Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is growing faster and faster each year. From the explosion in the early 90s where a young, small Royce Gracie defeated all other combat styles in UFC 1 using his incredible technique, to the curiosity to train in BJJ has grown from strength to strength. The better people get at BJJ, the more competitive they get and we now have thousands of competitions around the world each year. In order to be able to compete, they need the perfect tool and we are happy to help by compiling our list of contenders for the best BJJ competition Gi.
What do we cover...
Most competitions have very specific common rule sets governing white belts to black belts and from the length of the sleeves and pants to the materials you are allowed to wear. Our article shows you the exact rule set laid down by the most popular competitions, what to look for when it comes to a competition Gi and who provides the best options out there.
Showing up to your first or fiftieth competition usually comes with butterflies, but doing so in the best BJJ comp Gi also gives you confidence whether you are a white or black belt.
Competition Rule Sets
The number of competitions around the world continues to swell with athletes travelling all over for ADCC, Pan America and European competitions and the Open Champions. Most of the Gi competitions typically fall under the rule set of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation or IBJJF for short. The IBJJF have detailed rules when it comes to materials, colors and sizes.
An IBJJF approved Gi is required to be made from woven cotton or another very similar fabric. Many ultra-lightweight Ripstop weave Gis are ineligible due to the rule as they are considered to not be fit for competitive use. The main aim of this ruling is that it prevents a jacket tear.
A competitive Gi may not be too thick for your opponent to grab and the collar of an approved Gi should be made with EVA or a similarly soft material. If you want and are going to compete under the IBJJF program, you should always check that the Gi you might choose offers you compliance with the updated rules on materials.
The IBJJF are also not the most creative bunch when it comes to the choice of colors permitted. The three choices are blue, black and white Gis are the only versions accepted so all of you with the best pink BJJ Gis will have to leave it at home for IBJJF competitions. The Gi jacket must be the same color throughout and the pants must also be the same.
While it may not be in your nature to buy or create a painted Brazilian jiu-jitsu Gi, those are also ruled out unless the paint is part of your academy or sponsorship. In any case, if your Gi marks your opponent or their Gi, you will be asked to change.
Some of the coolest BJJ Gis out there have some intricate patchwork but you should be careful when choosing which ones you go with for competition purposes. Patches can only be placed in certain areas of the Gi typically at least 15cm from the end of the sleeves, pant legs, collars and shoulders. They must be 100% cotton and properly seamed with reinforced stitching.
IBJJF Jacket Regulations
IBJJF competition sizing rules typically do not extend to BJJ training but they do make some sense to abide by anyway. You are expected to wear a BJJ Gi jacket with a sleeve no more than 5cm (2 inches) from the wrist when your arm is extended. The opening of the sleeve must also be at least 7cm (2.7 inches) wide. While these may seem somewhat pedantic, as a competitor, you will feel aggrieved when someone has a short sleeve or you have a sleeve in the way of you making grips.
IBJJF Gi Pants
The IBJJF requests for Gi pants are much the same as the jacket with the pants required to be no further than 5cm from the ankle bone when you are standing up straight regardless of height or weight. This is another slightly contrary rule that makes sense in action as many competitors are skilled at using all resources available and poorly fitting BJJ Gis are an invitation to having your guard passed.
Competition General Clothing Tips
Regular BJJ competitors will often have Gis specifically for competition for a number of reasons including personal preference.
Many competitors will favor a tighter size BJJ kimono as it gives less fabric to get hold of and may be lighter weight. It is important to appreciate that a tight fitting Gi should not restrict your movement when making your decisions. Any Gi that is fitted to body type should be extremely comfortable and not restrict air flow among other things.
Post Weight Cut Gis
Some athletes prefer slightly smaller Gis as they tend to cut weight to make it into different divisions. While it may not be the standard at white belt level, the best BJJ and martial arts competition so often features significant weight cuts. Similarly, if you usually train with a rash guard or spats under your BJJ Gi, you should be aware that these are not allowed in competition for men only.
Best Competition Gi Options
The world of BJJ has some great stylish and functional Gis. Gold weave white Gis and kimonos used to be the only acceptable competition fabric, however, they now welcome pearl weave, double and single weave. Scramble, Fuji, Venum and many others narrowly miss out but here is a list of our favorites.
Sanabul are the brand that remove all cost barriers to people training in combat sports which is especially important when you are a white belt. The Highlights Professional Competition Gi is inexpensive, comfortable and will also last you a very long time. The Highlights Pro is the competition equivalent of Sanabul Essentials and over-deliver just like it’s sibling. It is a lightweight, pre-shrunk single weave Gi that is also rough enough on the outside to give no advantages away. In a similar vein, it is cut and tapered to form fit removing any excessive bagginess often found with other Gis.
Elite Sports are the lightweight brand gaining good ground on the biggest players in the market. They provide affordable options for competitors but it is the Ultra-lightweight competition option that makes our list. This is another of the best pre-shrunk fabric options with specific Gi features for women and men.
Elite Sports designed this Gi and taper it depending on the sex. It is a thoughtful feature overlooked by many. They give men more space for a cup and more space in the chest for the women. Ultra-Lightweight Gis are also built with antibacterial and antimicrobial fabrics which are a blessing in disguise especially in the no-infection era.
As a nice addition, an Elite Sports BJJ Gi also comes with a free white belt.
A Gi list of any description could not go on without a Tatami product. The G V4 Gi ever so slightly edges the Tatami Nova for it’s spot on our list as there are an undeniable swathe of positive reviews. Tatami exceed what you all have come to expect by including new stunning graphics and flare to the functionality.
They employ a pearl weave fabric with their new rubber collar helping you to avoid absorbing moisture absorption. The collar is strengthened by a Ripstop weave to keep it robust. Furthering that strength, is the reinforced stitching so you never need to worry about this Gi ripping on you. After all, it is a Tatami and competition ready and the material to help you be ready for anything.
Gold are another one of the topline BJJ brands providing exceptional quality to the competition circuit from white to black belt. This kimono is built to be soft and durable at the midweight level. You can tell just how far above and beyond they have gone as they have lined the inside of the collar with rash guard to make sure your neck doesn’t have to suffer.
The pants of the Gi is made with ripstop weave to save as much weight as possible getting them down to 10oz. The confidence they have in their best BJJ Gi comes in the way of a money back guarantee which is not something you can say for every brand.
Finally Our Favorite: The Hayabusa Goorudo 3 Gold Weave BJJ
The Goorudo 3 is one of the best BJJ kimono's ever made and the fact that it is IBJJF certified is even more reason to love it. In a call to the tradition, the Goorudo 3 has a 550 GSM cotton blend gold weave jacket with beautiful patchwork synonymous with the quality of Hayabusa. The overall design is thoughtful with reinforced stitching specific to the stress points.
The Hayabusa Goorudo 3 is pricier but you are getting extreme quality for the price you pay as this Gi is one of the best competition Gis designed to provide premium performance in a picture perfect white, blue or black option.
The Goorudo 3 is durable to the highest level with double stitching throughout. The pants are a 12oz ripstop weave which is lightweight and competition appropriate. The Hayabusa Goorudo 3 comes pre-washed so you don’t have to have the initial fears associated with a gold weave Gi. The Goorudo 3 is more expensive but you may never purchase a better BJJ comp Gi than this.
Over to You
Now you should know the importance of choosing the right Gi for competing in BJJ, in addition to the specific rules and regulations set by BJJ competitions. We've also narrowed the search down by giving you our top 5 recommendations and our absolute favorite pick. The Hayabusa Goorudo 3, is in our opinion, truly the best BJJ competition Gi out there.