Judo is a Japanese martial art that tests and strengthens the mind and body. Due to the rigorous nature of judo, judokas (practitioners of judo) require a well-constructed, durable uniform for practice and competition. To give a student full range of movement, the judo uniform consists of a loose jacket and pants and a soft, cloth belt. Formally called a judogi (or gi for short), the uniform comes in a variety of sizes, fabrics and weaves. Knowledge about gi sizing and fabric helps students choose a proper uniform. Shoppers looking for well-constructed gis are able to find a variety of ProForce® uniforms and pants at AWMA, the leader in martial arts products.
Important Judo Uniform Features
When looking for a judo gi, students should consider a few important features:
Because judo involves grabbing and throwing opponents, durability is an important uniform feature. Students who compete and practice on a regular basis should look for a gi made from highly-durable fabric.
The thickness of the fabric helps determine the strength and durability of a judo uniform. A thicker gi is stronger, longer-lasting, and more difficult for opponents to grab. Because the collar is a popular target for grabbing and gripping, a gi with a thicker, stiffer collar like the ProForce® Heavyweight Single Weave uniform is a better choice than one with a flexible collar.
Different fabrics offer different benefits for judo practice and competition. Cotton fabric keeps the body cool and comfortable during strenuous activity as it allows air to pass through freely. Synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon, while not as breathable as cotton, are stronger, more durable, and more water-resistant.
When it comes to comfort and endurance during training and competition, the weight of a uniform plays a big role. Lighter cotton gis offer more freedom of movement and allow for increased air flow compared to their heavier counterparts, but many are less durable. Gis made from synthetic fabric offer an excellent combination of light weight and durability, but they allow for less air flow.
Weave often indicates the thickness, strength, and durability of a judo uniform. Cotton gis usually come in single or double weave (with single weave being lighter), and synthetic uniforms feature varying weave types like gold, pearl, and honeycomb weaves.
Judo Gi Sizing
Unlike apparel that offers extra-small, small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes, judo uniforms come with a unique sizing scale. ProForce® recommends following the sizing chart below (with size zeros indicating children's uniforms):
- 000 – 4' - 4'3" in height, 40-60 lbs.
- 00 – 4'4" - 4'5" in height, 60-85 lbs.
- 0 – 4'6" - 4'8" in height, 85-100 lbs.
- 1 – 4'9" - 5'1" in height, 100-125 lbs.
- 2 – 5'2" - 5'5" in height, 125-150 lbs.
- 3 – 5'6" - 5'10" in height, 150-185 lbs.
- 4 – 5'11 - 6' in height, 185-210 lbs.
- 5 – 6'1" - 6'3" in height, 210-250 lbs.
- 6 – 6'4" - 6'7" in height, 250-280 lbs.
- 7 – 6'8" - 6'11" in height, 280-325 lbs.
Judo Gi Colors
Only a white or blue gi is allowed during official judo competition. Because opponents are required to wear different colors during a bout, competitors must have both colors available. For practice, judo students usually wear a white gi.
How to Wear a Judo Uniform
It is important in practice and competition to wear a judo uniform properly. For correct technique, pull the pants on similar to any pair of pants. Put the jacket on, and pull the left side of the jacket over the right side. To put on the belt, place the center of the belt over the navel, wrap the belt backward, and bring the ends to the front. To tie, place the left end over the right end, and tie into a square knot.
The Significance of Judo Belts
As a judo student progresses, he or she moves through a series of ranks (kyu) represented by various colored belts (obi). The black belt (expert) ranks are referred to as dan. Belt colors may differ between various judo clubs and different countries, but ranks generally follow this order:
- White – Beginner
- Yellow – 9th kyu
- Orange – 7th and 8th kyu
- Green – 5th and 6th kyu
- Blue – 3rd and 4th kyu
- Brown – 1st and 2nd kyu
- Black – 1st to 5th dan
- White and Red Stripes – 6t to 8th dan
- Red 9th and 10th dan
In the hunt for a judo gi, shoppers should consider the type of fabric, its weight, its weave, and the size of the uniform. Reading reviews helps judokas find good products, but AWMA always offers high-quality martial arts uniforms.