Whether it’s your first gi or your 10th gi in your collection, finding the right gi size for your body is an important consideration to make sure that you don’t give unnecessary grips by having an oversized gi or wear an undersized gi that deprives training partners of the grips they need.
So, how to size a BJJ Gi so that it fits you best?
Each brand has its size chart. Some gi brands run their sizes a bit larger while others are a bit smaller. Generally, size charts ultimately rely on both height and weight to give you the right gi for your body type.
However, different brands may carry a different size chart. You’d want to compare these size charts before you buy a gi. These days, there are a good number of size charts providing individuals with more options rather than just A00, A0, A1, A2, and so forth. You now have gi brands that cater in-between sizes for bulky and lanky individuals while there are also gis that are specialized for women.
Adult and Kid Size Gis
Judo gis follow a different size chart to BJJ gis. Apart from having a loose fit, judo gis have different sizing compared to BJJ gis. Judo gis are sized from 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 3.5 and so forth while BJJ gis provide more diverse sizing options.
Kids BJJ gis are usually indicated as C, M, or K depending on the brand. Brands such as Tatami Fightwear and Manila Kimonos use M to indicate kids gis in their size chart while Fuji uses C, and Sanabul uses K.
Nowadays, you also have in-between sizes. Brands realized that the bodies of people doing BJJ are quite diverse. There are 200-pound individuals who are around 5’7”. On the other hand, you have 6 foot tall individuals weighing 150 pounds.
Using the standard sizing for these body types can lead to a weird fit. A chunky individual might find it difficult to close his or her gi while someone lanky might find the gi to be either too loose or too short depending on which gi he or she buys.
Brands like Shoyoroll have provided in-between sizes for their customers. A2H (H for Husky) is usually for people who weigh over 225 pounds but under 5’11. You also get the A1-S (S for Slim) for lean individuals who feel that A1 is a bit too loose for them.
Brands That Cater to Specific Body Types
Apart from the size chart, you also want to take a closer look at the brand. Some brands specialize in specific body types.
Lanky Fight Gear is an example of a company that features a unique size chart. Their cut is for individuals with long appendages. This is perfect for tall jiujitsu practitioners so they don’t have to wear a short-sleeved gi again.
Also, you have Fenom that caters specifically to female jiujitsu practitioners. Their gis are known for having a narrower cut that forms well to a female grappler’s body. This means that ladies don’t have to wear an undersized gi just to have a more suited cut by their torso.
Shrinkage and Fit
Should you rely completely on a size chart? Not exactly. Some brands are known to shrink a considerable amount of length after just a few washes. If this is the case, it would render the size chart useless. Your A1 will suddenly feel like an A0 after a few washes.
Because of this, some brands have taken into consideration the shrinkage when manufacturing their gis. Some brands feel a bit oversized at first giving a few extra inches on your sleeve. After a few washes, the gi starts to fit like a glove.
Keenan Cornelius, who used to be a sponsored athlete of Keiko, mentioned that most of his gis then were only worn once during tournaments since it won’t pass the gi checker after it has been washed.
What makes a gi shrink? There are a variety of factors that can contribute to the shrinkage of the material. Ideally, factories make use of pre-shrunk fabric to make sure that the gi will only have minimal shrinkage to none. Unfortunately, some factories don’t use preshrunk material.
Next, the type of weave used on the gi can also affect its shrinkage. If you are going to buy a gi made of gold weave, it is normal to find it a bit longer than usual at first. This will leave some room for shrinkage allowing you to still make the gi pass the gi checkers in case you are using it as a competition gi. And lastly, you are not supposed to dryer your gi. High temperature can cause the gi to shrink.
The best practice when buying a gi is to check the reviews online. Find a reviewer that has a similar body type as you. Also, check the before and after wash photos to see for yourself if it still fits well.