In the world of martial arts, expect an innumerable amount of different kinds and forms coming from all the different parts of the world.
These styles and forms have all arisen from different sources and purposes – some styles come from a point of self-defense, while others come from a form of concentration.
The proper attire of these different forms of martial arts also differ from one another.
However, two attires look similar enough to cause confusion in some people – the Judo gi and the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi.
In this article, you will learn the differences between the Judo gi and the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) gi. Feel free to read my other article comparing Judo vs BJJ.
As an observer, the first thing you may notice between a Judo gi and a BJJ gi is the style. Although subtle, the two gis have their visual differences.
Firstly, the more obvious difference is that Judo is a more traditional discipline that prefers simple designs.
You will notice that the Judo gi is more or less a uniform for Judo practitioners and the simple white Judo gi will generally match one another, no matter what dojo you go to.
Although manufacturers still put their brands on their Judo gis, you won’t be seeing them unless you really look for them.
On the other hand, BJJ is much more aggressive and it reflects on their gis. As opposed to the Judo gi, BJJ gis commonly sport large patches and logos from their manufacturers.
Remember this difference because while Judo gis are generally allowed to be worn in BJJ dojos, most Judo dojos might not allow BJJ gis, especially ones with large and flashy designs.
There are other differences that can be visually noticed, but these will be left for the next section.
Like in style, there are a few more differences between the Judo gi and the BJJ gi and these visual differences arise from the function of the two forms. While both forms of martial arts greatly make use of grips and holds, they view them differently and that reflects on their gis.
Judo gis are designed loose with longer sleeves; these features make it easier to grip an opponent. Due to this, Judo emphasizes the importance of a good defense, which is a much-needed characteristic when wearing an attire that is easy to grip.
On the other hand, BJJ gis are tighter with shorter sleeves. This contrasts the purpose of Judo gis because the tighter fit and the shorter sleeves make it harder to grip an opponent.
These gi features demonstrate how Brazilian Jiu Jitsu emphasizes the importance of gaining control over your opponent. The tighter fit of the BJJ gi also emphasizes the body and muscles of the wearer as an intimidating factor. This is why while Judo is more traditional and reserved as seen in the style of their gis, BJJ is much more aggressive and straightforward, which is also seen in the style of their gis.
Take note that competitions are sometimes strict regarding these attires. There are competitions that only admit participants in their appropriate gis, while there are others that don’t. However, both are essentially acceptable when it comes to simply practicing.
Although there are parties that debate whether fabric can differentiate the gis of Judo and BJJ, it is undeniable that there is a general difference between the fabric used for the gis of the two forms of martial arts. Check out my Vulkan GI review
The main difference that will be mentioned between the fabric of the two will simply be durability. Generally speaking, BJJ gis are much more durable than Judo gis and that difference can be attributed to the forms themselves. Compared to Judo, BJJ is a much more aggressive form with significantly more dropping, rolling and pulling. Due to this, manufacturers had to use a more durable material for this form of martial arts.
While BJJ uses a stronger material, Judo suffices with a lighter fabric with less durability. The difference in durability does not affect anything other than how long the gis will last. However, even that is up for debate because although the BJJ gi is made of a more durable material, its aggressive nature still wears the gis out no matter what material it’s made of.
As a result of the difference in fabric and style, expect a difference in price, as well. Obviously, the BJJ gi would be pricier than a Judo gi for many of the reasons already stated above.
While Judo gis are simple and traditionally plain, BJJ gis have more design with patches and logos. As a result of increased durability of BJJ gis, the better fabric and stronger stitching also adds up to the final cost.
If you’re choosing which gi to get, then the time reading the entire article could have been used for practice. Simply get the gi for your specific form: if you are in a Judo dojo or school, then get a Judo gi. If you are in a BJJ dojo or school, then get a BJJ gi.
If it’s a choice between life or death, then go for the Judo gi since it can be worn in a Judo or BJJ setting with no problem. At least now you know what the differences are between the two and will be ready to answer the question if ever someone in your dojo is curious, too. Read about bjj ear guards.