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Thanks for reading my question. I've just started to take a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) course. I'm 165cm and weigh 67-68.5 kilograms in general, and muscularly built because of weight training, but also carrying around 17%-18% body fat.

I'm trying to buy a uniform/gi for my class and have two questions:

1) I learnt by doing online research that Judo gis are normally heavier and loosely fit, whereas BJJ gis are lighter and not so loose. It seems to me that if I buy a judo gi, then it'll help me to train better because of the weight of the Judo gi, my movement will slow down than my sparring partner. So eventually, in a no-gi situation, it'll help me better: like boxing with heavier gloves. But, is this true?

2) I'm ordering online and I'm a bit confused by the UK sizes A0, A1, A2 etc. I'm pretty sure A1 or A2 are my sizes: see here.

But because I'm 165cm, which one should I buy?

  • I recommend you post your second query (about standard sizes of gis) as a separate question in order to get an answer to it. Stack Exchange is built on the premise of asking one question per post. – ukemi Aug 8 at 12:50
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In terms of sizing you're probably best off just contacting the company you want to buy from with your measurements. They'll most likely be able to help you get the right size.

In terms of which one to buy, I would take a read of this article. It even comes with a bonus picture of Kyra Gracie almost wearing a Gi that you boys are bound to like.

A summary of important points:

  • BJJ Gi tends to be tight, Judo Gi tends to be loose.
  • Judo Gi sleeves are longer and wider to facilitate gripping.
  • A Judo Gi will probably be legal in a BJJ competition setting, while a BJJ Gi will almost certainly not be legal in a Judo competition setting.
  • A Judo Gi will probably be cheaper, assuming you're comparing similar quality brands

Given those points, you can buy a Judo Gi if you want to, however be aware that you're probably giving away advantages that you haven't considered - the looser fit of the Judo Gi will make it easier for people to get grips on you, and will likely make choking you easier as well. If you're planning on competing this will not be helpful.

The disadvantages might make you a better grappler in the long run, but if you're just starting out then your training partners really aren't going to need the advantages you're giving them.

In terms of fitness I wouldn't expect the extra weight to make a significant difference. If you haven't done any grappling you're going to find BJJ sparring pretty hard work anyway.

On an "I don't have a reference for this bit" note, a BJJ Gi will also most likely be reinforced in areas that get a lot of wear - the knees and the backside of the pants. Judo doesn't feature scooting around on your butt or on your knees like BJJ does, so if you buy a Judo Gi you might find the pants don't survive as long as the top.

Opinion: I would buy a BJJ Gi. The training is hard enough, you don't need to deliberately handicap yourself to make it harder.

Bonus Wikipedia link for BJJ Gi that contains competition rules for fit.

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Differences between a Judo and a BJJ Gi have already been explained by Tussles.

About the size, here is the most important thing: get a Gi that fits you well. Check the manufacturer's website for a size chart, ask them if you're unsure or between sizes, since you have a very muscular build see if they offer the wider versions of their sizes (eg. A1W). Having a Gi that fits you well and lets you move freely is very important. The kind of cut makes some difference, but a Judo cut is not the end of the world; in case you didn't know, Roger Gracie won the 2009 Worlds in a Judo Gi.

Comfort, construction and durability are second order concerns: you want a Gi that is breathable enough for the temperatures of your gym, while still being reasonably tough. For a quick overview of weaves, have a look here. Don't forget to check for poor stitchings, as they might compromise durability or give you scratches/burns through chafing.

I would go for a plain, white, tough and reasonably cheap BJJ Gi. If you stick to BJJ you'll have plenty of time to develop your personal tastes.

In case you want to know more, you can have a look at Meerkatsu's guidelines, Slideyfoot's FAQ, the 2011 BJJ Gi survey and this article on Gi pricing.

  • Thanks people for your replies. I ordered a Judo gi for 160 cm people, because the next one will be 170 cm., so might be too loose for me, me being 165 cm. I'm hoping that Judo gi's normally being loose, but having been bought for half size (I'm 165 cm.) smaller (height increases are 10 cm. for increasing sizes, but I bought for 160 cm.), it'll fit me well. Wish me luck :) – Mathmath Apr 13 '15 at 21:34
  • Update: guys the Judo gi I bought fits me nicely, but yes, the pant is not made to endure all the sparring on the ground, could be thicker. I'm thinking of going to the tailor and put an extra layer inside it so that it becomes better for the sparring. What do you think of that? – Mathmath Apr 19 '15 at 20:53
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    Save your time and money and wait until they rip, then replace them. Many brands sell pants separately, and pants are cheap. By then you should be able to make a more informed decision about which kind of pants to get. – Lorenzo Lami Apr 19 '15 at 23:39

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