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Every fighter has his own preferences as to the weight and thickness of his BJJ gi. The weight of a BJJ gi depends mainly on the weave of the fabric it is made of. Probably the most popular option today today is the pearl weave BJJ gi.
What is a weave and why it matters when I select a BJJ gi?
Most often, when you are shopping for a BJJ gi, you will see that the various brands mention the weave in the description of their products. The thickness, the weight and the durability of your gi depend on the weave used.
To weave a fabric, there are two sets of threads used:
– the warp, or the set of threads that are aligned in parallel to each other and are stretched on the loom first
– the weft, or the thread that is woven through the threads of the warp.
The fabric’s features change depending on the different threads used for the warp and the weft, and also depending on the way the weft is woven on the warp.
What are the most common BJJ gi weaves?
The most common BJJ gi weaves are the following:
This is the simplest weave one can use, with a single weft thread woven up and down single warp threads.
The fabric is smooth, flat, and light. BJJ gis made in it are typically lest costly but also less durable.
This weave gets its name from the appearance of the fabric, which looks as if it is made of aligned rows of little pearls. This appearance is created when two sets of weft are used, one thin and tight, and one looser and wider. The two wefts are woven in alternate order.
The Pearl Weave Plus is similar, but the looser, wider thread is woven at a slight diagonal.
Pearl Weave fabrics are the most popular ones for BJJ gi today, because they are light but durable. Pearl weave BJJ gis often come pre-washed, which means that they shrink much less than other weaves when you take proper care of them.
This is a thicker weave with an appearance of parallel “ladders” that is due to heavier threads interspersed with regular ones. The looser weft is woven over and under whole sections of thinner warp threads.
Before the Pearl Weave became popular, Gold Weave gis were the norm as light and durable. However, this weave is the one that shrinks the most, and many fighters prefer Pearl Weave gis that shrink much less.
This is the thickest weave, used for the heavier gi. It is achieved by weaving a double set of warps with a double set of weft, which results in a “double layer” fabric. This fabric feels heavy and often rough to the skin. It doesn’t breathe much, but it makes it harder on your opponent to hold their grip on you.
Double weave gi are quite rare now, as most fighters prefer lighter, breathable fabrics that are less rough to the skin.
When to prefer a pearl weave BJJ gi
In general, pearl weave fabrics ensure that your gi is lightweight. Lightweight BJJ gi is the tendency these past years, while older and more traditional fighters might still prefer a heavier gi.
You may prefer a light pearl weave gi:
- For competition. You may be interested in keeping your weight low to compete, and a light gi can take a few pounds off.
- For training in warm weather or high temperatures. A lighter Pearl Weave gi is also less warm.
- For technical training, since a pearl weave BJJ gi is neither too soft nor too stiff when you work on grips and on getting out of your opponent’s grips.
- For practical reasons. You want a garment that folds easily and is light to carry when you travel or when you have your training bag with you all day.
In any case, what makes a “perfect gi” is really a matter of personal preference. With experience, you will find out what features make the best gi for you, the one that helps you fight at your best.