Judo and BJJ gis are quite similar, so can they be used interchangeably? Yes and no. You could wear a BJJ gi to a judo class, and you could even wear a judo gi to a BJJ class, but it’s not perfect. BJJ and Judo are different sports, with different techniques and different rules. In this BJJ gi vs Judo gi article I explain what the differences are between judo and BJJ gis, and what troubles you might run into if you wear one instead of the other.
What Is A Gi?
A gi is a traditional martial arts uniform. It consists of a kimono, gi pants and a belt. To rookies it may look like different martial arts all use the same gi: the kimonos of karate, judo, Brazilian jiu jitsu, Taekwondo, and even Kung Fu, Hakama, Hapkido, Wing Chun and Aikido all look similar. However, every martial art has its own uniform that’s specifically adapted for its techniques, with specific fabrics and gi weaves. So it’s generally a bad idea to wear the uniform of one martial art to the practice of another martial art.
BJJ Gi Vs Judo Gi: Purpose
BJJ and Judo both have a gi that’s tailor made for their own techniques. Judo focuses on big throws, and the judo gi is the thickest gi of all martial arts, and it has extremely wide sleeves and collars to promote offensive judo in competition. BJJ focuses on ground fighting and submissions (many of which use the gi), and the BJJ gi is less thick and covers your body during prolonged ground fighting exchanges.
Differences BJJ Gi Vs Judo Gi
There are many differences between a BJJ gi and a judo gi, which stem from the differences between BJJ and Judo as martial arts. The most important differences between BJJ and judo gis are:
- A judo kimono is much thicker to withstand stresses of many the explosive throws
- Jiu jitsu gi pants are thicker and reinforced around the knees, because gripping the pants is common in BJJ but illegal in Judo.
- A judo gi has far wider sleeves and collars to make gripping up easier, which promotes offensive judo.
- A judo uniform has a longer skirt (the bottom part of the kimono), which covers your thighs completely.
- A jiu jitsu gi covers your torso more completely, because in judo you can fix your gi in between exchanges, whereas BJJ sparring doesn’t have pauses (this is really important because it protects your naked skin from touching the mat, which helps prevent skin infections).
- A jiu jitsu gi is typically more expensive than a judo gi, because the pants are harder to make and use more fabric and stitching.
Can You Use A Judo Gi For BJJ?
You can use a judo gi for BJJ, but it’s better to use a real Brazilian jiu jitsu gi. First of all, a judo gi is much easier to grab, so you’re handicapping yourself if you wear a judo gi to a BJJ class. Secondly, the judo kimono is made in such a way that it comes loose much quicker, so you need to readjust it constantly while rolling. Thirdly, judo gi pants are weaker and can easily rip at the knees during BJJ training.
Tip: My favorite affordable BJJ gi for beginners is the Sanabul Essentials Gi
Can You Use a BJJ Gi for judo?
Yes, it’s ok to use a BJJ gi for Judo training, but it’s not legal in judo competition. Also, it’s better to get a real judo gi at some point, because BJJ gis are tighter and harder to grip, so you’re putting your training partners at a disadvantage (white belt judo practitioners won’t care about this too much, but a Judo black belt will). Further, if you wear a BJJ gi to a Judo training, it’s best to wear a white gi or a blue gi, as those are the normal colors in judo (judo doesn’t have black gis).
Also read: BJJ Gi Vs Karate Gi: 7 Differences
Can My Kid Use A Judo Gi For BJJ?
Yes, a kid can use a judo gi for BJJ. At least in my opinion, it’s not that important for your kid to wear the proper jiu jitsu attire. But, always check with the instructor at your academy. And once you’re sure your kid will stick with jiu jitsu, you can buy the best BJJ gi for kids.
Is It Even To Wear A Judo Gi To BJJ?
Most BJJ gyms will allow you to wear a judo gi, and a judo gi could even be legal to wear in Brazilian jiu jitsu competitions, assuming it’s the right size and color. However, you always need to check this with your instructor. Some of the more die hard traditional BJJ instructors will think it’s disrespectful to wear the wrong kind of gi to a BJJ class, and they won’t allow it.