Express your personality on the mat with Gi Patches     

There are two things to bear in mind when you choose gi patches for BJJ. Firstly, you need to inquire into, and ensure that you comply with, the rules of your BJJ establishment. The other thin...

Express your personality on the mat with Gi Patches      There are two things to bear in mind when you choose gi patches for BJJ. Firstly, you need to inquire into, and ensure that you comply with, the rules of your BJJ establishment. The other thing to remember is that there is such a vast range of patches available that you’re sure to find something that will look good AND comply with regulations. A mark of identity.. Patches on BJJ gis have been around for a while now, though no one is quite certain where it started out. It’s possible that different teams started using them in competitions, and the idea caught on. It’s also a good way for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to emphasize its differences with traditional Ju Jutsu, or even other arts that use gis, like Judo, Karate and Aikido. This is especially true back in the old days, where practitioners of all these arts were wearing similar gis. So, in a way, by wearing patches, a BJJ practitioner emphasizes not only his own personality, but the personality of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu itself. In the by-now traditional sense, gi patches are heavily used to identify the individual with the club to which he belongs, giving a sense of solidarity and pride. It helps the club to ‘stand out from the crowd’ at competitions, and this, especially in an ambitious establishments, will be encouraged to this extent. Patches can sometimes be woven, which I prefer, or can be embroidered, which can look more classy. It’s good to see a sport or art that allows people to express their individuality. Advanced athletes and BJJ champions also often wear patches or logos for different corporate with interests in the BJJ world. Then there are ‘personal’ patches, which express the competitors own identity. These could be almost anything – some are military in style, others include memorable or inspiring quotes, while still others could be of cartoon characters! I’ve been seeing a lot of heavy metal patches on gis in recent years, and I approve of this to a great extent. Get your club’s policies straight! As I mentioned in the beginning, you need to get your club’s policy on patches clear right at the start. Some clubs will only allow patches that reinforce identification with the club itself. Gracie Barra is such a club, and they are very strict with this policy. But since a good many advanced gis these days come with patches already sewn on, a great many clubs allow a more liberal view, letting their students sew on as many patches as they wish.   There are still the rules of the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation, of course. According to these, patches can only appear in certain specific areas on a gi. One area where patches are commonly allowed  is the region between the collar and the shoulders. Patches are also allowed on the hips, as well as down the length of the more exposed lapel. The edges of the trousers are also a region where patches are generally allowed.   Generally speaking, a good many instructors will only allow students to sew on patches in places that are in keeping with these regulations. It’s also good to understand jiu jitsu academy politics, to an extent. I doubt your present instructors would be very happy if you turned up for training sessions in a gi bearing patches for your previous academy. So there’s a bit of common sense involved here, and you need to apply it. Options for travel If you travel and compete a lot, the best advice I can give you is to maintain two distinct sets of uniforms, if you like patches – one that has patches (with regulations in mind, of course), and one with no patches at all, which allows you to change and continue to train if issues with patches arise.   That said, there’s little need to worry overmuch – there’s a lot of freedom of expression allowed on the BJJ circuit, and your BJJ uniform has indeed become a means to display your identity with integrity and pride. And, of course, the process of patching a gi can be lots of fun!