In jiu-jitsu, the kimono is the thing we use most. It’s our uniform, our tool and our image. But there has always been the question of how many gis one should own. This is, of course, a question with a very subjective answer. One can obviously have as many gis as they’d like, assuming they have the space and money to accommodate them. However, is there an ideal number of gis someone can own? A number that represents having not too many and not too few kimonos? Let’s explore that question a little and think about it.
You first have to take into account what the gi means to you. This basically breaks down into a combination of three different parts: rolling, collecting, and styling. ‘Rolling’ refers to someone who doesn’t care about the aesthetics of a gi, he just wants something that is fitted and gets the job done. Every gi owned will be used and washed on a regular basis. So then it really depends on how often you train. If you train on average three times a week, a rotation of two gis is enough, assuming you don’t train three days in a row, in which case you may want more gis since you possibly won’t have enough time to wash them. So it’s good to have those two gis, plus one more for emergency. If you’re a professional and you train everyday, or even multiple times per day, you could be looking at needing a rotation of several gis to be comfortable.
The next category is “styling”. This is for the gi lover who is not quite a collector, but he looks at gis beyond just practical use. They pay attention to design detail and are picky about the colors they wear to class. The style aspect of the kimono is important to them. This also includes attention to the weave, the lining color and even something like that type of drawstring. This type of practitioner has a higher chance of owning more gis than most because they buy gis according to their mood as well. They could easily get bored of a gi and find the need to buy a new one to replace it. This is obviously a path for someone who is a little more financially stable but it adds a different level enjoyment to their jiu-jitsu experience.
The last category is that of the gi collector. For this individual, there is no limit to what gis they can own. Collections can range anywhere from ten to a hundred gis. Collectors usually choose a certain style or brand that they like most and buy every possible model. Most brands eventually change the styles of their kimonos, or release limited edition models, so this creates the collectability factor for practitioners. This is a really expensive endeavor, but that is usually the case with anything related to collecting. Relative to things like collecting cars or watches, collecting gis is a far cheaper option. It’s also a very small and unique community for gi collectors, so there is some pride in that exclusivity.
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