Monday, October 26, 2009


My size for reference – 5’4”, 124-135 lbs depending on how I’m training.
I currently own six gis, though I only regularly train in four of them. I have two Atamas, a Keiko Raca, a Koral, a Gameness, and a Catfight Gear. Of my six gis, only the Atamas and the Catfight Gear gis are a women’s-specific model.

My first experience with Atama Kimonos was somewhat negative. I swore I would never order from them again. That was two years ago, however, and when I found out about their end-of-2008 sale, I couldn’t resist. They have improved their website considerably in the last two years, and both of the gis I ordered (one for my brother) came in under a week. The Kyra Gracie special edition Atama has been the (insert expensive, and maybe over-priced car here) of women’s gis (over $200!). I got the much less expensive white one.

In general I’ve found that the differences between the regular gis and women’s gis are minute. If you can find one that’s not an awful color I suggest trying it out (see rant). And always remember, it will shrink!!!!


I used to be a doubter when it came to choosing between a gi designed specifically for a woman versus getting a regular old generic gi. My biases were exasperated by the unavailability of women’s gis in anything but the color Pepto Abysmal.

My mind has been changed. Here is why:
I recently aquired a CatFight Gear A1 and an Atama women’s size F3 gi, so now I can give a valid assessment of the sizing differences.


The biggest difference between the women’s gi (as seen on Sharon at right and on me down below in the CatFight Gear section) and most of the male gis I’ve tried, is the belly bulge area. I cannot say for certain if women’s gis of other brands are adjusted in the same manner, but in this instance, the gi has smaller shoulders and a tapered waist, thus removing the inevitable hang-over I have around my belt in this picture. Less excess fabric in awkward places means less for your opponent to grab, and lapels that “stay in” better. I wont guarantee you that no one will Bravo choke you ever again, but it’ll help!
The downside to this skinny cut is that it makes it a little more uncomfortable for extra blessed women. Some of my training buddies have a hard time with getting their women’s gis completely closed. I don’t have that problem.


Have you ever felt useless in your parachute-like jitsu pants? Regular gi pants have an extra mile of fabric between the legs (as if most guys actually need that anyway?! Yes, I just took a shot at your masculinity; get over it). This restricts movement impossibly, makes you look like you’re wearing a diaper, and adds extra weight that only increases your chances of having your pants fall off. Thank goodness for spandex shorts.
A few simple changes make women’s gi pants much closer to wearable. You can never completely get rid of the diaper effect, but at least now I don’t have to constantly pull them up, re-tie, adjust mid-roll, feel restricted at all… FEAR MY NEWLY FLEXIBLE GUARD GAME!! MWAHHAHAHAHA!!!

The difference between "single weave", "double weave", "gold weave", "competition weave" etc.

Single weaves are light, but less durable, and often the cheapest.

Double weaves are heavy and make you sweat more than you ever thought you could (this might be a good thing).

Gold weave is not only light, but also strong. You'll usually pay more for a gold weave, but I think it's worth it.

Competition weave gis vary alot depending on the brand. I was discussing this with my friend Heather Ryder, who says that she does not like her Koral competition weave gi precisely because it did not shrink. Even in the A1, she's swimming. Essentially, you pay much much more for a few more patches (which doesn't help if you're trying to score sponsors anyway).

Finally, a note for beginner/intermediate jiu jitsu fighters -- start out in a REALLY heavy gi! It will restrict your movement and teach you to focus heavily on technique, plus your endurance will sky rocket. When you finally get into that "summer weave" you'll feel liberated.

Comments migrated from the old site:

Georgette said...

Love this! I need to review my new set of gis which includes the Kyra Gracie in an A2... I'm tired of the boys' gis (in A1; haven't tried an A0 like Koral offers yet since I walk around at 128ish) because the front corners of the lapels always hang down sooooo low in front...

I do love the M4 (childrens') gi size from Keiko Raca...
January 27, 2009 5:24 PM

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