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To tell you the story of my first BJJ gi, I need to tell you the story of how I got into BJJ…
For the first two years of grappling, I did exclusively nogi training. It wasn’t until I had moved to the Chicago area after college that I ever even entertained the idea of using the gi. Heck, the only place that I had ever even seen one was on Royce Gracie.
My first day training with UFC fighter Miguel Torres in 2006, I was given the choice to train in jiu-jitsu or mma. At the time, the bjj class was an older gentleman and two women going over armbars from the guard. MMA, on the other hand, was fifteen guys sparring with no equipment save shorts and four-ounce gloves. Needless to say, there wasn’t much of a choice.
I never even considered putting on a gi for those first 6 months.
Eventually, I started wondering why I was training MMA so much when I never planned on fighting. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) class had changed dramatically from that first day and now was fairly large (I guess that first day was a fluke). Finally, I decided to start training BJJ in addition to MMA. I’m not going to go into the gi vs. nogi debate here (it’s been argued better and more often on various internet forums), but I definitely felt like I needed to train straight BJJ in order to better my MMA game.
I asked my instructor about ordering me a gi and within a week, I had my first gi in my hands: a basic, plain, 2007 Atama single weave.
The Atama single weave was perfect for my first gi. In fact, I’d recommend a single weave for 99% of beginners. It, like most other single weaves, was light, devoid of a lot of patches (who knew whether I’d like a lot of patches on my gi or not. Turns out, I do haha). It would be a durable gi that would last a good deal of time but would also allow me to learn techniques with a good amount of mobility as it wasn’t as restrictive as a double weave gi.
Probably the best reasons that it was the perfect gi for me at the time were the price point and its simplicity. Like I said, it was devoid of patches, but it was also white. I blended in with the majority of the students at my academy and I didn’t call unnecessary attention to myself. I think this is essential at a new academy (especially when you are totally new to the sport). You will get a lot of grief if you can’t do a proper scissor sweep but you are wearing a $300 lucky kimono, or a super rare, early batch Shoyoroll that you got off ebay. So not only did it look appropriate, but it also didn’t break the bank.
Most high quality single weave gis can be bought for under $100 in today’s market. This is especially true if you find a good, smaller brand that you’ve seen get a lot of positive reviews, such as Subculture, Tatami, Black Eagle, Fuji, etc. Honestly, an even better bet would be to watch BJJhq.com for a deal of the day and order from there. They carry top brand gis for a discount and if you just sign up for their e-mail list, they’ll send you the deals every day. A great option for your first gi if you catch it on the right day, but you may have to wait if you want a deal.
Last, it was a great gi because I could use it to train and to compete. Single weaves offer the best mix of both worlds and are perfect for somebody who doesn’t know if they want to compete or just train.
I still wear the gi today and have really patched it out. The collar is completely frayed and you can see the rubber all the way around it. It has been my go-to-gi for over 5 years and, you really can’t ask for more from a single weave. It was my first gi and if I thought it was of good enough quality, I’d pass it along to somebody else, but with the collar in its current state, I don’t think anybody could appreciate it like I do. I know some people love their old worn out belts and I feel the same about my gi. I still wear it in training and when I travel and I would definitely recommend others to travel the same path as I did.
I got a single weave, white gi for my first gi. It was cheap and high quality. You should do the same. It will serve you well until you find a style or weave that you like better.
I hope this article is helpful for those looking for their first bjj gi and I’d love to hear more from those of you with similar stories! What was your first BJJ gi? Was it perfect for you? What did you get as your second gi? What would you recommend for a beginner?? Post a reply below!
Brendan is the Founder and mastermind behind Gireviews.net. He is currently a Purple belt training in both gi and no gi. By day he is a elementary school teacher, by night, a jedi gi reviewer!