Ah, the age old question: Is my bjj gi IBJJF Legal? This question comes up regularly, and we thought we’d have a crack at guiding you through the treacherous waters of IBJJF gi legality.
Before we break it down, let’s take it back a step. For those new to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), the IBJJF stands for the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation. Basically, they’re an organisation that hosts several of the world’s largest BJJ gi and no-gi tournaments including the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships (Worlds), World No-Gi Championships, Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championships (Pans) and European Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship. They also have a tonne of other tournaments throughout the world and now run several invite only events that you might have seen on Flograppling.
To compete in IBJJF competitions, your gi must meet certain requirements and these are discussed below.
BJJ Gi Material
According to the IBJJF, BJJ Gis should be tailored with cotton or cotton-like material and, for juvenile and adult competitors, they should be made from a woven fabric.
Essentially, your gi needs to be made from cotton or a cotton like fabric. What’s a ‘cotton like’ fabric, you might ask? Think hemp, polyester cotton etc. Luckily, just about all reputable BJJ brands produce gis that comply with this requirement.
However, an important thing to note is that for juveniles and older, the fabric also needs to be made from ‘woven fabric’. This is where things can sometimes fall apart. Essentially they want your gi to have a weave to it. Whether it’s a pearl weave, honeycomb weave, gold weave, ice weave or any one of the other 872 options it’s all good.
Things that you’ll get knocked back on are karate and taekwondo gis, and gis that use a twill or canvas like fabric for the jacket. Think textured. We’ll delve more into gi weaves in a future article.
This one is pretty simple. The only IBJJF legal gi colours are white, royal blue and black. There was a time when you could see a few navy gis kicking it on the IBJJF mats, but no more!
While we’re on the topic of gi colours, other things to note in this area are that your gi jacket and pants must be of the same colour, and the colour of the lapel of the jacket must be the same as the jacket.
Approved Gi Colours for IBJJF Competition: Royal Blue, White, Black
So the IBJJF Gi Inspector ain’t gonna let you through with a white jacket and blue pants. We wouldn’t either, what a fashion faux pas! No blue jackets with black lapels either!
Basically, all your tie dye, navy and camo gis aren’t gonna make it onto the IBJJF competition mats unfortunately. But at least you can still look cool in class. Unless your academy doesn’t allow those colours. In which case, you’re stuffed… or you can change academy… you creonte!
In our opinion, this is the one of the most overlooked aspects of gi legality and where most competitors get pulled up.
Picture this, you’ve bought a new white cotton pearl weave gi, paid your registration fees and made weight (at least on your $10 scales at home). You’ve read 27 articles on how to prepare for your first jiu-jitsu competition, taken up meditation and, come competition day, are completely at one with yourself. You walk up to the gi inspector and expect to be waved through as soon as they see your pearly white gi… WROOOOOOONG!
The gatekeeper tells you that your gi is too short or too tight, and that you’ll need a different gi to compete on his mats!
It’s a common sight to see a competitor who has failed the gi check sprinting towards their nearest gi stall to get a new gi as fast as possible so that they can compete. At this point the competitor could care less about the colour and brand, they just want something that will get them past the final boss (gi checkpoint) and onto the mats! If this is you and Just Jits has a stall at that event, we gotchu fam! Come running at us with your hands thrown in the air, and we’ll know exactly what’s happening!
Most of the time, your gi has failed because it hasn’t passed the ‘measurements’ aspect of the gi check.
The IBJJF requires:
- That the gi jacket reaches your thigh. No crop top jackets allowed.
- With your arms extended forward, parallel to the ground, the sleeve cuff will need to be within 5cm of your wrist. I.E If the gap between your wrist and your sleeve cuff is over 5cm with your arms stretched forward, you’re outta luck.
- With your arms extended forward, parallel to the ground, the sleeve opening will also need to be at least 7cm. This 7cm space needs to extend all the way across the sleeve, from the sleeve opening to the top of the sleeve. So, if you think you can wear a gi as tight as your favourite long sleeve rashguard, it ain’t gonna cut it.
- In relation to pant length, the gap between your ankle bone and your pant cuffs needs to be less than 5 cm. No capri pants allowed!
If you have no idea what we’re banging on about, or just prefer pictures, refer to the diagram below from the IBJJF’s website.
Logo & Patch Placement
Basically, you’re only allowed to have logos and patches placed in authorised positions. There are slight differences in relation to allowances for the logos of the gi brand vs those of your academy or other patches you may want to add.
This ain't Cub Scouts or Girl Guides and you can’t be sewing on your patches wherever you feel like!
Also, the patches need to be cotton and sewn on properly. If your gi patch is coming loose, it’s not unusual to see the IBJJF gi inspector ask you to remove the patch or tear that bad boy off for you!
Check out the diagram below for approved locations.
Although the IBJJF isn’t the only jiu-jitsu organisation in the world, they are the biggest and most prestigious. For the purpose of this article (IBJJF Legal gis), it’s also important to note that even though you might compete in tournaments that are not under the IBJJF banner, several of these competitions may adopt the same regulations to determine whether your gi is legal for their event. I.E. You might compete in an Australian Federation of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (AFBJJ) competition, but they may use the same regulations as the IBJJF to determine whether your gi is legal.
We hope that this article has helped to answer more questions than it’s raised for you in relation to Brazilian jiujitsu gi legality!
If you're still unsure whether a particular gi we sell is IBJJF legal, please reach out to us. If you feel that this article has equipped you well enough to shop our gi range and you now know what's, what, shop on HERE.