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Which judogi do you need?

Which judogi do you or your child need based on your level of judo? Laurent, a product engineer and judo 3rd dan, explains it all!

Which judogi do you need?

This article is for anyone who needs to buy a judogi (the term for a judo uniform). Whether you are buying for your child, for a family member as a present, or simply for yourself, below we've outlined the differences between the various gis you'll find on the market.

I'm Laurent, a 3rd dan black belt. My job is to design judogis (judo kimonos) for our DECATHLON stores under the OUTSHOCK brand. Our target users range from kids to adults and beginners to experts.

You'll choose your judogi or your child's gi based on your age, the standard of your judo skills, and how intensely you'll be using it.

One kind of gi judokas can get is a single-weave gi with a relatively light weight/m² of around 200 gr/m². This type of gi is for kids, particularly beginners. Newcomers need clothing that's light and that lets them easily move around. Of course, these lighter fabrics are less durable than the ones we'll look at later, but they are generally only used a couple of times a week in the case of kids who are learning their first judo moves. In France, judogis for absolute beginners are white, but in other countries it's not uncommon to see blue ones, even for young rookies.

Which judogi do you need?

Judogis are made from 3 different fabrics.

If the judoka is a child with some experience who takes part in competitions, or an adult, even if they're a beginner, they'll need a gi made from 3 different weaves. The top part of the jacket is woven from "rice grain" (sashiko) fabric as this is the area that suffers the most wear and tear during training and competitions. This part is therefore heavier and more durable. The jacket's skirt will have a diamond weave. This hishisashi diamond fabric can be lighter than the sashiko as it doesn't suffer as much. The third and final component is a standard canvas fabric, which is also the main fabric for the trousers and collar.

 

To decide which judogi to buy, the judoka will first look at the weight/m² of the rice grain fabric, which is generally indicated by the manufacturer. This allows them to compare products with one another.

 

Adult beginners will find that a weight of 350gr/m² to 500gr/m² is broadly OK for training twice per week. This weight will withstand being pulled during the different holds you learn in the first few months. A light, flexible gi will allow them to get used to wearing it while feeling comfortable.

 

As you take things up a notch, particularly when doing longer, more intense randoris (training fights), you'll start to prioritise more durable kit. The greater the weight/m², the greater the durability, so somewhere around 500gr/m² to 750gr/m² is a good figure.

Which judogi do you need?

Competitions are a different kettle of fish and depend on the judoka's goals. In most competitions run by judo clubs, committees and even federations, any judogi is allowed, provided that it meets the size requirements, particularly for sleeve length (the end of the sleeve must fall within 5cm of your wrist, with a 10 to 15cm gap between your arm and the sleeve). The same is true for the trousers, which must be around 5cm from your ankle, with 10 to 15cm between the fabric and your leg (see diagram below).

Which judogi do you need?

Heavier weights

For a good performance, competitors should go for heavier judogis weighing 750gr/m² to 1000 gr/m² on the rice grain part. This will make it harder for opponents to grip them (kumi kata). Needless to say, it's not unusual to see competitors wearing this type of gi for training as well. For most competitions, you can tell the two fighters apart by the colour of their belt. The first one to be called will generally wear the red belt as well as their black or coloured belt.

 

Certain international competitions governed by the International Judo Federation (IJF) and European Judo Union (EJU) state in their rules that competitors must wear an IJF-approved judogi. Judogis certified by the IJF have a maximum weight of 750 gr/m² on the rice grain part after washing and an identical collar, no matter the brand. The reason behind these rules is that the International Judo Federation wants to make kumi kata grips easier and encourage an offensive style while putting all competitors on an equal footing. For these competitions, judokas will have 2 judogis: a white one if they are the second to be called to the tatami, and a blue one if they are the first. This is to make sure the referees and spectators or television viewers can tell who is who.

Which judogi do you need?

Hopefully I've managed to shine a light on how to choose your judogis so that you'll have tonnes of fun at your future training sessions!

LAURENT

LAURENT

PRODUCT ENGINEER, KEEN JUDOKA.