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Choosing the size for your new BJJ gi, especially if you are shopping online and cannot try the gi for fit, can be tricky, and nothing is worse than an ill-fitting gi when you train.
The issue is that, although there are some basic sizing standards in BJJ, in reality different jiu jitsu gi brands may have slightly different sizing charts. They also may use the standard sizing chart and yet have a different fit, because they also use a different pattern to create the gis. For example, you may be a size A2 in one brand and not fit in it in some other brand.
There is so much variation that you simply cannot ignore that and you simply cannot avoid to study the sizing chart of the brand you are shopping for.
Sizing standards in BJJ gis
BJJ gi size consists of a letter and a number (for example, A2). The letter represents who the gi is for, and the number how big the gi is. The most common sizing charts include:
A1 – A5: Adult males, sized from smaller (1) to larger (5).
F0 – F5: Adult females, sized from smaller (1) to larger (5). Some companies prefer W to F.
M0000 – M5: Children and teens, with lots of sizing options to cover all the sizes and heights that kids grow into. Some companies use C (children) or Y (youths) instead of M.
Many companies also offer intermediate lengths for people who are taller or shorter than the standard sizes, where L stands for “longer limbs”, S stands for “shorter limbs” and H stands for “heavy”. You may therefore be a size A3S instead of A2, if you are a little taller than a standard A2 size but not as tall for an A3 size.
How to read a BJJ gi size guide
To avoid confusion and returns, all brands with an online shop offer a sizing chart, or a table that shows basic measurements for each size provided.
Height and weight are the most common measurements taken into consideration, but other measurements are important for a good fit. Not all brands use the same measurements on top of height and weight, so here are the most used ones.
Other measurements for the kimono
- Wing span: this is the length of the gi from cuff to cuff with your arms extended.
- Sleeve length: this is the length from arm pit to cuff.
- Chest width: this is the width of the kimono if you measure under the armpits, from edge to edge.
- Bottom width: width of the gi at its hem, from edge to edge, with the gi closed as when you wear it.
- Jacket length: length from lapel to hem at the back of the jacket.
- Sleeve width: this measures the opening of the sleeve. Some brands also measure for sleeve length at the armpit.
Other measurements for the pants
- Legs length: the length from the waistband to the hem.
- Pant waist: the width of the pants waist.
If you already have a gi that fits you well, you can take its measurements as a model for choosing your new gi. If you don’t have a gi that really works for you, you can ask someone to help you measure yourself. Keep these measurements handy when shopping.
How to size yourself correctly
If you decide to take your own measures, it is important to know how your gi and pants should fit in order to size yourself correctly. The IBJJ has specific instructions that should be followed.
- They should be large enough for you to do a full squat without them stretching too tight around your thighs or your backside.
- The pants length should be to your ankles at maximum.
- Your sleeves should not cover your hands or be too long. Measure windspan from wrist to wrist at a maximum.
- Measure your chest width correctly, especially if you are a big guy. Make sure the gi jacket is roomy enough around the shoulders and that the lapel ends cross when you close the jacket around your middle.
- Length: your jacket should longer than your gluts.
Remember that your gi will probably shrink
Take into consideration that your gi will shrink to some degree. Most companies state how much shrinkage to be expected. Pearl weave shrinks less than golden or single weaves. In any case, if a size seems too close to your measurements, think again before purchasing it.