choosing a BJJ GI, several aspects need to be taken into consideration, and this including:

  • Good sizing – for a better fit and range of movements
  • Comfort – breathable
  • Sturdiness – durable and long-lasting- can withstand heavy training
  • Quality 
  • Color

Of course, these factors must be according to your academy’s preferred or required uniform.

If you want to know more about choosing the best gi, you can check this post out.

How do you wash a gi?

Everyone agrees that nothing is good about using a gi that is not just smelling but also unclean.

For this reason, cleaning your gi is of utmost importance.

It is highly recommended to wash your gis in cold water and with mild detergents. 

After that, hang your gis and let it dry with air, or you can dry it in low heat. 

You might want to check this post for a deeper understanding and specific steps in cleaning and taking extra care with your gis.

Does Gi Color Matter? – Conclusion

No, gi color doesn’t matter in BJJ.The only time you have to worry about your gi color is if your gym requires you to wear a specific gi or if you are signing up for a bjj competition that requires a certain color.

Again, if your gym does not require you to wear a specific gi or gi color or if you are not competing in a specific competition that requires a particular color, you can wear any color you’d like regardless of belt rank.

Hope this has been informative, thanks for reading and have a good day!

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