Why I don’t wear a Gi…

For a martial artist a Gi is the uniform… basically a kimono. Gi basically means clothes.


Gi in ayurveda is basically clarified butter. It’s used for cooking, and as a great vehicle for herbs and medicinal treatments.

ghee 13

Big difference.

I do hope that one day I experience an ayurvedic practitioner at their first martial arts class, and the teacher just casually say’s “put on your Gi” and the dude comes out slathered in butter.


Which brings me to why I don’t wear “the Gi”. Butter or kimono.

First off, it just means clothes. I’m a martial artist, and I do wear clothes to work out in. The traditional gi was white or black. Part of the story behind the black and white choice, was that, those were the cheapest fabrics. Thus, I wear cheap clothes I don’t mind ruining, and that’s my gi. Funny that yoga has evolved to 100 dollar pants. You know… humble clothing.

The other reason is that, if you’ve ever known a Brazilian or Japanese dude, your gi, isn’t just clothes, it’s a giant handle suit that they’re going to hold onto, and if all goes well for them, you should be choked out by your own clothing within a matter of seconds.

I do not study gi chokes and/or other ways to use your wardrobe against you. Not my thing, maybe I should.  I come from FL, I grew up training as a kid with a gi, I loved wearing it, it was a close second to my homemade ninja suit, and I have to give honorable mention to my towel that I tucked into the back of my shirt, thus a cape. The first time I sparred a technically more advanced kid from Japan. I realized that, if I’d had just kept my Tshirt on, this guy wouldn’t be treating me like a damn marionette, I got rid of my gi.  That would have been a good time to cover myself with butter. Instead I just wanted to yell, “dude ok, I’ll give you my jacket, you’re gonna stretch it out.”

I love creativity to use whatever is available to your advantage. I also think that relying on it for your primary submissions isn’t serving for that cool chess match that is using the actual body for handles. There’s always the fact that the Gi can be translated to a jacket… One guy told me that a suit jacket is like a Gi top.  I cracked up and wondered if he thought he was in the 20’s when criminals wore suits. A hefty hoodie, even a good t-shirt, if done with care, can be used to choke someone out.  I grew up in the south, we get sweaty, it’s hot and humid, we wear t-shirts. If you want to study Gi chokes in the south??? Might I suggest some Guy Harvey T-shirt chokes too.

Glad we got this Clarified.