What Do Gi Colors Mean?

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Abellaava

Lurker
Nov 4, 2021
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The short answer to this question: jiu jitsu gi color means absolutely nothing. While BJJ gi belt colors carry some serious significance - primarily in alerting you to the level of shark you're swimming with on the mat - jiu jitsu gi colors don't carry any special significance.

However, while we're on the topic, it's worth noting the history of the jiu jitsu gi colors, as well as when certain colors are more appropriate than others.

First and foremost, white is the most traditional uniform color for many martial arts with Japanese roots. In Japanese culture, the color white signifies "purity" or "truth", which is likely why it was adopted as the color for martial arts training, particularly judo and jiu jitsu. When judo competitions became popularized, a blue gi was utilized to distinguish one competitor from another, and this was subsequently adopted by jiu jitsu.

Today, white and blue are the only colors available for judo gis (the sale of which is heavily regulated by the International Judo Federation (IJF), which keeps regulation judo gis limited to those two colors). The International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), the largest worldwide jiu jitsu promotion, allows for black gis as well... which is great for those who fancy themselves as modern-day ninjas. However, for the major events, like the IBJJF World Championships, black belt competitors can only wear a white or blue gi in the finals.

The greater jiu jitsu community is quite a bit more relaxed when it comes to gi colors. While some academies have strict "white gi only" requirements during class, most academies don't... which is why you'll see jiu jitsu practitioners rocking everything from grey and green, to camo, pink and everything in between. I've even seen a tie-dyed rainbow gi!

Often, the choice to wear a colored gi over the traditional white gi is simply due to personal preference. However, keep in mind that a white gi is always harder to keep clean - and white - than a colored gi. Even if you take all necessary precautions, your academy may use puzzle mats, which have a tendency to discolor a white gi, or it just may not keep the mats clean enough to eat off of.

Whatever gi color you choose, just remember to tap early and tap often.

Train on... Oss.
 

Filthy

Iowa Wrestling Champion
Jun 28, 2016
24,283
27,630
if you're not a black belt and you're wearing a colored gi (not white or blue) or have a bunch of patches, it means you're probably kind of a tool.

Osssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.
<fist bump, start from your knees like a whore>
 

BeardOfKnowledge

The Most Consistent Motherfucker You Know
Jul 22, 2015
56,403
52,779
if you're not a black belt and you're wearing a colored gi (not white or blue) or have a bunch of patches, it means you're probably kind of a tool.

Osssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.
<fist bump, start from your knees like a whore>
Competitors of any belt are technically required to have white and one other color of gi.
 

BeardOfKnowledge

The Most Consistent Motherfucker You Know
Jul 22, 2015
56,403
52,779
white or blue is the required color for competition.
White and a color is required. The color can be blue, or black. As far as I'm aware navy blue is also allowed, but I can't personally confirm.
 

BeardOfKnowledge

The Most Consistent Motherfucker You Know
Jul 22, 2015
56,403
52,779
you're allowed other colors in certain competitions, you are REQUIRED to have a white and a blue.
No, sir. You can compete and never own a blue gi. If you only compete locally chances are you can compete with only one gi period.
 

BeardOfKnowledge

The Most Consistent Motherfucker You Know
Jul 22, 2015
56,403
52,779
if you're competing in real tournaments for real medals, you're required to wear white or blue.
No, sir. IBJJF allows white, black, or blue. At their more prestigious tournaments they rule that you must have white and either black or blue.
 

Filthy

Iowa Wrestling Champion
Jun 28, 2016
24,283
27,630
No, sir. IBJJF allows white, black, or blue. At their more prestigious tournaments they rule that you must have white and either black or blue.
IBJJF only allows it at the lower belts and local tournaments.

if you're competing for the real medals, not the pretend divisions, you're wearing a blue or a white.
 

BeardOfKnowledge

The Most Consistent Motherfucker You Know
Jul 22, 2015
56,403
52,779
IBJJF only allows it at the lower belts and local tournaments.

if you're competing for the real medals, not the pretend divisions, you're wearing a blue or a white.
Black belts competing at World's last week...

 

BeardOfKnowledge

The Most Consistent Motherfucker You Know
Jul 22, 2015
56,403
52,779
i don't count blue belt finals as "competition".

there are caveats, but if you're competing for real you wear white or blue.

if you're paying IBJJF salaries in exchange for pot medal, you can wear whatever you want.
 

Filthy

Iowa Wrestling Champion
Jun 28, 2016
24,283
27,630
if I had the time, I'd go around to a bunch of podunk tournaments with 3 or fewer people in the division and rack up the medals.


28 Time Jiu-Jitsu CHAMPION, Filthy.
 

BeardOfKnowledge

The Most Consistent Motherfucker You Know
Jul 22, 2015
56,403
52,779
look, if you want to call yourself a Champion because you won the IBJJF Fargo Open, Blue Belt Masters division, you're probably a tool.
For the record, I've only ever competed in white gis. I just know that what you're saying is incorrect. You can move the goalposts or invoke as many real Scotsman fallacies as you like.

I'm sorry that you keep losing to guys in black gis in podunk tournaments though. It sucks to suck.
 

Filthy

Iowa Wrestling Champion
Jun 28, 2016
24,283
27,630
For the record, I've only ever competed in white gis. I just know that what you're saying is incorrect. You can move the goalposts or invoke as many real Scotsman fallacies as you like.

I'm sorry that you keep losing to guys in black gis in podunk tournaments though. It sucks to suck.
i just think it's silly to put on a costume.

if you're going to have to wear a blue gi to win the the only actual medal that they give out (Black Belt, Open Division, Worlds) then any other color is just a fashion statement.
 

BeardOfKnowledge

The Most Consistent Motherfucker You Know
Jul 22, 2015
56,403
52,779
i just think it's silly to put on a costume.

if you're going to have to wear a blue gi to win the the only actual medal that they give out (Black Belt, Open Division, Worlds) then any other color is just a fashion statement.
If you don't like black gis, I'm right there with you. But the idea that absolute at worlds is the only "actual medal" is ridiculous. Even if I agreed with you. They're still allowed to wear black gis in that division.
 

Filthy

Iowa Wrestling Champion
Jun 28, 2016
24,283
27,630
If you don't like black gis, I'm right there with you. But the idea that absolute at worlds is the only "actual medal" is ridiculous. Even if I agreed with you. They're still allowed to wear black gis in that division.
not when they compete for the medal.

and anyone can compete in the Open. That's what sets IBJJF apart (and is also a testament to how immature sport BJJ actually is), there's only one person who can say they won that tournament...everybody else has as asterisk next to their "championship".

EDIT - and I don't really care about the gi color, it just indicates that you're here for The Lifestyle, and you want to wear a costume.

black (or any non-white/blue) gis are the Cowboy Action Shooting of the grappling arts.
 

Filthy

Iowa Wrestling Champion
Jun 28, 2016
24,283
27,630
Yes.



Wut?



Not really, no.
yes, wut? If you're in the Black Belt Open Championship, you're wearing a white or a blue gi.

anyone who medals in their age/weight at black belt can enter the Open.

if you're not a black belt, you're not competing against the best. Show me the Purple Belt Open Champion and I'll show you a sandbagging Brown Belt.

if you didn't win the Black Belt Open, you won a lesser medal.
 

Filthy

Iowa Wrestling Champion
Jun 28, 2016
24,283
27,630
again - black gis are a lifestyle choice. There's no requirement to have one, a blue gi will meet the requirement for any belt/weight/age division.

i don't wear outfits to grapple, if you do you're probably a tool.

EDIT - not specifically YOU, we all know you're a giant tool already. :)