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in search of the perfect gi

December 19, 2007

I have a new gi. It’s a blue A1 gold weave Machado Kimono. Here it is. Just got it today.

My first gi was a Machado Kimono. In fact, I have the gi pants here. See?

Just the patch though. Not the whole pants. It’s dirty. Actually if you want to see the entire pants I’m wearing them in the pictures of Tuesday’s post.

A good friend of mine (Hi, Dianne!) was kind enough to purchase the gi for me as Machado Kimonos do not have an international shipping policy. And I, wisely, do not have my credit cards here with me. So she bought it for me, had it shipped to her place and then sent it all the way across the Pacific.

And for my entire martial art career I’ve been the smaller guy. So typically, when I started jiu-jitsu I was a perfect A1 size.

Fast forward to now.

As you can see the gi is a size A1. I was very happy to finally get a new gi. Sure I’m not training in an actual academy or gym but I wanted a gi so I could enter competitions here in Japan. A gi makes it more real, it makes my preparation real.

I took it out of the plastic bag it was in and to my surprise, it looked tiny to me. So I measured it and sure enough it was small. I mean, duh, it’s an A1. It is supposed to be small. Everything would fit very snug on me – and that I like – however the sleeves from the armpit measure 42 centimeters to the cuff. My arms from the armpit measure 48 centimeters to my wrist. I have thin wrists. This gi top is going to look tiny on me if I put it on.

I am happy to say the gi pants measure up with the old Machado pants I have. The new pants are a little past my ankles, the old pants are lower than my ankles.

Anyway, here is my dilemma – should I exchange the A1 top for an A2?

I enjoy the fit of this gi but I do not want it shrinking on me. I’m afraid if I exchange it for an A2 it’ll be too big of a jump in size (max fit of an A2 are guys 5’9″and a 161 pounds). I suppose it’s better to have a gi a bit too large than a gi too small and not being able to compete in it because it’s too small.

Sure I could have bought a gi here in Japan, but I live two hours away from the city where the three official jiu-jitsu schools are, and there’s no guarantee they’ll have my size (mostly everyone here is my size). Or if there are stores that sell jiu-jitsu kimonos I have no clue where they are.

Sigh.

To be continued…

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