BJJ: About Gi Colors (Does it Matter?)

BJJ - Does Gi Color Matter

When you walk into a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school you will notice that not everyone is wearing the same color uniform (known as a Gi). So what color gi should you buy and does the color matter?

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the color of your Gi does not mean anything and therefore it does not matter what color Gi you wear. However, in some competitions there are limitations to the color of your Gi that you’re allowed to wear and some BJJ schools require you to wear their own brand of Gi.

There are so many different Gis available online nowadays, from different colors to creative designs and patterns – and so many different BJJ schools out there – that it can be tough to know what is and isn’t allowed.

Let’s break it down.

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Does Gi Color Matter in BJJ?

If your BJJ school does not otherwise tell you that you need to wear a certain color of Gi  – or a Gi with their branding on – then you can wear whatever Gi color you want.

In BJJ, the color of your Gi does not matter and does not represent anything.

The most common colors for BJJ Gis are white and blue – and if a school does require their students to wear a particular color, it’ll usually be between these two colors.

However, there are many other colors and patterns available out there, including:

  • Black
  • Grey
  • Green
  • Pink
  • Camo

Its not uncommon to see these other color uniforms in BJJ schools (if they’re allowed) – but again the color has no meaning and is purely down to the student’s personal preference.

However, there are some limitations on Gi colors depending on the school you’re training at or whether you’re going to be entering competitions.

What Gi color can you wear in competitions?

In Jiu-Jitsu competitions, there are some more rules and restrictions surrounding the color of your Gi.

For example, the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) – who are one of the largest governing bodies sanctioning BJJ competitions worldwide – have clear rules on what is and isn’t allowed with uniform colors.

In the IBJJF rule book under ‘uniforms’ they say:

“The following Gis are allowed:

– White

– Royal Blue

– Black”

International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF)

They also go on to say that Gis must be of matching color – meaning if you’re wearing white Gi pants, you must also wear a white Gi jacket to match. Mixing colors is not allowed under IBJJF rules.

Gis with a collar that is a different color to the rest of the jacket are also banned by the IBJJF.

It is said that, in the past during BJJ competitions, you would be required to buy two uniforms – one white and one blue – and then you would have to change the color of your uniform to be the opposite of your opponent.

However nowadays, this is not the case because now a yellow and green belt is used instead.

What does the yellow and green belt mean in BJJ?

In a BJJ competition, when two competitors are wearing the same color uniform, a green and yellow belt is used to make it easier for the referee and the judges to tell the difference between each competitor – similar to the red and blue tape used in Boxing or MMA.

Although you may not be planning to compete in BJJ anytime soon, it is still useful to know what is and isn’t allowed under IBJJF rules when it comes to buying your new uniform – or to avoid disappointment if you find out you’re not allowed to wear your favourite new Gi in competition.

Branded Academy Gis

A lot of BJJ academies allow their students to wear whatever BJJ Gi they like. However, some BJJ schools require all of their students to wear the same Gis with the branding of that school.

For example, if you join a Gracie Barra school you will be required to buy a Gracie Barra uniform – but you will have the option to chose between either a white or blue Gi. Likewise, Gracie Academy and many other schools do the same.

It is uncommon for a big brand school like these to allow a student with any Gi other than one of their own onto their mats. But they will always have a spare Gi with their branding on for a student to borrow until the student buys one of their own.

The Gi for these schools are a representation of your affiliation to your school, your instructors, and your Jiu-Jitsu team. So therefore, some schools take it very seriously.

I personally experienced this when I first starting training at a Gracie Barra school in Australia. I had a plain blue Gi from my previous school but was given a Gracie Barra Gi to wear instead – after the lesson, I signed up, bought my own Gracie Barra uniform, and joined the Gracie Barra team.

For more about Gracie Barra – check out our article: Gracie Barra Review: Is It Good? Plus 6 Reasons To Join

Can a white belt wear a black Gi?

In most BJJ schools, a white belt student can wear any Gi color, including a black Gi. However, some schools have certain rules in place such as, students can only wear certain colors of uniforms after a particular belt promotion.

But generally speaking, most schools don’t have strict rules in relation to Gi colors.

If you’re unsure what color uniform you should get, then buying a white Gi is usually the best option. This is because, whether a school has color restrictions on their Gis or not – most schools use a white Gi as it is seen as the traditional uniform for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and martial arts in general.

However, to avoid buying a gi that you may later be told you’re not actually allowed to wear on the mat – its best to ask your instructor about Gi colors and branding – and what their rules or restrictions are with them.

And finally, to finish off – here’s what Master Relson Gracie said when asked about Gi colors:

“Martial arts should use a white Gi to show the color of the belt.

Not fancy, not stylish.

White is simple and looks smart”

Master Relson Gracie

If you’re looking to step up your Jiu-Jitsu game – check out our other article: 12 Ways to Improve Your BJJ & Progress Faster

Or, for a complete look at what you can & can’t wear in BJJ, including Gi, No-Gi & Accessories – check out our article: BJJ: What To Wear (Complete Guide)

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