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How Many Gis Should You Own Really? (Basic BJJ Gi Guide)

When starting BJJ one gi should do, but over time, if you train multiple times per week, 2-3 gis are optimal.

Since gis take longer to dry, it is ideal to have two or three gis so that you always have a clean one ready for training.

Key Takeaways

  • Owning multiple gis just ensures you have a fresh gi for each training session.
  • The number of gis you need generally increases with training frequency.
  • Having more than one gi helps also distribute wear and tear, extending the life of each gi.

Why Own Multiple Gis?

Again, owning multiple gis for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) basically ensures that you can maintain a consistent training schedule without compromising on hygiene or durability.

Training Frequency and Gi Rotation

  • 1-2 times per week: A single gi might do.
  • 3 or more times per week: A minimum of two gis is recommended to allow for proper rotation.

Hygiene and Longevity

Hygiene: Alternating gis prevent the accumulation of sweat and bacteria, crucial for the practitioner’s skin health.

  • Washing: Gis should be washed immediately after each class.
  • Drying: It’s important to completely dry gis to prevent mildew and odors.

Longevity: Regular use wears down a gi’s fabric and seams.

  • Material stress: Rotating gis reduces the frequency of washes for each gi, thereby extending their life.
  • Wear and tear: Even high-quality gis will degrade over time with frequent use. Multiple gis can help distribute this wear.

Budget and Cost Analysis

  • Quality vs. Quantity: Investing in a higher-quality gi can be more cost-effective in the long run, instead of multiple lower-quality options.
  • Cost per gi:
    • Entry-level: Typically range from $60-$100.
    • Premium models: Can cost upwards of $150-$250.

Competition Considerations

  • Competition gis: These tend to be lighter, aiding in making weight; owning at least one specifically for competitions is beneficial.
  • Regular training vs. competition: If one competes regularly, it’s practical to differentiate between training and competition gis to extend their lifespan.

Should You Have a Gi for Training and a Separate Gi for Competition?

No, you don’t need a separate gi for competition. However, some competitors will choose to compete in lighter gi’s to help with making weight or choose plain gi’s that they know will be IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation) legal.

Also it should be noted that the IBJJF requires that all Gi’s weigh between 380 and 650 GSM. In case you wanted to wear a lighter gi for competition

Having separate gis for training vs competition mainly comes down to preference and making sure you have a competition legal gi.

General Factors Influencing Gi Wear and Tear

The durability of a BJJ gi is affected by various factors, including the quality of the material and the intensity of training, and amount of times it is washed.

Material and Build Quality

Material: A gi’s longevity is significantly influenced by its fabric. Cotton is commonly used, offering different weaves that affect durability:

  • Single Weave: Lighter and less durable.
  • Double Weave: Heavier and more resistant to wear.
  • Gold Weave: A balance between single and double, with moderate durability.
  • Pearl Weave: Popular for its durability and lightweight properties.

Stitching: Reinforced stitching at seams and stress points increases resistance to tearing.

Patches and Embroidery: Additional reinforcements in these areas can reduce the likelihood of fraying but may also add to fabric stress.

Intensity of Training Sessions

Frequency: The more often a gi is worn and washed, the faster it will show signs of wear.

Training Intensity: High-intensity sessions will obviously place more stress on gis, accelerating wear and tear, especially in areas like the knees and collar.

Washing and Drying: Frequent and improper washing or drying can degrade fabric integrity. Air drying and following care instructions help preserve a gi’s condition.

When Should You Replace Your Gi?

You should consider replacing your gi when:

  • it has very noticeable signs of wear and tear like:
    • splits at the sames
    • small holes
    • fabric tears
  • when it no longer smells clean after washing and drying

I’ve noticed that with consistent training 3-5 times a week, I, generally, have to replace my gi about every 2 years. However, I usually end up just buying ~1 new gi a year whenever I see one on sale.

How to Choose Your First Gi

Our General Gi Buying Tips and Questions to Consider:

  • Does your gym have any gi color or brand requirements?
    • if not then a plain white or blue gi should be safe
  • Do you need a belt?
    • some gis come with a white belt
  • Do you want a lighter or heavier gi? (lighter is best for beginners*)
  • Find your correct size and fit
    • each gi manufacturer has a sizing guide
    • These are generally pretty standard but can vary slightly based on retailer
  • Consider if you will be competing in the near future
    • Some organizations like the IBJJF have strict gi requirements
  • Lastly, see if you can borrow a gi from your gym or friend to try out some brands

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the recommended general number of gis for active BJJ practitioners?

Active BJJ practitioners attending 3 or more sessions weekly should have a minimum of two gis. This is to guarantee they have a fresh gi available for training sessions without having to do laundry constantly.

Is it necessary to own multiple gis for training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

While one gi may be sufficient for those training 1-2 times per week, owning multiple gis is recommended for frequent practitioners to maintain hygiene and manage wear and tear.

How often should you replace your BJJ gi?

You should replace your gi once it has noticeable signs of wear and tear. In general with consistent training and washing, this is about every 2 years.

What factors should you consider when purchasing a gi for Jiu Jitsu?

When purchasing a gi, consider the material weight, durability, fit, and comfort. Compliance with competition standards regarding color and patch placement should also be considered, especially for competitors.

Can you train effectively with just one gi in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Yes, one can train effectively with just a single gi, particularly if attending sessions infrequently.

What are the benefits of having more than one gi in your BJJ gear collection?

Having more than one gi helps in maintaining consistent training without interruption for laundry, reduces wear on each individual gi, and provides options in case of gi damage or for specific training environments.