Grappling With The BJJ Kimono

Just as with a warrior of old, martial artists of today give careful consideration to their equipment. And just as in days of old, practitioners of modern martial arts have for their perusal a vast array of vendors and manufacturers vying for their attention. Today’s BJJ kimono serves its owner much like a fine suit of armor served a warrior of old.

Early Japanese people, of both genders, wore two piece clothing consisting of short pants and a jacket like top. Eventually, through time and a few innovations, the modern judogi was derived from this early simple clothing. Today’s sophisticated, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi is a modern adaptation of earlier martial arts uniforms.

Keiko means practice, an essential component of all martial arts. Gi, meaning clothing, is a word which is most appropriately used with a “partner” word in Japanese. Outside of Japan the word is often found used alone in reference to uniforms used by martial artists. A gi generally consists of three parts; a heavy jacket known as the uwagi, lighter weight draw-string pants called shitabaki, and a cotton self-tie belt, the obi. While a BJJ-gi is similar in many respects to a standard martial arts Get Imaphotic Kimono keiko-gi, the nature of the sport calls for a tighter fit on the cuffs of the jacket and pants. A more streamlined fit of the BJJ-gi limits less manipulation of the fabric by opponents.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has seen many innovations in the traditional gi. Distinctive features of the gi include minimal use of seams, a jacket back without a seam, extra knee padding, and where possible reinforced seams. The seamless back is for comfort but also to reduce the wear and tear on the garment. Sometimes the legs may be reinforced below the knee. In addition to padded knees some manufacturers also offer reinforced under-arms. Thick rubberized collars, ostensibly touted as more hygienic then standard cloth collars, can function as a tactical feature as well. Opponents may find it difficult to find a grapple hold on the snug fitting rubber collar.

The gi is made from cotton cloth. It’s available in four distinctive grades. These are known as single weave, double weave, gold weave and platinum weave. However, these weaves are not standardized. The cotton is woven into a sturdy, pre-shrunk, rip-stop fabric. The term “gold weave” is not actually a weaver’s sett but a description used referring to the appearance and feel of the fabric.

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