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Judo gi vs. BJJ gi: Weight, cut, style, fabric, and color differences

At the first glance, there isn’t much of a difference between BJJ and Judo gi. But this article will focus on BJJ versus Judo gi dilemma, pinpointing the greatest sets of differences between these two uniforms.

Frankly, Judo gi for professionals is thicker, with a loser fit, the sleeves are baggier, and the collar is thicker. But these are all minor differences. This article will analyze all of them, step-by-step, and get to know you with the technical aspect of the game too.

Are you a scrapper, a defensive-minded counter expert, or a top-control specialist? Well, all of that matters when you choose a gi!

About the author

Vladimir is a master of Sports and Physical Education, a Taekwondo black belt, and an MMA commentator who works as an analyst, interviewer, and podcaster. At the beginning of his career, Vladimir also worked as a strength and conditioning coach.

comparing Judo gis and BJJ gis
Image: Miljan Zivkovic

How is Judo gi different than a BJJ gi?

The BJJ gi is designed for more dynamic and intense action on the mats. There are tons of rolls, shrimps, sweeps, and transitions throughout a BJJ fight, while the majority of a Judo bout takes place in the stand-up.

The truth is, a student Judo gi might be a bit similar to the BJJ gi in the terms of thickness and collar. A Judo beginner can train in various outfits, but we will focus on the competitors in this article.

The first difference is baggier sleeves and a longer skirt of Judo gi. You will rarely grab your opponent’s forearms in a Judo fight, the majority of the contact happens between your hand and his biceps/triceps and chest area.

More expensive Judo gis will offer a much thicker and harder collar. BJJ gi is recognizable for tighter cuffs on jackets and pants, and also by a skirt, that comes down as far as only the crest of the buttocks (way shorter compared to a Judo gi).

You can train in a shorter gi if you’d like, but the competition rules won’t allow wearing a shorter piece of equipment. BJJ collars are more flexible and lighter.

Let me tell you something. A low-budget Judo gi might work for your Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes. But I’d kindly advise you to talk to your instructor, maybe the dojo doesn’t allow wearing a gi for other martial art.

In Judo, rules are not much different, but in BJJ, every single school could come up with a specific demand.

What about gi’s weight and cut?

If you’d like to discuss everyday training, then the weight doesn’t matter too much, as the majority of practitioners prefer “lightweight” models in the summer and heavier ones in the winter.

Yet, Judo gi is heavier to wear and you’ll sweat way faster – that is the only noticeable difference when it comes to a training session.

The cut is pretty much different, as the majority of lapel chokes are illegal in Judo. This is where BJJ gi’s collars and lapels come to the fore. For example, you can do an Ezekiel choke in MMA combat too, but the opponent’s sleeves might come in handy.

On the other hand, you can, for example, do a “garrote choke” with your lapel, but if and only if you wear long sleeves. It depends on the submission attempt, but the length of the gi matters a lot in a BJJ fight if you’re an offensive top control or back control specialist.

The cut is very important, especially if you like spending time on the top. For example, when you enter worm guard or K-guard, the shorter lapel might be your best friend, as the opponent will have a hard time grabbing your gi and fishing for the reversal or a potential counter-submission attempt.

The cut matters in the competition too, as you’ll have to wear a gi with a perfect fit in the BJJ competition. The long piece of equipment will lead to an unfair advantage, as the opponent might use your ankles and even feet to improvise and potentially improve the position or finish you via a modified leg lock.

BJJ gi is not allowed in a Judo competition, but a Judo gi might come in handy in some BJJ tournaments, hence the mat warriors are rarely gonna chose it.

The greatest reason for it is the fact that you must step on the scale in your gi, and Judo gi is way heavier than a BJJ piece of equipment. It leads to two big problems – you might fail the scale and you might be way slower during sweeps, transitions, or submission switch attempts. If you’re a scrapper or defensive-minded fighter off the back, this is a big no, no, no!

What about gi’s color?

Judo gis is mostly white or blue. Other colors are prohibited by IBJJF rules. The majority of Brazilian jiu-jitsu pieces of equipment are black, white, or blue, but you can see other models, colors, and patterns, depending on the competition and dojos.

Also, every single BJJ school has its own rule set, which means a specific color might not be allowed due to dojo restrictions. Patches are sometimes acceptable but BJJ is all about marketing, so you will mostly see many commercials on the gis of the greatest BJJ superstars.

Yet, in Judo, the design is plain with very limited branding, and the competitor might only represent his name and the country he fights for.

Is there any style difference?

Of course, there is, but let me elaborate to you how the sports work so you can get into the spirit of things.

There are tons of limits in Judo. Grabbing under the waist, double or single-leg takedowns, Imanari rolls, and many chokes are illegal. So you can’t get much of the advantage with the lapel.

So, frankly, here are the most important facts:

  • Judo gi = looser fit, wider sleeves; BJJ gi = tight fit, harder collar, shorter sleeves.
  • The crowd might see your muscles while you roll in a BJJ gi, it is more suitable for dynamic actions and position changes, especially submission switches. In a Judo gi, you can forget about a submission switch attempt, as a loose fit leaves a lot of space for your opponent to slip out of it.

Are both gis made from the same fabric?

Well, the answer is no, thanks to the difference between rule sets. The BJJ pieces of training/competition tools are made with extra stitching, a ripstop weaving, and often a heavier cotton fabric.

BJJ gi and Judo gi fabric material
Image: Miljan Zivkovic

Also, you might find hemp models, which are way more expensive, made from cannabis Sativa fiber, and it offers a lot of advantages over synthetic textile materials like spandex, acrylic, polyester, and nylon – better durability and lightweight.

Hemp models are the world-class choice for transition and top control specialist – it helps you combine speed, explosiveness, and technical aspect of the game.

On the other hand, Judo gi is heavier because you have single-weave or double-weave models (popular in the competitions), plus the lapel is reinforced because of grabs.

In Judo, fighters mostly stand and pull each other, trying to throw the opponent on his back and win via ippon, so it explains why the gi is different – it is all about grabbing and pulling your opponent.

What about competition restrictions in BJJ and Judo?

Well, as well as you know, Judo allows throws, but you mustn’t grab the opponent under the level of his waist. So, you can forget about the double-leg takedown but reaps work.

Also, in the last ten years, Judo started to remind me a bit of Greco-Roman wrestling. On the ground, only some chokes are legal, plus all kinds of armbars.

In BJJ, you can dive for a calf takedown or an Imanari roll, which gives you way more options on the mats. Fighters intentionally pull guard and drag the battle to the ground, which means a BJJ gi is made of way more resistant materials because it has to tolerate a lot more rolling and transitions. Also, it mustn’t be too heavy as you’ll lose a significant time when changing positions.

BJJ athletes wearing different gis
Image: Miljan Zivkovic

Frequently asked questions

Can I compete in BJJ fi in a Judo tournament and vice versa?

Well, in some cases there might be exceptions, but the answer is generally no. BJJ tournament demands way more rolling, while Judo competition demands throws and clinching. You might get an unfair advantage.

Lighter gis – Judo or BJJ?

BJJ. Way more sweeps and transitions and the game on the mats is way quicker.

Which gis are cheaper?

Well, it depends on the model. High-level gis for both martial arts are expensive for a reason.

Can I train BJJ in Judo gi and vice versa?

It depends on dojo rules, but if your coach is flexible, probably yes. But again, if you train BJJ, you should favor jiu-jitsu gi.

Can I train Judo in a black gi?

Judo gi is blue or white for a reason, only these two colors are approved in the competition. The majority of the dojo will not let you do this, but again, it depends on its rules.

Which competitions allow more patches in the tournament?

Definitively BJJ. When you take a look at BJJ practitioners, they could remind you of NASCAR racers, while a Judo combatant mostly has his name and the flag or the name of the country on his gi.

Should I practice in a gi?

Well, if you prepare for a no-gi tournament, a rash guard and a piece of spats get the job done for you. If you’re a Judoka or a gi competitor in BJJ, then yes.


We hope our article helps you understand the differences between BJJ and Judo gis. The jiu-jitsu gis are lighter due to spending more time on the mats, while the Judo gis is known for reinforced lapels and the front side of the gi because the competitors spend more time in the clinch.

There is a lot of difference between BJJ and Judo training gear, but we hope this article helped you understand the good and bad sides of both types of gis.

Do you have questions? Please comment in the section below.