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Choosing Your First Gi for BJJ

If you are thinking about starting out in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, picking your first gi might seem like a daunting task. Gis come in several different weaves, colors, sizes, shapes, and patterns. In most cases BJJ gi tops and pants are sold together. Sizes range from one brand to another, but for the most part adult sizes fall somewhere between A0 to A5. Below, we outline some of the most important considerations and factors when it comes to purchasing your first BJJ gi.

  1. Size: Our sizing guide below is an industry standard. Different brands will have slightly different dimensions, but most brands use the A0-A5 scale with some variations. "A" stands for "adult" while the digits refer to the size increment. 
    Liontek BJJ Sizing Chart
    In most cases, individual sizes encompass a range of athletes' height and weight. Sometimes an athlete can get away wearing one size or another depending on personal preferences. Some athlete's do not mind drying their gis with their regular laundry and therefore expect significant shrinkage. A BJJ player might fit into an A2 before it is washed, but the sleeves could fall short after the washing, drying process. This BJJ player would then prefer to purchase an A3.
    Other BJJ players prefer the smaller sizes, making them lighter during competition and leaving less space for their opponents' grips. As time passes and you develop your own style, your preferences will evolve. For now, it is safe to purchase any size that appears to suit your height and weight. We have outlined the exact dimensions of our Liontek BJJ Gi's sleeves, legs, chest, inseam, and waist to help you make a more informed decision.
  2. Material: BJJ gis come in a variety of materials, each offering different grips, weights, heaviness, and durability. Lightweight gis start at around 300 GSM (grams per square meter) while heavier gis can weigh as much as 800 GSM. Heavier gis are more durable and harder to grip, but they do make weigh-ins more of a challenge in some official competitions like IBJJF. Beginners are almost always better off choosing a lighter material. Weaves vary as well. Some BJJ gi weave variations include: gold weave, pearl weave, single weave, and double weave. Currently, pearl weave is the most common weave, offering both durability and grip resistance. 100% cotton is the most common type of material composition although hemp is sometimes offered as a lighter weight alternative. 
  3. Pants: BJJ gi pants are made of either cotton (similar to the gi top) or ripstop nylon. BJJ athletes spend much of their time on the knees. Because of this, a protective layer is almost always sewn over the knees. Cotton is more flexible than nylon, but absorbs more sweat and wears out more easily. Liontek uses ripstop nylon pants as a durable and lightweight option.
  4. Price: BJJ gis vary greatly in price. The lowest end of gis sometimes lacks consistency in its composition or exhibits cheaper stitching. Higher end gis derive their price mostly from brand name and style. Our mid-range Liontek BJJ Gi is made of high quality material, with a minimal that keeps the price reasonable.

When choosing your first gi, you should consider size, material, pants, and price. Remember, this is your first gi and you will likely purchase many more in the future as you develop your own style and preferences.