Origins of the BJJ Kimonos

Just as the now officially recognized sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu originated from Japan, from the Gracie brothers, after a large immigrant population of Japanese arrived in Brazil, the Gi worn for the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu originated from the Japanese Kimono.


A kimono is a traditional article of clothing worn by Japanese, by both men and women. The Kimono is a T shaped garment, which is designed to be wrapped around the body, with loose sleeves and legs. The Bjj Kimono is a version taken from this very traditional Japanese article, as is the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu founded from the ancient Japanese art of Judo.


How the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Kimono differs from the Kimono worn for Judo is in the sleeving and legs. As well as being a two piece garment, the Kimono is still a T shape when laid out flat, with lapels at either side of the upper part.


As Brazilian Jiu Jitsu concentrates heavily on ground work and grappling techniques, the legs, cuffs and sleeving of theBJJ Kimonosare significantly tighter than that of the traditional Kimono used for Judo.


The weave of the cloth also differs from that of the Japanese Kimono used fro Judo, as it must be tough, as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a sport that essentially concentrates on ground techniques, grappling, holds and chokes, a material that is soft and does not impede movement being necessary. The cuffs and ankles are much tighter on the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Kimono than on that of a traditional Judo Kimono, as open legged garments could proof dangerous, is not fatal when practicing the art of floor grappling, the opponent possibly trapping his leg inside the leg of that of his opponent.


To the untrained eye, when we think of martial arts such ads karate, Judo, Taekwondo or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, all Kimonos or Gis will look incredibly similar. But when we take a close look at the weaves and the weight of the garment, we can see significances, in the case of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Kimono, especially in the detail of the cuffs and collar, the Kimono being based on the T shape of the traditional Japanese garment, but with many differences such as in the weight and durability of the fabric used, the Jiu Jitsu kimono or Gi being available in single and double weaves.


The origins of the Bjj Kimono and the care of are very interesting, as the traditional kimonos were actually unstitched each time they were required for washing. This still applies today to some Japanese Kimonos that are used only for special occasions such as family celebrations or weddings. When we talk about a Kimono in sport terminology, we need to look for a Kimono that is in an easy to wash and dry fabric, most people who practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on a serious level owning at least two Kimonos or Gis, allowing one to be washed whilst the other is being worn.

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