Jan 182012
 

Me:  Brandon, I’d be happy to dye a gi for you.  What color are you thinking?

Brandon:  Can you do green?

Me:  Sure.  {pulls Dharma Trading up on my Droid} Which one do you like?

Brandon:  I like Bright Green.

Me:  Well…  that’s pretty bright.  It’s going to be as green as Bing’s gi is Orange.  You want it that bright?

Brandon:  Well, I want it bright.

Me:  How about one shade darker?  Let’s go with Kelly Green.

And that’s how we ended up here:

kelly-green 

PR66 aka Kelly Green. 

PreDye

Above is the gi before going into the dye vat.

rinsed

Here it is after a rinse cycle in the washer.  It’s still wet and has a lot of excess dye, so it’s a little darker than it will be once it’s dry.

washed (2)

Washed twice, but still wet.  All of the rogue color is gone, so this is pretty close to the final color.  It will still get a little lighter once it’s dry, but I think it’s pretty close to spot on according to the color chip below.

kelly-green 

And here’s the final product.  I hope Brandon likes it.  The color turned out close to flawless.  It’s very even, and I can’t see any imperfections.   He was very specific about wanting a really bright green, so I think he’s going to be very happy.  I put my belt on there to provide a little context, so you can see that the color is pretty accurate.

greengi4

What do you think? 

And if you’re interested in doing your own projects, please take a look at my step by step guide.

Jan 182012
 

I’ve dyed several BJJ gis and while the process is pretty simple, I’ve learned a few things each time that make it a little easier and improve the final product.  I’ve posted pictures and such in the past, and even though Georgette has posted a great instructional on her blog, I still get asked about this a lot.

First, there are instructions available on Dharma Trading’s site that are great.  I’m not a pro and don’t make money off of this, so what follows may not be the “right” way to do it.  It’s simply the way I’ve found that results in a pretty good looking, even color that won’t fade or bleed.

So, here goes.  My practical guide to dying a BJJ gi:

What You Need:

I’ve broken out the materials you’ll need to do a good job into three categories:  required, recommended and optional.  It’s a pretty long list, but don’t be intimidated.  Most of it can be purchased from Dharma Trading, found easily at stores around you or you probably already have them.  Also, once you have a lot of the gear, you don’t need to replace it.

Required:

1:  A BJJ Gi. The weight of each gi is a little different.  Rather than getting too anal about things, I just figure 4 lbs per gi.  This helps me figure out how much of each ingredient to use.

2:  procionmxHigh quality Fiber Reactive Dye.  I used Procion MX, purchased from Dharma Trading.  How much you’ll need is going to depend on the color and the weight of the gi.   On a 4 lbs gi, most colors will need 4 Tbsp of dye (which is about 2 oz).  For some colors, you will need to double or quadruple that amount.

3:  Non-Iodized salt:  You’re going to need a lot of salt, about 12 cups for a 4 lbs gi (twice that if you’re doing black).  You can get a large bag of it at Sam’s Club or Costco for next to nothing.  Otherwise, you’ll look a little funny loading up the grocery cart.  Just tell them you’re brining a deer or something.

4:  Soda Ash:  You’ll need 1 1/2 cups for a 4 lbs gi.  This is absolutely critical.  Don’t skip this.  The soda ash fixes the color.  If you’re going to the trouble to dye your gi, make sure that you fix the dye so that your gi won’t fade and the colors don’t bleed.

TIP:

You can order it from Dharma if you want to, but it’s heavy and will cost a ton to ship ($5.95 for 5 lbs of Soda Ash costs almost $13 to ship.)

Soda Ash is also called Washing Soda or Sodium Carbonate (NOT the same thing as Sodium Bicarbonate).  It is used to condition water and in home-made laundry soaps.  So, look for it in pool/hot tub supply stores or in a pinch, at the grocery store in the laundry aisle.  Don’t pay more than around $1 per lbs.  This stuff should be cheap and you’re not going to get any better results buying a brand name.

I saw a 5 lbs container of “premium” Sodium Carbonate for $26 at a pool store.  What a rip off.

5:  A large plastic bin:  Once again, the size is going to depend on how much you’re dying.  You’re going to need 3 gallon of water per lbs of fabric, so a 4 lbs gi will need 12 gallons of water (and don’t forget displacement).  An 18 gallon tub is perfect for one gi, but I have a 45 mixingbowlsgallon bin I use for big jobs, like doing multiple gis at one time.  And conveniently, when I’m not dying a gi, everything fits in the tub so that I can store it in the garage, out of the way.

6:  Measuring cup, plastic scrapers, plastic mixing/measuring bowls and spoons: You can buy new ones or do what I did…  just shrug and mumble a little when asked, “Where the hell are all my measuring cups?”

7:  Damage Control Rags:  Two or three rags or towels you don’t mind getting dye on.

Recommended:

1:  Synthrapol or an equivalent:  Pre-washing the gi is important to get oils, softeners and other chemicals out of the fabric that might prevent the dye from getting into the fabric evenly.

2:  Calsolene Oil:  I use 3 Tbs.  The Calsolene Oil helps break the surface tension in the water.

3:  IMG_1469Gloves:  To keep you from looking like Ed Harris in the Abyss.  I tried using the big, dishwashing gloves, but frankly, they’re a pain in the butt to take off and put on.  So, I just use disposable non-latex gloves.  You can buy a huge box of them at Costco.

4:  A Big Stick:  For mixing and waving around when you get bored.

5:  A fine mesh strainer with a handle (for the soda ash).

Optional:

1:  Urea:  This can help the dye dissolve.  If you’re doing anything red, or if you’re concerned about mixing the dye completely, use this stuff.

2:  Milsoft:  This is a pro grade fabric softener and damn, does it work.

3:  A spray handle attachment to the shower:  Being able to hold the showerhead in your hand is… well, handy.  It helps when filling the bin and also makes cleaning up much easier.


How to do it:

Okay.  You have your materials together and you’re ready to go.  Next, think about your space.  I use the bathtub in the downstairs bathroom.  My wife would kill me if I stained or damaged anything in house, particularly in a “public area.”  So… wait for him or her to leave and then get started.

I strongly recommend that you remove any towels or cotton, decorative shower curtains and keep him or her away from the room until you’ve cleaned up.   Seriously.   My wife had (past tense) a nice, white, decorative shower curtain with a separate plastic liner.  “I’ll be careful,” I thought.  This also goes for any bath mats and basically anything else that might take the dye.

Replace the nice towels you like with the ones you don’t and then if there’s a spill or something, you can wipe it up without drama.  These are item 7 on the “required” list.

Step 1:  Wash the gi.  I appreciate when I get clean gis, but you should still wash them.  Use the Synthrapol with no fabric softener.  It doesn’t smell great, but that’s the point.  No perfumes or other crap that could screw up your work.  You can dry it or not.  I typically don’t, but it’s no big deal either way (that I’ve seen).

splotchyStep 2:  Mix the dye.  If you are using urea, put a heaping Tbs into about a cup of warm (not hot) water and mix it to dissolve it.  Next, mix warm water (or the urea mix) into the dye powder.  I do a little at a time until I get a paste and then add a little more.

This is a critical step.  The first gi I dyed had red streaks and splotches (pictured left).  That’s because I didn’t get the dye completely mixed up.  Red is stubborn, so take your time with this step.

 

TIP:

blenderbottleTry using a Blender Bottle (or something like it.)  These are containers commonly used to mix/drink protein shakes.   They have a little metal ball inside them which is designed to break up the clumps.  They work great for mixing dye and will minimize the amount of dye powder you breathe.

CAUTION:

I’ve heard that people can develop a sensitivity over time to the dye powder, which is very fine.  If you’re sensitive to chemicals or want to be careful, consider wearing a mask or something for this part.

stirringupthesaltStep 3:  Dissolve the salt.  I put the vat directly into the tub, so that spills go there and not on the floor (if you’re lucky).  In your dye vat (the 18 gallon tub), put in about 12 gallons of lukewarm water and dissolve the salt into it.  I use my arm to mix the salt.  That way I can feel the salt in the bottom of the bin to make sure that it’s completely dissolved.  Don’t be a weenie.  It’s just warm, salt water.

Step 4:  Add the dye mixture.  This should be a piece of cake, as it’s completely dissolved from Step 3.  Just dump it in and swish it around to make sure it’s good and mixed up.  This is also the time to add the Calsolene Oil, if you choose to use it.  I usually do.

inthevat1Step 5:  Add the fabric and settle in for about 20 or so minutes.   Set a timer so you don’t have to guess. I usually swirl it around, pick it up and make sure that the folds and creases all get worked out so that it dyes evenly.

TIP:

Set up your laptop, tablet or smart phone somewhere in the bathroom where it’s well away from water, but visible from where you’ll be sitting.  Do this BEFORE you get started and put on a good, long BJJ related video and just let it run in the background.  You won’t want to touch it after you get the gloves on, and it will keep you happy while you’re agitating the fabric.  You’re going to be stirring regularly for about 1 1/2 hours, so plan accordingly.

sodaashStep 6:  Soda Ash/Sodium Carbonate.  Dissolve the soda ash into some warm water.  Use your stick to move the gi over to once side of the vat and then pour the soda ash a little at a time into the dye bath.  Don’t pour the soda ash directly onto the fabric, or you’ll get spots.  Also, take your time.  Do this over about 10 or 15 minutes, a little at a time.  Be careful with this part, because the soda ash generates a lot of heat when it’s dissolving.  You don’t want clumps here, either.  I use the fine mesh strainer as I pour it into the vat to make sure no clumps get into my vat.

inthevat2Step 7:  Settle in again.  Agitate and keep the gi moving pretty often over about 30 minutes.  Dharma recommends up to 1 hour for deep colors, but I’ve never done it for that long.

I don’t know about you, but at this point, I’m tired of stirring and this is where I’m tempted to rush things along.  Resist the temptation.  Remember, the soda ash, among other things, fixes the dye.  Give it a full 30 minutes, at least.

So, just relax and watch the video you’ve got playing.  I prefer tournament footage over instructional videos.  What about you?

prewashStep 8:  Clean up.  The dye isn’t harmful to the environment and since my vat is in the tub already, I just pour it directly down the drain (pictured left).  I would recommend not allowing anyone to see the tub in this condition.

Don’t panic!  Because you used good dye, it won’t stain and washes right up.  postwashSeriously.  A quick wash and rinse and it’s like it never happened.

Step 9:  Wash the Gi.  Okay.  Here’s my method.  First, I put the gi through a rinse cycle just to get out as much of the excess dye as I can.  After the rinse, I wash it with Synthrapol.

Finally, I wash it one more time the way I normally do.  I use whatever detergent my wife has bought and add 1/2 cup or so of White Vinegar to the rinse cycle.  Check this post out if you’re interested in my tips on keeping your gi from stinking.

I’ve posted pictures of the final product here: Brandon’s Kelly Green BJJ Gi.  Hopefully, this answers most of your questions.  If not, feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

I’m also interested in your tips and tricks.  If you do things a little different, I’d love to hear about it.

Sep 192010
 

2010-09-05_17-15-35_865

I was promoted to purple belt two weeks ago, and still can’t really believe it.  I don’t really know what to say about it other than that it didn’t improve my game at all.  I’m still working on the same stuff I was as a blue belt.  But that’s neither here nor there.

I’m very proud to be training in BJJ and, in particular, to be training at Foster BJJ.

What is interesting to me is that I have reacted completely differently to this promotion than the last one.  I really look forward to getting back to class and working out.  I’m sure that this has something to do with the fact that my back has been feeling pretty good lately, so I’ve been getting in consistently three days every week, and sometimes four.

In other news, I’ve dyed a few gis, and figured something out that, if I weren’t a little slow, is really pretty obvious.  When you dye fabric in hot water, the heat from the water will affect the wax.  Duh.

I’ve described batik a few times here before.  Basically, batik is the process of painting or drawing with melted wax directly onto fabric.  Melted wax is drippy, of course, and it bleeds into the fabric kind of like a magic marker can sometimes bleed into paper.  So, there’s a knack to making clean lines, avoiding drips and getting the wax where you want it without having it end up where you don’t want it.

2010-09-11_18-55-01_105

So, I was REALLY stoked after doing the green lantern symbol.  I had the wax at a good, consistent temperature the entire time.  It looks like it had penetrated the fabric really well.  My lines were super clean and crisp and it was going to look badass!  You can see in the picture to the right that the design is very clear.  This was taken just after the initial dunk in the dye bath.

2010-09-12_07-37-05_366

This is the final product.  At first, I couldn’t figure out what happened.  It looked so good, but then the wax just sort of wandered away from where it was supposed to be.

I was pretty bummed.

The color I dyed the gi is Dark Green PR31 purchased from Dharma Trading.  The color looks great.  It’s a deep, solid green that reminds me of my old ‘74 Beetle painted British Racing Green.  Ultimately, I’m on the fence about whether I want to keep the design as it is, or put a patch over it.  One way or the other, it’s a good gi that I intend to keep myself.

In the end, I’m pretty excited.  As I said before, the wax application was tight and I’m very happy with that.  And now that I know that I need to dye in cold water, I expect a really good result on my next project.  I’m going to try a two color batik: the flash symbol.  It’s a yellow lightning bolt on a white circle.  And of course the bulk of the costume is red.  So, I’ll put wax on what I want to stay white, dye it yellow, then wax on the lightning bolt, and then dye it red.

I’ve never done anything like this before, so I think I’ll start by trying to do the design on a patch.  I’m confident that I can get the design clean and all of that.  What’s unknown right now for me is how the red dye will react to yellow fabric.  In other words, am I going to get a darker red because I’m dying on fabric that’s already yellow (which would be okay), or will it actually mix and end up orange (which would NOT be okay).

I’ll post some pics when I’m done.  I have Fire Red PR10 dye already, which I think I’ll use.  I ordered some Oxblood Red PR136 too.  I really haven’t decided yet. Both look good, but I kind of like the name Oxblood Red.  The yellow will be Bright Yellow PR2.

 Posted by at 9:18 am
Aug 152010
 

Griff asked me to dye a gi for him.  Griff is a purple belt who trains up in Ballard at Ballard BJJ, a Gracie Barra affiliate run by black belt Micah Reyes.  He had a white Lucky brand gi that he wanted black and, after the requisite disclaimers like, “Dude, I might really screw it up… are you okay with that?” I told him I’d take a stab at it.

I’ve been reluctant to try black for a couple of reasons.  First, it’s a relatively common color for BJJ gis anyway.  Second, it’s a tough color to dye.  While you might think that black is just really dark gray, it’s not quite that simple.  In fact, most “black” dyes are actually more of a dark blue or purple than a gray.  Ultimately, my fears were justified.  I’ve still got some work to do on the black.  It’s not bad.  In fact, I think it looks pretty cool.  It’s just… not black.

The dye I used is a Procion MX Fiber Reactive dye purchased from Dharma Trading Company.  Specifically, I used 8 oz of Jet Black dye (PR250), and doubled the amount of salt I used, too.  Overall, I’m happy with the color in that it looks good (in my opinion), and I think it would pass muster at an IBJJF event, although I might not bet money on it.  I’m not happy with the quality of the black, but that’s half the fun of this stuff for me is seeing how the different colors work out, what they do and what they look like in real life.  Nothing beats experience.

The only other thing I’m not happy about is that there was something on the pants.  I wash all of the gis I get with this industrial detergent, but any kind of oils, fabric softener or stains in the fabric can make it hard for the gi to take the dye.  Not sure what was on the pants, but there’s just one spot.  It shows up actually way better in the photo than in real life, but it’s noticeable.  Overall, it’s a hand dyed gi, so some stuff like that is to be expected, but again, I’m kind of a perfectionist and it irritates me that it isn’t exactly what I wanted.

Oh, and one last thing. Griff’s a big guy.  This is an A6, so… yeah… I put the top on for a few quick pictures and it’s huge on me.  I didn’t even bother getting a belt out.  It’s just huge.

 

 Posted by at 7:26 pm
Jun 272010
 

vulkan02

This is a NICE color.  I used Pewter, which I honestly thought was going to be a lighter tint, but it deepened up into a very cool, greenish-gray color.  At first, I thought it was going to be very similar to my “Wedgewood Blue” Gameness Feather, but it quickly started moving from blue to green.

The Vulkan Pro Light gi itself is extremely well made.  Since the Vulkan ads always say that shrinkage is not an issue on these kimonos, as these are “100% pre shrunk,”  I ordered an A2.  The last time I went with an A2, I got burned a little as it shrunk up way too small and I only got to wear it a few times.  I wash all of my gis in warm water and machine dry them, so I try to anticipate shrinkage, but that can be a problem if the gi truly doesn’t shrink.

vulkan01 As expected, it fit perfectly out of the bag.  I was surprised at how light the top feels.  The pants are light, too, but contrary to the recent trends, this gi does not use the ripstop fabric in the design.

Patches are pretty clean and the seams are nice and strong, reinforcing the gi everywhere you’d expect: armpits, collar, etc. 

I’m happy to say that I’ve washed the gi in hot water several times as a part of the dying process and it still fits well.  The sleeves shrunk up just a little bit, but not enough to make a huge difference.

Color-wise, the Vulkan Pro Light gi comes in blue, black or white, but I think that the pewter is pretty badass.

 Posted by at 11:23 am
Jun 162010
 

IMG_1259For Bingo.  I tried to batik a design inspired by the biohazard symbol.  Once again, I’m getting the fickleness of fabric, but I think it turned out okay.  The orange is awesome.  I’d give myself a 9/10 for color, but maybe a 5 or a 6 for the design.   My son says it’s at least a 7, and I think he’s awesome for that! :)

IMG_1255IMG_1256IMG_1254

 Posted by at 10:54 pm
Jun 132010
 

 punisher logo

Coach Foster is a comic book guy.  He likes all the superheroes, but the Punisher is his favorite.  He’s usually running around with a Punisher t-shirt, has a Punisher patch on most of his BJJ gis and the logo is pretty badass.  So, when I took his gi and offered to dye it for him, I thought this would be a perfect second project for my burgeoning batiking skills. 

If dying fabric is a skill, batik is a true art form.  In theory, the idea of applying wax to fabric as a resist for the dye is a pretty simple thing.  You melt some wax, put it where you need it and voila.  Right?  Wrong.

There are different waxes out there.  I use a mix of Bee’s Wax and Paraffin Wax.  The more paraffin wax you use, the more crackle you’ll get.  I wanted a significant amount of crackle in this, so I used a bit over 50% paraffin. 

grayGi002I use a little 7” electric skillet to melt my wax.  It works great.  In fact, this is exactly the kind I bought, although I got it locally on sale for under $15.

But here’s the thing.  According to the interwebs, the wax melts beginning at about 160F and the smoking point is around 240F.  Somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot, where the wax is just right.  Too hot and it penetrates to much into the fabric and you don’t get any good crackle.  Not hot enough and it sets too much on the surface of the fabric and crackles right off.

I am not good enough yet to have total control over this, so I’m trying to pick projects that are forgiving.

IMG_1235

Where you see it looks darker, that’s where the wax was too warm and the saturated the fabric.  In those spots, I can expect it to be completely white in the final product.  Up toward the top of the skull, I wasn’t quite warm enough, and that wax just flaked right off in the dye. 

Here’s an action shot while it’s still in the tub.  Bear in mind that the color is darker than it will be in the final product because it’s still wet.  This is after about 10 minutes in the tub.

IMG_1237

And another one below after almost 30 minutes, just before I added the soda ash.  The second one is from my iPhone, but you can see on the forehead area where the dye has broken through the wax. 

punisher work in progress

And after removing the wax, it’s pretty clear that I didn’t get the wax to penetrate nearly enough in the forehead.  It’s okay, though.  I think it turned out really good.  The bottom half was perfect and looks EXACTLY how I’d hoped it would.  

The picture below is after taking off the wax, but just before washing it one last time.  I like the color a lot and in the picture below you can get a better sense of the final product.  I was hoping it would end up more toward red than purple, and while I was pretty confident it would lighten up some, it’s always a little iffy using a color I haven’t used before.  As you can see, it’s a bright red, on the darker side but definitely not purple.  The flash was on, so it looks brighter than it will once washed and dried completely.

IMG_1239

And here’s the finished product.  After seeing it out of the wash, I have to say that I’m really, really happy with how it turned out.  I would have liked a little more skull to have stayed in the top right part, but the overall effect of it being messy is intentional and came out pretty much how I thought it would.   Bear in mind that the color is actually in between the two pictures.  The first is without a flash and the second is with the flash. 

IMG_1240IMG_1242 

So, there it is.  A one of a kind gi for James Foster, owner of Foster BJJ in Kent, WA.

 Posted by at 11:55 am
Jun 052010
 

I purchased a Gameness Feather gi from Budovideos last week and like it quite a lot.  My favorite gi over the years has been the Gameness Pearl, so I was pretty sure I’d like this gi.  Of course, I didn’t know when I bought it that Budovideos was going to offer 15% off with a Mundials coupon code.  So, I took that as a sign that I should also buy the Vulkan Pro Light gi I’ve been wanting.

The Gameness Feather is a light gi very much like all of the others on the market right now.  It seems to be well made, with ripstop pants and a light but sturdy top.  I wasn’t a big fan of the front patch, but after ordering the Vulkan, I thought I’d go ahead and dye the gi to see how it turned out.  I used Wedgewood Blue that I bought from Dharma Trading a while back.

IMG_1165I really like how it turned out and I was pleasantly surprised at how the front patch took the dye.  The white around the Gameness script pops, but the patch as a whole took the color.  Otherwise, the gi dyed a nice, even color and I’m looking forward to wearing it to class. 

While dying the gi, I was watching the Mundial coverage from Budovideos on my netbook.  Good job, guys.  Switching the cameras was great, and the mix of matches was much better than last time.  I’m really looking forward to tomorrow and the finals. 

If you haven’t watched it yet, you’re still in luck.  Beginning tomorrow morning at 9am Pacific, you can watch live, streaming coverage of the Mundial finals.  During the finals, they go down from 10 mats to just one, so the coverage should be comprehensive.  I’m really looking forward to it.

 Posted by at 9:20 pm
May 312010
 

I finally got around to dying my Warrior One gi.  For anyone not familiar with the Warrior One gis, check out this review on Lockflow.com.

I started this particular project a while back, and for several reasons, just couldn’t get around to finishing it until now. 

This is my first try at using a process called Batik to add a pattern to the gi.  I tried something relatively simple for my first try, opting to avoid layering the dye.  Instead, I added melted wax and kept the design simple.  What you see is the lotus blossom design that is part of the BJJ affiliation our school belongs to.

lotus patch

Batik is essentially a process where you add wax to areas that you don’t want to dye.  In researching the process, I found some truly stunning works of art done on fabric using this process.  Real artists essentially work backwards, using negative space and an understanding of how colors build on each other to lay down some wax, dye the fabric, lay down more wax to protect additional areas, dye it again, repeating the process until they’re finished.  Check out some of these images on Google.  Incredible.

I toyed with the idea of adding the text around the lotus blossom, but as I said, I wanted to keep it somewhat abstract.

I’ve dyed several BJJ kimonos now, and feel pretty confident that I can tub dye pretty much any white gi and do a good job.  So, I wasn’t too concerned about getting the color consistent without any undue splotchiness.  What I wasn’t sure about was what the design would look like after I dyed the gi and then removed the wax.grayGi001

I started by just drawing my design in pencil.  Then I melted the wax in a small… very small electric skillet.  This thing is great.  Before I saw the electric skillet, I was really stumped as to how I was going to keep the wax at a consistent temperature where it was melting but not overheating and smoking.

grayGi002

As you can see, I used a candy thermometer to make sure I wasn’t getting too hot.  The little skillet was like $12 at the store.

 

And here’s what the design looked like after I added the wax.  This is really more difficult that it looks.  I mean, dumping wax isn’t hard, and to be honest, staying in the lines wasn’t all that hard either.  grayGi003What’s going to take some practice is adding the wax so that it’s not too thick or thin on the fabric. 

I got to this point about a month ago, and there it sat until tonight.

 

 

 

IMG_1154This is what it looked like after I was done.   While some variation in color is really a part of the process, and crackling is actually desirable, I’m sure I can do a better job next time.  I think this looks pretty cool, though. 

Below is a close up of the back.

IMG_1161 Overall, I’m pretty happy.  I’m not entirely satisfied with the final look of it, but I learned a lot about the process, and I’ll have some more confidence going into my next project.  I think the gi is wearable and it’s definitely unique.  Ultimately, while it’s not perfect, I’m pretty happy with my first try and look forward to playing around with this some more. 

If anyone has any questions about what I did or how, please let me know. 

 Posted by at 7:33 pm
Oct 252009
 

I’ve been at class all week, even managing to make the Tuesday class, which is rare for me.  I am looking forward to  the tournament coming up on November 7th.

I was wearing my cool green Gameness Pearl gi.  My back is feeling pretty good, and I’m just looking to have fun at class.  Today (Sunday), I’m going to head up to Seattle for a referee’s meeting at Ivan Salaverry’s gym.  Jeff B. likes to have all of the guys who are going to referee for him get together and go over the rules.  While I don’t referee, I do help Jeff manage the mats and such.  It’s also a chance to get some rolling in, as we run live matches so the refs can get some practice with immediate feedback from Jeff.

Back to last Friday, I had a couple of good sparring matches.  I got to roll with purple belt Bing, which is always an adventure.  He’s always doing something strange, whether it’s 93 guard or upside down guard or whatever.  You never know what you’re going to get from him.  But I pushed it a little, tried not to roll lazy and feel pretty good.

I did the same with brown belt, Thad.  As we started, he tried to get to half guard.  I tried to kneeslide over to side control, but got too high and ended up getting swept.  I ended up under side control, then as he moved to knee on belly,  I over-committed to a bridge and he got hold of an arm and was working for a kimura.  I defended that for a while, eventually managing to get to turtle and then roll back to guard.  As he passed to my half guard, I locked in a deep cross collar choke.

I didn’t finish it, but I’ve been thinking about why not.  First and easiest reason is, it’s Thad.  It’s going to be difficult to finish anyone with a gladiator name like Thadius!

It was one of those where you’re sitting there… and you KNOW it’s deep and you KNOW you’re one little detail from finishing.  I was focused on getting my leg through back to guard.   While I’m sure that had I been able to do
that, it would have worked, in thinking about it I’m pretty sure I could have finished it from half-guard.   Had I concentrated less on pulling him in to me and more on doing a side crunch motion to tighten up the choke (if that makes any sense at all), I’m pretty sure it would have done the job.

In other news, check out my ex-white Gameness Pearl gi:

And a close up:

This gi turned out really well.   While there are still some variations in the color, it looks really good and looks like it came from the factory this color.  Because Gameness uses a synthetic thread, it doesn’t take the dye, making it look really cool.

Still working up to tie dye.

 Posted by at 10:29 am