This question is asked in the BJJ community a lot by everyone including beginners and more seasoned practitioners.
I know you don’t want to hear this answer however the answer is “it depends”. There are a few things to consider when it comes to the gi number which you should own and in this short guide, I will explain everything you need to know about it below.
There are also some special circumstances and I will explain them at the end of this writing.
How many BJJ Gis do You Need?
How Many Times will You Train BJJ?
It does not matter you just start rolling or you are a purple belt when it comes to the gi number. What matters is that how many times you go to a BJJ gym or train.
If you train consecutive days, then you will need a couple of extra BJJ gis. The rule of thumb is that if you train more than five days you will need at least three kimonos in your closet as some of them will not be dry when it is time to practice triangles. But it is the minimum number. If this is your BJJ class schedule, the recommended gi number is four.
If you train two times and the days are apart from each other you can own only one gi if you can clean it frequently but I would not recommend it.
You need to take the drying period into consideration as you don’t want to train with other jiu-jitsu practitioners with a wet gi, right?
If you jiu-jitsu twice a day you need at least 2 gis for each day and according to above, you can decide how many kimonos you should own.
Will you compete? If you plan on entering various BJJ tournaments, it is ideal to have two competition gis. One is for the competition and the other one is for regular BJJ classes. In that way, you will get used to move with your competition gi. Let’s face it. These gis are probably made of pearl and you probably train with single weave gis in your dojo as these are lighter. So shortly get an extra competition gi for training and get used to grappling with it!
How Many Times Can You Clean Them?
Well, I have not thought about this issue as I clean my BJJ gis whenever I want to however I read that some people have restrictions about it. So what should you do?
Well, planning is required if you are serious about your grappling journey as BJJ kimono’s materials generally tend to be sturdy however washing them frequently can make them useless sooner than usual.
If you training session is not long or you don’t spend much effort, having a good sweat absorbing rash guard may allow you to train more session(s), with one gi. If you prefer this, you should also invest in a good spray which smells nice as well.
Do You Train Other Martial Arts or Do Bodybuilding?
I am one of those. I am sure that many people, who practice martial arts, are somewhat interested in bodybuilding. I do boxing, bodybuilding and sometimes MMA training so my body changes. Sometimes I have more muscle weight and in some months, I lose weight. And sometimes I just want to add more muscles to my body. After all, we all like bigger chest muscles, don’t we?
So your body can change over time and if this is the case for you, you need to look for specific BJJ gis, which are better for the athletic body, skinny…, types and get them. Having a BJJ gi, which is a right fit your body, improves grappling and escape performance as soon as you wear them.
However, don’t throw your old gis in a trash just yet. In the future, you may decide to bulk up or lose weight again.
No one wants to train grappling with someone who has a dirty gi or smells. So it is really important that you own enough BJJ kimonos so people in your dojo will not avoid sparring with you. Even if you practice submissions with a grappling dummy, you don’t want the dummy to smell right? And remember these dummies are used a lot during grappling sessions for various BJJ techniques (chokes etc.) and these can start smelling in no time.
Do you train in a dojo which have excellent air conditions? Then you don’t need a lightweight gi however if you train in humid conditions or learn BJJ movements in a hot environment then you definitely need one. For example, I travel a lot and sometimes I train in a facility in South East Asia which is just extremely hot and after a few months, I can be at a gym, which have decent air conditioners, in Europe.
So I tend to get a few different types of gis. If you travel or move a lot, you may need a different type of gis.
I would recommend you to try different brands as you can see which ones help you perform better during practice and if you decide to compete one day, you can try out your favorite brand’s competition gi during a practice and if you like its performance, you can enter tournaments with it. Actually, many black belts recommend that.
Don’t do these!
I saw the following over and over again in my old BJJ gym.
Don’t come to your dojo with useless gis which people can’t even make a grip. The materials are so bad that BJJ practitioners can’t even make a strong grip. Alright, I get it, these might be more affordable but just don’t do it, this situation can be really awkward and inhibit everyone from learning grip positions.
Let’s continue with number two which is judo Gi. Well, judo gis are for judo and these gis have different qualities than BJJ gis such as more stretching for pants as this martial art includes kicking and it has more comfortable shoulder parts. I can go on and on about judo gis however the main point is that these are just different and generally are not ideal for BJJ.
So if you try saving money don’t go with other type of kimonos.
Also, if you have not grappled not even once and you think of investing in a couple of gis you need to think again. For instance, if you think of buying three gis, these may cost a lot and keep in mind that you don’t know what your weave, design preferences are. So you might waste your hard earned cash. No one wants to do that, right?
Alright now let’s talk about BJJ academy gis. I know you trust your instructor’s BJJ knowledge and training facility. However, you generally should not invest in academy gis as these are just BJJ institutions’ gears and probably will not offer you a good quality, weave type so my advice is that if you have to buy one academy gi (some academies, gyms make it a requirement) get only one and don’t invest in 2 gis even if they offer you a sweat deal.
So now you know everything about how many gis do you need and when you should buy more etc. If you decided to buy gi(s), you can check out these excellent gis. In this guide, you can also read which BJJ kimono design and weave type fit your needs.
Did you enjoy this BJJ gear article? Or you may want to add extra information about owning gis and tell us about your experiences during your jiu-jitsu journey, if this is the case feel free to drop your comments below.
Related Read: Recommended BJJ Instructional DVDs and Videos