When I first started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu I got a Tatami Nova MK4 Gi.
Unfortunately, when it comes to finding a Gi as a tall person, you are faced with the exact same problems as buying regular clothing.
Some Gi’s will fit your arms but end up too wide in the body or the pants will fit your waist but the legs will be too short.
It probably comes as no surprise that Gi’s are not made with tall people in mind.
The one thing I really regret before getting my first Gi was not doing the proper research. I really should have known better.
My coach asked me for my weight and height, and based on these measurements ordered me a white, size A5, Tatami Nova MK4 Gi.
I naively assumed all Gi’s were made the same.
My Tatami Nova MK4 Gi Review
For reference I am 95 kg, 196 cm tall, skinny and have long arms and legs.
Here is how the Gi (jacket and pants) look:
One nice bonus is that this particular Gi comes with a free white belt that is more than long enough.
Both the pants and jacket are 100% cotton.
The jacket is a 425gsm (gsm = Grams Per Square Meter and is basically a measurement used to determine the weight of a fabric) hybrid weave with heavy cotton reinforcements in all the important areas and the pants are a 9oz poly cotton blend making them heavy and resiliant.
Basically, this Gi is built to last and withstand lots of punishment on the mats.
To prevent this Gi from shrinking in the wash it is recommended to machine wash in cold water only with absolutely no tumble drying.
In my opinion fit is the most important thing to look for when buying a Gi.
Wearing a larger Gi (not fitted to a skinny build) makes it easier for people to grab you, pull you down and control you when rolling.
Conversely if the Gi is too tight then you cannot move around freely.
The ideal Gi should be one that gives you freedom to move around but is not too baggy.
Here is the sizing chart for the Tatami Nova MK4 Gi.
Based on my measurements (95 kg, 196 cm tall) there is no “perfect” size on this chart for me.
The best approximation for me would be the A3L.
Instead I ended up with an A5 where the recommended height is good but the target weight is 15 kg too high.
Consequently and as expected this Gi is too baggy for me and is not a good overall fit.
Tatami Nova MK4 Gi Front & Back
Here is how the Gi sits on me from the front and from the back.
Whilst at first glance the fit appears to be good, here is how wide the sleeves are on my arm. Of particular annoyance is the large amount of loose material around the arm pit.
The pants are also too short and could easily be another 5-10 cm longer. When sitting the pants ride up my leg and expose a lot of my shin. This is not ideal from a hygiene point of view when rolling with other sweaty members. In addition, the pants are too wide for me in the waist. Here is how much excess material there is when I put on these pants:
The pants are held in place around your waist via an external rope draw string. The rope is slightly on the long side of things, so you may need to tie it in a double knot in order to prevent it from getting in the way. Another slightly annoying thing is that the pants only feature 2 belt loops!
Tatami Nova MK4 Gi Comfort & Feel
Due to the fact this Gi is fairly thin and light weight it means you won’t overheat too much in summer. I’ve worn it both with and without a rash guard and I didn’t overheat nor did the material feel too abrasive on my skin. Despite being too baggy for me this Gi is overall quite comfortable.
Final Thoughts / Summary
The Tatami Nova MK 4 Gi is an entry level Gi perfect for beginners looking for a high quality Gi, without breaking the bank. It’s available in white, black and blue, and boasts a minimal design alongside high quality manufacturing.
If your weight and height matches the sizing chart listed above then this is a great starting Gi at an affordable price. If you are tall and skinny like myself then I would suggest the “L” fit (only if your weight and height are close to what is stated in the chart). If this applies to you then:
Browse the full range of Tatami Nova Gi’s HERE.
Alternative Gi if you are Tall and Skinny
The best Gi that I can find, made specifically for tall and skinny people, is (appropriately) called Lanky Fight Gear.
Lanky Fight Gear provides the best fitting gear for taller, thinner, and long-limbed athletes.
From the company website:
In any sport, if your uniform doesn’t fit, your performance will be hindered. If you’re tall and thin, like I am, finding a Gi or a Rash Guard that fits is a struggle. Things are either slim enough and too short or long enough and too baggy. Too short may not be legal for some tournament settings and it can be uncomfortable when things ride up on you. Too baggy and you give your opponent a better handle in the Gi or you lose the ability to flow easily. We aim to fix these problems.
Check out Lanky Fight Gear HERE.
Stand tall, be proud of your height and strive for greatness.