Probably the most common questions we get asked are to do with GI sizing. The GI size chart can sometimes be a little confusing with both height and weight mentioned and with people falling between various sizes and others being too tall and slim or too short and big. These are just some of the problems that people face when trying to pick the right size. Below we will show you how to choose the right size no matter what your build is.
BJJ GI Sizes
BJJ GI Sizes are worked out a little differently when compared to other martial arts GIs. BJJ GIs are labelled with either an “A” for adult males, “F” for adult females or “M” for both male and female children between the ages of 5-14 years old and the letter is then followed by a number usually between 1 and 4 (0-4 for kids GIs) whereas a karate GI for example uses sizes comprised of just numbers like 5/180cm. So as you can see they are sized completely different.
It’s worth pointing out that you will get some cross over with all GI sizes so some teenagers could fit a lower end “A” size like an A1 and a small adult female could fit a bigger size kids “M” size like an M4.
Although the typical GI sizes range between A1-A4 for men’s GIs, F1-F4 for the ladies GIs and M0-M4 for the kids GIs there are some companies that have a extra sizes including A0, A5, A6, “L” for men and M00 and M000 for the kids.
Over the last few years more and more companies have added “L” sizes to their adult GI “A” sizes. So for example an A2L size would have the weight dimensions of an A2 (up to 82kg), and the height of an A3 (up to 6ft 3). This could be ideal for someone who is too tall for an A2 and too slim for an A3. The L sizes are pretty new and only a handful of companies currently use them but I can see more and more companies rolling them out over the next few years.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu GI sizes versus traditional martial art sizes
When working out a size for someone with a traditional martial arts suit its relatively simple. You find out their height and choose a size. That’s great right? Wrong! Although it has been sized correctly, rarely will you get a decent fit and the reason for this is that although it fits in height it’s usually very baggy and just looks awful. With BJJ GI sizing you work the size out with a mix of a person’s height and weight which should give you the best fit for that person. This works most the time but there are exceptions to this which include people who are tall and skinny or are on the larger side. We will cover more on these 2 body types below.
Typical heights and weights for the sizes
The typical “A” sizes have the following ranges:
A1: heights of 5ft 4” – 5ft 9” and weights of 64kg-70kg
A2: heights of 5ft 10” – 6ft and weights of 70kg and 82kg
A3: heights of 6ft 1” – 6ft 3” and weights of 82kg and 95kg
A4: heights of 6ft 1” – 6ft 4” and weights of 95kg and 110kg
The typical “F” sizes have the following ranges:
F1: heights of 4ft 9” – 5ft and weights of 39kg and 45kg
F2: heights of 5ft – 5ft 4” and weights of 45kg and 55kg
A3: heights of 5ft 3” – 5ft 6” and weights of 52kg and 65kg
F4: heights of 5ft 6” – 5ft 8” and weights of 64kg and 77kg
The typical “M” sizes have the following ranges:
M0: heights of 120cm
M1: heights of 130cm
M2: heights of 140cm
M3: heights of 150cm
M4: heights of 160cm
Using a GI size Chart
You might notice that with the size chart some of the weights and heights cross over between sizes. This is where the confusion starts when someone is trying to pick a size. For example, someone who is 5ft 9” but 72kg would fall between an A1 and A2. What size would you go for? In most cases, you are better of going with a size that will fit you better in the body even if it means the sleeves and trousers are slightly too short for you. This is because it will look and feel better on you when you are rolling in it. If you go for the height over the weight it might fit in the length but it would fit very baggy, which can look awful and also be a nightmare to train in because of the excess material and looseness of it to your body.
Please note this might not be the best choice when picking an IBJJF legal comp GI, more on this later.
Another thing to consider is the material or weave that the GI is made from. Some materials will hardly shrink after being washed whereas other materials will shrink loads! As a rule of thumb pearl weaves will shrink less than a gold or single weaves.
The reason this is important when choosing a size is that with a pearl weave you could choose the A1 with the above stats as the GI would hardly shrink whereas if you bought a gold weave you might be better going with an A2 and shrinking to fit.
Sizing for a Tall skinny guys
Tall skinny guys seem to find it really hard when trying to get a decent fit from a GI. With their long limbs and slim body they normally have a choice between having a GI that fits well in the body and have short sleeves and trouser or have the length right and have it too baggy in the body. If you can get an “L” size Problem solved, but if you cannot then you will need to make do with the best “A” size you can get. Our GIs tend to come up longer in length than most other brands so usually our customers fit in to our sizes without the need for an “L” size.
With most brands “A” sizes you would be better off going with the fit in the body over the fit with the weight for an everyday training GI but if you needed an IBJJF legal comp GI you would be better off sizing by the height as this would help you to pass all of their GI check rules even after washing and any shrinking.
Sizing for Big guys
Like tall skinny guys, big guys ten to find it hard to get a decent fit although they have the opposite problem to the skinny guys. They can normally get a GI to fit in the body but the sleeves and trousers are normally too long. This is where they have the advantage. They should go for a size that fits well in the body and then shrink the GI so that it brings down the extra length. Like we mentioned above, some GIs shrink more than others so depending on how much the length needs to shrink it might be worth considering the type of weave when choosing your next GI. A great GI for this would be our limited series GI as it is made from gold weave material and is ideal for shrinking to fit.
Tailored fit or comp fit GIs.
Some companies us included offer slim, tailored or comp fit GIs. All of our GIs are slimmer fitting than most other brands as we feel this gives a better fit than some of the classic or original GI fits which can be baggier and ill fitting. Our GIs are as slim as they can be in all areas including the sleeve and trouser cuffs but stay within the IBJJF GI rule limits. Our VLR or Elite Superlight GIs are our slimmest of GIs and are designed for competition use. It’s worth pointing out that they will fit tighter to the body so if you have previously worn a standard fit GI and are now trying out a comp fit GI for the first time it can seem like it doesn’t fit or is too tight but this is how it is meant to fit. This gives the user every possible advantage when competing as it gives your opponent less to grab hold off or take a decent grip.
Sizing for an IBJJF comp legal GI
Getting a GI to pass the IBJJF GI check can be a minefield. If you haven’t read the
IBJJF GI check rules you can see them here
With regards to sizing for an IBJJF legal GI the main things to consider are the sleeve and trouser length and cuff widths and the jacket skirt length. There are other GI requirements for IBJJF tournaments but in this article, we will only be focusing on the ones that pertain to the sizing.
GI skirt requirements: Must sit lower than the gluteus muscles.
Sleeve lengths: Less than 5cm or 2 inches from the wrist bone.
Sleeve cuff width: 7cm or 2.75 inches or more.
Trouser lengths: Less than 5cm or 2 inches from the ankle bone.
Trouser cuff widths: 7cm or 2.75 inches or more.
The IBJJF use various tools to check your GI and are very strict on this so it’s worth checking before you go to the tournament if your GIs are comp legal or you could end up being DQ’ed before you even step on the mat.
We hope that this article helps you when you are next deliberating over which size to pick. The above is the best advice we can give someone when trying to choose the correct size. There will always be exceptions to the rules when it comes to sizing a GI correctly because it’s near impossible to size the entire population of all shapes and sizes in to the 4 most commonly available GI sizes. We cannot be held responsible for any GIs that do not fit after following the advice in this article. If you are in any doubt about the size, you need still contact us on the following email and we will be happy to help you choose the correct size: email@example.com.