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How to Find the Correct Gi Size for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (Ultimate BJJ Sizing Guide)

Finding the correct bjj gi size can be rough. Sizing varies from brand to brand and sometimes even between different gi models of the same brand.

In this post we have tips to help when buying your first gi, as well as gi sizing explained, and how to take your own measurements.

To find your correct gi size you should take your measurements, review the brand’s gi size chart, and, if needed, reach out to the manufacturer directly to confirm sizing. If you are in between sizes you should buy the larger size since you can always shrink it by washing in hot water and putting it in dryer or having it tailored.

Tips for Finding Your Correct Gi Size

  • If possible, see if you can try a friend’s gi or your gym’s rental gi first to get an idea on fit
  • If you’re in between sizes it’s always better to get the larger size
  • Use your weight as the ultimate measurement when looking at different gi size charts (it’s okay if the sleeves or pants run a little long or short but the fit on your body will make it wearable or not)
  • Consider buying 2-3 gis that are different sizes and return the ones that don’t work
  • Gis can shrink a bit if you wash hot and put them in the dryer (even if they say pre-shrunk). So if you want to keep it the same size wash with cold water and hang dry
  • We recommend going with a cheaper gi first since sizing may change over time, and you are still feeling the sport out
  • Finally, if still unsure always ask the supplier directly

If still concerned on fit, you should always buy the larger size – you can shrink a gi by washing it in hot water and throwing it in the dryer, and you can also have it tailored (see below on different abbreviations offered by some brands if you are in between sizes).

an example gi size chart

Gi Size Notations Explained

AbbreviationMeansGood for
AAdult (Men’s)
LLongsomeone who may be too tall for a certain size but too light for the next size up
SShortsomeone who is too heavy for a certain size up but too short for the next size up
HHeavysomeone who is heavier and prefers a wider fit in both jacket and pants
XLExtra Largesomeone who is heavier and prefers a wider fit in both jacket and pants – this is larger than the “heavy” size

Gi size notations vary from one manufacturer to another, but most brands follow a similar format, such as using the letter ‘A’ followed by a number (e.g., A1, A2, A3).

The ‘A’ typically stands for ‘Adult’ sizing, with the number indicating the size progression.
Children’s gis usually use an ‘M’ for ‘Mats’ or ‘C’ for ‘Children’, followed by a number to represent the size.

Additionally, you may see other abbreviations like the ones shown in the table above. Not all manufacturers use this but keep them in mind when trying to find your ideal size.

Measuring for Your Gi

For a BJJ Gi, there are several specific areas to measure:

  • Height: The total distance from the top of one’s head to the soles of their feet.
  • Weight: The body mass of an individual, which often correlates with Gi sizing.
  • Chest: Measure around the widest part of the chest, under the arms and across the shoulder blades.
  • Waist: Circumference at the natural waistline, typically at the level of the navel.
  • Hips: The fullest part around the buttocks.
  • Arm Length: From shoulder seam to wrist, with the arm extended.
  • Outseam: The length from the waistband of the pants to the bottom of the cuffs.
  • Wingspan: Span from wrist to wrist, across the back; can be determined by doubling the arm length.

These dimensions should be taken while wearing minimal clothing to avoid adding extra bulk to the measurements. It’s important to measure twice and record the larger number if there is a discrepancy.

Tools for Measuring

To measure for a BJJ Gi, one will need:

  • Tape Measure: A flexible measuring tape is ideal for taking body measurements.
  • Ruler or Yardstick (optional): Can be used alongside a tape measure for more rigid measurements, like the inseam.

Ensure that the tape measure is kept horizontal to the ground and snug against the body without compressing the skin.

Recording the measurements in both inches and centimeters can also be helpful, as size charts may vary by region and manufacturer.

How Should a BJJ Gi Fit?

These are general recommendations on gi sizing as well as requirements put out by the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation) to make sure they are competition legal.

Sleeve Length: The sleeves of the Gi should reach the wrist when the arms are extended in front of the body. They must not go past the hands or be shorter than 5 cm from the wrist.

Pant Length: Gi pants should rest just wear the ankle meets the foot. They cannot be more than 5 cm from the ankle bone.

Gi Jacket: The jacket should close comfortably without pulling on the chest or stomach. The lapels should overlap enough slightly. It should come down to the upper thigh.

Lapel Thickness: Verify that the thickness of the collar complies with competition standards if the Gi will be used for official events. The IBJJF requires that the lapel thickness should be 1.3 cm and width of collar be 5 cm.

Mobility Assessment

Range of Motion: While wearing the Gi, one should test the range of motion by performing various BJJ movements. Actions such as raising the arms, squatting, and practicing several stances can help determine if the Gi restricts movement.

Comfort: The fabric should not chafe or irritate the skin, and one should feel comfortable during dynamic movements. If the Gi is too tight in any area, it could limit the ability to perform certain techniques effectively.

Gi Material and Shrinkage

Pre-shrunk vs. Shrinking Gis

Pre-shrunk Gis are processed by manufacturers to minimize shrinkage after purchase. However, they can still experience shrinkage to some extent, typically around 1-3%. It’s crucial for buyers to follow care instructions provided by the manufacturer to avoid unexpected sizing changes.

Shrinking Gis, on the other hand, have not been treated for shrink reduction. They tend to shrink more considerably, which can range from 5% to 10% after the first few washes. Practitioners may purchase a slightly larger size in anticipation of this shrinkage, but should be wary of how the gi might fit post-shrink.

Material Types and Durability

Cotton Gis are the traditional choice, offering a balance of comfort and durability. They come in various weaves, like single weave which is lighter and double weave which offers more durability but is heavier. A cotton gi may shrink more compared to blends and require careful washing on lower temperatures.

Cotton Blend Gis combine cotton with synthetic fibers, enhancing properties like moisture-wicking and reducing shrinkage. They typically offer more color and pattern options and can be more resistant to wear and tear, making the gi last longer under frequent training conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What measurements are important when selecting a size for a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi?

Key measurements include height, weight, and body measurements such as chest, waist, hip, arm length, and inseam. Brands may vary in their sizing, so it is important to check the specific brand’s size chart.

How do I read and interpret a BJJ gi size chart?

A BJJ gi size chart typically lists sizes with letter-number combinations, like A2 or F2, corresponding to generic measurements. Compare your measurements to the size chart to find the closest match, considering the size guide’s recommendations for height and weight ranges.

What is the difference between A2 and A2L sizes in BJJ gis?

An A2 size is a standard measurement, while A2L indicates a size suitable for those with a taller, leaner build. ‘L’ typically stands for ‘Long’, offering longer sleeves and pants.

How can I tell if a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi fits me properly?

The gi should allow full range of motion without excess fabric that could get caught or provide an opponent extra grip. Sleeves and pants should reach the wrists and ankles, with the gi top just covering the thighs.

Are there differences in fitting between men’s and women’s BJJ gis?

Yes, women’s BJJ gis are typically designed with a different cut to accommodate the female body shape, often featuring tapered waists, shorter sleeves, and adjustments in the chest area.

How does the cut and weave of a BJJ gi affect its fit?

The cut determines the overall shape and how the gi drapes over the body, while the weave affects the gi’s thickness and weight. A heavier weave may fit more snugly, while a lighter weave might offer more flexibility and breathability.