What color Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gi should I wear?

If your new to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu you might be wondering what the different color Gi's mean and what color you should be wearing to train or compete. The correct answer may vary from school to school but the official answer is there is no official answer and it really depends. Many international competition rules (see below) require Gi's to be white, blue or black with strict requirements on sizing and patch placement. Otherwise, for daily club training or local competition, Gi color tends to be a matter of preference between the instructor and/or the athlete. While its always best to ask your instructor if he or she has any specific Gi requirements for the academy, if there is no standard Academy Gi, or even if there is a standard school Gi but you are allowed to rotate other Gi's of your choice for day to day training, here are a few basic considerations for choosing the color that is best for you.

The White Gi
White Gi's are the most conservative and traditional color Kimono you can choose. If you are wanting to look humble and blend in to the class  a modest white Gi is probably your best bet. With a white Gi you can never really go wrong. Athletes at every belt and experience level sport white Gi's and it is the most common color you will usually find in the academy. One consideration for white Gi's is they do tend to show dirt and blood stains a little bit quicker than other colors. Overall if you keep your Gi clean, white is always a good choice.

The Blue Gi
Blue Gi's tend to be viewed as a traditional color as well but there is usually less blue Gi's than white in the class. For this reason, folks may tend to notice them slightly more. A nice deep blue gi is very sharp looking and tends to hide dirt and stains a little better than its white counterpart. For this reason many folks like having a blue Gi in their line up.

The Black Gi
Black tends to be considered a much more distinctive color than white or blue. There tends to be a small number of folks in the class with black Gi's so folks definitely will notice them. Black hides dirt the best and looks really sharp and distinctive. People will definitely notice a black Gi.

Alternative Colors and Prints
There tons of designer Gi's on the market. These are really a matter of individual style and preference and there really is no right or wrong answer here. A quick search on the internet will turn up red, yellow, pink, camo, custom prints and many more variations of sublimation, embroidery embellishments, colors and varieties. There really is no set rules for your daily training Gi, the key is that you like it and are comfortable wearing it so pick what fits your own personal style. 

Competition Considerations / Official IBJJF Rules

When it comes to competition, the only colors allowed for most international championships are white, black or blue. In some jurisdictions this is relaxed to allow any single solid color.

According to article 8 of IBJJF rules, a competition gi must conform to these specifications:

  • The gi must be constructed of cotton or similar material and be in good condition. The material may not be excessively thick or hard to the point where it will obstruct the opponent.
  • Colors may be black, white or blue, no combined colors (white kimono with blue pants, etc.)
  • The jacket is to be of sufficient length down to the thighs, sleeves must reach the wrist with arms extended in front of the body. The sleeve should follow the official measurements according to IBJJF (this is measured from the shoulder to the wrist).
  • Belt width must be 4–5 cm, with belt color corresponding to the practitioner's rank. The belt must be tied around the waist with a double knot, tight enough to secure the kimono closed. An extremely worn/discoloured belt may need to be replaced before competing.
  • Athletes are not permitted to compete with torn kimonos, sleeves or pants that are not of proper length, or with T-shirts underneath the kimono (except for females).
  • A BJJ practitioner is not allowed to paint his/her gi. Exceptions can be made for teams competition.

In addition to the above requirements, pockets of any kind are not allowed in a gi used at tournaments.

A special gi checking tool is sometimes used to determine acceptable measurements and fit of the gi. This tool resembles a block of wood 3.5 cm x 2.5 cm x 15 cm with a slit cut in the middle and is used to measure the following:

  • The jacket lapel must be 5 cm wide.
  • There must be at least 7 cm of room from the bottom of the competitor's wrist to the bottom of the sleeve.
  • The jacket lapel must not be thicker than 1.3 cm.

According to article 13 of IBJJF rules, patches may be placed on the gi in one of thirteen different locations:

On the jacket:

  • Left upper arm
  • Left upper shoulder
  • Front right upper shoulder
  • Front right upper arm
  • Front below the belt
  • Back below the belt
  • Back below the collar and above the belt

On the pants:

  • Above the front left knee
  • Above the front right knee
  • Below the front left knee (with at least 15 cm of space to the floor without patch to allow for grabbing)
  • Below the front right knee (with at least 15 cm of space to the floor without patch to allow for grabbing)
  • Along the back of the left leg
  • Along the back of the right leg

Leave a comment