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Being a gi reviewer has opened my eyes to a major dirty secret of the gi market: most brands are basically the same. When you buy a gi with ____ logo on it, chances are it was made in the same factory as 10 other gi brands. This becomes apparent in the cut, appearance and quality of gis as well as their features.
However, some gis come in that are absolutely incredible. Here’s a list of 5 features that have stood out to me in gis that I’ve reviewed which I believe set them apart.
There are gis that have gi material in the crotch, which helps cinch up submissions. There are also some that have gi material hidden in the knee area to serve a similar purpose to the material in the crotch and to better protect the knees. Hidden gi material does amazing things for a gi.
I love a slippery gi, especially a slippery gi that looks like it won’t be slippery. When a company hides rip stop in the cuffs or behind the lapel it makes grip retention more difficult for my opponent which makes it so that the gi gives me a tactical advantage. I like tactical advantages.
Special can be extra heavy or extra light. Special can be extra rough or extra smooth. There is a certain pearl weave that we see everywhere today, and most gold weaves are roughly the same, anything that goes outside of those two tends to catch my eye.
I love a good special edition, collaborations between jiu jitsu brands or better yet between jiu jitsu brands and non-jiu jitsu brands make for awesome products. I also really like truly limited products, especially numbered ones. The number lets me know that the item is actually special and rare.
My favorite size tends to be A2L. Not every brand offers A2L. A2 is often too small on me, A3 is often too big. And guess what? I’m not the only one who benefits from special sizes. If you find that gis that you buy tend to not fit as well as you want, you may want to consider looking into brands that offer special sizes.
These are my top 5 favorite special features. What features do you look for in a gi when you are shopping?
Emil Fischer is a purple belt competitor training under Pablo Castro at Strong Style MMA in Independence Ohio. Emil writes for various jiu jitsu related blogs and magazines, is a brand ambassador for Ludwig Van and is sponsored by Gladiator Soap, Impact Mouth Guards, Valor Fightwear USA, Pony Club Grappling Gear and The Original Amy Joy Donuts. You can check out more of his work and his competition footage at www.facebook.com/emilfischerbjj.