4 Tips for Extending the Life of Your Gi

gi-strings

When you started out in Jiu-Jitsu you most likely got a starter gi.  It didn’t cost much and it was a beginning point.  Now you have been doing BJJ for a year or more and have picked up one or two more expensive gis.  These cost you in the neighborhood of $100 to $250.  Its a little bit more of a investment in the art and sport you love.  Then one day you notice your gi is starting to show signs of deterioration.  AAAAHHHH!  What can I do to get the most wear out of my gi for the money I paid.  Here are a few tips I’ve come up with.  Please feel free to comment on the post and share your own.

  1. Stitch up loose ends.  Like in the picture, I stitched up the one on the left.  The red tie is a example of a good quality gi that comes with it already done.
  2. Don’t bleach.  Bleach is just acid after all.  It breaks down the fibers of your gi faster.  Try something else to whiten your gi that won’t destroy it.
  3. Drip dry.  I don’t throw my gi in the dryer.  Not just because it will shrink it over time but because it is stiff and the tumbling action creates friction which causes more wear and tear.
  4. Rotate gis.  Buy 2 or more and rotate wearing them.  Share the love.

I hope you find these things that I do useful.  Share your gi-saver tips with me.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

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How To Pick Your First Gi or Kimono

A while ago I posted Top 10 Gi or Kimono Rankings.  I have to say my rankings were based on empirical data from the three gis I owned and what I had observed as the most valued by those around me and in videos.  Since then I have found a much more scientific approach at Aesopian.com.  He posted  Ranking Gis from Best to Worst.  The data is based off of a far larger sample size of readers to his blog.  Oh and his comes with cool graphs!  I have done some gi reviews.  They are:

  1. Koral MKM vs  HSU Kodokan
  2. Atama Mundial #5 vs Koral MKM

But neither of my reviews compares to the one done by Meerkatsu entitled "Great British Gi Review".  I know they are British makers.  I know we are all not in Britain.  But the quality of the review is a standard to look for in other reviews.  Lets not forget the ladies when we talk about reviews for gis.  If you want superb gi reviews for women check out Georgette’s World.  She did one not so long ago entitled Women’s Gi Review: Fenom Gi, A1.

So you are out shopping for your first gi and you don’t want to put down your hard won cash for trash.  These links should help you start figuring out what you want and why.

Getting Knotty With the Kimura Knot

How do you tie your belt?  I’ll bet its the standard square knot that we all learn.  If you haven’t got your blue belt or don’t care you may use the famous granny knot.  I got to thinking about all the varieties of gis / kimonos.  But no one ever uses different knots to tie their belt.  So I began looking through a knot book and after fooling around for a while created what I’m calling the "Kimura Knot".  Its just like the triangle created with your arms when you are get a Kimura submission.  Here are the step to create one:

Step 1. Loop your belt around like you would for a square knot.

Step 1 Kimura Knot

Step 2: Bring one side under the belt forming a loop.

Step 2 Kimura Knot

Step 3: Bring the end down through the loop you have made in step 2.

Step 3 Kimura Knot

Step 4: Take the other end and place it under the belt forming a loop.

Step 4 Kimura Knot

Step 5: Bring it down through the loop and tighten both ends.

Step 5 Kimura Knot

There you have it!  The Kimura Knot.  Here it is on my Submission Master Grappling Dummy.

Dummy with Kimura Knot

Looks just like the triangle that you make when getting a Kimura Submission in my opinion.  For your next class tie your belt in a Kimura Knot and tell your buddies you learned it on JiuJitsuMap.com.  You may not be able to buy the coolest gi but you can be the only one who know a cool belt knot.

 

Where Do You Wear Your Gi?

When I first started BJJ I of course noticed some of the more flamboyant kimonos right off.  I noticed that some of those wearing them came walking into the school with them on.  I was surprised to find out that they wore them in public.  I thought for my personality that was way to flashy.  I wouldn’t want to call attention to myself in a white one let alone brightly colored gi.  But as time went on I got a Urban Camo Koral MKM and later a red Atama Mundial #5.  One night my wife called me and asked me to pick up something from the grocery store on the way home from class.  At first I thought "no way" but then I felt that Jiu-Jitsu confidence come over me and pride in what I practice.  So in I went in my Koral.  I got looks and stares.  Some people avoided eye contact with me.  I even got a complement from the check out girl.  She said she liked my jacket.  I said "thank you" and explained it wasn’t jacket but a gi.  Now if on my way to or from class I need to stop and get something in my gi I am not shy at all.  What next?  Family functions?  Who knows!  Some one needs to start selling clothing based off of the gi.  You could market it as fight wear for those who love the gi.

So where do you wear your gi or kimono?

Atama Mundial #5 Gi vs Koral MKM Kimono

I picked up a red Atama Mundial #5 (Size A3) and promised I’d do a post comparing it to my Koral MKM Urban Camo (Size A3).  I haven’t had as much time with the Atama Mundial #5 as I have with my Koral MKM Urban Camo but so far I’m liking it.  Here are some of the key differences I have noticed so far:

  1. The Mundial #5 gi top is longer by a good 2 inches then the MKM.  That keeps it in your belt a little longer while rolling and I have decided I like that.  Its sleeves are about 1/2 inch longer too and have a little more room then the MKM.  I don’t mind that.
  2. The Mundial #5 is a little better quality.  Why I say this is little details are done.  For example: gi-strings Notice how on the red Atama Mundial #5 they have folded over the end and sewn it for the draw string.  On my Koral MKM Urban Camo I did the sewing on the end so it wouldn’t fray over time.  The patches also look like they have better borders for the Atama and are sewn to the gi better.  I have already had to sew part of a patch back on for my Koral.
  3. The Mundial is heavier and not as soft for the gi top.  Notice the difference in the weave of the two from the pictures. koral-mkm-urban-camo-weave atama-mundial-5-weave Don’t ask me what the difference is.  I just know what I feel.  Because I wear a long sleeve rash guard the coarseness doesn’t bother me.  The added weight of the Atama is good for the winter right now.  I wonder if it will be much hotter come summer.
  4. The pants of the Atama are softer and a hair longer then the Koral.  I think they have about the same fit for me and I like them both.  There was one big difference I noted.  The cuff is sewn different.  Notice how the Koral MKM really will last with all those lines of reinforced stitching.  The Atama only has the stitching need to sew on the black strip with their name.  I don’t think this bad just in the long run I expect the Koral pants to out last the Atama. gi-pant-cuffs
  5. For those of us who don’t use the dryer after washing our gis, to extend their life, the Atama gi top takes much longer to dry out.  Like I said it is heavier.  I sat mine out all night in my arid house and it still didn’t dry out by noon the next day.  The Koral MKM dries out over night.  This worries me because I don’t want a stinky gi but I don’t want it to wear out quicker from the dryer.

When all is said and done they are both fine kimonos and have different qualities that make them a top brand.  Over all I like the Atama but think my Koral wins out for now.

Top 10 Gi or Kimono Rankings

Georgette tipped me off to the close out sales happening at Atama right now. After searching around I found a Mundial #5, red, A4 that I liked.  I purchased it for $50 off list price.  I’ve been looking for another gi or kimono to help give my Koral MKM Urban Camo a break.  Its starting to show signs of wear on the collar.  I really have been happy with my Koral.  With the exception of one patch having to be sown partially back on it has been great.  I started my Jiu Jitsu training in a HSU Judo gi.  I blogged about the differences between it and my Koral MKM in: Koral MKM Kimono vs HSU Kodokan Gi.  The Koral MKM is my only gi I use right now and I decided I need another to spread out the wear.  My Submission Master Grappling Dummy now wears the HSU.  I’ve heard good things about Atama and a good number of guys wear them at my school.  I will be sure to do a review about the differences between the Koral MKM and the Atama Mundial #5 after I get it.  Next I need to find a competition gi.  Urban camo and red aren’t accepted in most cases.  I need something in white, blue, or black.  I’ve heard that Koral and Atama are in the top 10 for gis but I haven’t been able to find any real rankings anywhere. Here is a guess based upon brands I see in competition:

  1. Koral
  2. Vulkan
  3. Atama
  4. ISAMI
  5. Gameness
  6. Lucky
  7. Venum
  8. Fuji
  9. HCK
  10. Keiko

Tell me the which and in what order you think they are.

Beware of the Used GI or Kimono

A while back West Side Jiu Jitsu, where I practice, ran a promotion offering four classes for free instead of the customary one.  They also included a free month for referrals.  We had a good number of potential new students come that month.  I don’t remember to much about most of them that didn’t stay but I will never forget one particular guy.  He was very proud of the fact that he had purchased his gi off of eBay for only $35.  It was a white starter gi and I thought it wasn’t a bad investment.  Its probably good he didn’t last longer then the free classes.  Towards the end, maybe his third class or so,  I was sitting out and watching the guys roll.  I then discovered why the gi was $35.  I noticed that at some point someone had lost bowl control in that gi.  No washing had been able to remove it.  It wasn’t noticeable when the guy was standing but when he was bent over in guard it was beacon.  Your eye was drawn right to it.  It occurred to me that others might sell gis that had ringworm.  I will never buy a used gi.  Getting what I think is a good deal would never be worth ruining my BJJ time or reputation. 

Why Am I Writing About Gi vs. No-Gi?

If you have been in BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) or MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) for anytime you will have heard the gi vs. no-gi debate.  So why am I writing about it?  Because I want to hear some real arguments for no-gi as your foundation technique. I see no-gi technique as a subset of gi (kimono) technique.  If you use a gi to train, you learn a larger set of techniques that can be applied on the street.  Its true people don’t go around in gis.  It is also true they don’t always wear shorts, short sleeve shirts, and are all sweaty.  Winter is coming on and your typical person will be wearing what?  A heavy coat and long pants.  These are a perfect substitution for a gi.

It is my opinion that first you should train in the gi and only after achieving a belt or two worry about doing no-gi.  You want to improve your arsenal with no-gi.  You want a solid base to start with.  That is why you start in gi and later add no-gi classes.

Not convinced?  You don’t fall into the pride category then like this blog entitled Be Proud, but Humble on Tap or Die suggests, I hope?  I am going to put my money where my mouth is and go to a no-gi tournament having never done no-gi.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  In the mean while, let me hear your side of the debate.

 

Don’t Make These Six Common Mistakes When You Begin Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

  1. Don’t pick the first school you see.  Not all Jiu Jitsu schools are created equal, shop around. Visit the schools that look interesting.  Most schools offer a free class or two.  Take them up on it before you sign up.
  2. Don’t start with a gi or kimono that doesn’t fit. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gis or kimonos are cut for Jiu Jitsu not Karate or Judo.  You first kimono can be inexpensive but should fit properly.
  3. Don’t start without purchasing a mouth guard.  Chances are you are going to get banged up at first.  You don’t need a chipped tooth or dentist bill to remind you that a $5 mouth guard would have saved you a $1000.
  4. Don’t start without purchasing some knee sleeves.  They are cheap and save on bruises around the knees which come with being inexperienced and having your guard passed frequently.  Know one likes knee pain.
  5. Don’t start without purchasing a rash guard.  It acts like a work glove and helps keep bruising to a minimum plus protects you from skin to skin contact.  Some unsavory opponents could have ring worm or some other fungus.  You only want them to share their technique with you.
  6. Don’t think you are going to be Helio Gracie in the first month.  You will get tapped all the time at first.  Tell yourself you are going to try for a year before you decide if you are going to stop.

Jiu Jitsu is life and life is Jiu Jitsu.  By avoiding these six common mistakes you will enjoy both more as you begin the thrilling and rewarding path to BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) enlightenment.

Ki belt vs. Koral belt – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

After hard work and time I have achieved blue belt.  I was awarded a Ki belt at the test.  It was a little small for me.  It gave me the look of Baby Huey when I had it on.  It was thin and flimsy.  I decide there had to be something better.  I had just bought my first real Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Kimono (Koral MKM Urban Camo Kimono) and decided that I should get a belt from Koral (click to see).  I was a little skeptical about the Koral belts at first. Koral Color Belts As you can see in the picture it doesn’t give much detail.  Koral belts were going for roughly $20 plus shipping where as the Ki sold for $5 plus shipping.  I didn’t want to have another flimsy belt with a know brand name on it.  Koral is made in Brazil and Ki is made in China.  I decided to take a chance and get a blue Koral but now how to pick the right size?  There was no belt size chart to help me.  I finally decided to go with the same size as my kimono or gi.  In short order my belt arrived in the mail.  I quickly took it out and compared it to my Ki and old HSU white belt.  My new Koral was longer then my Ki, to my relief, but shorter then my old HSU white belt.  I tried it on with my gi and it looked good.  The quality of the belt is much better too.  It is thicker and has the black ends for strips.  I guess you get what you pay for.  I recommend the Koral belt over Ki.