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The Legacy Behind the Gi

Updated: Nov 1, 2023


July 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the first Gi formally produced by GB Wear. To celebrate the occasion, GB Wear has designed a Gi that not only honors the history and legacy of the Gracie Barra Gi but also includes elements of the current and now.

We want to share with you the legacy of the Gracie Barra Gi and details about the new 20th-anniversary gi that will excite all who choose to sport the new look. Along the way, we will teach you some keywords in Portuguese.

Before we jump into some of the exciting design elements of this special limited edition Gi, let’s get a quick reminder of why the Gi is central to Gracie Barra and the feeling of Irmandade (genderless word for Brotherhood/Sisterhood).

When talking about our uniform, we must understand how Master Carlos carries the meaning of our uniform. He feels deeply connected to the representation the Gi has of all of us who wear the uniform, especially himself.

"Because the Kimono represents me, if I am not proud of the uniform, I am not proud of myself. I lost all my identity. My identity is fully linked to the uniform that I wear. It's what I chose for my life, the objective that I chose, to pass knowledge forward and to learn from the ones on the mats, and the uniform is me. I am the uniform."

The ”why” behind the uniform

Having a standard uniform is central to any team’s identity. Every soccer, football, baseball, and other team sport has a standard uniform representing all its members. Everyone playing for those teams wears it with pride and respect for all that the legacy of that team represents.


Some might argue that Jiu-Jitsu is not a team sport, so wearing a standard uniform may not be as important. Well, there are two examples of why that isn’t true. First, when a martial artist walks into a room and other martial artists are wearing Gi’s, most people in that room have an immediate opinion about what values that person represents based on the team they represent. That is a power of a uniform, regardless of it being a one-on-one combat sport.

The second example is watching an Olympic swimming race. One might argue that swimming is an individual sport where athletes are on their own when they hit the blocks. And ultimately, it is solely up to that athlete’s performance on that day as to whether they will take the gold, not unlike stepping onto the mats for a match at a competition. But look at the uniform they wear. Each swimmer wears the same uniform to represent the Country they swim for proudly. The swimmers understand that although it is up to them in that given race, they ultimately do it for their team, their country.

Our uniform is our flag; it is the team we represent. We should do it with pride and commitment to what team we choose to represent. When we choose to train with Gracie Barra, we choose to be a part of the legacy, the team, and we gain all the benefits of being a part of this incredible team. Wear the Kimono as proudly as Master Carlos Gracie Jr. does.

"I want all students to feel proud of Gracie Barra and willing to show that they belong to Gracie Barra and wear the uniform as if the uniform is Gracie Barra's flag."

How important is the uniform for Gracie Barra's future?

The past 36 years have seen some significant growth from 1 school in Barra da Tijuca to over 1,000 schools worldwide; we need common ground and identity. Companies in any industry grow to this size with a common set of values, principles, and goals to keep the organization developing and successful. Our uniform is the secret to the growth and mission of Gracie Barra – Jiu- Jitsu for Everyone.

"Look, I see the uniform for the future of our organization as a crucial tool to GB's existence. Because if the day that we don't have the uniform anymore, we will lose our identity, and no one will know who we are."

We have to grow together as we expand schools into new communities. We must proudly represent our legacy and honor all that has come before us. When schools open their doors, the community around them knows and understands the school that is opening. Our Red Shield, as represented on our school doors and uniforms, brings many benefits and responsibilities.

Honor the team you represent. Know that the uniform is not only the armor we battle in but also the team’s strength is behind you. WE are all one team!

"When I decided to implement the uniform in our team, it was because I understood that the uniform represents the unity of everyone, and that everyone is equal." Master Carlos Gracie Jr.


Now let’s hear about this exciting Gi that has just been released. If you haven’t seen it, check it out at GB Wear. A little history first to understand all the components that went into the design of this 20th anniversary Gi.

When the first Gi was made, there was a discussion about how many units should be made. When Professor Marco Joca asked Master Carlos how many he should have made, he said 30. However, Professor Marco and Professor Marcio knew that would not be enough, and they settled on having 50 units made. Even that seems laughable today, as some of us have 4 or 5 in our current rotation of Gis. But they didn’t have any idea how adopting a uniform would go. Do you wonder how fast those Gis sold? Well, they all sold on the first day.

Professor Marco had the foresight to save one of those original Kimonos. If you have ever been to the US GB Wear facility, you would have seen it hanging in a frame in the central office.


Guess what? It was time to bring it out of the frame! The GB Wear team wanted to make the 20th-anniversary Kimono as close to the original as possible. So they opened up the frame and had the product team work with their Gi factory pattern maker and sewing team to have the original GB Kimono replicated. The fabric choice, some design elements, and even some of the patches are replicas of the original.

And then they got really clever. Some of the patches and a few aspects of the fit & cut have the current design. This Kimono is such a beautiful marriage between the old and the new (a link between modern x traditional). It represents 20 years of GB Wear and the pride the uniform carries for GB as a team.

When Master Carlos was shown this new 20th-anniversary Gi for the first time a few weeks ago, this is what he said:

"Today, looking at this EQUIPE kimono, it reminds me of the old days, that time, when we were planning 20 years ago, this project of organizing Gracie Barra, developing Gracie Barra, and the kimono was the main symbol, it's the flag that we would represent."
"And 20 years later, we have it. The recognition of Gracie Barra's strength, the GB's global representation. And all that started with our GB kimono that was the symbol to take across the world."

Check out this new Gi! It is something special. Wear it and all the GB Kimonos with pride of self and team for all we represent as we continue this mission for Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone. Represent what this art has brought to your life with honor and integrity.

No, we don’t HAVE to wear it. We GET to wear it! OSS

Blog written by Dawn Korsen, a Gracie Barra Brown Belt.

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Alva Emma
Alva Emma
Jul 09

It's interesting to hear about the initial discussion around the production tiny fishing of the first Gi. It's amazing how much things have changed since then, with many people now having multiple Gis in their rotation.




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