What Are BJJ Gi Weaves & What Should You Look for?
If you’re looking to get your hands on a new BJJ gi, you’re going to come across a few different terms that are used to describe the fabric that constructs the gi itself. This can often make it hard for those new to BJJ to decipher which gi is right for them, and what to expect out of their chosen gi.
As such, we’ve decided to write this full guide on the different BJJ gi weaves, hopefully allowing you to determine which is right for you, and to equip you with the knowledge needed to make the best decision.
What is a Weave?
Before we take a look at some of the different types of weaves that you’re likely to come across, let’s first discuss what exactly a weave is and why it’s important.
The term weave is used to describe the way in which the fabric itself is constructed, with each weave having a certain pattern that is distinguishable via sight. A fabric is created by repeatedly intertwining two thin pieces of material (much like knitting) so that it creates one whole piece, which is then used to construct the gi. The way in which the two thin pieces of material are intertwined determines the type of weave that the fabric has.
So, why is this important? And why is there so much emphasis on the different weaves in BJJ gis?
Firstly, and potentially most importantly, some types of weaves are known to be more durable than others. This is particularly important in BJJ due to the nature of the martial art, where a lot of pulling and gripping is involved, therefore stressing the fabric used to make the gi.
Secondly, the weight of the gi will largely be determined by the weave used to construct it. The weight of a gi is important for a couple of reasons, with the first being that the heavier the gi, the hotter you’re going to get when training. This means in the summer months, training in a heavier gi can get a bit uncomfortable and maybe even affect your ability to train. Also, if you’re looking to compete, you’ll often be required to weigh in wearing your gi. As such, people sometimes prefer lightweight gi’s for competitions, in order to more comfortably make weight.
Right, now that’s covered, lets’ take a look at some of the most common types of weaves that you’ll come across.
The Different Types of Weaves
Single weave BJJ gis tend to be the most popular amongst those new to BJJ, as they are often the most affordable option.
Single weave gis are also fairly lightweight when compared to other weaves and are therefore popular in warm weather. With that said, due to their thin design, they are probably the least durable type of gi you’ll come across, meaning that they are prone to tearing and fraying after prolonged used.
If you’re considering purchasing a single weave gi, you’ll need to determine whether you’re willing to trade off quality in order to reduce the cost of the gi.
The best way to describe the double weave is that it’s essentially a single weave done twice. This means that double weave gis are twice as thick and are far more durable than single weaves. It’s worth mentioning here that having a thicker gi can often make it harder for your opponent to maintain a grip, providing you with a slight advantage, as they may find it hard to perform gi based submissions.
Double weave gis also tend to be more expensive than single weave gis due to the fact that more material is needed in construction, therefore increasing costs and the price of the gi itself.
Some of the best BJJ gis (see some examples here) are made using gold weave material. Gold weave BJJ gis are a hybrid between single and double weave, providing the durability and thickness of the double weave alongside the lightweight design of the single weave.
Due to their durable, yet lightweight design, gold weave gis tend to be extremely popular amongst competitive BJJ practitioners. The flip side to this is that they tend to be fairly expensive, but due to the fact that they last a long time, it makes them a worthwhile investment.
Lastly, we’ve got pearl weave gis, which are the lightest type of BJJ gi that is permitted to be worn in competition by IBJJF (International BJJ Federation) standards. The pearl weave in particular is woven extremely tight, which in turn makes the gi extremely durable.
Unfortunately, pearl weave BJJ gis are some of the most expensive around, and in terms of quality, I’ve found them extremely similar to gold weave, however just a bit lighter. If you’re looking for an exceptionally lightweight gi that has the durability to match, pearl weave is definitely your best bet.
What About the Pants?
All of the different weaves we’ve just mentioned are typically featured in the kimono (jacket) of the gi. So, what sort of fabric/ weaves can you expect to find in a gi’s pants?Rip Stop
Although a form ripstop material has recently started appearing in gi jackets, this is not deemed IBJJF legal, and therefore only features in the pants for the vast majority of the time. As the name suggests, this weave is designed to prevent rips from appearing and spreading in the pants, which tend to be the most vulnerable to tearing.
What’s more, ripstop material is extremely lightweight, making them ideal for competing and traveling. If you are considering buying a gi that features ripstop pants and you’re planning on competing in it, it’s worth double checking that it’s certified IBJFF legal, or you won’t be able to wear it.
Another common type of pants material is a cotton drill, which are pretty durable, however weigh significantly more than ripstop pants, meaning they may not be ideal for competitions if you’re close to the weight limit.
What’s more, once a tear appears in cotton drill pants, it’ll spread fairly easily unless you get it patched up quickly.
That’s not to say cotton drill pants are bad, it’s just worth being aware of their drawbacks.
I hope that you now have a good grasp of the different types of weaves featured in BJJ gis and that you know what to look out for.
One more thing, when you’re looking to buy a new gi, make sure you read customer reviews and make sure that other people are happy with it. This way you’ll fully know what to expect from the gi, and stand the best chance of being happy with your decision.