|Photo Cred: Shin Zen Bi/Flicker|
|Photo Creds: Kelly Labor, SCMA|
You can also see the pants are a little special as well with built-in canvas covers over top of cotton pants. The extra layer does exactly what you think it would: more protection. Also, the canvas is tougher than cotton--if you didn't already know that--so you shouldn't get those pesky knee-rips as we illustrated in the first picture; but that's not without some compromise to flexibility. Like all things in BJJ, you give something for another, and in this case you're giving up some flexibility for durability. But don't be so quick to count that out. I like the option to add some more armor on some days. Sure, giving up my flexibility for a class can be a bummer, but not as much as going to the advanced class and having someone rip your pants all because you wanted to push yourself a little, ya dig? (Good. I knew that ya could.)
So now that we're all done laughing at my hair in those pictures (I swear it doesn't always look like that), let's rap a little about washing your gi. You're going to hear a lot of sides to this story as to what it the best method. Personally, my wife washes mine in our normal washing machine on COLD water. Weather permitting, I'll hang dry outside because I like to try to be traditional, but I live in Pittsburgh, PA and sometimes it's colder than hell and snows, so in those instances, I (she) does put then in the clothes dryer and I've never had any problems. I've heard of guys who refuse to subject their gi to the physical beatings that a washer/dryer session can put on a gi by hand-washing it. (A training partner told me that Garry Tonon told him that he puts his in his bathtub with some soap and stomps on them like he was making wine.) Look, on that front, do what works best for you, but PLEASE just be sure you're getting it clean. Just whatever you do: DO NOT USE BLEACH. Bleach will weaken the fabric so bad that it will rip 1,000,000x's faster than it would have in normal circumstances. I didn't even consider that when I came home with blood splatters on my gis. I'd spot-treat the areas and think it was fine--it wasn't. The areas were all weak and ripped too easy.
PRO TIP: If you're going to throw them into the washing machine, knot-up your pants string so that it doesn't get all wibbly-wobbly and pulled out while it's in there.
|Hang Drying for Jesus to bless my gis w/ luck|
Finally, transporting your gi. Seems dumb, but it's a real thing. If you're lucky, the gi manufacturer will provide a gi bag with your gi. Check out the nice one GroundGame gave me. Some guys will wear their gi to class, some even carry it like a school boy carrying books using their belt like a bookstrap. It's my personal opinion to transport mine in a bag. I'm scared of spilling coffee on it while driving to class. There's also the weather factor--rain, mud, sleet--getting onto it before class. Also, if you use public transportation, I'd prefer that you didn't rub your gi in my face that was just laying on a spot where who knows was sitting and farting (not to mention taking it home all sweaty). Any kind of bag is fine, but if your gi manufacturer is nice enough to provide you with a gi bag, use it, man!