Sep 292010
 

contest

Alright guys.  I did my part and now it’s time for you to do yours.  Go to the Tatami Fightwear facebook page and vote for your favorite.  There are three categories.  All you have to do is “like” the ones you like the best in each of three categories:  Ultimate (the Gi you think is so awesome it should be made), Funny (the Gi that made you snort liquid out of your nose and onto the keyboard), and Crazy (the Gi that, even though it would be pretty much impossible to manufacture, is just awesome).

The other judges and I have whittled the field from over 300 to just under 20 finalists. You have until October 12th.  The contest will end at that time.  I promise you that the winner will not raise your taxes. 

 

For more information, check it out here at the Contest blog

 Posted by at 8:09 pm
Aug 072010
 

IMG_1337Brits, for some reason, seem to be among the most prolific BJJ bloggers around.  Between Seymour over at Meerkatsu, Matt with Grappling Dummy and Scramble, and Can and his Slideyfoot blog, it’s easy to keep up with what’s going on over in the UK.  So, when I saw pics and reviews of a new gi being produced by Tatami Fightwear, I was jealous.  I thought that a company producing gear for Europe would be pretty well inaccessible here in the States.  By the time it gets shipped and all of that, it just wouldn’t be worth it.  Turns out, I was wrong. 

This review is intended to supplement, but in no way replace Meerkatsu’s excellent review, so for more information be sure to check out his blog.

Disclaimer:  I purchased this gi from Tatami Fightwear at a discount specifically for review.  I’m not currently sponsored by them and this review is a reflection of my own opinions of the gi. 

tatamiThe Zero G Gi is available in both men’s and women’s sizes.  The model I purchased is available for £63, which, at the time I’m writing this review, is about $78.27.  Shipping is going to run between $20 and $30 for a gi.  Again, it just really depends on the exchange rate at the time. 

A cool feature of the Tatami Fightwear website is that it can automatically convert the currency, so there’s no question how much you’re spending, whether it’s Euros, Pounds or US Dollars.  Just click on the currency symbol in the top left corner of the page and all prices, including your shopping cart are converted for you.  

General Impressions:

The gi is VERY lightweight.  The entire gi weighs just a hair over 3 lbs.  This gi is manufactured in Pakistan for the Tatami Fightwear company.

When I pulled it out of the package, the first thing that jumped out at me was the flair.  The patches are a bright blue, and stand out from the crowd.  The second thing I noticed was how light the pants are.  They’re very soft and light, like pajama pants (no kidding).  The first time I wore the gi, it got a lot of attention.  In a group of guys wearing Bad Boys, Atamas, Gameness, Venum and the rest of the current group of lighter weight gis, the blue patches and other graphics really made the Tatami Zero G stand out, without, IMO, being too loud.  

Weight and Fit:

I’m 5’10” tall and about 185 lbs.  I have a long torso and short legs (30” inseam).  I have a wingspan of approximately 72”. 

Most gi manufacturers recommend washing their products in cold water and line drying.  This might work well in a place like Brazil, where the sun is hot and the UV rays will kill the bacteria.  In Seattle, that just doesn’t work.  I don’t like stinky clothes so I try to purchase gis big, anticipating greater than normal shrinkage.  I wash my gis every time the same way.  I wash in warm water, cold rinse, and dry them completely in a very hot dryer.  I purchase the gis specifically anticipating maximum shrinkage, so with only a very few exceptions, I tend to buy an A3 for my size. 

According to the Tatami size and fit chart, an A3 will fit a guy 5’10” to 6’ tall and between 193 and 220 lbs.  This is true.  I’ve been burned buying A2s in the past, but in this case, an A2 would fit me perfectly.  Ultimately, the A3 Tatami Zero G was too big for me. 

One of my teammates is a big guy.  He’s about 5’11” and weighs about 210 lbs, and this gi fits him perfectly after multiple washings. 

GI DIAGRAM

  Pre-Wash (Inches) Post-Wash (Inches)
A 69 66
B 32.5 30
C 23 22
D 7 6 3/4
E 39 35 1/2
F 9 1/2 9
G 29 26
     

Jackets:

IMG_1345The weave is pretty typical of what you’ll find with other gis in this family.  It’s a light, but sturdy weave that holds up well to the rigors of grappling and grip fighting.

IMG_1343For me, the fit of the A3 was big.  As I said before, I didn’t trust the size chart… but I should have.  At my size, an A2 would be a good fit.   

  The cuffs are well reinforced and sturdy with what looks like heavy canvas stripping.  It’s a finishing touch that wasn’t common a few years ago, but is pretty much standard any more. 

The jacket has a tapered cut, and looks sharp.  

Patches and stitching are dominated by a blue color scheme.  The location and size of the patches is pretty standard, but the motif makes this gi stand out from the crowd.

Pictures of the various patches and embroidery are below.

    IMG_1331 IMG_1332 IMG_1333 IMG_1334

Pants/Trousers:

The pants are super light, reminiscent of SYR pants.  They’re soft cotton and feature some of the blue zero G patches.  My only reservation about the entire gi is that I wonder if the pants are too light.  These will certainly work well for competition, but I’m not sure how long these will hold up in steady training.  To me, this isn’t a quality issue as much as it’s an unavoidable trade off between lightweight design and sturdiness.  Something’s got to give. 

And just to be clear, I’m not saying that these pants won’t hold up.  I am, however, curious about it.  It’s really the only question mark I can see and something that can only be answered over time.  I’ll tell you what, though.  As long as they last, they are very, very comfortable.

IMG_1338The drawstring is a stretchy rope material, which doesn’t get bunched. up.  There are two loops to keep it in place.  The stretchiness of the rope is something I’ve not seen before.  It actually works really well, and keeps the pants from getting loose while rolling.

IMG_1339

The knees are reinforced but the cuffs aren’t given a lot of attention.  Once again, the pants are lightweight and built to be so, rather than for durability. 

Below are some pictures of the patches that can be found on the pants.

 

IMG_1327 IMG_1328 IMG_1329  

Conclusion:

Overall:  4 out of 5

The gi is sharp and light.  If you’re looking for a quality, competition gi, this one will definitely fit the bill.  This is particularly true if you’re competing at tournaments that require you to weigh in while wearing your gi, such as at IBJJF tournaments. 

Design:  5 out of 5

The look and feel is terrific.  This is a good looking gi that’s tailored well.  It’s going to get some attention, without being as overt as other gis that are all flaired out. 

Durability: 3 out of 5

At this point, this is really a question mark for me.  The jacket is well made and looks to be on par with many much more expensive kimonos.  The pants are really what I don’t know about and why I gave the Zero G a 3 in this category.  Ultimately, it’s about weight and cut and being IBJJF legal, and this gi does those things.  If you’re looking at something that’s going to hold up to day to day training, I might look at one of the other models offered by Tatami or elsewhere.

Value:  4 out of 5

Again, if you’re looking for a competition gi that’s super light, looks good and is legal at IBJJF competitions, this is a great deal.  If you live in the States, it’s going to cost you a little more for shipping, which is the only reason I couldn’t give this gi a 5 in this category.  But 4 is very, very good, and at approximately $110 including delivery, this gi is a very good deal.

 Posted by at 11:02 am
Jul 182010
 

IMG_1165 IMG_1324Okay.  I’ve wanted one of these for a long time.  I like the new, lightweight generation of BJJ gis coming out, and Bad Boy is old school, up there with Vulkan and Atama.  When they came out with the Bad Boy Pro Series Lightweight Gi, I was all like, “Damn.  I have to get one.”  Then I saw the price tag and was just like, “Damn.”  So, I bought a Gameness Feather, and it’s quickly become one of my favorite gis.  It’s lightweight, affordable, well made and… well, I dyed mine Wedgewood Blue, which makes my BJJ like 10x better.

But two things happened.  First, I saw what a terrific job Seymour is doing reviewing gis on his blog.  His thorough and honest reviews have inspired me.  Second, MMAOutlet.com offered me a discount in exchange for some link love, and hopefully some referrals and business their way.  I felt like karma had swept in and given me a big smooch on the lips, practically  begging me to buy the more expensive gi and find out whether it’s truly worth the hype. 

The Gameness Feather is manufactured in Pakistan, while the Bad Boy is made in Brazil. 

Disclaimer and Pricing:

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not sponsored by Bad Boy or Gameness.  I purchased both gis with my own money, although I got the Bad Boy Pro Series Lightweight Gi at a discount.  The following is a full and honest review of the gis.    As of the posting of this review, these gis are both available from MMAOutlet.com.  The Bad Boy for $199.95 plus s&h and the Gameness for $124.99.  Another gi in this lightweight family is the Vulkan Pro Light.

Weight and Fit:

I’m 5’10” tall and about 185 lbs.  I have a long torso and short legs (30” inseam).  I have a wingspan of approximately 72”.  I am measuring the Bad Boy gi both before AND after washing.  The Gameness Feather has been washed several times.  It’s likely that the Bad Boy will shrink a bit more, although I believe based on experience, that this will be relatively minimal.  Both Gis are A3. 

I wash my gis every time the same way.  I wash in warm water, cold rinse, and dry them completely in the dryer.  I purchase the gis specifically anticipating maximum shrinkage, so with only a very few exceptions, I tend to buy an A3 for my size. 

I’m not including weight for these gis, because at the time of this writing, I just don’t have a scale that’s accurate enough to weigh them.  I’ll update this review when I’m able to weight them.  Also, in the chart below, I’ve included measurements for the Bad Boy out of the bag, as well as after washing twice.  I didn’t measure the Gameness Feather out of the bag, so obviously, I can’t include them in this review. 

GI DIAGRAM

  Gameness Pearl Bad Boy Pro Series  
Weight (lbs)      
Measurements (Inches) Post Wash Pre/Post Wash  
A 62.5” 68”/64”  
B 30.5” 32”/31”  
C 20” 20”/19”  
D 7” 7”/7”  
E 38.5” 38.5”/37.5”  
F 10” 9.5”/9”  
G 27” 29”/27”  

Jackets:

IMG_1290 IMG_1323 The weave is remarkably similar.  It’s a soft weave that’s comfortable and lightweight.  Both feel strong.  Having worn both, I’ll say that the Gameness seems to expand a bit when sweaty, while the Bad Boy remains tighter.  Not a strong knock against the Gameness, but the nod is for the Bad Boy. 

Fit is comparable, with both being comfortable and plenty big for me, even after washing in warm water and drying completely in the dryer.  The jackets are both well constructed and durable. 

IMG_1321 The cuffs are both reinforced well, and I think that both will stand up well to the rigors of gripfighting.  You can see on the left that the Gameness Feather gi is finished with a trim patch matching the trim on the outside bottom of the jacket.  This is a nice finishing touch that was present in the Gameness Pearl as well.  I don’t know whether anyone really notices it or not, but it’s nice to have.

The Bad Boy is reinforced with what looks like heavy canvas stripping.  It has a much more substantial feel.

 

Collars:

The collars are approximately the same thickness with the slightly thicker one being the Gameness Feather.  

IMG_1317

IMG_1326The Gameness Feather features a rubberized collar with ripstop fabric, which might be marginally lighter.  It’s noticeably spongier when you squish it.  Many gi manufacturers have gone to using some kind of lightweight, rubber material in the lapels so that they’re lighter and dry faster. 

The Bad Boy collar is MUCH stiffer, made, if I understand the sales verbiage correctly, of some kind of rolled cotton (“lapel that is filled with the same high-quality material of which the Gi itself is made.”)  The end result is a tougher feel, and a more traditional look.  The collar fabric is also a more traditional canvas, rather than the newer, trendier, ripstop fabric.  Will it make you harder to choke?  Maybe.  I don’t know.  I think that the sponginess of the Gameness gi will make it a little easier to grip.

Pants/Trousers:

IMG_1306 IMG_1315

The pants both have two drawstring loops, with a flat, fabric style drawstring (as opposed to a rope style like the SYR and older Gameness pants use).  The Bad Boy pants are slightly heavier.

 

 

IMG_1307

IMG_1305The fabric in the Gameness Feather is ripstop.  It’s very different, however, from other ripstop pants I’ve seen, such as the Atama Mundial 7 and 9 paints.  While the Atama ripstop fabric is soft, the Gameness Feather pants are stiff.  Is this a bad thing?  I really don’t know.  It just is, I guess.  They’re really wrinkly and stiff, but also very light.  The knees are reinforced.   

The Bad Boy pants are a light canvas material.  Much softer than the Gameness, they’re more of what you’d expect to find in BJJ gi pants with heavily reinforced seams, knees and other stress points. 

The cuffs of the trousers are noticeably different in that the Gameness pants are finished at the bottom, but not really reinforce, while the Bad Boy pants don’t look like they’re going to ever wear out.

Patches and Stitching

Both gis feature some requisite pieces of Flair.

IMG_1296IMG_1297The Gameness Feather features several patches.  There’s a new design on each shoulder with what looks like a stylized “G” and some block letters. 

On the chest, there’s a lapel patch which is pretty familiar to anyone who’s seen the Gameness Single Weave or Platinum Weave gis that have been around for years.  The thing is, this lapel patch really doesn’t match, and was mercifully absent from the Gameness Pearl designs.    I had intended to remove it when I purchased the gi, but decided to keep it only because I wasn’t sure I could get the patch off cleanly.  It’s stitched very close to the seam on the collar, and I was going to have to cut the fabric on the patch to get it off.   After dying it, I still don’t like it, but I like it a whole lot better. 

IMG_1298IMG_1301

 Other patches include the small patch on the left that features the Gameness Bulldog logo, and the trim patches also seen on the left and inside the cuffs on the jacket.  It’s a nice touch inside the sleeves that finished the seam and also reinforces it. 

That’s it for the Feather.  Unlike on other Gameness gis, the ripstop pants that come with the Gameness Feather are absent any bling.

   IMG_1318 IMG_1319

The Bad Boy Pro Series Lightweight gi features a much more coherent graphics scheme than the Gameness.  I mean, there’s consistent repetition of only one version of the company logo, and it looks like some thought was given to the entire process, creating a much less haphazard appearance.  It’s also very clean looking, without too much going on.  The overall effect is professional looking with enough branding that it’s easy to see. 

The picture above left is along the bottom edge of the jacket, with a trim patch that finishes the jacket and a small logo patch.  Above right is a picture of the shoulder patch.  All three patches feature the Badboy eye logo with the company name in block print. 

IMG_1310IMG_1312IMG_1313

The pants have three patches, including trim along the outside seams that matches the jacket trim, a small square patch (above middle) that is on the front towards the top of the pants, and an embroidered patch of the eye logo that is down at the bottom of the right leg. 

The patches on both gis seem to be sewn on well. 

Conclusion

Bottom line is that the Bad Boy is clearly a better made gi in every category.  The verbiage on the websites evokes images of little old ladies sitting in a big room, hand sewing each Bad Boy gi with needle and thread, and maybe a little love, too.  Obviously, that ain’t the case, but you can see that every seam is straight and clean, every panel is reinforced and well thought out.  The whole thing just feels well constructed.   I like the lines of it, and the sharp looking patches are enough to look good without being gaudy.  If you can afford to spend the dough on a Bad Boy gi, you won’t be disappointed.  The only issue I have with my Bad Boy is what color to dye it.   I’m thinking fire engine red. 

The Gameness represents good value for the money.  While the stitching isn’t quite as clean, the seams aren’t quite as well reinforced, and the graphics aren’t quite as well thought out, at more than 1/3rd less cost, it’s a very good gi for the money. 

Both Gis are available from MMAOutlet.com

 Posted by at 12:17 am
Jul 142010
 

I’m leaving tomorrow afternoon to head out to my wife’s 20th High School reunion.  Woohoo!  I love my wife, and I’m looking forward to a roadtrip with her, but at the same time, I don’t know any of her friends from high school.  We’ll see how this goes.  

Good luck to all of the Lotus Club jitsuka competing this weekend.  You’re all an inspiration and I wish I were able to be there to cheer you on!

In other news, I’m finishing up a gi review that I hope to post soon, so stay tuned for that.  I’m also anxiously awaiting a Tatami Zero G gi that I ordered from the UK.  I’m pretty excited to see this one.  If it’s as good as I’ve heard, it’s a terrific deal, even accounting for shipping from the Uk.  In the meantime, go check out Meerkatsu’s AWESOME gi reviews. He reviewed the Zero G, but I’ll post one in American…  dude’s all centimeters this and kilograms that.  Who uses those funky measurements anyway? 

What’s that?  Most of the world?  Oh…  well… 

Have a great weekend all.  I expect a full report when I come back.

 Posted by at 9:47 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 062010
 

Depending upon who you ask, the “best” gi at any given time will be something that fits them well, incorporates what are considered the latest features and has a good balance between cost and quality (in other words, if it’s inexpensive, some cost cutting in the design/construction is expected and forgiven).

I’ve tried a ton of other BJJ kimonos, but my favorites over the years remains the Gameness Pearl.  I own two.  I picked up the first one shortly after I started training in BJJ, so I’ve had it for about 3 years now, I’d guess.  The second one is a couple of years old.  The only noticeable wear on the older one is some fraying beginning to show on the lapels.  Otherwise, both still look great, fit great and have worn very well as a part of my regular rotation.

My  wishlist  of the top three “light” gis I’d like to buy was narrowed down to the Gameness Feather (the new version of the Pearl),  the Vulkan PRO light gi, and the Bad Boy Pro Series Lightweight Gi.  I’ve seen all three gis in person and they all seem really nice, so it came down to price and brand loyalty for me.  The Gameness Feather is significantly less expensive than either of the other two choices.

I’m 5’10” and about 185 lbs.  I’d say I have an average build.  I have shorter legs for my height, but nothing too crazy.  I purchased an A3, which according to the Gameness sizing chart will fit guys between 5’10” and 6’ tall, and 167 to 200 lbs.  Quite a range.

IMG_1169 IMG_1175 IMG_1176

The Gameness Feather out of the bag was big for me.  I don’t remember honestly whether the Pearl shrunk at all when I first got it, so I was a little nervous.  Around the waist and in the shoulders, it was too big.  The sleeves were 2 to 3 inches too long and the pants were a good 2 inches long, as well.  After washing in hot water and machine drying, It shrunk up to just where I want it.  It fits perfectly now.

The gi top was soft out of the bag, but the pants were really stiff.  The ripstop fabric is super light, but it was like a starched shirt.  The top is a tight weave fabric that looks to me like the pearl weave I’m familiar with.  After the initial wash, the pants didn’t let up at all, and if anything, got stiffer, while the top softened up even more.

Quick tip for anyone thinking about dying a gi, you should plan to wash them and dry them completely to shrink them up.  If the gi you’re thinking about dying has been line dried and you’re worried about shrinking it up, you might not want to dye that gi.  Chances are, like my A2 Shoyoroll, you’ll dye it and end up having to sell or give it away because it shrank too much.

Anyway, back to the Feather, the dying process is rough on fabric and the gis come out of it like cardboard, but washing it with the Milsoft fabric softener brought it right back.  Subsequent hot washings doesn’t seem to have shrunk it much more, if at all.

 Posted by at 10:17 am
Dec 202009
 

I wanted to post a couple of pics of my new Scramble Stuff shirt.  As I said before, it’s a very thick, soft shirt.  The quality is noticeably higher than the typical t-shirt.  It shrunk up just a hair, too, so that it has a slightly fitted feel to it.  I’m 5’10” and about 180lbs and a large fits me great.

IMG_0748 IMG_0750

Matt’s also got a lot of cool stuff that’s pretty much unique to his site, at least in the USA.  DVDs, magazines and shirts that make great gifts.  He’s also got a sale going on, so please, check it out.   Give “stevebjj” a try as a coupon code.  Not sure if it will work on sale items, but it’s worth a shot.  You might just get 20% more off your purchase. 

Oct 252009
 

A few weeks back, I heard from Douglas at Razorback Jiu Jitsu.  He had some gold weave gis made to order and was going to be selling them for well below what you’d expect to pay for a BJJ gi, currently only $65 (no that’s not a typo).  He asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing one and, of course, I was more than happy to oblige.

I got the gi in the mail and tried it on.  It’s not pre-shrunk and the only adornment are two patches on the sleeves: the US flag on one shoulder and the Brazilian flag on the other.  I received an A4, which is listed as fitting guys between 6′ and 6’4, 200 to 250 lbs.  Of course, at 5’10” and ~185 lbs, I was swimming in it.  But after I washed it twice in hot water, it shrunk up nicely.

The Razorback Gold Weave Gi

My first impressions on opening up the package are pretty good.  The gi is pretty light and looks well made.  The pants are a little thinner than what you’ll find from a high end gi, but are reinforced at all the right spots.  The top is made from a sturdy, gold weave fabric.

Inside Seams of GiInside Seams of Gi

This gi, as you can see, is made from a three piece top.  While all of the seams look sturdy and are reinforced at all of the stress points, this does separate this gi from some of the more expensive models available.  Top tier BJJ kimonos are made from a single piece of fabric for comfort and durability.  Seams in the fabric can be a potential tearing point.  Also, a seam down the back can be uncomfortable if you’re working from the bottom in guard.  On the mat, I didn’t notice the seam at all.

The fit is roomy, cut with a little more space than some BJJ gis I’ve owned.  What I mean is, the sleeves are a little roomier, and the pants don’t have that tailored cut that some of the other brands sport.   On the spectrum of gis I’ve owned, this gi fits much like my Atama #7 and the Padilla and Sons gold weave gis.  Another one that comes to mind is the Gameness single weave gi.

Back of the giBack of the Gi

Some Ratings:

Value:   5 out of 5.

This is a better than student grade gi.  In quality, it’s compares very favorably to an HCK single weave at $80 or the Gameness Single Weave at $78 in quality.  If you’re considering purchasing your first BJJ gi, a solid backup or an inexpensive replacement, I highly recommend this gi.  As of this review, Douglas is selling these gis for $65 each.  That’s a steal for a gold weave BJJ kimono.

Fit: 3.5 out of 5

The fit is baggier than I like.  I prefer to have a more tailored cut to my gis and feel like I’m swimming in this top.  The pants are also pretty baggy.  This is largely a matter of preference, though.  If you’re a bigger dude, or if you prefer something closer in fit to a Judo gi, this will be ideal for you.    I’ll qualify this by saying that I’ve only washed this gi three times and it’s not pre-shrunk, so I expect that it will shrink a bit more.

Provided you purchase a gi that fits you correctly, this one will have no problems meeting IBJJF specs for fit and construction.  Before you buy, I would recommend shooting an email to Douglas to find out from him what size he recommends.  I wash my gis in warm/hot water and machine dry them, so I expect a little more shrinkage than others might.

Durability:  3 out of 5

I’m giving this gi a 3 for durability, but this was a tough one and I honestly kept waffling between 2.5 and 3.

Pros:  All of the stress points are well reinforced and the stitching looks solid.  The gold weave fabric is nice and looks strong.

Cons:  The pants are a little thin and the jacket is constructed from three panels of fabric, resulting in seams along the middle and down the back.

While this gi clearly won’t last as long as a more expensive gi, it’s selling for $65.  Comparing it to others in the same “class” of gi (which are all more expensive), such as the Gameness Single Weave, I’d say this is as well made and the gold weave fabric is sturdier.   I wouldn’t be surprised if the jacket outlasts the pants.