It can be difficult to convince new students to train in the gi.
“The people in the street are not wearing a kimono,” they say. “Isn’t it unrealistic?”
There are other reasons that people are reluctant to buy a kimono. They don’t like the idea that the opponent can grab their kimono, control them, and choke them with a bewildering variety of collar strangles. Without the kimono grips to slow them down, they have a better chance of slipping and sliding out of sweaty holds.
Many also would rather spend the $100 or more on some other bills or recreation.
I explain to them that if they were to visit the best BJJ academies in the world, the majority of classes are taught in the gi. Yes, even in the tropical heat of Rio de Janeiro!
But then they try BJJ with the gi and something happens…
They return to the next class telling me about how they thought about the moves from class in the middle of the night or even dreamed about BJJ.
The addiction has started.
But how do I know that they are TRULY addicted to BJJ?
They buy a second gi. One gi will not dry fast enough in between classes and they may experience some “gi envy” at the designer kimonos of their training partners. That budget, plain gi that they started with looks plain by comparison and suddenly unsatisfying, and unworthy of their new jiu-jitsu skills. They stay up into the wee hours searching BJJ gear websites for the best kimono.
“Should I get a black one now?” they ask. “That would be straight up Ninja!”
“I am only a white belt. Maybe I should go classic plain white?”
I have always gotten a kick out of post-Christmas open mats where there is a new gi fashion show to rival any haute couture runway in Paris or Milan. Everyone shows up to show their new kimono and there is much discussion and admiration of each others gis.
Once they plunk down the money for a second gi, we know they are addicted to BJJ!
Read also: How Did You Get Addicted to BJJ?
Anyone who lives in the midwest knows training in the Gi is very realistic, people have jackets and sweatshirts on 9 months out of the year!