I have a problem. I know I do. I just cannot help myself even though I know it is wrong and irresponsible. I try to stop, but “just one last time” I tell myself. Anthony Bourdain does it…right? Yes. I am a jiu-jitsu Gi addict.
Why am I buying kimono and pants when my team only has one Gi class a week? Why am I buying uniforms from the two top, exclusive sellers who only do limited, expensive drops of each Gi? I am only a white belt who only needs a simple, cheap set of white pyjamas to get me through a class of being choked and joint-locked…and yet.
Maybe I slowly became that annoying newbie who started showing up in full designer gear even though I could barely do a forward shoulder roll OR maybe I started wanting to go to class more because I like wearing really cool outfits while attempting to choke opponents. Either way, I am THAT guy and my Gi purchasing journey has been interesting to say the least.
My first Gi purchase was a 93 Brand Zodiac Gi which was designed by my favourite artist, Meerkatsu. I promised myself that I could buy one once I had gone to enough no Gi classes to be allowed to go tour our weekly Gi class. I hummed and hawed over sizing and ended up going with an A2, which would be wise enough but too long on the legs and arms. Stangely… I had enough time before the Zodiac arrived to score a CTRL Industries Haida Gi that arrived before the Zodiac. Both fit a little big, but I Was super happy with the feel and design of both kimono sets.
But then came the chance to buy a Shoyoroll. I just happened to see a sale about to happen and found myself buying a third Gi online. A2 was sold out so I took a $300 risk and went with an A1L, and this started me on the path to ruin. It fit so well. The legs were hard to grip for opponents and I felt pretty damn cool at class. I also felt like an idiot who looked like the dress up kid. Still, I appreciate the feel of all that cotton and that I feel like Bruce Lee meets Chuck Norris when I put one over my rashguard. I feel magical, like I am more mystical than the guy wearing chinos and a Polo shirt, and that can be an addictive sensation. Maybe all of the sweat and blood of the mats does permeate into the robes of a human struggling to become better through practice.
Seven sets later and I have two blue, four white and one black kimono that I wear with my very white belt on Friday nights. Is this a ridiculous prospect? I do not think so. Certainly when I have had doubts about being able to drag myself to classes while travelling or quitting because I find it all too much, I have the other voice in my head telling me that I can’t quit because I have all of these expensive outfits I bought and need to wear; I dragged a heavy Gi all the way to Maui so I had better drag my butt into that really tough class. I want to wear the uniform, which means I need to earn it by going to classes. I haven’t earned the right to wear it around the house yet, but maybe I will in a decade or two. Who knows…if I make it to black belt before I die, then maybe a Shoyoroll is the best outfit to meet my final journey in.