Some Insights From A Gi Reviewer

Some of you may know that I also write for a few other publications and websites. One of my writing positions is with Gi Reviews which is one of the top gi review sites. I’ve written for Gi Reviews for about a year and in that time I’ve learned a LOT about Gis and I’d like to share some of the lessons I’ve learned.

This is not going to be an instructional on how to write gi reviews, but rather some valuable information about Gis. So, if you’re on the market for a new gi or simply are curious about them, check this out

  1.  Where the gi comes from can determine its quality

Most gis are made in Pakistan. I’ve found that gis not made in Pakistan are very often of higher quality, specifically those made in China. I am not saying that there aren’t some amazing gis made in Pakistan, but the quality of Pakistani made gis can be inconsistent, whereas I’ve found that the quality of Chinese gis is generally very high.

2.  Most gis are mostly the same, except for the details which are COMPLETELY different.

“A gi is a gi is a gi.” “If it fits you well enough to wear it, it’s fine.” “You’re just a ____ belt why do you need more than 1 gi?” There are a lot of dismissive things that people say about gis, and there is some truth to some of them, but generally it’s all about personal preference. I’ve found that something as little as an extra piece of gi material in the gusset (crotch) of a pair of gi pants can make a huge difference for me. The quality of seam tape while not a readily visible factor can be a factor that causes the experience of wearing a gi to be wonderful or terrible. If you are on the market for a gi, read some of the reviews out there and see the various details that reviewers harp on, there’s a reason for that

3.  You CAN have too many gis.

I’d say that an ideal number of gis to have on hand is about 1.5x the number of times you train a week. Anything more than that and you’ll wind up having a stockpile of unworn gis. I guess if you’re a hoarder that’s cool. I’ll say this: “occasional” gis are a different thing. For example, 100% rip stop gis that you use for hot weather or travel don’t factor in, goofy color gis that you wear when you feel silly don’t factor in. Etc.

4.  Fit is God.

There is nothing quite like finding the perfect fitting gi. Of course the definition of perfect fit is highly subjective, but at the end of the day once you’ve found a gi that fits right everything else will be measured by that standard. Some tournaments have stands that sell gis, try them one if they’ll let you and figure out what the best size in those specific brands. A good fit is super important to the experience of wearing a gi. Another super important detail is material quality (gi material, pants material, lapel material etc.) An otherwise great gi can be ruined by a crappy fit or a crappy material.

5.  There’s a reason there are so many brands.

Every gi brand make a different product.  Even if that product is a cheap imitation of a more expensive brand, there’s still a place for it on the market.  Shop around and find brands that have styling that you like and then keep your fingers crossed that their fit and quality are on point.  Gi reviews are a great way to gauge the fit and quality of a brand’s products.

These are just a few of the insights I’ve garnered from my experience writing. If you have any questions about gis, post them in the comments and I’ll try to answer to the best of my ability.


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