View Full Version : First gi :)

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Daniel Mills
04-17-2003, 12:27 PM
About to purchase my first gi. I've only trained for three sessions, but suffice to say I'm entirely hooked, and intend to keep on studying and training.

Now I'm not the smallest or most agile of guys, and upon asking what size I may need, was advised to go for a 7. I could get this through the dojo, but as I happen to work for a manufacturing company, anyway, I have a contact through which I can obtain a little bit more of a discount than I would if I bought through the dojo. This also eliminates the expected two week wait whilst the dojo's suppliers found me a bigger size :)

My question is this, I could get a lightweight, or fairly substantial weight gi. Money is not freely available, and I'm stretching myself purely by attending as many sessions as I can at the moment (intending to maintain three weekly sessions.), so this decision is not one to be taken lightly, also not with much knowledge, I'd appreciate your advice.

The lighter weight one is a little over half the cost of the heavyweight one. I was advised by Sensei that a 14/16 weight gi would be advantageous, but I am led to believe that the heavyweight may even be a little heavier than this.

Would I be at any disadvantage with a heavy gi, or with my size (not entirely far off 400lbs, but by size, I could pass for 120lbs less..) would the heavier stitching provide valuable resource for my unagile lurching?

Gosh, I babble, but yes. Heavy or light, personal, and/or functional choices?

Many thanks in advance,


04-17-2003, 12:50 PM
Here in Sacramento, it gets hotter than hades in the summer, so I prefer a light weight Judo uniform or a medium weight karate uniform. I've also found that the light weight doesn't shrink as much, but then that could be a matter of the manufacturer.

My light weight uniforms have held up nicely adn I have one that is about 15 years old. Been through Aikido, Judo and BBJ and is still going. A bit battle scared, but still a very functional uniform.

04-17-2003, 02:13 PM
Well, what do I know? I just got my first gi recently, too...but I got a thick one. From what I've read and heard, I'd say go for the heavy one, because it'll be more resistant to ripping. No one wants to pull your gi apart mid-nage.

Then again, if you want, go for the lightweight one, see how long it lasts, and see if it's cost-effective.

04-17-2003, 04:13 PM
I'd recommend the light one unless you are planning on doing a lot of grappling. The only gi I've seen rip in class while doing "standard" aikido techniques looked older than me to begin with! We have occasionally mixed in some judo moves that seem pretty rough on the lapels though. I guess it depends a lot on how they train at your dojo. Ask some of the more experienced students there for their opinion.

kung fu hamster
04-17-2003, 04:27 PM

these are the rationalizations I went with when I got mine - but bear in mind that different gi brands have different qualities...

1. thicker gi's cushion you more during breakfalls

2. thinner gi's are nicer in hot weather

3. thinner gi's wash and dry more quickly, which is a consideration if you go for long seminars and you only have ONE gi

4. some people like stiffer gi's because they say they don't cling in hot weather, but I hate my stiff gi's (they were cheaper) because it's like wearing a scratchy cardboard box

5. I used to wear a thin TKD gi until a girl mentioned to me that they were almost transparent and you could see EVERYTHING (yikes! :blush: ) NEVER AGAIN!!!!!


04-17-2003, 04:29 PM
I say go cheaper. This isn't going to be the last gi you buy, and you'll have a better idea of what you want by the time you're ready to buy more expensive gi.



Daniel Mills
04-21-2003, 10:57 AM
I've decided to go for the thicker gi, due mostly to the fact that being a larger size I don't want to run the risk of non-technique related tearing, aaaaand in that it'll do a better job of disguising my perspiration :cool:

I should be picking it up tommorrow, Huzzah :)


04-25-2003, 05:47 PM
I prefer a heavier gi. It gets hot in Wash. DC and the heavier gi wicks away the perspiration and for that reason is more comfortable. Also the heavier gi is more durable, especially if you're ~400 lbs!

04-25-2003, 09:28 PM
I prefer a thicker gi for the completely non-rational and even somewhat embarassing reason that I think those speckle patterns on the top look cool. All other consideration point to a thin gi, I think, but I still buy the thick Judo gi every time.

William Boyd
04-25-2003, 10:39 PM
I argee with the last two writers. I like the havy wight judo gi. I think they look better and are more durable then the light wight ones.

Daniel Mills
04-26-2003, 05:14 AM
As per my panicky "I got the biggest gi I could find and it still didn't fit too well.." thread, here's the picture of me before I learned how to tie my belt ;)


Mmmmmmmthickness. :)

Jeff Rice
04-26-2003, 05:18 AM
We need a new picture of you, looking a little more determined and enthusiastic. I have this picture of you walking around with that expression permanently fixed... ;)

Kelly Allen
04-26-2003, 05:21 AM
Off the topic but curious just the same. Is that a Robert Bateman hanging behind you to you left?

Daniel Mills
04-26-2003, 05:45 AM
Jeffrey, s'not far off reality ;)

Now I've got my belt the right size (and can actually tie it..), and once I've ironed my Gi this afternoon, I'll see what I can do!

And Kelly, I just ran downstairs to check, It's signed Willem De Beer, so.. I'm afraid not :)

Peter Goldsbury
04-26-2003, 05:53 AM
Hello Daniel,

Welcome to the world of aikido!

I must confess to some astonishment that your question unleashed a whole flood of opinions about what kind of keikogi to wear: enough material for a Ph.D. thesis.

When I started aikido in UK as a student, we all trained in tracksuits until we felt sufficiently committed to buy the appropriate kit: in my case a heavy-duty judogi. It was very good in winter but very hot in the summer and, since I trained 3 times each week, it became very sweaty and stained—stiff enough to practise all by itself without the wearer. So I also bought a lightweight karate training suit, but my pace of training (eventually several hours daily) required at least two suits of both kinds.

You asked about a heavyweight or lightweight keikogi. Well, in summer training here in Japan, it is customary for me to lose about 3 kg in the course of a good 2-hour training session and the keikogi has to absorb most of this sweat.

In my own dojo, we do not require students to wear keikogi until just before their first kyu grading (i.e., until after about 6 months of training). Of course, most students buy a keikogi immediately, but I like to allow beginning students a much longer period in which to decide whether aikido really is for them. If it is not, buying a keikogi is useless expenditure.

From your photo, your keikogi is just fine, except that the ends of your belt should not hang down vertically. They should be tucked in around your waist, after you have tied the knot.

I am curious to know who is your teacher in the UK. Please feel free to contact me by private e-mail if you think it appropriate.

Best regards,

Daniel Mills
04-26-2003, 06:43 AM
I wasn't aware that the ends of the belt should be tucked in once the knot had been tied? As my belt isn't long enough (;)) to go around me twice, I've trimmed it to a length that means it'll fit around me once, and not have overly long ends.

I've begun to train and study at the Kokyu Aikido Association in Oldham, not far from Manchester. Chief Instructor is Jim Robinson-Sensei (4th Dan), and also his wife, Denise Robinson-Sensei (2nd Dan).

I've only worn my gi for one session, and it soon felt comfortable and more natural. I'd been training in jogging pants and a t-shirt, and being a larger guy, I do sweat a fair bit, so by the end of the evening my light grey trousers.. would be styled in an urban combat fashion, with several shades of grey and all. So actually.. having something to soak up the sweat in a more effective, and less disgusting-to-everyone-around-me kinda way!

Despite it looking more like a smoking jacket on me, and the near constant tie-fixing moments, I like it, and am glad I went for the heavier one :)

04-26-2003, 08:57 AM
Hey Daniel,

Since you're in Oldham, why don't you pop down to oldham werneth (the bldg opposite the trainstop) on Saturday mornings as well.. there's an aikido dojo there thought by Sensei Kolesnikov...

Just in case you happen to be itching for more aikido anyway.

Daniel Mills
04-26-2003, 09:14 AM
The main reason I opted for KAA was due to a good portion of the dojo being friends of mine. In fact, my introduction to Aikido was when I gave some of them a lift and stayed to watch, and became hooked.

I'd consider Kolesnikov-Sensei's dojo just for extra training time (And I did know of its existence, but thankyou :) ), but as it happens, I can barely afford one club membership, and the three/four sessions a week, as it is :)

Thanks for the suggestion, nonetheless!


04-26-2003, 02:24 PM
Tuck the belt ends in? That's new to me, Peter.

06-23-2004, 12:31 AM
I say go cheaper. This isn't going to be the last gi you buy, and you'll have a better idea of what you want by the time you're ready to buy more expensive gi.



Good Call Sarah,

I routinely spend $150 plus uniforms for my training needs, but for someone just starting out spending $50.00 is plenty.

After all you will need to buy a second Gi at some point anyway, and generally speaking you almost always want to buy up. As a result I highly recommend betting a good inexpensive uniform for your first one. In fact, if they had your size I would just say support your dojo, and get one of theirs.

Good Luck.

-Russ (The Judo Guy)
The JudoGi Store

Robert Townson
06-23-2004, 03:09 AM
I, also being from Manchester, seemed to have a bit of a trauma with my gi due outing.....

I initially bought a heavy weight karate gi which was, and still is like cardboard. It shrank in the wash, which was expected, but became a little short for my taste (this caused the bottom of the jacket to fold up in a comedy fashion after sitting seiza), so I decided to buy another gi top.

This time I bought a light weight karate gi this is the right length, but I have to roll up the sleeves and has a habit of falling open if not constantly adjusted.

I am thinking of investing it a more expensive quality gi, but knowing me I'll shrink it so that it would be perfect size for mini me!

Does anyone remember the ratio to buy to allow the shrinkage?

06-23-2004, 03:29 PM
Does anyone remember the ratio to buy to allow the shrinkage?

I don't know of a ratio but I buy one size bigger than I need (judo gi) and wash/dry it on hot 3 times before I make any alterations. If you buy the size you need you can keep shrinking to a minimum if you wash in cold and hang it up to dry.

I always have to alter the sleeve and pants length. It's really quite easy and anybody with access to a sewing machine could probably do it for you.


Ian Williams
06-24-2004, 01:46 AM
Daniel, once you loop the belt around yourself twice, you won't have those loose bits..

I've got the same sort of super-model physique as you, and I don't have very much dangly loose bits on the belt after I tie it.