If your default is extra small, this post is for you.
Before we begin, let me be clear: This is not a buyer’s guide. If you’ve never bought a gi before or buying one after a long time, I highly recommend doing a Google search and reading the top handful of results that show up before continuing with this post. I will not be going over general best practices – this post is meant to be an addendum to those guides.
Some background: As of this writing, it’s been 10 years since my first BJJ class and since then, I’ve gone through dozens of gis. Not hundreds, as I’m not swimming in money and also because I’ve learned a couple things so I’m not swimming in my gis.
This post is a collection of those learnings, a handful of practical tips that have saved me both money and frustration – because let’s face it, BJJ is hard enough without your gi working against you.
This post will consist of two parts: Getting a gi that fits, and extra money saving tips.
(This is a long post! Feel free to use the contents below to navigate to the bits most relevant to you.)
Step 1: Identify parameters and grading criteria
Steps 2 & 3: Attend class and Compare against ideal
Steps 4 & 5: Trial Period and Final Decision
Choosing a new BJJ gym is one of the most daunting tasks in a person’s BJJ career. Some are lucky to start BJJ with a gym that was either recommended to them or in their area, and basically never leave. Others have to go through this song and dance multiple times, either because of things outside of the gym (ex. moving to another city) or unfortunate incidents at that gym (ex. scandal, drama).
In any case, this post is intended to help you choose a BJJ gym that’s right for you, whether it be your first one ever or switching to a new one. Note that this is not intended to tell you which gym to choose – but rather, to share a framework that you can adapt to your own needs to make what can be a very stressful decision into a more logical process.
Some of my BJJ notebooks from the past few years
For most people, note taking in BJJ is a list of techniques and drills that were covered that day, or subs and passes performed successfully while rolling.
Note taking in this way is a logical way to start, especially if you’re brand new to BJJ. Not only does the act of writing help with knowledge retainment, it’s also a good way to keep yourself accountable and make sure you come to class regularly, which is arguably the most important element of progressing at all.
Passive to Proactive
However, I think note taking becomes more useful after you have a bunch of notes already accumulated. My recommendation is twofold – first, set aside time at a regular cadence (ex. every weekend, end of month) to sift through these records and find patterns in your performance.