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I was thinking of taking up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and my local gym offers the Gi in white, blue, or black. The white is about $100, the blue $115, and the black $130. What are the advantages of each? Does black/blue stay looking cleaner? Or perhaps white is better because you can bleach the #@!^ out of it?

Do the colors have some traditional/cultural significance?

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White shows blood best, which is practical on the mat. You want to know if you or your partner has a cut or scrape. However, women recommend keeping a black gi to train in during your period (1, 2).

Bleach is a non-factor because it weakens the fabric and will cause premature gi death by ripping. Blue and black look slightly more clean and sharp in more situations and for a little longer.

White is most traditional and connotes plainness or simplicity, whereas blue and black are "modern", if any of that matters to you. For instance, Roger Gracie won the BJJ Worlds a few years back in an unadorned white gi. The lack of patches, plus the fact that he submitted all of his opponents from mount, was taken as a message to the jiujitsu community. Some BJJ practitioners prefer the white gi for this reason.

IBJJF tournaments don't allow gi colors other than white, blue, and black:

The Gi should be completely white, royal blue or black. No Gi’s will be accepted with different colored jackets or pants nor will we allow the use of Gis with different colored collars.

  • Thanks once again Dave. I'm a guy so don't need to worry about having colored gi for 5 days a month :). Glad you told about the bleach. Being a guy, my laundry abilities are very limited. I always assumed one should throw all whites in a ton of bleach! – Dave Oct 27 '14 at 16:37
  • @Dave Cheers mate! – Dave Liepmann Oct 27 '14 at 20:06
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It doesn't sound like it's an issue with this school, but some schools require that students only wear certain colors, such as white. If you want a gi other than white and you plan on occasionally training at other schools, especially while traveling, it's a good idea to have a white gi to wear so you don't cause any problems at the host school.

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Originally all gis were white, having been adopted from those used in Judo. According to Reila Gracie’s biography of Carlos Gracie, the first coloured jiu-jitsu uniforms were introduced by Reylson Gracie during the '70s as part of various developments to better market BJJ:

Em 1976... Com sua visão comercial, Reylson seria o pioneiro numa estratégia de marketing para explorar o jiu-jítsu: foi dele a idéia de criar uma grife de roupas que incluía quimonos coloridos.

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