Since it was created in 1882 by Kano Jigoro of Japan, Judo has become one of the most popular martial arts in the world. It is quite a rigorous and physically demanding sport, appearing in several major international sports competitions. As a result, when partaking in judo training, it is important that a high quality judo uniform, or gi in Japanese, be worn to avoid tearing and damage.
Judo uniforms are generally constructed out of 100% cotton, bleached white. Cotton is the best choice for breathability. Care should be taken when laundering, as most judo uniforms are not pre-shrunken and will shrink up to a full size from excess heat. Therefore, washing in cool water and air drying is highly recommended to avoid shrinkage.
There are three pieces to the judo uniform: the jacket, the belt, and the pants. The jacket is quilted with a thick pliable collar and wide sleeves. Two short splits are on either side of the hip, which are reinforced with extra cloth. The jacket is secured with a belt, coloured according to level, wrapped tightly around the body and knotted. The pants feature an elasticized drawstring waist with wide legs to allow for movement. In areas where there may be a lot of friction or stress from pulling, reinforcement at the seams and additional padding is vital to prevent damage. These include the shoulders, collar, knees, and crotch of the pants.
The cloth for gi’s comes in a variety of weights and textures. For training purposes, judo uniforms are made out of single weave cloth. The appropriate weight for a Judoka (Judo practitioner) is measured in ounces or grams, and depends on their ability and age. Usually, beginners at a younger age opt for lighter weights while older advanced students and instructors choose heavier ones. Weights can vary from 7 ounces or 198.44 grams to 40.57 ounces or 1150 grams.
For competitions, double weave cloth is ideal for judo uniforms, making them thicker and heavier. Judo uniforms for competition use tend to be more durable, and as a result, much more expensive than single weave. While training judo uniforms come in white, competition level uniforms also come in blue.
Higher quality judo uniforms should not weigh down the practitioner and restrict their movement. They should fit loosely and comfortably on the body.