Registrations are paid, you’ve done the training, you’ve lost the weight, you’re sore and your joints ache, but you’re ready to take home gold.
Unfortunately, weeks of strenuous competition prep are often foiled by a gi that’s unacceptable according the IBJJF guidelines.
Over the years I have seen many competitors disqualified for a number issues relating to sleeve length, fading colour and patch placement.
Don’t let all of your hard earned prep, and registration money, go to waste because of a silly wardrobe malfunction. Use this list below to ensure you and you’re gi are ready to take on the toughest opponent in any competition, the IBJJF event staff.
7 Things You Need to Know About Your Gi in Order to be IBJJF Approved
According to the IBJJF website, “GIs should be tailored using cotton or cotton-like fabric only.” Fortunately, reputable gi brands only produce products to suit this requirement, and you shouldn’t have to worry too much it.
To be honest, I’ve never seen a fabric aficionado or pundit working at an IBJJF event checking competitors gis with a diamond specialist’s eye piece.
However, it is important that you wear a BJJ gi. This means no flashy silk numbers or easily ripped kimonos. I know Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris looked gangster wearing them in the 70’s, but in grappling comps it’s a precursor for indecent exposure.
Colour is also important as you’re only allowed to wear blue, black or white gis in competition. This means that the fire truck red and big bird yellow outfit you’ve been saving for the right occasion may need to sit at the back of your wardrobe a little while longer.
Your gi needs to be of the one colour. There is to be no mismatching of jacket, pants or lapels - There goes that Hugh Heffner robe.
The condition of your gi will also play a huge part in whether you get to compete or not.
While pre-ripped jeans may be popular for some people, having a dishevelled pair of pants and/or jacket will be a straight pre comp disqualification.
To avoid this, and to look sharp on comp day, you may want to keep a gi on hand strictly for competition purposes only.
Yep, both patch material and placement matter when it comes to the IBJJF guidelines.
Patches should be made from cotton material and sewed on with a seam around the borders.
Patches that are stiff or do not bend when gripped will need to be removed as they may provide an unfair advantage to a competitor if they cause issues related to gripping.
Patch placement is also important according to IBJJF standards and a comprehensive guide to suitable positions can be found in the image below.
The length and measurement of your gi is probably the most monitored aspect behind material colour and condition.
According to the IBJJF website, “The GI top should reach the athlete’s thigh and the sleeves should come to no more than 5 cm from the athlete’s wrist when the arm is extended straight parallel to the ground.”
They also state that the pants should be no shorter than 5cm from the ankle.
You may see your official approaching you with a large wooden peg. Don’t be afraid. This is merely a tool for measurement, not pinching or inserting (well, we hope not anyway).
Your official will use this tool to measure the following:
- Lapel thickness – 1.3cm
- Collar width – 5cm
- Opening of sleeves at full extension – 7cm
Finally, we come to the belt.
Obviously, you’ll need to wear a belt to identify your rank.
Although it isn’t stated on their website, I have seen competitors sent off the mat for having a belt that is faded in colour. Again, it would probably be a good idea to have a belt set aside specifically for competition to avoid this from happening to you.
The IBJJF guidelines also call for competitors to have a black bar at the tip of their belt, while black belts having either a white or red bar. However, I’ve rarely seen this be and issue, though you can never be too careful. You’d hate to be sent home, losing registration money because of this factor.
Finally after being tied, your belt should hang down 20 to 30 cm. This means wearing a small belt that looks like Charlie Chaplin’s bow tie around your waist is a strict no no.