Updated: Feb 17
"...the absolute best fibre to be making clothing out of is hemp. Hemp uses no chemicals, it uses no fertiliser, no pesticides, and it makes phenomenal garment. It doesn't need to be ironed...but you know, not many companies are making clothing out of hemp. It's just a lack of imagination really" - Yvonne Chouinard (Founder of Patagonia)
Before joining the Patagonia team in 2011 I didn't think much at all about where my clothing and gear was coming from. I was a daily surfer, spending way more time than the average person enjoying the environment on the beautiful east coast of Australia. I was aware of pollution, of course, but I really didn't think this was a problem that we would actually solve. Starting with a naturally-occurring fibre was the answer right under our noses - a plant that effectively cultivates itself and causes the least harm to the environment. A fibre that is absolutely soft and tough, 4x stronger than cotton and functional in hot and sweaty situations. Hugely importantly for our sport - hemp is ANTI-MICROBIAL. It's the logical option for jiu jitsu gear. It's almost certainly even the premium choice.
Thankfully, forward-thinking BJJ brands have been making moves for some time to bring premium hemp gis and gear to the sport.
1. Datsusara Hemp Combat Gi
Datsusara are specialising in hemp garments and gear for Jiu Jitsu. Hemp really is their sole passion and they're deep experts, having made hemp gis since 2008. Their functional and tasteful looking gi gets softer with more use and additional washes but it starts out super soft to begin with. Datsusara make the traditional white, blue and black colours, and occasionally release some special edition gis with added styling and functional features.
Another pretty badass claim to fame for Datusara is their collaboration with known hemp and cannabis advocate, and jiu jitsu royalty, Eddie Bravo. Eddie is know for wearing his gi pants for his no gi style of jiu jitsu and the pants he wears have been specially made by Datsusara to his specs.
2. Senso Hempo - 100% Hemp Gi
Senso have nailed it with the aesthetic on this gi - It looks unique and amazing. The choice by Senso to build a hemp gi has paid off as this is how they've conceived their most comfortable and durable gi.
The first Judo gis were designed in hemp! While Senso have leaned on deep Japanese tradition for inspiration of this gi, such as the Samurai's preference for hemp due to its 4x greater strength than other traditional fabrics, its ability to weather their intense training, and its ability to age beautifully. Hemp's antibacterial and anti-fungal properties have also contributed to their preference for its use over time.
As if this gi could be further improved, Senso has sensibly taken this gi a step further and introduced modern technology in the form of the Coolmax lining preferred by Senso for their premium gi and rashguards. Coolmax lining wicks moisture so it contributes to keeping the hemp gi dryer through training and drying.
We should hope that more BJJ apparel and gear manufacturers are inspired by the efforts of Datsusara and Senso to move toward only sustainable fibres, it just makes sense.
Shop all Hemp Gi and Jiu Jitsu Gear here....