What is Gi in Martial Arts?

What Is Gi in Martial Arts?

If you have only started your martial arts way, then you may heard about Gi, but you don’t know what it is. Don’t worry, because in this article we will tell you everything you need to know about Gi, and which one is the best suited for you.

Gi is a uniform for training in Japanese martial arts and their derivatives.

So let us tell you everythin you need to know about Gi.

What is Gi in martial arts?

In the world of martial arts, GI refers to the uniform donned by the students during the training sessions. It is alternatively known as a practice dress.

The full term for GI is “Keikogi” which is generally shortened and pronounced as a gi (Keiko means practice, gi means dress or clothes).

The top part of the keikogi is called the uwagi (means “upper”). The pants of the keikogi are called shitabaki, which literally means underpants (or zubon, which means pants or trousers).

There are four different types of gi worn by the martial arts students, they include, single weave, double weave, gold weave, and platinum weave. The difference between these is of the material used and the thickness of the material.

In modern times, white, black, blue, and indigo are the most common colors of keikogi. In competitive judo, one contestant wears a white uniform and his or her opponent wears a blue one. However, traditionally, the keikogi was white.

As per the experts, the main aim of wearing a gi is to help you in perfecting your technique. While wearing a gi, you learn about a number of techniques to escape submission holds and position.

A gi provides you enough clothing and helps you in using your full range of motion and simultaneously saves you from splitting or tattering. It is designed in a way that it is capable of withstanding vigorous martial arts training.

Which martial arts use Gi?

Martial arts that commonly use keikogi include:

  • Aikidogi (aikido uniform)
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gi/kimono (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu uniform)
  • Judogi (judo uniform)
  • Jujutsugi (jujutsu uniform)
  • Karategi (karate uniform)
  • Kendogi (kendo uniform), consisting of an uwagi and a hakama
  • Sambovka (Sambo Kurtka jacket)

Keiko can also be replaced by dō which refers to the way, meaning both the martial art and the lifestyle of the martial artist. In this, it is similar to the term for Korean martial arts uniforms, dobok.

What materials are Gi made of?

Usually, a single weave is made of a lighter material, and it is cooler for use in the summer. For single weave, we would suggest Sanabul Essentials V.2 Ultra Light, which you can check out on Amazon. It is extremely lightweight, has a perfect fit, and it very durable.

Double weave is made of very thick material, not as cool as other weaves, usually worn in wintertime. For a double weave, we are very pleased with Fuji Double Weave, which you can check on Amazon. It won’t shrink when washing, extremely durable, even do it needs about a week to break in.

Gold weave is in-between a single and double weave thickness was initially required by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation in order to standardize gis for competitions. We tried a few of the best-reviewed gold weave Gi’s and find that we like Hayabusa Goorudo 3 the most. You can check it out on the link to Amazon. It is extremely durable Gi, while still soft and feels great to wear.

There is also a platinum weave, which is lighter than gold weave, cooler for use in the summer, but we don’t use it ourselves.

Where are the GI’s made?

With limited exceptions, almost all GIs across all brands are made in one of the three countries, including Pakistan, Brazil, and China.

  • Brazil – It is the origin place of Brazilian style jiu-jitsu. The first among the scene were Atama and Krugens. Furthermore, Brazilian brands have invested much in technology, so in the past few years, they have swiftly come to first place in the global market.
  • In the late 1990s, Pakistan entered the market, but it didn’t obtain much acceptance globally due to political stigma. After 2009, the country made drastic progress in manufacturing efficiency. Currently, they export at least 70% of the GIs to the US market.
  • China – came to manufacturing GI much later than Brazil. But they are known to produce the most durable GIs in the market.

Why do Martial Artists Wear a Gi?

There are five main reasons why Martial Artists wear a Gi:

  • Uniformity and organization – By wearing GI, it helps one see at a glance who is which rank
  • Commitment – When a person wears a uniform, he or she becomes more committed to art as individual values the uniform
  • Practicality – The uniform is practical and comfortable to wear. As the gear is suitable, one can wear it for a longer duration, thus he/she can train longer
  • A different place – By wearing a GI, one can be reminded of the place where he trains, and it is different from where he works and lives. When the athlete enters the dojo, he/she should remember to keep aside the world’s worries and focus entirely on training
  • Retaining art’s integrity – The GI helps maintain the integrity of the art as it depicts knowledge and respect for the history and culture of the art

Thus GI must be worn by those who practice martial arts, especially if you are competing, or thinking about competing, in arts that require Gi.

Does the color of your Gi matter?

Usually, there are three colors for a Gi – white, blue, and black (even thou you can buy it online in all sorts of colors).

White Gi is the most traditional uniform color for many martial arts with Japanese roots. In Japanese culture, the color white signifies “purity” or “truth”, which is likely why it was adopted as the color for martial arts training, particularly judo and jiu-jitsu.

When judo competitions became popularized, a blue gi was utilized to distinguish one competitor from another, and this was subsequently adopted by jiu-jitsu.

Today, white and blue are the only colors available for judo Gis (which sales are regulated by the International Judo Federation (IJF), and that limits Judo Gis to those two colors).

The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), the largest worldwide jiu-jitsu organization, allows for black Gis as well, which is great for those who like to be modern on a training. However, for the major events, like the IBJJF World Championships, competitors can only wear white or blue Gi.

But, the Jiu-jitsu community is mostly flexible, so, depending on a gym you are training, you can see all sorts of Gi colors on people. There are some strict gyms, in those you can mostly only use white ones.

If you have a choice, don’t forget, white color is much easier to get dirty, and much harder to maintain clean, so, if you can, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go for a colored Gi.

What do you wear under a karate gi?

Males wear nothing underneath the Gi jacket, and you can wear what suits you under Gi pants. Females wear a sports bra underneath the Gi jacket, and under Gi pants what suits you. There should be no visible t-shirt under the Gi.

Even thou this is a strict rule in some strict gyms or in competitions if you are in a flexible community, and wearing some other Gi color then white, then you don’t even have to think about it, wear whatever you like.

But, be aware, some Gi’s, mostly white, can be very thin and transparent, so take a look at yourself in a mirror at home, before trying it in training.

If you want to take your training to the next level and become unbeatable, then you need to check out the Best BJJ Gi Brands available. Start with understanding the basics of Gi in martial arts, and then move forward with the highest quality gear to train harder and fight stronger.

Tips for maintaining your Gi

  • Don’t leave your Gi in your gym bag – we don’t have to say your Gi will stink a lot if you do leave it, as well as your bag and other items inside it. Odor can build up quickly when the sweaty gear is left in a sealed bag for long
  • Wash you Gi after every use – once you take it out of your gym you have to wash it, as soon as possible. Bacteria grows in the fabric of your Gi while you’re sweating during training, and the sooner you can wash it, the better
  • Do not bleach your Gi – If you have a white Gi it might seem like a good idea to keep a white and as bright as possible, but bleaching can wash out the color of any patches that might be on it, and can even do more harm than good to the white fabric. If your Gi is made of a cotton and polyester blend, it could end up looking more yellow than white. If you have a 100% cotton Gi, bleaching will break down the fabric much faster than regular wear and tear would
  • Wash it in cold water – washing it in cold water will prevent your Gi from shrinking and fading
  • Do not use a drying machine – even thou this might be easier, the dryer can cause more problems then it will solve. The heat from the dryer can cause your Gi to shrink. So take your top and pants out of the washing machine as soon as possible (this will help prevent wrinkling), shake them into shape, and hang them up

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has been training in the art of kickboxing for over seven years, holds a Taekwondo black belt, and has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. He's a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster.
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Vladimir Vladisavljevic

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He has been training in kickboxing for over seven years and holds a Taekwondo black belt. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. Vladimir is a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster. He was known as The Bulgarian Cowboy in the Western world. In addition, he has a YouTube channel where he talks about his love of esports, one of the fastest-growing fields in the world. Our testing and reviewing method.
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