If you start doing BJJ, at some point you’ll need to buy a Gi. The 3 most common Gi colors are white, blue and black. Actually, the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) allows only those 3 colors. White is the traditional Gi color coming from Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and Judo and blue and black are more “modern” colors.
So you’re probably wondering which one should you choose. Well as a BJJ practitioner I can have my opinion on the topic but I also did research and asked other people to find the best answer to this question.
White or blue Gi? When rolling, sometimes there can be a little blood on the mat from someone’s nose, little grazes, or cuts on the mat. Those things always happen during rolling and you’ll notice bloodstains on your Gi from them. Those blood stains are MUCH more visible on a white Gi and look gross. That’s why you should buy blue Gi so you don’t need to treat the stains after each roll.
There’s also the option to buy a black Gi. You may think that can be presumptuous but actually people don’t really care about the color of your Gi (white, blue or black) as long as you don’t act like a poseur.
For some people, those stains may not be a big deal and they think that this Gi color thing is nonsense but I got to tell you that nobody enjoys rolling with someone with dirty Gi. And the cool thing about BJJ is that it’s a gentle art (unlike other combat sports such as boxing, kickboxing or wrestling.
So it’s not that competitive in the gym, the atmosphere is friendly and you can make some great friendships there. And a good start for that is to make sure your appearance is on point – there the Gi color comes into play.
That’s cool but you may be wondering if it’s ok to wear a blue (or any color other than white) Gi even though you’re a beginner? Shouldn’t you start with a white Gi as you start with a white belt? The answer is no, you can start with blue Gi if you want in most gyms.
But in some places that may not be the case. Continue reading to learn why is that and also to learn more information on why blue Gi is the better choice and what to do if you already bought white Gi.
The gi color has nothing to do with the belt color. However, there are some gyms that require wearing a white Gi. In some cases, that is due to tradition and in others due to practical reasons – for example, if the mats are white they won’t allow colored Gis since they might stain.
Even though that’s a rare thing and most gyms have no such requirements, I suggest you ask your trainer about that before buying a Gi (especially if you are going to buy it from somewhere else and not from the gym). Trainers aren’t going to kick you out but still, it’s their place so you need to follow their rules.
But even if there isn’t a Gi etiquette you still may not want to buy a colored Gi. Because let’s say every white belt in your gym wears a white Gi, you don’t want to show up in the class as the only white belt with a blue or black Gi. I know that some people like to stand out, to have their own style but when you are a newbie in a martial art such as BJJ, being humble is much more valuable than being unique.
There are Gis in pink, green, gray and other colors and you can wear them if the academy doesn’t care about your Gi color but it’s probably not the best idea if you are a white belt who is just starting.
So take a look at what Gi color white belts using before you make your decision. You’ll can go No-Gi the first few times in the new gym and use that time to look around.
What if I already bought a white Gi?
If you already have a white gi or your academy requires wearing white gi that’s not the end of the world. There are some things you need to know though.
First of all, if you continue doing BJJ at some point your first gi will be worn out and you’ll have to buy a new one. So even if you already bought a white gi you aren’t going to use it for the rest of your life.
Removing the stains of a white gi can be difficult though. It requires not only washing but also special treatment. And that can be hard and time-consuming especially if you work out every day. If that’s your case you’ll have to buy 2 gis. I know they are expensive ($70-90 for a simple and $160-180 for more durable one) but you can’t wash the gi after each workout and expect to be dry for the next day.
But if you are like most people you’ll probably work out 3 (or 4 on the high end) times per week. In this case, you don’t need a second gi. There will be enough time between the workouts to was the gi and treat the stains.
If you like to travel and got to new gyms in the new places visit, you’ll need a white gi. You can never know if the requirements in the different gyms so sticking to the traditional white gi will work the best for you.
Of course, you can have another, colored gi if you can pack 2 gis but always ask if it’s ok to wear it on practice. Like I said most gyms don’t care about your gi color but still…
Having a white Gi for seminars may be a good idea. You don’t want to look silly buy being the only one with a colored gi. That will be noticeable especially in the photo they make at the end of the seminar.
Now the chance for that to happen is small but still, it was something I wanted to point out. My advice is if you have only one, colored gi, wear it and don’t stress it that much. And in case you have 2 gis, one white and one blue or black, wear the white one.
Virtually everybody who does BJJ can go to local competition. No matter your belt, there are categories for
The only acceptable gi colors for competitions are white, blue and black. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the article, those are the only 3 colors The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) – the biggest BJJ promotion in the world allows.
An interesting fact to mention is that on the IBJJF, black belts are allowed to wear only white gis.
There was a lot of information in this article and I want to summarize it so I don’t get confused. Like I said, the blue (or black) gi is preferable for regular practicing because the bloodstains aren’t that noticeable and it looks better. If you can afford only 1 gi then buy a blue or a black one.
However, if you like to travel and visit new gyms, you may need also a white gi. So ideally, you need to have 2 gis. One blue or black for regular training and a white one for special cases such as traveling or visiting a seminar.
If the trainers in your gym aren’t ok with wearing a colored gi, and you work out more than 3 times a week, you’ll need a second gi. To work out with the second one while the first one is drying up.