Gi previews, gi pre-sales, new gi batch, new gi color scheme and diferent contrast stitching. This are phrases every BJJ'er knows and loves or hates (depeding on their approved gi budget).
So, why are we so CRAZY about BJJ gis? Lets take a small step into our ancestry and into the past.
Traditional Martial Arts Uniforms: Where does our gi come from? Well BJJ comes from traditional japanese jujitsu (we all know this translates as "the gentle art"). Jujitsu was founded out of many japanese martial arts around the 1500's by a Military Japanese Technician called Takenouchi Hisamori, the obeject was to bring martial arts into war or rather "battle". Here we get the first reason whey we wear a uniform "MILITARY" (all military personal have a distinct uniform, a uniform's goal is to achieve distinction and to identify what you do and who you are, ranks and colors come later on). Ok so jujitsu started with military, uniforms and it was made for battle. This martial art developed and evolved into a complete and rounded system which became a common practiced martial art. From jujitsu came AIKIDO, JUDO and other martial arts, but they still maintain the traditional Gi (white or blue) so... why has BJJ become soo addicted and crazy about their gis?
Jigoro Kano (inventor of JUDO) had a traditional gi, Mitsuyo Maeda had a traditional gi (brought judo to brazil and the Gracie family) and even GM Helio Gracie had a traditional gi(inventor of BJJ).
Well it's an art thing! Takenouchi Hisamori created JUJUTSU as a battle/war technique, Jigoro Kano organized JUDO to create a sport/education system, and GM Helio Gracie developed BJJ as a way of self-defense. BUT BJJ today is a pure artform and art is a means in which we look to express ourselves.
When BJJ started in 1967 or so it was a martial arts based purely on self-defense, nowadays (and specially the gi/kimonos craziness) refers to sport BJJ and has transitioned from a martial art to a pure artform. We need to express ourselves and through our BJJ voice who we are and what we do. Even in competitions what we look to do is show our game, demonstrate our art and how our art is the best. BJJ is a trully pure artform because we cannot lie, we cannot be something we are not and we cannot do something we can't do. It mimics our lives and our BJJ is dictated by our lives and our personality traits. If we are patient in our lives then we will be patient as BJJ artists, if we use strenght in our lives then we will probably use strengh in BJJ, if we are very clever and cunning we will be that exact way in our BJJ.
Gis are another way to express ourselves, we already have tattoos, crazy hairstyles, but we also have great top games (not me at least), the inverted guard, berimbolos, or we have our own special "flower sweep" or our own how to fake a submission technique. So the only thing we lack is the clothing/uniform/gi to continue to express ourselves. The custom inner rashguard, the lapel pipping, the super short sleeves, or the really light gi, the patches on the back, the printing on the lapel, etc, etc, etc.
We as artists need to show who we are and we do that through our gis, trough our way of life, through our techniques, through our submissions and through our life.
VERY HARD TO SUBMIT.