Welcome to the definitive and original guide (the first one made and the one everyone has copied afterward) to solve doubts about how to choose a BJJ kimono.
In addition, I will update the guide with the most frequent doubts I see in the comments, so your question will surely help to improve this guide that, after all, what it seeks is to help anyone who has questions about BJJ kimonos.
Many people feel self-conscious when choosing the best BJJ gi because they do not know how those strange sizes that begin with the letter A work, those types of construction so varied with strange names like Single, Double or Gold Weave and many other factors.
In this guide, we will try to solve the most frequent doubts and give some tips to know-how are the BJJ kimonos.
Before choosing a BJJ Gi, you must have some things clear:
– The price you want to spend
There are models designed for initiation or less frequent use, and that, as it is logical, tend to be the cheapest BJJ Gis, medium and high range (expensive).
– The color
The standard and approved for the competition are white, blue, black, and navy blue. If it is for training in the gym, you can choose more striking colors such as red or green, or even printed kimonos.
– The graphic design
After the color, what is most striking at first glance and differentiates one kimono from another are the patches and embroidery on the kimono. Choose one that suits your preferences: there are those with many patches, with few patches, the patches can be very aggressive (Pitbulls, for example) or rather of simple design and with the brand of the kimono.
– The cut
Some kimonos have the jacket longer or shorter than usual, and the same can happen with the pants or sleeves, which can be tighter and shorter in some models than in others.
– The weight
In this area, you must see, among other things, if you are going to compete and you are right weight or if you are going to use it to train on hot days choosing then a lightweight BJJ gi (Single or Gold Weave), or if you like a heavy kimono that looks like armor and makes it difficult for your opponents to strangle you, choosing then a heavier kimono and therefore usually will always be a Double Weave.
– The belt
It should be noted, especially for beginners, that the vast majority of kimono models do not include a belt. There are exceptions in some cheaper kimonos that are designed for beginners, and therefore, to make things easier for the customer, it may include a white belt (the one used by those who are going to start) of the same size as the kimono.
How do kimono sizes for BJJ work?
Standard sizes for men’s BJJ kimonos start with the letter A, followed by a number from smallest to largest depending on whether the kimono is smaller or larger. So size A1 is usually for people who are (approximately) less than 175cm, A2 for people between 172 and 181cm, and A3 for people over 181cm. The A4 size also exists in practically all brands and models of kimono, but it is less common to use them because they are designed for people who are quite large. There are sometimes also sizes A0 (for very small people) and A5 (for very large people).
In short, A0, A1, A2, A3, A4, and A5 are the usual sizes, being the most normal to see almost always kimonos of size A1, A2, or A3.
For women, sizes usually start with the letter F, and the most common sizes are F1, F2, and F3. As with men’s kimonos, the higher the number, the larger the size. You can see F0, F4, or even F5.
And finally, in BJJ gis for children, both boys and girls, the usual letter is usually the M, although there are brands that use the K (for Kids). In this case, and as there are very young children who train, you can get to see sizes below M0, and in that case, the more 0’s you have, the smaller the kimono. Thus, an M00 is smaller than an M0. And an M000 is smaller than an M00.
However, we must be careful and try to try on a couple of kimonos of different brands to know our size better if the kimono we are going to buy is not at hand, for example, when we buy a kimono that no other partner has in an online store. If you have any doubts, always contact your usual seller for advice and thus get the right size.
Types of kimono according to their manufacture:
– Single Weave
These are the lightest kimonos, they have less amount of cotton. They are good for training on hotter days or in competitions where the weigh-in is done with kimono, and the competitor is just in weight. Still, on the negative side, they are usually less resistant and durable than the heavier kimonos. They are also easier to manipulate by the opponent when he wants to strangle us or secure a position.
– Double Weave
These kimonos are heavier than the Single Weave. Therefore, they have a greater amount of cotton, they are usually more expensive, but on the other hand, they are more durable and resistant to breakage than the previous ones. Also, being heavier, they tend to have harder flaps, and therefore, the opponent will find it more difficult to manipulate them to strangle us or maintain a position of control.
– Gold Weave
It is a kimono that supposedly has the hardness of a Double Weave but with a weight closer to the Single Weave.
– Lately, there are also models called Pearl Weave, Summer Weave, Diamond Weave, Hybrid Weave… these are usually (but not always) Single Weave Kimonos.
Other factors to consider before buying your kimono:
– Choose a national brand or a foreign brand
National brands (from your country) can be cheaper because sometimes these brands can sell directly, avoiding intermediate distributors or because the stores that sell that brand avoid having to pay customs costs. If you choose a national brand, look for reviews to check that the quality and cut of the kimono are similar to other international brands of recognized quality.
– If the kimono comes pre-shrunk or not
If your height, weight, or both are between 2 sizes, as happens to many BJJ practitioners, you should be very careful with this point. Pre-shrunk kimonos do not usually shrink more than a couple of centimeters after the first few washes with cold water.
If you want it to compete, you will have to choose a White, Black, or Blue kimono; the Navy Blue that is manufactured a lot lately is also approved. Avoid red, camouflage, or printed kimonos. Remember that it is not allowed to wear a jacket of one color and pants of another. For example, wearing a white jacket with black pants is not allowed in many competitions such as the IBJJF.
Also, you have to be careful with the patches that the kimono has from the factory or with the ones that we put on it (the one of our team, for example) so that they are not in places prohibited by the IBJJF.
Tips to increase the durability of your kimono:
– Never wash your kimono with hot water. (Here’s a guide on how to properly wash your BJJ gi)
– Wash it frequently, but not too often. If you wear it two or three times a week, wash it during the weekend to prevent the accumulation of dried sweat from deteriorating it. If you have sweated and are going to wear it the next day, leave it hanging upside down and in the open air to air it out. Avoid at all costs that you forget it in the closed suitcase after training.
– Try to have a second kimono so that you don’t have to wear the kimono too often and so that it can air out long after you have worn it.
– Do not leave it hanging in direct sunlight in summer as it will lose more of its color tone than usual.
If you have any additional doubts article, we recommend you to look at the comments and if you still do not solve it, leave a comment, and I will try to help you.