My Fantasy Gi - How I'd Design a Perfect BJJ Kimono
My gi collection is a little ridiculous right now. I have about twenty gis in my closet. But I wear all of them. When I began training Brazilian jiu jitsu it was so hard to find a gi that fit that I ended up spending a lot of money on them, only to give them away. I’m having much better luck these days and because the quality and style have also improved, I have many favorites.
The other day a teammate asked me whether I would ever design a gi. While I don’t have any interest in doing so in real life, I thought it would be fun to create a mock-up based on my favorite features of the gis in my collection.
I’m so into grey gis right now. I dyed my Grips Athletics Amazona gi grey recently and I’ve been wearing it to almost every class since. If I was to choose a factory color, I’d go with the grey Shoyoroll used for their Grey Skies gi or the grey used in 93 Brand Jiu Jitsu’s Goose gi. But I'd also add ight blue contrast stitching, drawstring and trim.
The most important thing for me when it comes to the jacket is the fit and the fabric. I like a light fabric, the 450 gram pearl weave, and a short skirt with a tailored fit.
The winner of this category for me was Eminence Kimonos Jester gi, at least in the torso. Many of the jackets designed for women are still boxy and puffy in the back around the shoulders. Most of them have too much overlap in the front, as well. The front panels are too wide and they come together too high up on the chest.
The cut of the Jester feels as though it was tailored specifically for me, except that the sleeves are still a little wide for my taste. I prefer the fit of the sleeves of the Killer Bee gi because they’re a bit slimmer. The less fabric the gi has, the harder it will be for your opponent to use it against you.
And when it comes to being choked with your own clothing, the lapel is of great concern. Of all my gi jackets, the lapel on the Fushida Comp LS is a clear winner. It is the thickest, sturdiest lapel I’ve ever seen and it is clear in my comparison photo that it dwarves the lapels of many other brands. The piping on the inner lapel was also a nice touch.
Other bells and whistles I enjoy include the hem tape of the CTRL Industries Son of El gi (which says, “Be a Force for Good”), the contrast color trim at the hem split on the Jester, and the Cool-Max inner liner at the shoulders of the Grips Athletics jacket. The smooth fabric lining the shoulder area reduces the friction inside the gi, and saves your rashguard or shoulders from wear. I like seam tape on the inner cuffs of gi jackets as well, but I prefer to have a themed print rather than a plain color.
Being able to choose custom embroidery and my choice of color and contrast stitching is an additional bonus to the Killer Bee custom gi. I chose to embroider the slogan of my supplement sponsor, Q5 Sports Nutrition, and one of the logos I use for my women’s BJJ class at Titans MMA.
The fit and fabric of gi pants are the most important features, as well. The ones I like the best are the Grips Athletics Amazona ripstop pants. The fabric is soft and comfortable and the fit is much slimmer than any other pair of gi pants I own. I would make them about an inch shorter, but overall they are number one.
Another feature I enjoy on the Grips pants is the Grips brand fabric tape around the waist. They have Cool-Max fabric at the gusset and smooth, silky fabric lining the knee area that adds to comfort when rolling. For the waistline, I would choose the staggered Killer Bee design with the higher back and lower front to prevent plumber's butt and other issues.
The most common area for tears in pants is under the knee at the seam of the knee reinforcement. So, if I were to design pants, I would extend the reinforcements all the way down to the hem, like Killer Bee does. I do like the curve Grips has used at the top of the knee reinforcement and would add that to my design as well.
The multi-level stitching on the cuffs of the Killer Bee pants are my favorite and the belt loop system of the Inverted Gear pants is what I would choose. I would get rid of the stretchy rope drawstrings that are so popular today and instead use a ripstop drawstring.
In the back, I would add the bum reinforcement found on the Killer Bee gi pants.
If I was going to design my own logo, I would hire Dan Halpin because of the great work he did with the BJJ Scout logo. Wouldn’t you love to see a BJJ Scout gi? I bought a couple of his t-shirts and wore them until I inevitably ruined them with bleach and food spillage.
What Would Your Fantasy Gi Be Like?
What was interesting in this endeavor is that some of my favorite gis didn’t have particular features that I would include in my fantasy gi, but I wear them more than the others. Maybe we never really know what we want!
What would you choose if you could design your own gi? Let us know in the comments below!