BJJ Gi 101: Weaves

BJJ Gi 101: Weaves

When you are shopping for a new BJJ gi there is a wide palette of colours, stitching and designs available. When you look a little further and read into the specifications of a kimono, you might come across statements like “pro honey pearl weave fabric” or “850 GSM Diamond Weave”.
The gi expert lingo most manufacturers and brands use might seem like marketing gibberish, but some of it is actually quite useful information when you are looking for a specific gi. In this blog article we explain and decipher some that useful information.


Fabrics
You can tell a lot about a gi when you know what kind of fabric has been used for the gi. One of the things usually mentioned for the gi jacket fabric is GSM. GSM stands for Grams per Square Meter, this is used to determine the weight of the fabric. The GSM is usually a good indicator for the weight type of the gi. The lower GSM, the lower the weight of the gi.
Another attribute they usually point out is the type of the fabric used for the bjj gi, which is typically some kind of weave. Below we’ll go a bit more into the details of the different weaves, starting witht he weaves used for gi jackets.

Single weave
Close up of a white single weave cotton fabric
Most beginner gi jackets are made of a single weave fabric. Single weave jackets are a great choice because they are light weight and cheap. The fabric is thin and has a soft feel, but also tends to last less long compared to the other weaves.
The Tatami Nova MK4 and the Fuji Saisho are examples of single weave gi’s.

Double weave
Close up of a black double weave cotton fabric

Double weave is nearly the same a single weave, except is has twice the amount of threads used in making the fabric. This makes the double weave fabric strong and durable, but also heavy and more expensive. Jackets with a double weave are not common in jiu jitsu, this is mainly because it’s less comfortable and it can restrict your movement. For competition most people strive to be as light as possible, and wearing a heavy gi doesn’t fit into this mindset.

You don’t see double weave bjj gi’s a lot, but one of them is The Tank gi by Tatami.


Pearl weave
Close up of a blue pearl weave cotton fabric

Pearl weave is currently the most used fabric for BJJ gis. It’s very strong and durable, even when a low GSM has been used. There are many different styles of gi’s available with pearl weave fabrics, from lightweight competition gi to limited edition gis.

Ultra-light: Tatami Elements
Lightweight competition: Fuji Suparaito
Premium gi’s: Hyperfly Premium, Fuji Sekai 2.0
Limited Edition: Tatami Chess Gorilla, Tatami Gorilla Smash


Gold weave
Close up of a blue pearl weave cotton fabric

Many people who have been doing jiu jitsu for a long time still prefer the Gold Weave fabric. Back in the day this was the only fabric that was lightweight, but also durable. The big disadvantage of Gold Weave is that it tends to shrink a lot, which is why it’s mostly being replaced by Pearl weave these days. 

A few gold weave gi’s are still available like the Inverted Gear Gold Weave 2.0 and the Ground Game Inceptor.


Pro-, diamond-, honeycomb weave
Other “special weaves” are usually somewhere in between single and gold weave.
The Iceweave gi by War Tribe is a great example of a special weave. It has a pearl weave blend of cotton and a performance polyester fabric, which adds the cooling effect of the gi. Another example is the Comp SRS 2.0 by Tatami, which has a pearl weave pro fabric. This weave is a more dense than regular pearl weave fabric, which makes it more soft and also more durable according to Tatami.


Gi pants
When looking at the pants that accompany these jackets, there are less options. The weight of the fabric is usually written in ounces (Oz). The same rule applies to the ounces for the pants as the GSM for the jacket, a lower number means lighter and thinner pants. The fabric used for pants is either cotton, ripstop or a mix.


Cotton
Close up of white cotton gi pants fabric
Cotton pants last long and they come in a wide range of thickness, from lightweight till military grade cotton. This used to be the most popular pant material, until ripstop pants were introduced.


Ripstop
Close up of blue ripstop gi pants fabric
Ripstop has a great strength-to-weight ratio. The fabric is being woven with special reinforcing technique, which makes it resistant to tearing and ripping. It can be extremely light and thin, but still durable. Ripstop is easy to recognize by the square pattern.

Next article The Ultimate Tatami BJJ Gi Guide

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