Why Are BJJ Gis So Thick? [Explained]

When stepping into the world of Brazilian jiu jitsu, you’ll quickly notice that practitioners often wear what’s known as a thick BJJ gi. This robust attire is more than just a uniform; it’s an essential part of the BJJ experience.

In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons behind the thickness of these gis, exploring factors ranging from durability to tradition. So, whether you’re a BJJ enthusiast or just curious about martial arts attire, let’s unravel the mystery behind the thick BJJ gi.

What is the Heaviest Gi?

Before we dive into the specifics of why BJJ gis tend to be thick, let’s explore what’s considered the heaviest gi.

In the world of BJJ, weight can be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on your strategy and personal preference. Heavier gis generally provide a sturdier feel, often associated with durability and resistance to wear and tear. These gis can weigh anywhere from 550 to 750 grams per square meter (GSM) of fabric, and they’re commonly used by practitioners who value resilience over lightness.

However, it’s important to note that the weight of a gi isn’t solely determined by its thickness. The type of fabric, weave, and additional reinforcements also contribute to its overall weight.

Now, let’s explore why BJJ gis tend to have this robust and sturdy build.

Why Are Jiu Jitsu Gis So Thick?

The thickness of BJJ gis serves multiple purposes that align with the demands of this intense martial art. Let’s break down the primary reasons:

1. Durability and Resilience

Imagine grappling, rolling, and sparring on the mat. The constant friction, gripping, and pulling can take a toll on your gi. This is where the thickness comes into play. A thick BJJ gi is designed to withstand the rigorous nature of training and competition. The added layers of fabric provide increased durability, ensuring that the gi doesn’t tear easily during intense movements. This durability is especially important for ground-based techniques where the gi is frequently used for grips and controls.

2. Gripping and Control

BJJ revolves around the art of control. Practitioners use their gi to establish holds, submissions, and dominant positions. A thicker gi offers more material for gripping, which can be advantageous during matches. It provides a secure grip for practitioners, making it easier to execute techniques without worrying about fabric tearing or slipping.

3. Traditional Aesthetics

BJJ has a rich history, and its traditional roots often influence its practices. The thick gi harkens back to the origins of Japanese martial arts, where gis were designed to withstand rigorous training sessions and real combat scenarios. While modern BJJ has evolved, the tradition of a substantial gi has persisted, serving as a link to the martial art’s heritage.

4. Uniformity and Equality

In BJJ competitions, gis must adhere to certain regulations to ensure fairness and safety. A thicker gi ensures uniformity among competitors. It levels the playing field, preventing any single practitioner from gaining an unfair advantage due to their gi’s properties. This uniformity extends to the material, size, and overall structure of the gi.

Why Are BJJ Gis So Thick? Reddit Opinions

Taking a closer look at discussions on platforms like Reddit, we find a range of opinions regarding the thickness of BJJ gis. These opinions reflect the diverse perspectives within the BJJ community:

Opinions and Information
Light gi dries faster, convenient for quick turnaround or accidental washing machine incidents.
Light gis dry quickly, suitable for travel and hot training rooms.
The weight of the gi doesn’t affect comfort, sweating, or movement; proper hygiene is essential.
Light gis are cooler and take less space in bags; heavy gis are more durable and have a thicker collar, making it harder to choke.
Personal preference for lighter gi due to improved movement, but heavier gi has its advantages in grip-breaking due to thicker material.
Recommends starting with a light gi for beginners due to easy maintenance and comfort; later, a heavy gi might be preferred for grip advantages.
Heavier gis might aid in grip-breaking, while lighter gis dry faster; personal observation, no hard data on durability.
Shares an example of a super-thick gi that made gripping difficult.
Suggests the Essimo Ipon Judo gi as a thick option.
Explains that thicker gis might provide an advantage in grip fighting; thin gis are not as durable.
Highlights gi weight regulations in competitions; light gis for travel and competition purposes.
Advises against Judo gis, as they have different construction and aren’t ideal for regular BJJ training.
Mentions the 750 gsm weight requirement for IJF certification in Judo gis, indicating the preference for heavy gis in Judo competitions.

These Reddit opinions highlight the individual preferences and goals that shape a practitioner’s choice of gi thickness. It’s clear that while tradition and durability play a significant role, personal style and practicality also come into play.


In the world of Brazilian jiu jitsu, the thickness of a gi is more than just a superficial aspect of the uniform. It serves a range of practical purposes, from durability to tradition, and even plays a role in leveling the competitive playing field.

Whether you’re drawn to the history and tradition of BJJ or you’re more focused on the practical benefits, the thick BJJ gi remains a cornerstone of martial art.

As you step onto the mat, clad in your robust gi, remember that it’s not just an article of clothing; it’s a connection to the art’s roots and a testament to the dedication of both past and present practitioners.

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