Can you use a Judo gi for BJJ?
The answer isn’t so straight forward unfortunately, but we will get into as much as we can in this entry.
In terms of form and functionality. At the end of the day, you can absolutely train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in a Judo gi. In fact when I was an active Judo competitor during my University years, we had one day of purely newaza or ground technique training. This class was basically a Jiu Jitsu class. We warmed up as per usual, and we spent the rest of the session sparring on the ground the same way you would see in most Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes. In fact in Japan, there are still many Judo schools that practice Kosen Judo. This is a school of Judo that focuses predominantly on Newaza. I like to think of it as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but wearing a Judo gi.
Ultimately BJJ and Judo are the same martial art. The only real difference is in the focus of competition. This affects the overall fit of the gi. Judo Gis will fit much looser in the body as well as the sleeves. The looser sleeve grip is to make it easier for Judokas to grip the gi in a certain way that is more optimal for throwing.
BJJ practitioners sport a slimmer fit overall. That most common school of thought is that the less fabric there is, the harder it is for your opponent to control you. This makes finding a good fitting BJJ gi sometimes more complicated than it has it to be. As a BJJ athlete, you want to find a gi that fits well, but does not give your opponent too much advantage when it comes to gripping. Comfortability and range of movement is also very important as BJJ athletes will often find themselves in strange positions.
So can you or can you not use a Judo gi for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
The answer is absolutely. With that said, there are a few things you have to keep in mind. There are certain pros and cons when it comes to wearing a Judo Gi to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Below I’ve listed the Pros and Cons.
- The Judo Gi is often times a lot thicker than BJJ gis. This sometimes makes it less comfortable and more tiring to grip for your opponent.
- The sleeves are generally very wide. This makes circling your hand out of lasso controls very easy. Basically, if your’e rolling with someone in a Judo gi, you’ll find that the lasso control don’t work as good.
- Longer skirts means more fabric to choke people with. Below is a video of Roger Gracie teaching one of my favorite chokes from sidemount where you use your own gi to submit your opponent.
- Its a warm and heavy gi to wear. It gets even heavier when you are sweaty!
- Sometimes it can feel like you are swimming in fabric. Things like getting your gi pulled over your head will happen more often. The bagginess of the gi also means that you are more likely to feel constrained as the skirt of the gi often get caught on peoples foot. It can also be used as a way to grip for control and off balancing.
- If you are wearing Judo pants, good luck trying to break that pant grip. The Judo pants are so baggy that it gives you’re opponent more than enough fabric to really establish a strong grip. This makes dealing with Toreando passes and De La Riva guards a nightmare as one of the main control of these positions are in the pant grip.
My advice is, if you really want to train BJJ and all you have is a Judo gi, go for it!
You will still be able to perform all of the techniques with a Judo gi. It might not be the most comfortable or the most optimal fit, but it is enough to get the job done. I’ve trained Jiu Jitsu in a Judo gi more times than I can remember, and though I don’t prefer it, I also do not have a problem doing it. With that said. I would never ever wear a Judo gi for competition as it just gives my opponent too much advantage in terms of control.
Many athletes such as Roger Gracie, Saulo and Xande Ribeiro, and Kron gracie would wear Judo Gis to competition.
Hope this entry is helpful to some of you. At the end of the day you don’t need a fancy gi to train. You just need good mat space, a good training partner, and an hour or so to learn and have fun!