View Full Version : Speaking of gi(s)

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02-09-2003, 07:24 PM
I believe any questions I may have had regarding belts have been answered, heh... :D But as for a gi, do I need one to start, and what kind should I get when I get one?

My soon-to-be (hopefully) sensei said I can wear sweats to start with (but don't think I want to) and a judo gi is the kind to use, because it's thicker.

So, since I haven't started yet (dojo's still not ready), should I go ahead and get a gi? And if so, what should I keep an eye out for? Any brand names or anything? Should I go get one at the imports store for $50 or should I look online for one?

Any help would be appreciated. :]

02-09-2003, 07:50 PM
Hi Johnathan;

This is where I depart from my Shihan. To start at the Honbu dojo you pay a registration fee, first months fee and buy the dogi. A significant outlay of cash for something you might not even really like. He doesn't need more students and I guess this cuts the committed from the less so but in my dojo - I only require a dogi when it comes time to grade.

Basically it doesn't matter how enthusiastic you are at the start - somethings turn out to feel quite differently and a no harm escape should be available.

This is what your future sensei probably has in mind. I would suggest you view the dogi as a one month of Aikido present to yourself.

02-09-2003, 09:58 PM
PeterR wrote:
This is what your future sensei probably has in mind. I would suggest you view the dogi as a one month of Aikido present to yourself.

I like this idea - I got my gi after three months of training, and felt immensely proud of myself. Training in sweats (or as we call them in .au, trackies :) ) is not good, since they don't give you nearly enough protection on your elbows and knees.

Get at least one judo gi, you'll need the protection. If you live in a country that gets really hot, maybe get a thinner karate gi, but under no circumstances wear it at a grading. I've read heaps of stories and actually witnessed someone getting their sleeves ripped off during the jiyuuwaza. Looks cool, but not when you paid $50 for it :)


02-10-2003, 01:24 AM
yeah, if you get a karate gi make sure its a cheap one, because people tend to go through thin gis fast.

When the time comes to get a gi a judo gi is recommended because because it lasts longer (I just retired a judo gi that lasted me 7 years).

My sensei always recommended Milom Gi's because they have a life time garuntee. you can send them back and they will either restitch the seams and repair it or send you a new one :)

but any judo gi (or heavy gi) should do... if you live in a hot country just make sure you drink plenty of water

02-10-2003, 06:47 AM
Well, I'm surprised no one mentioned aikidogi. They are provided as far as I know by 2 Japanese companies, Iwata and Tozando. (my gis are from Tozando). They look similar to judogi but with a different cut and feel, since they have been designed specifically for aikido. They are also quite expensive, but worth the price in my opinion.

Tim Griffiths
02-10-2003, 07:01 AM
I have 7 gis. Two karate and two judo. Now though, the only ones I wear regularly are the three aikidogis I got from Bujin. I think they're great - lighter and softer than a judo gi (eventually), and much stronger than a karate gi. They're not cheap though ($150 or so), so pick up a cheap gi first with a view to changing it when you're sure you want to stay on.


02-10-2003, 07:18 AM
Thanks guys!

Nick P.
02-10-2003, 07:19 AM
Like Tim, I swear by my BuJin gis. FYI, BuJin had a sale on during the fall, and a few of us saved (If I remember) about %25, but are pricey (the whicking fabric on the jackets saved my butt in Japan this past summer!) so keep an eye on the website.

02-10-2003, 10:00 AM
Which ever uniform you go with keep in mind that the good ones are 100% cotton and THEY SHRINK (alot)! Unless you plan to dry clean the bugger get one size larger to accommodate the shrinkage that will occur even with cold water wash and hang drying. It's easy to hem the sleeves and pants if needed once the uniform has gone through a couple washes. The hems should not hang over your wrists and ankles, you don't want to impede movement and technique.

Just a little tip from many years of wearing gi's that didn't quite fit right.


02-10-2003, 10:06 AM
Well.. if you begin to train Kendo or Iaido, you don't have to buy bogu or real sword from the first time. And most teachers don't require it to newbies since it costs a lot.

However, judo gi isn't that expensive. Single weave judo gi is enough and the more considerably lighter than double weave one. (But it's worth to embroid your name on the shoulder and pants.)

If you want to wear something like Karate gi. Please choose one made from thick fabric. If you wear thin, you'll get hurt while practicing holding techniques. And they don't absorb much sweat. The more it's not pleasnt to see the nipples of man when one sweat a lot. :)

Many people wear Iwata gi. But it's just so so considering the price. I also think Tozando and Bujin gis are also expensive for beginners.

I read that old senseis learn aikido while wearing home-made hakama which made from bed sheet or something like that. :) Uniform doesn't matter! The more there's no Official Brand in Aikido something like Spalding!

I just recommend you to buy a cheap single weave judo gi.


ps. one more thing. The fabric must be soft cotton.

02-10-2003, 11:32 AM
Because of the heat and humidity and the rarity of airconditioning in dojos here, I use several customs gi. Its the same fabric as a heavy duty karate gi but cut like a judo gi (longer jacket and sleeves that are about mid-forearm). The top of the jacket is made of one piece of canvas and keeps the sleeves from ripping off.

I sweat a lot and am easily affected by heat and so I stick with these for now until I can get a nice single weave gi. I do have one judo gi that I use in the few airconditioned dojos I go to. It's a korean brand, double weave (I think) and isn't as soft as the other gi like Iwata.

As for sizing, I think the shinkage must be enough to get the sleesv to shorten to expose the wrist, so uke can grab the wrist without getting his or her hand caught in the sleeve. Someone told me a formula for getting your size right after shrinkage but I've forgotten how it works.

02-10-2003, 01:51 PM
My .02 . . .

I find that heavier gi are better even in heat and humidity. The reason is that they do not "cling" so much to a sweaty body.

02-10-2003, 02:12 PM
I train at two dojo. One gets there gi from The Kiyota Co. 410-366-8275. The other gets theirs from HSU (http://www.judoinfo.com/HSU/). I have the HSU ones and they seem fine at around $45. For inexpensive gi you can check out Academy of Karate, Martial Art Supplies (http://www.martialartssupermarket.com/index.cfm?action=showProd&subid=88&row_start=41).

I agree with Peter, start with the sweats and get a gi later. I've seen a lot of people get involved in activities and dump a lot of money into equipment only to find they don't like the activity or that they just can't fit it into their life for whatever reason. If you are set on starting with a gi I'd start with the cheapest one possible and upgrade later.


02-10-2003, 08:33 PM
If you don't need to get a dogi as of yet, then don't get one. When you decide to get one, set yourself a firm budget, and don't be springing for that Mizuno Double Deluxe as your first dogi. Pedestrian enough advice...

Your soon-to-be instructor's right...there's much to be said for a judogi. If the mats you practice on are less than soft (like our practice surface), a double-woven judogi takes a bit of the sting out of learning the ukemi. Besides, you don't want to be looking like one of them ka-rotty types now, do you? ;)


02-10-2003, 09:20 PM
Just to throw my hat in the ring....

I swear by my Bujin purchases - I have both the 12 oz and the 8.5 oz and I will never use anything else.

Pricey indeed, but they still wear like brand new. On the female flip side, the women's cut top is a world of difference.

06-22-2004, 11:50 PM
Well, I'm surprised no one mentioned aikidogi. They are provided as far as I know by 2 Japanese companies, Iwata and Tozando. (my gis are from Tozando). They look similar to judogi but with a different cut and feel, since they have been designed specifically for aikido. They are also quite expensive, but worth the price in my opinion.

There is a guy here in the US that sells, Karate, and TKD uniforms too, but for the most part that is just marketing. Even the Uniforms for BJJ only change the bottom of the skirt.

It is just marketing. There are basically two categories, Karate and Judo, and though there are dozens of types or subcategories it basically comes down to which feature set is for you.

If you are a big name brand kind of person, choose Mizuno, if not you are pretty smart. Buy one that fits you needs and budget.


Russ (The Judo Guy)
The JudoGi Store

06-23-2004, 02:33 AM
It could be possible to find someone who has decided to quit after a few sessions and want to sell a lightly used pricey high quality gi asap. That would be a great deal for you :) Otherwise just give it a while and get in there in your sweats (cotton - NOT synthetic) and explore aikido before you spend a fortune. It will give you a chance to discuss the matter with your dojo-mates before you buy something.

Lan Powers
06-24-2004, 11:40 PM
I love the gi's from e-bogu.com they are nice, soft, (after a bit) and priced around $50
Budo-king is the name. My favorite one was waaaaaaay to big when I bought it, (my mistake, not theirs) and I tailored it to fit me. sorta :p

Sue Trinidad
06-25-2004, 09:56 PM
I didn't invest in the gi until I was hooked (ie, 2 1/2 weeks into training). I think there are a number of advantages to training in mufti to start:

You may decide you don't like aikido after all, and then you're out $50 (at least).

As a beginner, it's not an entirely bad thing to be dressed in a way that reminds people you're new. I found that people were especially helpful to me as an obvious newie. For myself, I'd have felt like a poseur if I'd showed up day one with a gi, not even knowing to bow in.

Also, let me just opine that a NEW dogi is actually not at all comfortable but very stiff (at least the kind we wear at our dojo), and it may be less distracting to make it through at least a couple weeks of training before you have to deal with the fact that your belt magically undoes itself every 5 minutes. Not to worry, all will soften up (or so they tell me. . . I can see some progress in this direction after a month of training in and repeatedly washing my first gi), but I'm glad I didn't have to fuss with it when I was brand-brand new.

Good luck!


06-27-2004, 12:08 AM
Um, you guys realize that Russ just topped a thread well over a year old? (Got an e-mail note of reply hehe.)

Heh...been a while since I stopped by here... Still going to aikido on nights my back isn't bothering me (had a car wreck and I think I hurt it a bit and made it worse by not resting enough).

I see the formus had a makeover.