Judo Gi vs Karate Gi: Can I use karate gi for judo?

What is the judo gi vs karate gi difference? Can I use karate gi for judo? These are very Okay questions for someone who wants to move to another combat sport. Or who wants to contribute to his or her progress in martial arts by combining different experiences.

Let’s say a karateka wants to visit judo classes for any of the possible reasons.

One of the first things the athlete will encounter is the question – What do you wear to a judo class?

But more specifically, a karate player would like to know if can you use a karate gi for judo classes or not. A positive question may mean there is no need to buy a judo gi and you can simply use your karate gi uniform instead.

In fact, the question is very simple and the answer is quite short.

So, let’s jump to the answer and give some more details to better understand the subject.

Can you use a karate gi for judo?

And is a karate gi the same as a judo gi?

No, and no. You can’t use a karategi for judo because it won’t be able to withstand the heavy load of judo throws and grabs. In other words, your karate gi will simply tear up somewhere in the middle of judo training, if not before. Karate gi is lighter weight and not enough robust as judo gi or jiu jitsu gi.

Karate gi design and fabric are just not made up for the long-term influence of grappling techniques.

Yes, there are expensive heavy-weight twill 460 gsm (16 oz) karate gis for $100-$200, and anyway, the question is for how long it will last in judo training. It’s not worth using such expensive karategi if you can buy a regular judo gi for $60.

Another point is, that judo coaches may not allow training judo in a karate gi as it doesn’t stand the purposes of judo practices. As in judo sport, the gi is the main piece of equipment that is used all the time.

Judo vs Karate difference

What’s the difference between judo and karate? Are judo and karate the same?

In fact, it may be a long-read article. But this time we are interested to highlight the subject from the perspective of equipment differences to determine detailed what is the difference between a judo gi and a karate gi.

Let’s make it easier and list the main points:

  • Yes, judo and karate are both budo disciplines (Japanese martial arts) but they are two completely different styles of martial arts
  • Yes, judo gi and karate gi are made of cotton fabric, but the fabric structure and the gi cut are just different
  • Yes, both judo and karate are Olympic sports, but they have totally different gi requirements for competition so the karate gi is not legal for judo tournaments and vice versa
karate in the olympics
Karate in the Olympics; Screenshot from olympics.com

How heavy is a karate gi compared to judo gi?

Is judo and karate uniform the same in weight?

Yes and no. But mostly no. Yes, because judo has a wide range of gis from 12 oz and up to 30 oz. At the same time, karate is presented also with different options in karate gi uniform. The heaviest karate uniform has a fabric of 16 oz. But a regular karate gi is made of 8-10 oz fabric.

A karate gi set (jacket, pants, and belt) may weigh on average 2.2-3.3 lbs (1-1.5 kg). A judo gi set, depending on the gi density, weighs about 3.3-7 lbs (1.5-3 kg).

Important to emphasize is that judo gi and karate gi materials have different weaving structures. Only the pants have in most cases the same twill fabric weave.

Judo double-weave fabric

judo double weave fabric
Google image caption

Karate gi fabric

karate gi fabric

Can you use a judo gi for karate?

Can judo gi be used for karate?

Theoretically, yes. Practically, this is a very questionable idea exactly from a practical point of view. Judo gi is much heavier than karate gi. It is made for grappling purposes in judo that is not performed in karate. So, the karate player will not fill comfortable in a judo gi which will limit his mobility in stance.

Unless you have a lightweight single weave judo gi of about 350 gsm that can be light enough to train in karate.

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