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Thread: What's the difference between a judo gi and karate gi?

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    Default What's the difference between a judo gi and karate gi?

    I was looking around at a few different sources but I couldn't find a really clear answer. From(my less educated opinion on this subject) just the looks make it seem like there isn't really a big difference except for the durability. I want something that's going to last a long time but I need answers first. And it seems like for the price, it is more expensive to get a high quality, more durable karate gi vs a less expensive judo gi that doesn't necessarily look as nice but is more durable. Advice please? I added links to show examples of what I mean.

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    The difference is mainly about weight and thickness of the fabric. Judo gi take a beating -- the jackets, especially, are grabbed, yanked, twisted, pulled, whiplashed. Jackets are quilted so they are extra thick and can handle these stresses without easily ripping. It also makes them absorbant, so you can sweat a lot and it will soak it up. You might feel like a Turkish towel, but at least you won't leave as much of a snail trail.
    Newaza (ground fighting/grappling) involves a lot of friction against the mats in addition to all of the above abuses. The knees of judo pants are reenforced with a double layer of fabric to hold up against the friction and stresses on the ground, as well. I have never seen a judo gi that wasn't 100% cotton. A really good heavyweight judo gi can just about stand up on its own, especially the jacket. The downside of this is that putting on a heavyweight judo gi feels like getting into armor. There are lighter-weight versions that are more comfortable but still durable.

    Karate gi, by contrast, are meant more for non-grappling use, mainly punching, striking, kicking and maybe some joint locks and takedowns, but they are not meant to be grabbed and wrenched around, or used for groundfighting. So, they are not reinforced or double-layered. When I first started training in karate arts, karate gi were mostly 100% cotton in a fabric that was much lighter weight than judo gi. Now they come in various blends of cotton and polyester. The cotton-poly ones do seem to be more tear-resistant than 100% cotton ones, but IME, the cotton-poly ones get very drippy when sweaty and are uncomfortable with heavy use, but YMMV. The pants usually have a gusseted crotch (a panel of fabric to reduce stress from the stretches used in kicking and deep stances), but judo gi pants often are gusseted, too.

    My $.02 worth.
    Last edited by Cady Goldfield; 30th January 2020 at 01:24.
    Cady Goldfield

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